Tag Archive | "healthy"

How to avoid the Freshman 15

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How to avoid the Freshman 15

The Freshman 15 haunts every student attending his or her first year of college. Although this does not apply to everyone, some students experience weight gain during the first year, or any year of college.

One in four college freshmen gain 10 pounds within the first semester, according to a report by WebMD. So, what are the reasons that college freshmen tend to gain weight? Why are students aware of the potential 15 pounds, yet so many experience it?

It could be the cafeterias all-access policy, a change in schedule, minimal aid in meal planning or too many nights out. Whatever the reason, The Big Green has eight tips to help you avoid the Freshman 15.

1. Walk to class

Riding the CATA bus is tempting for some people, particularly throughout winter, and especially when you paid for a semester pass. Walking to class instead is a great way to sustain energy throughout the school year. Plus, by walking the campus, you will be able to experience the beautiful nature that Michigan State University has to offer.

2. Take advantage of the free group exercise classes at MSU

Provided by Live On, MSU offers free group exercise classes in each neighborhood on campus throughout the week. Check out when yoga, cardiokickboxing or zumba will be in your neighborhood here.

3. Go to the gym at least three times a week

Take a study break and go to the gym. MSU has full-year and one-semester gym memberships that are available for purchase at any time.

You don’t have to buy a membership to have the opportunity to work out at a gym, however. Some halls have gym equipment located within the building. This is a free alternative! The only requirement is you have to be a resident. See if there is a gym provided in your building here. Another tip is to get a gym buddy! Meeting a friend, and pushing each other through a workout makes going to the gym simple.

4. Eat in moderation

Try some healthy alternative meals to avoid the Freshman 15. Photo via Creative Commons.

Try some healthy alternative meals to avoid the Freshman 15. Photo via Creative Commons.

It might be hard to turn down the cafeteria, especially if you have one in your building. The best advice to avoid eating too much in the cafeteria is to eat in moderation or practice portion control. MSU provides a portion size chart to help students eat the right amounts of foods, take a look at it here.

5. Avoid late night meals

It is tempting to indulge in Conrad’s, Menna’s Joint, Taco Bell or delivery after a night out with friends. Try to avoid eating after 9 p.m. If the cravings persist, choose a healthier snack before bed to tame the hunger.

6. Don’t drink your calories

Pop and alcohol have empty calories that can simply be avoided if you drink them in moderation or cut them out of your diet completely. As a substitution, try drinking water more. Water fused with lemons or berries can taste more appetizing.

7. Take a class

MSU offers Kinesiology courses at many different levels. Most fitness based KIN courses follow a pass/fail criteria.To earn credit for the class, you have to get up and be active!

8. NetNutrition

The cafeteria is possibly the only source of food you have on campus. Eat at State provides a campus cafeteria calorie counter, NetNutrition. This format allows you to select items from MSU menus, build a meal, then quantify the nutrition. You can also insert in your allergies to know which foods to avoid. Check it out!

A little bit of weight gain is okay! It happens to the best of us. By following these tips, you can bust the Freshman 15 standard and have a little more control on how it affects your body.


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Hot and Healthy September: The perfect breakfast scramble

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Hot and Healthy September: The perfect breakfast scramble

It’s been proven that there is no better way to start your day than with a solid breakfast. It will help you pay attention better, give you more energy and help you kick the rest of your day in the butt. But there are so many breakfast options—the fried egg, the burrito, the omelet…what do you choose?

Chop your potatoes into even cubes

Most likely if you’ve made a scramble, you tried to make an omelet and you screwed up. At this point, I’ve screwed up enough times to know that I should just go straight for the scramble. It makes an extremely filling breakfast that will make you start your day feeling like you can do anything (except for maybe flipping an omelet).

Ingredients in a scramble are up to you (or up to what you have in your fridge). I usually just stick with the basics:

1 potato (leave the skin on)
2 Oz Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage
2 eggs
Shredded cheese
Frank’s Red Hot Original (optional)

Begin by cutting the potato into cubes. Then put the cubes in a frying pan with some olive oil. Add a little bit more than a quarter-sized drop of oil so that the potatoes will get nice and crispy. Stir those around, put them on a medium heat and cover with a lid.

Potatoes before they’re cooked and after. Add salt and pepper to season as well.

The lid will help heat the potatoes up faster. You will want to stir them every once in a while so that they don’t burn, but leave the lid on as much as possible. Once they turn from a clear color to a more opaque white, they are done and you can move on. But don’t be stingy with this—good potatoes can take about 10 minutes to cook. And there is nothing worse than crunchy potatoes in a scramble.

