Healthful Eating

Where to Get Food

By David Mattson

The places that sell food in State College make a ruthless play for students’ money. Take a walk down College Avenue and there are a few stores that sell food, but only Mc Lanahans and the Krishnan Indian Grocery Store will sell a variety of fresh produce. Their offerings are usually limited and overpriced when compared with supermarkets which face competition. As is, they are the only brick and mortar stores within a walking distance acceptable to most students and can thus charge a premium. For those who own a car or are willing to ride the bus, the more reasonable Giant, Walmart, and Wegmans are in reach. These large retailers have almost every food item necessary for cooking the basics while keeping low costs due to their sizes. The amount in a supermarket may be a disadvantage to a student trying to keep a healthy diet as it’s far too easy to walk in and then proceed to empty the chips aisle into your cart. Instead, I would augment or even circumvent the supermarket with this two-pronged alternative.

Bears. Another disadvantage of the grocery store.

State College Farmer’s Market

 

The farmers market in State College provides fresh, locally grown produce at prices frequently lower than that of the supermarkets. The advantages of a farmers market are many. The farmers can make larger revenues by selling directly to consumers, the environmental cost of moving produce is cut by large amounts, and more money is kept within the local area. I would suggest picking up fruits, vegetables, and meat for the week at the market from one of the 21 vendors. Unfortunately, it’s only open on Tuesdays and Fridays in May-November. This means that you’re out of luck for the Spring semester and will have to shop at a supermarket for these things. While there’s nothing wrong with buying from a supermarket, if a farmer’s market is available, less expensive, and more convenient then it should be the first choice.

State College Farmers Market

Tuesdays & Fridays 11:30am to 5:30pm

Locust Lane

State College, PA 16823

May – November

There is also a Market on North Atherton which may be harder to get to for many students: The Market is open every Saturday at the Home Depot parking lot from 10am-2pm. May-November.

Amazon.com

 

The Internet is hugely useful for the communication of millions of people with each other and as consumers, we can use it to our advantage as a place where direct competition happens in real time. What this means is that I can order a box of 36 Pop-Tarts for $6.53 and have it delivered for free within two business days instead of paying $10.47 and gas money to get the same thing at Giant.

 

The only light in the room is beaming into your face as you try to decide between cinnamon and strawberry Pop-Tarts. Shit just got real

Amazon gives students free two-day shipping on most of the items in its catalog via Amazon Prime and combined with the savings over supermarket prices, there isn’t much of a reason not to buy packaged food anywhere else. For more balanced choices, here are a selection:

Breakfast:

Raisin Bran

Oatmeal

Muesli

(If you combine these with fruit, you’ll be sexy all day)

Lunch:

Macaroni and Cheese

Ramen (Maybe not that healthy, but I was inspired)

Rice and Beans

Dinner:

Spaghetti

Chicken

Tuna

Lots of the Amazon choices can be put on a recurring schedule, so it will automatically reorder the item for you if you can’t be bothered with such things. If you get too trigger happy, you may want to start hiding from the UPS deliveryman/person. 4 packs of muesli and cases of noodles start to add up.

Categories: Healthful Eating | Leave a comment

Six Simple Tips for a More Healthful Diet

By Victor Cotton

Devising a plan for eating healthfully and keeping on that path is not a task easily accomplished. So instead of planning an entire diet, try making small, healthful switches in your existing one. I’ve searched the internet for diet advice, and have compiled some of the reoccurring ideas here in a single post for your convenience.

1. Eat whole grains

The next time you find yourself perusing the isles of the grocery store, buy whole-wheat bread, not white bread. Eating whole grains that come from whole-wheat bread provides several benefits. Firstly, whole grains are full of “good carbs,” which are digested more slowly than the “bad carbs” contained in white bread. This slow digestion of whole wheat bread gives you a steady, long lasting supply of energy, as opposed to white bread, whose quick digestion leads to an excess of energy and subsequent fat buildup. Whole grains benefit in the long run as well.  Experiments have indicated that consistent consumption of whole grains can reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes. A full list of whole grain foods can be found here

2. Switch soda with water

College students drink a very large amount of soda. In fact, soda is easily the most popular drink at McLanahan’s Student Store, according to Grace Mehalick, the manager. Despite its popularity, soda is obviously an unhealthful drink. By switching it with water, you can eliminate all of the unnecessary sodium, sugar, and empty calories, while still maintaining the hydrating benefit.

3. Drink skim milk

Milk is an excellent source of calcium and protein. However, a single cup of whole milk contains five grams of saturated fat—that’s almost twenty-five percent of the recommended daily intake. Whole milk also contains a large amount of cholesterol. High fat and high cholesterol diets are known to lead to heart disease, let alone the negative impacts on physique.  Skim milk, on the other hand, has little to no fat or cholesterol content and still maintains the protein, calcium, and vitamin content of whole milk. In fact, the USDA recommends consuming solely skim milk. Thus, simply switching your milk type can positively impact your diet.

4. Vary protein intake

Protein is essential to any diet, especially for those of you out there trying to bulk up. However, eating one type of protein will not work. Different proteins sources hold different benefits, so focus on varying the types of protein consumed each day. This includes chicken, pork, beef, fish, eggs, milk, and others. In an effort to help incorporate all of these, try making sandwiches with different types of meat, or eating a different type of meat each day of the week. Sandwich meats can be purchased at McLanahan’s and tuna can be bought in cans, both for a reasonable price.

