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5 Tips for a Happy Diet

Years ago, while on my way to high school one morning, I heard a segment on a radio talk show that has stuck with me ever since. The station asked people to call in and share questions they are usually asked after informing someone of their job. A whole slew of people called: policemen, fire fighters, baristas, dentists, bus drivers, servers. There was always one question that most people were asked specific to their career or job. At the time, I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life – but believe me, I had a ton of ideas. Some of which included: veterinarian, news anchor, camera woman, dental hygienist, doctor, therapist, pharmacist, high school math teacher, softball coach…and that’s just the short list! I don’t know why it stuck with me for so long, but ever since I heard that radio segment, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Now that I’ve settled on a career and am pursuing a bachelor of science in dietetics, I finally know what my magic question will be: “What should I be eating?”

I honestly wish I had a quarter for every time I was asked this question, and I’m still only in college! This is a question I, and all dietetics majors, will probably need to get used to. It’s such a general question that it’s hard to give one, straight-forward answer. There are tons of variables that influence what you “should” be eating, such as personal preference, medical history, physical activity level, gender, age, and current diet. Last year, I took a basic introduction to nutrition course. Among a plethora of useful knowledge, we learned about five key characteristics for a diet (and by diet, I mean an eating lifestyle, not a popular trend advertised to assist in weight loss). Keeping these five keys in mind at each meal may be helpful in achieving a healthy eating lifestyle.


Adequacy refers to consuming foods that provide quality nutrients to your body. Some examples of adequacy are eating a baked potato with skin instead of potato chips, or choosing spinach over iceberg lettuce. The baked potato with skin and spinach provide more of a nutrient-packed punch than their counterparts.


Switching up meals, snacks, and drinks is one of the best ways to ensure consumption of many nutrients. It’s very easy to eat the same meals often, especially for busy college students. Try your best to plan meals ahead of time – this allows you to focus on expanding your meal horizons and get out of a rut!


Most of us have a favorite food group – mine’s fruit! I could only eat fruit all day and be content. Vegetables on the other hand, that’s my weakness. The easiest way to think of balance is eating proper portions of each food group at every meal. MyPlate is a GREAT tool for this! Here’s a great visual from their website:myplate

Anyone notice the 5 keys in the visual? Eh, eh?

Calorie Control

This is the most straight forward of all the keys. Eating large portions of calorie dense foods will raise total calorie consumption. However, just like how each person’s diet is unique, each person’s calorie needs are unique. To get a good idea of what your personalized calorie consumption should be check out USDA’s SuperTracker.


All of the five keys closely relate to each other, but I think moderation is the glue that holds all of the keys together. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single, perfect food that will provide the body with all of its nutrient needs. This is where moderation comes in. Moderation can be thought of as a combination of portion size and consumption frequency. It doesn’t refer to only treats, either. Being conscious of how much and how often you eat a certain food will help maintain balance and variety in your diet.

Phew! You made it! Thanks for hanging with me all the way through the post – it was a long one this time. If you’re looking to improve your own eating lifestyle, consider these five characteristics with each meal: adequacy, variety, balance, calorie control, and moderation. Questions or comments? We’d love to hear them! Leave them in the comment section below.


Time Management

How many of you feel that there are never enough hours in a day to get everything done? How many of you have so much on your plate that it’s nearly impossible to do everything?

Being a college student can be extremely exhausting. It takes a lot of time, energy, motivation, and dedication to do all what we do! You might not only attend classes, but also have a job, be on a sports team, engage in other recreational activities, or just want some form of social life. Stress in a common result of all these demands.

But there is hope for us all! Want to know the secret to preventing the stress from happening and to feel like there is more time in the day?? Time management is the key!

Being good at time management means that you are able to plan and control how you spend the hours in your day so you can effectively accomplish your goals. We all have the same amount of hours in a week but not all of us know how to manage them. By learning the trick of time management, you will be able to:

1) Accomplish even more than you do now and feel really good about yourself! 2) Have more free time because you will get things done quicker; 3) Have less stress by doing everything you need to do and not feel overwhelmed; 4) Lead a more balanced life because you’re not so stressed; and 5) Meet your deadlines more efficiently.

Doesn’t this sound appealing? If your answer is “yes”, there are some tips on how you can do it:

  • Identify time wasters (e.g. watching T.V., texting, other technology) and choose those that you can eliminate. The ones you can’t get rid of, reward yourself with.
  •  Anticipate when you can take action to avoid impossible situations when you feel cramped and unproductive (e.g. do not wait until the last minute to study for a test or write a paper).
  •  Plan your day. Keeping a schedule of what needs to be done will help you stay on track. It will also create a sense of accomplishment when you check off what you’ve done.
  •  Break it down. With planning, write down smaller goals or steps that it will take to accomplish what you have set up for the day. Starting with bigger tasks can be overwhelming.
  • Pay attention to your attention! Being able to recognize when you lose focus or procrastinate can help you to be in control more and develop steps on how to get back on track.