Next, add your sausage to the pan and cook it until it’s brown. Try to break it up into pieces that are similar to the sizes of your potatoes.

After that, add in the eggs and stir until they’re cooked. Turn off the heat and mix in some shredded cheese, and your scramble is complete.

This scramble is best served with Frank’s Red Hot on top and accompanied by a cup of coffee and a glass of orange juice. You can also add any sort of vegetable or meat to spice it up.

But no matter what, this breakfast will leave you ready to tackle whatever the day has in store and maybe even train you so some day, you can flip that omelet.

Bon appétit!

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Stay healthier during this winter’s cold months

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Stay healthier during this winter’s cold months

You probably already know you should get a flu shot, stay home when you’re sick and bundle in layers for your long trek to class in the snow. But here’s a few more things you could be doing to fight off winter’s nasty side effects and make you healthier during the cold.

Limit hot showers

Sorry folks–we know cooler temperatures can make long showers in the hottest water you can get sound extra appealing, but the short-term comfort can lead to long-term dry skin. Extremely hot water can strip away your skin’s natural oils, making it feel dry and flakey. Dry skin leads to cracked skin. That being said…


Dry skin is one of the biggest pet peeves for many people during the winter months (those days with a 20 degree wind chill don’t exactly bode well for healthy skin). If you feel like your skin is taking a beating every time you step outside, it’s time to moisturize. The two places most likely to become a hassle are your hands and face, but consider getting separate lotions. Some body lotions are too heavy for the delicate skin on your face, which can lead to breakouts. And if you’re not a fan of cracked, bleeding lips, it’s time for you to make lip balm your best friend.

Wash your hands. Please.

Stocking up on hand sanitizer to stay healthy? Then you’ll really want to add a hand lotion to the mix. Antibacterials are great for fighting cold and flu germs, but it can dry out your hands like crazy. Good old soap and water is sometimes more effective when it comes to staying healthy.

Speaking of cold and flu…

At the risk of sounding like a nagging mother, you should really be drinking water. And yes, we’re talking a few glasses a day. You may not be as thirsty as you are in the warmer months, but staying hydrated helps you ward off illness and makes you look better physically (it helps you look less tired and have better skin). You may already know that alcohol dehydrates you, but coffee and tea (anything with caffeine, really) have the same effect, so try to have a glass of water with every glass of your favorite pick-me-up.

Use a humidifier.

The cold air outside wreaks havoc on your skin, but the heat indoors can make waking up with a dry, sore throat a common occurrence even when you aren’t sick. Solution? Consider using a humidifier. It adds moisture back into the air, which keeps you feeling hydrated and more alert. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and quiet enough that you’ll hardly notice them when you’re sleeping.

Static, shmatic.

Good news – your skin isn’t the only part of your appearance that can take a hit during the winter. Hair has a tendency to dry out, frizz and face more static than a balloon in a science experiment. Much like your skin, the way you take care of your hair can make a huge difference. If you can manage, try to cut back on heat-treating your hair with straighteners and blow dryers (they’re bad for your hair year round anyway). In the colder months hair gets weaker, meaning brittle hair is more likely to split or break. Consider using a deep conditioning treatment to restore natural oils and moisture, and try to cover hair with a hat or scarf out in chilly temperatures.

Don’t let the weather overwhelm you.

Stress levels, along with anxiety and depression, skyrocket in the winter months. Mental health is just as important as physical health, so if you find constant snow and grey skies seeming to drain you of energy or you feel like you’re suffering form cabin fever, make time to exercise. Whether in a gym, with friends, or in a class, staying active gives you more energy and can significantly improve your mood. Similarly, making an effort to not go overboard on comfort foods is wise – they’ll make you tired and can result in weight gain, neither of which do much for stress.

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Hot & Healthy April: Grilled Chicken Breast with Avocado Salsa

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Hot & Healthy April: Grilled Chicken Breast with Avocado Salsa

Let the avocado salsa sit for a while to add flavor

We’ve finally made it to summer again. After all the classes, projects and finals, why not relax by making yourself a nice meal? Okay so for a lot of you this doesn’t sound relaxing, but maybe tuck this recipe aside and make it sometime after you de-stress. It’s a great meal to kick off summer.

Unlike last month’s dish, I did this one all by myself and I didn’t screw anything up. That means it’s pretty easy, because even after months of cooking food I’m still not the greatest. But if you can chop things up and grill some chicken, you will be just fine.