5. Chew your food

Many guys (including myself) eat too quickly, especially when they are hungry. This may not seem harmful, but recent scientific literature indicates that it may cause overeating. Hendrik Jan Smit and his team have recently proven that chewing each mouthful a greater number of times reduces food intake. According to these investigators, extra chewing lowers the rate at which food is consumed. This allows satiety hormone levels to rise at an earlier stage in the meal, which makes the subject stop eating. Obviously, by stopping earlier in the meal reduces consumption. The bottom line is that overeating can be combated with proper chewing. Another, more well known benefit of thorough chewing is that it ensures proper digestion. The mechanical action of your teeth mashing the food combined with the enzymatic activity of your saliva aids the body in extracting every nutrient it needs from the food that you eat. Combine correct portions with good digestion and you have a healthful diet. So chew your food.

6. Mix fruit and vegetables with other foods

Fruits and vegetables are an essential component of a healthful diet, but many guys don’t eat enough of them. Even if you hate vegetables, you need to find ways to eat them. For example, the next time you make a sandwich (with your whole-wheat bread of course), add some lettuce and tomato. The next time you watch a football game, make some salsa and have chips with it. Not only does salsa taste great, but it is full of fruit and vegetables and making it at home is cheap. If you don’t like eating fruit and vegetables alone, mix them with something that you do like eating. It is a great way to consume the nutrients that you need.

Categories: Healthful Eating | Leave a comment

Snacking: A Successful Approach to Healthful Eating

By Ryan Henrici

As a US National swimmer and triathlete, I understand the annoyance of having to eat a lot of food—it takes a lot of time and can be costly. The fact is that both recreational and high intensity athletes often do not eat as much as they need to, and, as a result, struggle with maintaining body weight and staving off hunger pangs, both of which are an integral part of successful training.

I found out that I was eating an inadequate diet only suffering from fatigue in the training pool and weight loss. At one of the Triathlon Team meetings in October, a nutritionist came to speak. She talked about the importance of maintaining energy levels through a balanced diet in order to train at a high level. At the conclusion of her talk, she mentioned a revolutionary technology available to almost all club and varsity athletes here at Penn State: The Bod Pod. The Bod Pod is a machine that analyzes an athlete’s body and produces a report on a series biometrics including body fat percentage, metabolic rate, and caloric needs. I decided to give it a try and scheduled an appointment. Not only did the nutrition team at Rec Hall conduct the Bod Pod analysis, but they also helped me create a dietary plan to ensure I get the right amounts of the right foods.

According to the nutrition team, I need to consume between 5600-6000 calories along with 170 grams of protein a day in order to maintain my body weight. I was shocked. How can I possibly eat that much a day? Actually, it’s not as hard as I thought it would be. With the help of the professionals, I was able to find the weak points in my diet and replace them with healthful, energy-packed foods. Further, they helped me start to create a plan for how to maintain my new diet when I move off campus next fall. My primary concern was how to fund eating that much a day.

The key for athletes, recreational weight lifters, and all individuals alike is to spread your eating out over the course of the entire day rather than concentrating it at two or three big meals. Not only is this unhealthy because it allows your body to store the excess glucose as fat, it can actually make you spend more money. The best way to do this is to snack healthily and often between meals. This way, at meal times you don’t need to put away four lunch trays worth of food. Additionally, by eating often during the day, you are less susceptible to succumbing to the afternoon drag because your glycogen (energy) stores are constantly being replenished. Listed below are a few cheap, healthful snacks that are easy to take on the go during the day (The bold-faced suggestions are what I consider to be power snacks and are the healthiest with the most protein):

Trail Mix (you can make your own with peanuts, almonds, raisins, m&m’s and whatever else you want!)

Nuts

Granola Bars

– Yogurt (try Greek yogurt if you are looking for more protein)

– Banana Chips (not as nasty as it sounds trust me)

– Pumpkin Seeds (3/4 cup contains 19 grams of protein)

– Energy Bars (pre-workout, do not use if not working out)

Here’s a link to a very thorough snacking plan for each time during the day including pre and post workout (guys don’t be deterred by the fact that it’s from Oxygen Magazine. The advice is solid):

http://www.oxygenmag.com/Nutrition/Articles/The-Science-of-Snacking.aspx#page-1

Interestingly, snacking works both for athletes looking to meet their caloric requirements and people trying to lose weight. This works in just the same way because it prevents the tendency to gorge at mealtime by keeping your metabolism going at a steady rate all day. High protein and calorie snacks will help the individual to sustain body weight and build muscle when consumed in conjunction with exercise. Foods rich in fiber and low in calories help in the weight loss process because fiber slows digestion promotes feeling “full.” Listed below are a few examples of low calorie, high fiber food groups that can help with losing weight:

– Raw vegetables and fruits (1 cup of grapes has 104 calories)

– Whole grains

– Lentil soup

– Whole-wheat pasta

On the economic front, these snacks are cheap. My personal favorite is the homemade trail mix with Kashi Whole Grain Cereal. This variation is full of protein from the pumpkin seeds and nuts and the whole grain is another healthful filler. If you buy in bulk and make a large ziplock bag full, it lasts for weeks and only costs me about $15.

With some careful planning and strategic snacking, getting the necessary amount of calories and protein can be accomplished without spending an exorbitant amount of money. Granted, high intensity athletes will end up spending more than the average student on food, but by following the tips above, you can beat cost of your freshman meal plan and still stay on top of your game.

NOTE: The Bod Pod is a free service available to most club and varsity athletes. To inquire further contact Dr. Kristine Clark and the Department of Kinesiology located in Rec Hall.

Categories: Healthful Eating | Leave a comment