Organically Speaking…

What is organic food and what’s the big deal?

By definition, organic food is: produced using methods not involving synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers, does not contain genetically modified organisms, and no use of irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives. Foods that contain high levels of pesticides can lead to higher rates of cancer, skin irritation, infertility, and birth defects and brain damage in children, among other side effects that have yet to be discovered.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a list of foods that consumers should buy organic whenever possible. This list is called the Dirty Dozen and contains foods that are notoriously high in levels of pesticide and insecticide contamination.

Worst of the Dirty Dozen


#1 Apples

Eaten daily by many children, 98 percent of conventional apples had pesticides.


#2 Celery

Highly contaminated, celery tested positive for 57 different pesticides.

Bell Peppers

#3 Bell Peppers

Bell peppers tested positive for up to 15 pesticides on a single sample.
The foods with the lowest amount of pesticides are on the Clean Fifteen list:

Best of the Clean 15


#1 Onions

Conventional onions are a clean crop. Less than 1 percent of samples had any pesticides.

Sweet Corn

#2 Sweet Corn

98 percent of all frozen and sweet corn samples had no detectable pesticide residues.


#3 Pineapples

Only 6 different pesticides were found on pineapples.

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ROCK Your Spring Roll!

Join us for this free cooking event!

Thursday, December 13th at Dinner in Prospect Dining Hall.

Create your own version of a Spring Roll using your favorite ingredients.

Don’t miss out on this special event. TONIGHT! See you there.

For more information contact Sara Patterson at

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Snacking on Treats

Treats and snacks are the same thing, right? A bag of chips, a cookie, or chocolate cake are all snacks, right? Actually, there’s a BIG difference between snacks and treats. The foods mentioned above are all treats.

A treat is something you can have once and a while, as a treat. They’re usually high in calories and fat, and won’t keep you feeling full. Treats are most often found in vending machines, at checkout stands, and at most coffee shops.

A snack is a healthy food choice that you can have throughout the day whenever you feel hungry.  Snacks are part of a balanced diet. Think of them as mini-meals. And since they’re mini-meals, keep portion size mini!

Steps to Healthy Snacking

  • Limit your snacks to no more than three a day. 200 calories or less per snack is ideal.
  • Keep a variety of healthy, ready-to-eat snacks at hand.
  • Watch your portion size. Buy small packages of food, or portion small amounts from larger packages. Don’t snack directly from a large container, bag, or box. Take the appropriate amount from the container and then place the container back in the cupboard, out of sight.
  • Drink water often. Water quenches your thirst, has no calories, and helps you feel full.
  • Recognize your hunger. Don’t misinterpret boredom or stress as cues to snack.
  • Avoid snacking while watching TV, working or playing on the computer, reading, or driving. You’ll usually end up eating way more than necessary.

Some simple and delicious snack ideas:

Under 100 calories:

  • 1 medium fresh fruit
  • ½ cup low-fat yogurt
  • 1 cup cut up veggies with 2 Tbsp hummus (a great source of fiber)
  • 2 cups popcorn (with minimal or no butter)
  • 1 low-fat string cheese
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted nuts eg. peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, or cashews

 Under 200 calories:

    • 1 cup celery or apple slices with 1 Tbsp peanut butter
    • 1 small bran muffin
    • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
    • 1 cup fresh fruit low-fat yogurt parfait. Layer vanilla yogurt with fresh or frozen berries. Sprinkle with granola.

    If you want a treat, pair it with something healthy. This will help keep you feeling full longer, and it’s a more nutritious option. Try your favorite chocolate chip cookie with a glass of low fat milk. Or if you want ice cream, top it with slices of fresh fruit. If you’re having a bag of chips, keep portion size in mind. Have either water, low-fat milk, or 100% natural fruit juice with it instead of soda.

Do you have a favorite snack that’s not listed above? Let us know what it is!

Happy snacking!

*Snack tips are from here*

Wednesday’s Food for Thought: Holiday Eating

Like it or not, the holidays are upon us. And so is the time for holiday eating. In reality, people gain less than 1 pound in the time between Thanksgiving and New Y ear’s – it just feels like we weigh a lot more with all of the tempting goodies.
Some tips to take to that next holiday party:
Take two trips. Just like when you’re in the dining hall, it’s important to know all of your options. Get an idea of the food being offered so that you don’t overfill your plate with things you don’t really want.
Eat your calories. Beverages (alcoholic and non) can be filled with empty calories that do nothing for your health or well-being except adding additional sugar. Go for calorie free water or sparkling water with lemon. Save the calories for the good stuff.

Move away from the food! Stay farther than an arms length away from the table where the food is. This will help you avoid temptation and you’ll be able to focus on the people and your surroundings rather than the smorgasbord of food.
Go ahead, enjoy it. Don’t beat yourself up for having that extra cookie or second glass of eggnog. The holidays truly come but once a year. It’s ok to enjoy yourself by joining in the Christmas spirit and overindulging a bit. You’ll get back on track when New Year’s Day rolls around anyway… Right? 🙂
For more tips:

What’s your favorite holiday food?

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Vitamin Supplements: To Take or Not to Take?

By: Alexandra Olson, Applied Nutrition for Healthy Living Fall 2012

The use of vitamin  supplements in place of vitamins that you could be consuming naturally in a well balanced diet, is something many people are doing and seems like a ridiculous and lazy way for people to try and stay healthy. Its one thing if someone takes one multivitamin pill every day because it’s not like it will do any harm, but it’s another thing if people are spending money on buying many different kinds of vitamin pills and taking several a day. There is such a thing as overdosing on vitamins and although many assume it can’t do any damage, taking too many vitamins can have negative side effects. By eating a healthy and balanced diet with certain fruits, vegetables, grains, etc. such as lean meat, spinach, eggs, milk, and oranges, one can consume all of the necessary vitamins and live a healthy lifestyle at the same time.

Instead of spending money on various types of vitamin and dietary supplements that might not even end up working or doing what people assume, it would make more sense to just eat and drink your vitamins during an everyday routine. Trying to take the easy way out is probably not as effective, and won’t help you as much in the long run. More people should educate themselves and learn the facts and realities before trying to do what they think is the easiest. Not only will a healthy well balanced diet help your intake of vitamins but it will also prevent diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and prevent obesity, which vitamin and dietary supplements are not proven to do. Some people may or may not realize it but looking for a pill to solve all of your problems overnight isn’t going to do the trick, it makes much more sense to eat a healthy and balanced diet which will always have promising results!
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