5 Tips to Include More Exercise in Your Busy Life

Here at Food Digest, we often give information about programs/organizations, nutrition-related career paths, nutrition movie reviews, new food studies, and making better eating choices, but we hardly make posts about exercise.
Let’s change that, since physical activity is an enormous part of “Bit[ing] into a Healthy Lifestyle”!

Please don't be like this.
Please don’t be like this.

As college students, we are frequently busy with studying, working, volunteering, interning, and/or even balancing our home life on the daily. It can become really easy for us to dismiss the idea of incorporating a little physical activity into our week. – But have no fear! According to NHANES, here are 5 simple tips to include exercise in your busy student life:

  1. Plan ahead! Look at your typical week schedule and identify your free time. Try to plan three 30 minute exercise activities per week especially during the time of the day when you feel your most energetic.
  2. Find a gym buddy! By making friendships with people with the same exercise goals and interests as well as developing a support system, you’re more likely to get those muscles moving and your heart pumping. Going to group fitness classes, such as Zumba and cardio kickboxing, at your local gym is a great way to make friends.
  3. Family obligations? Play with the children and incorporate fun activities with them, such as jump roping, playing tag, playing basketball/football/baseball/soccer, and dancing.
  4. Try adding extra physical activity to your day. Instead of taking the escalator/elevator, take the stairs. Park farther away to get a slightly longer walk to your destination. Walk your dog.
  5. Don’t have a gym membership? Youtube has a plethora of fitness channels to follow. My favorites are BeFit and Blogilates. If you have a smartphone, PumpUp is a great exercise community app that lets you log your daily physical activity and generates easy-to-follow workouts based on your goals and your desired time of working out.

What do you think of these tips? Any to add? Feel free to share in the comments!

National Nutrition Month 2015



“Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle” is the theme for this years National Nutrition Month. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

For a brief history check out this link.

To celebrate this month’s theme, we have asked students at Cal Poly Pomona to share how they incorporate sound eating habits and regular physical activity into their lives or promote these lifestyle modifications to others.  So, you might be seeing some featured writers throughout the month.

How do you incorporate health into your lifestyle? Any tips you want to share?

I incorporate healthy eating habits by limiting eating restaurant food, avoiding the inner aisles of the grocery store when I shop, and packing lunches when I go to school or work.  I promote, and partake in physical activity, by walking my son to school (you would be surprised how many people walk that only live blocks away!), stretching, and being outdoors as much as possible.

Thirsty Thursday’s Recipe: Papaya Ginger Smoothie

Cheers to starting the day off healthy! This Thursday I am presenting a papaya-ginger smoothie courtesy of my favorite go-to cookbook, Power Foods, from the editors of Whole Living Magazine. I made this the evening before and stuck it in the freezer for a morning wake up alternative to coffee. Papaya provides a healthy dose of B vitamins and antioxidants (such as vitamin A, folate, and vitamin C), fiber,  and enzymes (anti-inflammatories like papain and chymopapain). Ginger and mint lend a hand to digestive health. And the yogurt aids in absorbing nutrients while providing protein.

First, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 papaya (I used a varietal called strawberry papaya that I found at Ralphs)
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 2/3 c plain low-fat yogurt (I went for the french vanilla flavor)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh peeled ginger
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • juice of 1 or 2 lemons
  • 16 mint leaves

This will take about 15 minutes to complete from start to finish and serves 2.

1. Peel the papaya, cut in half, seed, and slice.

Fresh Strawberry Papaya
Fresh Strawberry Papaya


2. Place prepared papaya in blender along with ice cubes, yogurt, ginger, honey, and lemon juice.

3. Puree and thin with water if necessary. I actually added in more ice cubes- I prefer thick smoothies! Blend in mint leaves.


That’s it! This drink is refreshing, revitalizing, and rejuvenating. The french vanilla added a bit of creaminess to the sweetness of the papaya and twang of the lemon.

