Tag Archives: health

6 Foods To Avoid At The Dining Hall

Filed under: College Life, Food, Health & Fitness, Tips - Angelina
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Cameron Tranchemontagne BookRenter Blogger Biography

If you have a college student meal plan, then you know the struggle of dining hall food. Sure, not having to cook the food or clean dishes is great, but you have to choose what to eat from what is offered. At first it may seem like there are endless options, but after a while you will realize that they often provide the same kinds of food over and over again, easily allowing you to get into a habitual eating pattern that may not be the healthiest option. The Freshman 15 is not a myth.

Try to become more aware of what you are eating at your next dining hall visit. Here are six foods that I recommend you avoid for the following reasons:

1. Fried Food

Although fried food can taste good, and it may be in abundance at the dining hall, it doesn’t have any nutritional value so try avoiding it if you can. Did you know a grilled chicken sandwich has about 420 calories and 10 grams of fat compared to a fried chicken sandwich that has about 530 calories and 20 grams of fat? That extra breaded layer really does add up. Typically anything breaded or crispy is fried and should be eaten in moderation.

2. Sauces

Some sauces can have up to 40% of your daily recommended sodium intake in just one serving (and by the way, one serving is often the size of one scoop from a spoon). And how many of us can honestly say we measure out the serving size before dumping BBQ sauce on a steak and cheese or the teriyaki sauce before drizzling it over some rice? Sauces may make something taste better, but they are a source of hidden calories and often can take away the health benefits of food without it.

3. Salad Toppings

Salad is great. It has lots of vegetables and a minimal amount of fat, but the taste can be so bland for most people. If you’re just starting to eat salads or want to trim down the fat in yours, consider avoiding toppings like bacon bits, excessive cheese, croutons, and creamy dressing. Using an oil-based dressing will spread more easily and cover up more leafy greens, tricking you into using less.

4. Processed Foods

Most processed foods like chips, pre-made desserts, and even some breads/wraps can have high fat content and may even contain trans fats, which are much worse than saturated fats and is something you never want to consume. Essentially, trans fats can slow down brain function by disrupting communication between brain cells. They also contribute to cardiovascular disease. If you have access to nutritional labels (which is not always the case in a dining hall where the food is prepared for you), look for words like “partially hydrogenated oils” and stay away from them. It is the one “food” that experts say is not okay at all even in moderation with one source saying it’s more like plastic than food.

5. Soft Drinks

If you haven’t seen the graphic of how your body reacts to a can of coke within one hour, I highly suggest you check it out. Soft drinks contain extremely high amounts of sugar, which your liver will be straining to keep up with and turning it all into fat. Any nutritional value that could possibly come from a soda is flushed out of your system by the caffeine’s diuretic properties.

6. The Same Thing All The Time

Once you have been in school for a couple months, you may notice that dining halls operate on a set schedule. They often offer up some types of food on one day and others on different days, but the schedule does not vary wildly. Though this makes it easier to serve a large student body consistently, it also makes it easy for the student to fall into a habit of eating the same foods every time. For example, there were many meals in any given week when they were serving food I didn’t like or didn’t think I’d like. My initial response was always to just go get a couple slices of pizza. It’s important to balance your meals, and just eating pizza all the time is not that; despite whatever toppings are on there.  Don’t be afraid to branch out and try new things at the dining hall. You may find that you actually really enjoy healthier options that you wouldn’t normally consider.

This is not meant to be a strict nutritional guide, but to make you aware of your eating habits. Don’t be afraid to ask one of the employees at the dining hall for nutrition information on any and all food being served in order to better plan out your meals. You have to remember that you’re in control of what you put into your body.

It may be hard to avoid the “yummier” foods, but it will benefit in the long run if you substitute that cookie for a side of broccoli.

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Get Motivated To Staying Fit

Filed under: College Life, Health & Fitness, Tips - Angelina
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Darlene Megino BookRenter Blogger Biography

Unfortunately, this will be my last blog for BookRenter. It has been a great three years sharing my insights about DIYs, fashion, college life, and more with everyone. For my last blog, I wanted to share some ideas on how to stay motivated while getting fit. Staying motivated to keep in shape is always a struggle. Changing your exercise routine or diet is not easy. However, there are many ways to keep motivated towards reaching your goal, even on days where you just want to quit.

Here are a three ways to stay motivated to stay in shape:

1. Join A Weight Loss Pool

Weight loss pools are a great way to stay motivated when you are losing weight. The goal of the weight loss pool is that everyone pools in their money and has to achieve one goal. Those who achieve the goal win a portion of the sum of money that was collected. There are many websites, like Diet Bet, that have weight loss pools with participants from different cities, states, and even countries! So work out and get rewarded for it at the same time!

2. Reward Jar

Grab a Mason jar and add in $50 to $100. Create a list of rewards to do for every time you reach a goal. For instance, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds, you can reward yourself with something small using the money from the jar for every 5 pounds you lose. You can treat yourself to some frozen yogurt, buying a new pair of jeans, or a day trip to the city. You can decide how big or small to make the reward jar. I personally have a reward jar filled with money saved towards reaching my goal of losing weight for a trip to Hawaii. Do whatever works for you!

3. Track Your Workouts

Get yourself a nice Fitbit or similar fitness tracker. You can utilize this by tracking your steps, movements, and calories. If you can’t afford to purchase a Fitbit, then download an app like MyFitnessPal (you can even use it straight on the web). By tracking your steps, workouts, and calories, you’ll become more aware of your fitness habits. You can even link up with friends and compare your results to get fit together!

The most important thing is to learn what is motivating you to reach your goal, and to keep that as your fuel for your fire. You can always change up your incentives as you go if you feel like it is not enough to motivate you.