The ingredients you need are:

1 cup halved grape tomatoes

1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

3/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 avocados, peeled and diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons dark brown sugar

4 chicken breasts

Just a word of warning before you chop anything: do not, I repeat, DO NOT chop jalapeños without some sort of glove on. Jalapeño oil stays on your fingers for a very long time and I ended up getting it in my eyes. The CIA could invent a new form of torture called “jalapeño contacts,” I’m telling you. So do your best to avoid that issue all together.

That being said, the first part is easy. Combine the first nine ingredients into a large bowl and mix them up. Let this sit for a while so you get the best possible flavoring.

Grill the chicken breasts while coating them with the soy sauce-brown sugar mixture.

Next, mix together the soy sauce and the brown sugar until the brown sugar is dissolved. Put the chicken breasts on the grill and brush them with the soy sauce-brown sugar mixture as they cook. I used a George Foreman-type grill to grill my chicken breasts, but I’m sure cooking them on a real grill would be better (even though the George Foreman is a lean mean fat-reducing grilling machine, but whatever). I ended up making more of the sauce and adding it to the chicken, just to add more flavor.When those are grilled, you’re done! It’s really that easy, and this meal turns out to be healthy and tastes really fresh.I ended up making this meal for a bunch of my best friends, and I have to say that food tastes better with people you love. More than anything else while writing this column, I’ve learned that cooking isn’t all about making something delicious, but about the joy that is created when you finally finish cooking a dish, the laughter that comes when you fail and the conversation that happens over a good plate of food. So have a good summer MSU, and thanks for great times, bad dishes, good friends and good food.

Bon appetit!

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Two months later, are you sticking to your resolutions?

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Two months later, are you sticking to your resolutions?

It’s not difficult to imagine the great results you could get from making an ambitious New Year’s Resolution.  As we approach springtime, many of us may end up changing those initial resolutions or straying from them altogether.

Photo credit: Julia Grippe

Whether you’re looking to drop a few pounds, save more of your money, or finally change up your unhealthy eating habits, it’s bound to be a challenging feat.  New Year’s resolutions may not typically be long-term for everyone, but there are a few tips and tricks to remember when trying to stick to a new and possibly drastic lifestyle change.

Start Small

More often than not, our New Year’s resolutions can seem so appealing that we jump into them headfirst without much planning.  If you’re truly serious about wanting a change, you should assess your own situation and be honest about what little choices have to be made along the way.

University of Michigan graduate Karie Whitman said she struggled less after college when trying to make lifestyle changes.

“After college, I started eating healthier and drinking less alcohol.  Out of that environment, it was much easier to get away from takeout, bar food, and going out with friends ‘for just a few drinks,’” Whitman said.

Whitman offers a piece of advice to “pick small goals you can deal with.” Being able to set small goals to reach and celebrate will keep you motivated and able to continue with your big change.

“I’ve learned that if you drastically change your fitness and health with some giant goal, it’s not going to be a lasting change.  You’re going to end up reverting,” she said.

Know The Difference between Healthy and Skinny

For those of us trying to fit into those skintight jeans and thin tank tops this spring, it won’t always be an easy transition—there is a difference between trying to get healthier and simply trying to get skinnier.  Crash diets, cleanses, and severely reducing calories won’t help in the long run.  If you’re looking to be a better version of yourself, be sure you’re aware of the distinction between the goals of healthy versus skinny.

MSU student Kate Bailey has struggled with that distinction in the past.

“I was so focused on ‘being skinny’—whatever that was—that I lost sight of what was most important: being healthy,” Bailey said.

She recently started working out last fall at the Spartan CrossFit gym and instantly fell in love.

“After spending a few weeks at CrossFit and being forced to set goals for myself, my mindset began to change,” she said.  “I eat foods that support my health and avoid those that don’t. I no longer focus on the superficial things, such as weight.”

Over her journey, she found that the best combination for success with a healthy lifestyle change is “pairing fitness that you really love with eating to better your health.”  These changes take time to become permanent, and you have the mental capacity to make them happen.

Willpower is a Muscle

Your willpower will get stronger with time as you learn to exercise it just like any other muscle in your body.  When you’re focused on a goal, remind yourself of it daily in order to make appropriate decisions.  Once you’ve learned to say “no” to that unnecessary purchase or double cheeseburger, you’ll feel stronger and less prone to those dreaded spending or eating binges.

At a certain point, we all feel powerless in our own lives when we go through those inevitable setbacks.  A study by Vanessa M. Patrick of the University of Houston and Henrik Hagtvedt of Boston College suggests that the way you talk to yourself or others about your goals will influence your ability to stay on course.

By using terms like “I don’t” rather than “I can’t,” you let yourself regain the power.  Saying “I don’t eat pizza” is different than “I can’t eat pizza.”  When you reinforce your choices like this, you’ll be more likely to stay determined and encouraged.