Source: “Time Management” workbook created by Mayland Community College, 1996.

Dinner for Two

Looking for something fun and tasteful to do in the evenings? Bring a friend or a significant other to create a gourmet style meal at the Culinary Corner! This week on January 19th at 5 pm we will be making Chili Rubbed Salmon as the main course, and it’s only $20 for 2 people!

We will be having Tortellini Pasta Salad with Heirloom tomatoes, Basil and Grilled Chicken as the main course on February 3rd at 6pm!

If you want something fun and special to do on Valentines day, come join us with another individual at 7 pm to share in a Roast Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Cider Sauce as the main course._MG_2154_fixed

If you would like to register for the class visit or contact Jessica at or 701-777-0228.
We hope to see you there!!

Get De-Stressed at the Carnival Fest!


It’s that time of year again when we all need to de-stress. Come join us at the De-Stress Fest on Wednesday, December 5th, from 11am to 3pm in the Memorial Union, Loading Dock. The theme this year is “Get Distressed at the Carnival Fest.”

Enjoy free massage, food, fun games, lively music, stretching yoga, and awesome prizes! You can make your own carnival masks, tied blankets, trail mixes, and aroma therapy bags.

Give your mind and body a break to meet the end of the semester with calmness, easiness, and focus!

You are young, but you are not invincible.

You are young, but you are not invincible. You are still at risk for skin cancer.

The sun is out and the temperature is heating up. Swimsuit season is nearly here, but that shouldn’t mean we return to last summer’s tanning behaviors. It’s time we take into account the negative effects of sunbathing, tanning beds, and lack of sunscreen. We may be in college, we may be young, but we are susceptible to skin cancer. If you have two minutes today, listen to Natalie’s story ( And take a few minutes every day to be proactive about these preventative measures to cut short the risk of skin cancer.

  1. Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
  2. Examine your skin – look head-to-toe every month.
  3. Visit a dermatologist – If you see anything on your skin that lasts for 2 weeks or longer and is growing, changing shape, and/or bleeding or itching, you should see a dermatologist right away for a skin cancer check.
  4. Use Sunscreen.
  5. Don’t burn.


Leading a rigid lifestyle based on severe routine puts you in a jail cell. When you learn to live in a jail cell for a significant amount of time, you begin to forget how great life was outside of the bars. Stepping out into the unknown is… suffocating, and borderline unimaginable.

It’s not that I didn’t want to be with my friends more, make lasting memories, try new things, etc… it’s that I literally couldn’t. I was trapped.

I remember feeling this way as early as high school. Again, what started as a harmless and healthy habit developed in to a full-blown jail cell. I began with walking to relieve stress. It was a 2-fold blessing because I had finally found a method of physical activity that I was actually “good enough” to complete. I mean, almost anyone can walk (without tripping? that’s another story. GUILTY!)… and with a little practice, most can walk REALLY fast or for a REALLY long time. That was me.

Another teacher and I were known for our “power walks.” People would joke about the MPH that we were clocked at. On the days when we weren’t zipping through the streets, I would walk the length of the town and then some.

I know at some point it was out of enjoyment. It always is. When I “get” to walk in a new place, it’s something that brings me such… peace. (My creativity ROCKS while I am working out. Someday I will own a computer attached directly to my brain to capture my thoughts in real time.) It never takes long until my competitive side comes out…

Suddenly I feel the urge to walk just one more block. or just five more minutes. And each night it compounds, until I’ve absolutely maxed out my time available. This includes the time I’m choosing to give up with family and friends in order to fill a daily quota.

I’m known for being a distance walker, and I’ve taken it very seriously. Unfortunately, that’s not the only extreme I’ve taken in the last 10 years of my weight loss journey.

I knew that at some point I was crossing that realistic line. But I just didn’t know how to stop. I would almost give thanks for the times that someone would visit me so I was unable to workout as long. It also gave me tremendous anxiety. Something in my head screamed “FATTY!” whenever I happened to miss a workout. I irrationally believed that one slip-up would result in an instant regain of nearly every ounce.

I’m working on being OK with taking a day or two (or even three) off in a week. When I do workout, I tend to push. And I want to enjoy exercise again. Things like Zumba certainly help in that… but I mean I want to do it because I like how it makes me feel, not because the clock says I still have to torture myself for another hour… OR ELSE.