20140324_154507 (2)

Nutrition information per serving

92 calories, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0.3 g unsaturated fat, 2.4 mg cholesterol, 20.7 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 33 mg sodium, 2.2 g fiber. The exact nutrient analysis may be slightly different, as I like to substitute ingredients ( i.e. organic french vanilla yogurt instead of plain low-fat yogurt).

Zesty Roasted Chickpeas

Zesty Roasted Chickpeas


Are you looking for a satisfying crunchy snack with a kick this National Nutrition Month? If so, these roasted chickpeas can be your go-to snack! They’re oh so delicious and the best part is you don’t have to feel guilty about this snack!

Zesty Roasted Chickpeas

Serves 4


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon California chili powder
  • 1 dash crushed red pepper
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1- 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a small bowl,whisk the extra virgin olive oil, garlic powder, ground cumin, California chili powder, crushed red pepper, sea salt and ground black pepper.
  • Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas to the bowl and toss to cover the chickpeas.
  • Evenly spread out the chickpeas in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Roast in the preheated oven, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas are nicely browned and crispy. This takes about 45 minutes.


Nutritional Info

calories: 200; protein: 7g; carbohydrate: 23g; total fat: 9g; sodium: 270mg; fiber: 3.6g

This recipe was proudly brought to you from: allrecipes.com

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Take a quick break from finals to nourish your mind and to satisfy your appetite! Each bell pepper is graciously stuffed with complete sources of protein, vegetables, and healthy grains that may even kick a meat-lovers craving. If I can guarantee you passing anything this week, you will definitely pass the act of rewarding your body with the wholesome nutrition it deserves. If you haven’t done so yet, get creative in the kitchen and “enjoy the taste of eating right!”

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Serves 6


  • 3 cups quinoa, cooked
  • 1 (4-ounce) can green chilies
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 bell peppers, tops cut, stemmed and seeded


  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking dish with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine quinoa, green chilies, corn, beans, tomatoes, cheeses, cilantro, cumin, garlic, onion and chili powder, salt, and pepper
  • Spoon the mixture in each bell pepper cavity. Place on prepared baking dish and bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is heated through, about 25-30 minutes.
  • Best when served immediately
  • Enjoy!

quinoa stuffed bell peppers 4

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Bell pepper

Calories: 220; Fat: 4.5 g; Total Carbohydrates: 37 g; Dietary Fiber: 7 g;  Sugars: 7 g; Protein: 10 g

Vitamin A: 10% DV; Vitamin C: 200% DV; Calcium: 20% DV; Iron: 15% DV

Kale and Orange Smoothie

kale-300x225Our kale has been growing prolifically this year.  We had a few leaves leftover from our lunch and I thought this would be a wonderful time to try it in a smoothie.  So I made an orange and kale smoothie!

You will need the following ingredients:

1 cup almond milk

½ cup kale

1 whole orange (Valencia)

Preparation: Wash the kale.  Separate the leaves from the stems by picking apart or cutting up the kale.  You can be adventurous and use the whole plant.  If you are not familiar with the taste, try ½ a cup to start.  Place the kale into the blender.

Peel or cut up 1 whole orange.  I prefer Valencia because they are a bit sweeter.  Place the orange in the blender along with the kale.  You can leave a bit of the albedo for extra fiber.

Add 1 cup of almond milk and blend all the ingredients: kale, orange and milk until smooth.  It may take a few minutes.   I have a little magic bullet, which took approximately 5 minutes.  Enjoy!


This recipe makes 2 servings of 6 oz smoothies.

1 serving contains:  Total Calories 75; 3g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 3g  Dietary Fiber, 3g Fat (1g of Monounsaturated fat); 76 mg of sodium.

