healthy

How to Make Your Own Infused Waters

Healthy Waterimage source 

It’s no surprise that my Pinterest feed these past few weeks have consisted of colorful bikinis, floral prints, pastel colors, and spring décor. But my favorite trend of the season? Infused water.

For the longest time I couldn’t bring myself to drink water, it was just so bland compared to my favorite fizzy soda pop flavors. However, last semester a friend of mine introduced me to infused water, and I was instantly hooked. Infused water helps make staying hydrated fun, offers a dose of essential vitamins, gently cleanses your body and works as a natural skin care. But, the best part about it all? It’s such a quick and easy process, it takes just under 5 minutes to prepare!

Making your own infused water is quick and simple! Here’s how to make your own infused water:

Step 1: Fill a pitcher with water,

Step 2: add thinly sliced fruits, herbs or spices and ice

Step 3: chill in the refrigerator.

For stronger flavored water, prepare it a day ahead and keep it in the fridge overnight before drinking, The fruit should stay fresh as long as you keep your water refrigerated, and should be consumed in 3-5 days. That’s it! No fancy gadgets or confusing recipe cards, it’s simple as 1,2,3.

Here are a some infused water recipes that make will make your taste buds sing…

 - Raspberry +  lemon  +  mint

 - Strawberry  +  Kiwi

- Lemon  +  cucumber  +  mint

 - Blackberry  +  cherry  +  lime

 - Orange  +  lemon  +  lime

 - Strawberry + Lime + Mint

We’re always on the hunt for new flavor combinations, so snap a photo of your beautiful beverage on Instagram or tweet us your favorite recipe on twitter by using #tastebuddanceparty

 

Cheers!

Fruit Infused Waterimage source

College Student Probs: Balancing College and the Need for Real Food

(photo source: collegeplanningadvisors.wordpress.com)

Ramen noodles. Easy Mac. Frozen pizza. Pop tarts. What do these have in common? Ohhh yeah, the infamous college cuisine.

So here’s a question: Is it physically realistic or even possible to eat healthy, decent meals in college?

Before I answer…

First of all, since I lived in a dorm last year, I automatically had a meal plan, which included about one meal a day and $300 for restaurants on campus. So, I usually grabbed a breakfast bar on the way to class, ate a meatball marinara from Subway for lunch, and ate in a school cafeteria for dinner. 

This year, living off campus in an apartment, I do not have a meal plan. I figured I would do the same for breakfast and lunch, but at least cook dinner. I soon learned that I barely had time for this! I spend the majority of the hours I’m actually at my apartment sleeping. I resort to fast food or restaurants on campus when I don’t have time to return to my apartment. And when I do have about 10-15 minutes to make dinner, it’s a simple pasta or some macaroni (but made on the stove, of course).

So here is my answer: It can be realistic and possible, both if you have a meal plan/live on campus or not. But it can be a challenge and may require schedule readjustments. 

  • If you have a meal plan or are stuck on campus:
    • Go to the restaurants available that offer the healthiest choices. For example, don’t get greasy pizza when you can choose a grilled chicken salad. Also, go for water instead of soda. Saves you money, too.
    • If you can, take back fruits or healthy snacks from the cafeterias. Save them for later. Again, this saves you money you could’ve spent at the vending machine full of Grippos and cookies.
    • If you don’t have a meal plan or are not on campus:
      • Personally, I find this more challenging because the cafeterias are more expensive than buying groceries. But cooking is more time consuming, and you have to be in your apartment or home to cook. So, the first step is spending more time in your apartment; do some homework once in a while there instead of in the library.
      • Try waking up 10 minutes earlier than usual a few times a week to pack yourself lunch.
      • Try taking out 30 minutes out of watching T.V. with your friends or out of nap time (which is an impossible request for me) to cook yourself some dinner, and maybe for you and your friends if you’re at their place; basically, dedicate some time in your schedule for, well, food.
      • When you do cook, cook something that will last more than one day in the fridge and make a lot of it.
      • Buy some healthy snacks such as nuts or fruit; even if you’re not too proud of your meals, you can try to take in some nutrients in small doses throughout the day.