Tell us what motivates you in a comment below!

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The Secret To A Good Night’s Sleep

Filed under: College Life, Health & Fitness, Tips - Angelina
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Sylwia BaranBookRenter Blogger Biography

Sleep is important to our health and overall well-being, yet it’s something that college students never get enough! This is not surprising considering college students are constantly studying, under tremendous amounts of stress, over use electronics, and often have a poor diet. It’s time to stop that yawning and learn four tips to getting a good night’s sleep:


1. Limit Your Eating Before Bed

You may have heard that you shouldn’t eat too much before going to bed because you will gain weight, but did you also hear that it can also be the reason you’re having trouble falling asleep? Watch what you eat before you go to sleep. Stay away from red meat and fatty, sugary, and spicy foods before bed because they are harder to digest and will make it harder to fall asleep. Instead, keep to healthy, low-calorie snacks to satisfy any late night cravings.


2. Create A Bedtime Routine

Sometimes you just need to prepare your body and mind for sleep. About an hour before actually getting into bed, start to do things that relax you, like taking a warm shower, making sure your room is dark, or lighting a bedside candle. This way, when you finally go to sleep, both your body and mind are already relaxed, which will allow you to fall asleep quicker. Everyone is different, so find a routine that works for you.


3. Turn Off Electronic Distractions

When you’re lying in bed, it may seem like the perfect time to scroll through your Facebook news feed, look at new posts on Instagram, or even watch another TV show favorite on Netflix. You may find this relaxing, but electronic use before sleep actually stimulates your brain and makes it harder to fall asleep. Turn off your television, phone, tablet, and any other electronics in the room to get a better night’s rest.


4. Increase Melatonin

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in our body that helps regulate our sleeping cycles. Melatonin levels often change depending on the season, which can change your sleeping habits. It is also available as a dietary supplement for those who may having issues falling or staying asleep. Talk to your doctor before considering any new dietary regimens.


College can be filled with pulling all-nighters, early morning classes, and not the best habits before sleep. However, if anyone knows the importance of a good night’s sleep, it is a college student. Try these suggestions to get a better night of rest and share with us what works for you in a comment below.


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Getting Fit On A Budget

Filed under: College Life, Health & Fitness, Money/Budget, Tips - Angelina
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Darlene Megino BookRenter Blogger Biography

Looking to get healthy but don’t know how? Or are you looking to get a good workout in to lose a couple of pounds before the holidays without spending money on DVDs and gym memberships? If you’re looking to shed some weight and tone up, here are some fun, easy, and free workouts you can do!

1. YouTube Videos

Who needs workout DVDs when you can get a great workout from videos on YouTube? Whatever your fitness level is, there are videos that can help you get into shape. Whether you’re looking to shed weight or tone up, the variety of videos are nearly endless.

2. The Prison Workout

These workouts can be done in small spaces such as a dorm room or apartment. Like the conditions of a prison, you have don’t need much room and you only need to use your body to tone up. The workouts are based on repetition and your body’s weight. If you follow this workout, you will definitely get stronger and more toned!

3. Running Apps

Running is one of the best ways to get into shape! If you’re a beginner and need a push to start running, there are many apps (most are free) that you can download to your phone to help push you. It has set running schedules made to push you into running harder and faster. These apps are like having your own personal trainer. It will tell you when to run, rest, and even push you to run faster. There is a variety of apps ranging from beginner runners to more advanced runners. Whichever level you are at, these apps can definitely give you a great workout.

These are great ways to kick-start getting towards a healthier you! If these workouts aren’t enough, many colleges have gyms included in their student fees and tuitions. If you’re looking to get fit, you can definitely take advantage of working out at your school’s gym. If you need more help or tips in getting fit, you can also inquire about personal training sessions. A great tip I can give is, ask friends who are into fitness for tips on how to get fit. Most times, they’re willing to help whip you into shape for free!

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Managing Stress With Bach Flower Remedies

Filed under: Health & Fitness, Social Life/Relationships, Tips - Angelina
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Serena Piper Blogger Biography

Unfortunately, the stress of college doesn’t ever dissipate, even after graduating. I’ve been done with school for about a year and I am still learning to handle my daily stress. Someone recommended Bach flower remedies to me to help with stress management, in addition to my efforts with being active, hanging out with friends, and occasionally taking an aspirin. Bach flower remedies are diluted flower material that are believed to contain healing properties.

I was a little skeptical of Bach flower remedies at first, but after adding them to my daily eating habits, I’m happy to say I’ve felt a difference. The remedies come in small bottles and can be found at any natural health foods store. Just use the dropper to add a few drops to your water, juice, or tea.

Here are some remedies that could significantly help you if you’re feeling stressed from classes, work, relationships, or even grief:

1. Gorse

Try this remedy for feelings of hopelessness and despair. Feeling hopeless is a common feeling after graduation, especially if finding a job has become your full-time job if you aren’t already offered one.

2. Mustard

This remedy is a good one for those who struggle with depression. I don’t think there was ever a time in my college life where I didn’t know at least a few other students dealing with depression.

3. Star of Bethlehem

If you’re dealing with the loss of someone close to you, this one is a great choice. It also helps for dealing with traumatic events or crises.

4. Pine

If you’re someone who tends to blame themselves for everything, Pine is the remedy to consider. Being plagued by guilt or the mistakes of others adds a lot of unnecessary stress.

5. Walnut

Whether you’re starting a new job, beginning a marriage, or transitioning into some other significant life event, Walnut can help you feel a little more relaxed about your choices if you tend to be easily influenced by the opinions of others.

Check out all of the Bach recipes website to see which others could work for you.

How do you cope with stress?

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