A new year, season, or even week can be really challenging on many levels for people. On the one hand, you have those people who really and truly do need to start adding exercise and healthy eating into their lifestyle. Then you also have people like me, who are also bombarded with the messages of diet and exercise and feel obligated (aka TRAPPED) to step up our game as well.

I’m learning about balance. And sanity.  And the importance of treating myself right. Exercise is a beneficial activity on so many levels… within reason.

I’m learning.

I’m learning that a day off doesn’t result in 100 pounds. It means being a little more careful about what I consume in the day and enjoying the time off. After all, our bodies do, at some point need a break to work optimally.

Small breaks don’t make you weak.
They make you stronger.
No need to beat yourself up.


I just got back from a much-needed vacation to with some of my close friends. It was a weekend filled with catching up, laughing, getting lost pretty much everywhere we went, and really good food.

I know many of you just got back from Spring Break. Even if you didn’t get to jump on a plane, I don’t think a single person can complain about the abnormally warm temperatures we’re having.

Anyway, from a classification standpoint, you could say that my friends are “sugar addicts.” One of the first things they do before we reunite is refill the candy jar. The next thing they do is put it out in the middle of everyone, waiting to be consumed.

Because I was on vacation and out of my “norm,” I decided to partake in a little candy consumption myself. I also found some ridiculously delicious foods in different restaurants we tried… I even tested the fried calamari waters! (Crazy, I know.)

The best part? My jeans didn’t “shrink in the dryer,” if you know what I mean…

Along with trying delicious foods, we did a LOT of walking. We spent a full day in Chicago and most of that day consisted of walking the wrong way to get places. A lack of itinerary made for a continuous and carefree stroll around the city. Aside from stopping to eat, I’m not sure that our feet ever stopped moving.

IT WAS AWESOME! (So was sitting down at the end of it all.)

Even though vacation is over, it’s important to remember that you can still have the best of both worlds- just balance it out. Enjoy your food, but then get out and enjoy some physical activity.

UND’s H&W 7 Dimension of Wellness

Dimension: Environmental

Date: Jan. 27

Last Friday I chose to make my way over to the ND Museum of Art to visit the Winged Shadows Life Among Birds Exhibit, which was one of the options that day. I really wanted to participate in this activity because I had yet to visit the museum, but had always wanted to. I know that they have art shows every once and a while that are pretty big and so it always makes me think that this place must be of importance. I also do really enjoy making art. While viewing the Winged Shadows Life Among Birds Exhibit I was entirely amazed by the collection just because it wasn’t anything overly exciting, just birds. However, I did enjoy the art created by the artist David Krueger. He had a unique way of displaying birds and how they are better fishermen than man. His pieces were very attention grabbing.

Check the Birds Out!

Dimension: Environmental
Activity: Winged Shadows Life Among Birds Exhibit
Date: Friday, January 29th at 11:45 am

At first, the some parts of the exhibit looked a bit strange, but I decided to get me a guided tour…yes, how fortunate was I!! In looking at the exhibit, there were pictures of actual birds taken by a photographer who had a passion for them and camped out all night just to get some of the most profound angles of these birds; it would seem as if I was looking into the very soul of them. Some were not pictures or paintings, but a representation of their very nature.  The two most interesting pieces of mine were 1. The shiny dangling display of objects hanging from the ceiling which represented some of the shiny objects a particular bird collected and brought back to keep in its nest, and 2. The object that looks like a white cocktail dress in the center of the room, that seemed to be made from plastic, had sounds likened unto birds but were actual car alarms; this was a representation of birds in Urban Winnipeg, Canada which began to mimic urban sounds which included the car alarms which they heard.This I would say is my best appreciation of an art yet, but more so how nature all by itself in its original form makes this world a beautiful place to live in with no added effort:-)

Healthy UND Coalition – Emotional Wellness

Dimension: Environmental
Activity: Healthy UND Coalition meeting
Friday, January 27th at 12:00pm in Swanson 10-12

On Friday I attended Healthy UND Coalition meeting in the lower level of the Memorial Union. I knew prior to the meeting that the meeting focus was Mental Health. I expected to hear information regarding managing mental health as it relates to our college campus. While attending the meeting, I heard interesting information from the 2010 ACHA-NCHA data in regards to mental health. A survey will be administered to UND students this February. University Counseling Center also shared their priorities and goals for the year. The Peer Education Office was also well represented with how they connect to the issue. Overall, this meeting gave me a better understanding of mental health and the importance of managing it as it affects many other aspects of my life. Each dimension is related to one another; this meeting illustrated this point even further.

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