And I saved the best for last: The best option, especially in the beginning and end of the school year? Find events for free food on campus!

 -What are some things you do to get wholesome meals during college?

Easy Ways to Use Applesauce!

Applesauce is easy to use, not to mention, extremely good for you.

It’s healthy and tastes good—although some people dislike the texture.

Besides just plain eating it, which I used to do almost everyday when my parents packed it in my lunch, there are various other uses for the healthy food.

Here are just a few:

Applesauce & Cinnamon Ornaments!

Oh yes! It’s true! With just a little bit of applesauce and cinnamon you can create a sparkly Christmas ornament. It’s easy to do, and looks great on the tree.

Mix ½ applesauce, with ½ cinnamon. Roll on a flat space (keep adding cinnamon if it’s too sticky!). Cut out your shapes—punch a hole for the ribbon and pop into the oven at 200 degrees. Voila!

BBQ Sauce! 

With just a few ingredients you can create a delicious sauce for chicken and more!

Play around with portions or add to taste. Ketchup, applesauce, salt, pepper , sugar and a few spices will create a fun and unique play on your every day BBQ sauce.

Dog Treats! 

Dogs want to be healthy too—and plus why not save a few bucks and bake treats on your own.

Here’s a great recipe to follow to get your pup hooked on a healthy apple snack.

Classic Switch! 

This is a baking crowd favorite that saves calories and adds something sweet. When baking cookies, cake, muffins or brownies, why not try replacing oil with applesauce. It’s healthy and makes the texture softer. I never bake cupcakes without applesauce—it makes it easier to eat more than one! (You can’t feel bad if you dessert was made with healthy ingredients, right?)

Take apple filled ideas out for a spin, and then think of you own!

Do you ever bake with applesauce?

Creative Meals to Take to Work

While working at your summer job it can be hard to know what to eat on your lunch break. Sometimes depending on the shift, breaks can be as short as fifteen minutes! Fifteen minutes is hardly enough time to leave and find food. If you’re like me, you don’t want to pack a quick pouch of pop tarts or even chips because you’re worried about nutrition. I’ve discovered how to turn break time into a quick nutritional pick me up, here’s how to.

The first step is to bring a bottle of water from home. There is no use in spending your hard earned cash in a vending machine for a sugary pop or energy drink.  Bringing a bottle of water isn’t only free; it’ll keep you hydrated and healthy on the job. Next, pack fresh foods that you cannot find in a package! This might take you waking up five minutes earlier in order to prepare your food, but you will be saving time and money when your break arrives. I always get up early and prepare my break food while I’m in the kitchen for breakfast.

A great thing to make fresh and quick is a sandwich. Make sure you keep bread, condiments, and fresh veggies in your fridge! My sandwiches usually consist of wheat bread, turkey, cheese, fresh lettuce, onion, pickles, and occasionally a little bit of  mustard. If you aren’t into sandwiches try creating a salad to go! Find some tub-o-ware, and begin the process! I usually combine lettuce and spinage in mine. Include your favorite dressing on the side to avoid soggy salad later. Add shredded cheeses, onion, tomato, peppers, and whatever else you enjoy! This is a great a fast option for a healthy main course.

When it comes to side dishes there are many options. Throw in your favorite yogurt and a spoon; include a side of fresh strawberries or grapes as well because they are easy to pack. You might also like to throw in an apple or banana for fruit; they are also very easy to pack quickly. If you feel the need for more sustenance, try adding one of your favorite granola bars as well. Try avoiding potato chips, but it you want a healthy substitute, use pretzels, animal crackers, or a couple graham crackers. Each of these substitutes provides a delicious flavor and still has the crunch effect. All of them are also extremely low in fat.

In conclusion, there are many ways to save money and eat right quickly while on the job. All it takes is a little preparation to enjoy a meal straight from your kitchen. You’ll love the feeling of eating healthy and you’ll be surprised at your energy levels throughout the day because of your good nutrition choices. Give it a try and feel the difference!