Change is a Present Activity, Not a Future Destination

You’re making choices with every single action in every second of the day.  Do you have homework to be doing right now? Are you on Facebook when you should be going to the gym? Not making that call is a choice.  You are the only person who can change yourself, and you are much stronger than you may give yourself credit for.

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Hot & Healthy March: Raw Vegan Chili Cheese Fries

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Hot & Healthy March: Raw Vegan Chili Cheese Fries

Who doesn’t love a some good old chili cheese fries from your favorite coney island or diner? They are one of the tastiest American foods as well as one of the unhealthiest.  I’ve completely altered the typical chili cheese fries recipe to create a healthy raw vegan version.  While I’ve removed the greasy fried starchy potatoes, fattening cheese, and the meat, (so all the ingredients from the typical version) my version uses a jicama as the main ingredient. 

What the heck is a jicama? I just recently learned, and it is close to becoming my favorite vegetable (pronounced  h-k-ca-ma.) It’s a light, crisp, and slightly sweet root vegetable grown in South America and it is popular in Mexican food. The best part of this vegetable is that it is so good eaten raw and has a similar texture to me as an apple.

That’s exactly what I did in this recipe, the only preparation for the jicama is slicing it up into ‘french fry’ size strips or you could use a mandarin to finely chop them into thin chips.

While the Jicama tastes great on its own, it’s even better with a few raw healthy ingredients that give them a kick and truly make them taste like chili cheese fries.



2 tbsp apple cider vinegar 

3 tbsp nutritional yeast 

2 tsp olive oil

3 tsp chili power

sea salt to taste  


Cut of the end of the Jicama then peel off the skin.

Then chop into pieces depending on how you like your fries–Either skinny matchstick fries, thicker ‘steak fries,’ or even potato chip size.

In a large bowl, add some olive oil to coat them, some apple cider vinegar. mix well and make sure they are all coated.

Add some cayane or ground chili.

Add a two tablespoons of nutritional yeast (important for cheese flavor)

Mix well and make sure all fries are coated.

Add salt to taste.

Be shocked how much they look like real french fries and enjoy!

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Hot & Healthy: December — Tomato and Eggs Brunch Bake

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Hot & Healthy: December — Tomato and Eggs Brunch Bake

Cookies, candy, cakes, and pies seem to be everywhere during the busy holiday season, so I decided to bring you a recipe that you don’t have to count as a holiday food splurge. The holidays are a time to spend with family and friends and relax before the start of a new year, but for some Americans it can be the season of gaining rather than giving. In fact, most Americans gain one to 10 pounds during the time between Thanksgiving and New Years – while this might not seem significant, it can add up.

This may seem scary, but you can still enjoy your favorite holiday treats without gaining a pound.  Here’s my holiday survival guide ultimate tip: selectively splurge.  When sweet and savory unhealthy foods are thrown at you from every direction, taking second and third helpings of them all will obviously lead to weight gain overtime; however, trying just one of everything and saving seconds and thirds for those few really tasty treats you dream about all year will leave you in the same shape you started the holidays with.


My recipe this month, tomato and egg brunch bake, won’t break your holiday calorie bank.  And more importantly, it is actually healthy and starting your day with a brunch like this will fill you up, give you the nutrients you need to get through the stress of the holiday season.  And even more importantly it tastes great.

This brunch dish is simple and would be a great dish to pass for family gatherings.  For me, Christmas morning breakfast is my favorite meal of the holidays.  My family gathers at my grandparents house for homemade quiche, coffee cake, and sweet rolls on Christmas morning and it has always been my favorite part of the day.  This baked egg and tomato dish would be the perfect healthy addition, and it’s even red and green.

What are you favorite holiday meals? Comment and share with TBG! Happy Holidays and good luck with finals!



4 ripe vine tomatoes

Olive Oil

4 organic eggs

parsley/basil/chives/ oregano

optional: veggies of your choice. (I added bell pepper and mushrooms)

parmesan cheese 


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Chop tomatoes into wedges. Chop additional vegetable add ons and herbs.

3) Spread out vegetables in a fairly shallow oven-safe casserole dish.

4) Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

5) Place in oven and bake for 40 minutes.

6) Remove from oven, sprinkle herbs and once cool enough create four spaces in the vegetables to crack eggs into.

7)  Cover with tin foil and place back into oven for about 6 to 9 minutes or until eggs are cooked to your liking.

8) Remove from oven and serve on warm toast, bagels, or ciabatta bread with a green side salad.

recipe adapted from BBC Good Food


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