Tips & Tricks to Fall Asleep Faster

Isn’t it crazy that we can fall asleep in ten seconds flat at the library, but as soon as our heads meet our pillows we are wide-awake? There are many things that can be done to help a person fall asleep fast, without the use of shady sleeping aids those people down the hall always offer you:

1. Limit caffeine.
Caffeine is a stimulant (well, duh). Having a cup of coffee before your night class might instantly perk you up, but chances are you will be up way long after your professor lets you go.  Avoid energy drinks, coffee, even caffeinated tea for about four hours before trying to sleep.

2. No eating right before bed.
Just like caffeine, if you have an orange (or any other acidic fruit) right before bed, it will be harder to drift off to la-la-land.  Just as you don’t want to get wired up on caffeine right before sleep, try not to eat until you’re full right before bed.   You can still hit up late night with friends; just ensure you are not planning on sleeping for s few hours afterward.  If you are starving try to eat lighter foods like eggs, an apple, some cereal, etc. if you are planning to doze off soon.

3. Having a sleeping schedule.
Your friends may be unpredictable or spontaneous, your schedule may be drastically different from day to day, and if your involved on campus, forget about it.  Having a different schedule each day is an exciting part of college that one may not appreciate until one starts working 9-5.  Ensure that your sleep schedule is somewhat routine (i.e. you try to sleep each night around the same time and try to wake each morning similarly).  No one says your bedtime has to be at 11pm anymore, but keeping a schedule will help you fall asleep faster and get a more restful sleep.

4. No tech ‘til breakfast.
This is a tough one, but using your phone, iPad, laptop, or anything of the sort right before bed might be a reason you can’t seem to sleep well.  Have you ever closed your eyes and the first picture you have in your mind is a computer game or a part of that funny YouTube video?  This is a sign you should probably cut down.  Skeptical? See what Dr. Breus has to say about this.

5. The right amount of exercise.
Girls and guys alike seem to drastically change their exercise routine when in college to either extreme. Some slow down their workouts, go less often or stop them completely.  Others workout so hard that their body is throbbing in pain and they end up so sore that they need to take a break on the stairs when trying to get to class on the second floor.  Either of these extremes is harmful to your sleep.  Exercising that right amount is different for everyone, and it takes practice to find that balance.  At least 20 minutes of exercise every other day is a nice minimum whether that is walking, lifting, running or rock climbing.  Finding fun and different ways to keep in shape can keep your muscles guessing and trick your mind into disbelief that what you just did really was a workout can give you a more restful sleep.  Try a new sport with a friend or check out a fitness class on campus.

6. Meditation.
Not a yogi?  Try just sitting at your desk or on a comfortable chair and just take a few slow breaths.  Clearing your head a bit before bed may get rid of some stress or anxiety before sleep.

7. Less pressure on yourself.
Keep up with your responsibilities, going to class and such, but not putting too much pressure on yourself may help you drift off to sleep quicker.  Remember that saying “College is the most exciting time in your life”?  They say that for a reason.

8. College sleep kit.
Either by hitting up the local convenience store or asking for these items to be sent in your next care package, these items are known to help you fall asleep faster:

  1. Lavender lotion or putting a drop of lavender oil behind your pillow
  2. Eye mask to block out your roommates desk light
  3. De-caffeinated herbal tea (most labels will advertise it is a natural sleep remedy)
  4. A word on ear plugs – although they work wonders in the library around finals when everyone is doing their homework last minute, earplugs at night could be dangerous incase of fire or other emergency.  Talking with your roommates or neighbors about the noise level could be your best bet.

Do NOT succumb to alcohol.  Many bad habits can begin in college, but do NOT let using alcohol as a sleep aid become one of them.  Once legal age, there is nothing wrong with a glass of wine at the end of the day, but using alcohol as a sleep aid can be very dangerous! Here’s proof.

Sweet dreams!

-TravelBug

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