Tasty Tuesday: Açaí Bowl

acai bowl

Originally from the shores of Hawaii and popular among surfers, the acai bowl is an easy healthy fix for breakfast or lunch. Packed with the punch of the Brazilian açaí  super-fruit, the favorite selection at pop-up healthy eateries such as Backyard Bowls in Santa Barbara and Bowl of Heaven in La Verne, is rich with antioxidants – shown to be helpful in anti-aging – and can give a quick boost of energy. With a quick prep time, easy blend, fantastic taste, and great health benefits, it’s no wonder that the açaí  bowl’s popularity is spreading on the mainland and has gained so much hype among food blogs.

Yields 2 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes


  • 1 Sambazon Unsweetened Açaí  Smoothie Pack
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • Your favorite granola or a fiber-rich cereal
  • Sliced almonds
  • Coconut flakes
  • Honey/Agave nectar

Need: A blender

  1. Open up the Sambazon Unsweetened Açaí  Smoothie pack and empty into the blender.
  2. Add the frozen strawberries and frozen blueberries into the blender.
  3. Cut up half of the banana and also add to the blender.
  4. Cover your blender and blend until the ingredients inside become a thick dark purple mixture.
  5. Pour into a separate bowl(s).
  6. Cover with the remaining half of banana to the top of your bowl.
  7. Add as much granola/cereal, almonds, and coconut flakes to the top of the bowl as to your liking.
  8. Drizzle with honey or agave nectar and enjoy!

Nutrient Information Per Serving

Calories: 168; calories from fat: 41; total fat: 4.55 g; carbohydrates: 30 g, dietary fiber: 2.73 g, sugars: 19.55 g, protein: 1.82 g (smoothie pack through banana)

Of course, there is such a huge range of different types of açaí  bowls and you can definitely tailor the açaí  bowl to suit your tastes! Click HERE for more recipes!

Thirsty Thursday’s Recipe: The Banane Myrtille Fraise Smoothie

With National Nutrition month upon us, it is only fitting we share recipes for nutrition-packed snacks. And what better than to enjoy something that can be made in less than 5 minutes? For us Californians, the weather seems to be shifting back and forth between warm and chilly weather. So, here’s a smoothie that can be enjoyed no matter what the temperature is. Let’s get this Thirsty Thursday up and going with a tasty treat!

The Banane Myrtille Fraise Smoothie
Preparation Time: 5 minutes Makes: 4 Tasty Smoothies


  • 2 bananas, peeled and cut in halves
  • 1 1/2 cups of Low fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup of Strawberries
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup of Blueberries, (frozen is optional)


  1. Pour yogurt and milk into blender.
  2. After washing and cutting fruits, put all fruits into blender.
  3. Blend until smooth and pour into glasses for serving.
  4. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information per serving:
Calories: 160, Dietary Fiber: 2.8g, Protein: 6g, Sugars: 25g, Potassium: 492 mg

Tasty Tuesday’s Recipe: Roasted Salmon with Squash Ribbons

I am so excited about the articles that we will be presenting this month! As a dietetics student, most school work focuses on specific nutrients, the benefits or consequences of those nutrients, how to treat the consequences, and how to talk about all this with patients, organizations, companies, or governments. But my favorite part is actually eating the food! Researching recipes, planning meals, going out to find all the ingredients, and cooking; these things have been shoved to the back burner in modern American culture. I mean, when you can buy whole prepared meals so easily, what’s the point, right? Well now, I know you don’t actually agree! So let’s get in the kitchen and make something amazing.

Roasted Salmon with Citrus and Herbs served with Yellow Squash Ribbons, Red Onion, and Parmesan Cheese

Sounds super fancy, but it’s actually quick and easy!


1.) First, gather these simple ingredients:20140302_191032

  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh thyme
  • Whole or minced garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Yellow squash
  • Red onion
  • Olive oil
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Whole Parmesan cheese

*The salmon will take just a bit longer than the squash to cook, so work on it first.

2.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Then, finely chop your fresh herbs and mince the garlic if not already done (save some garlic to go in the squash later). Grate the lemon and lime rinds. Once all these are prepared, put them in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper and mix together. This is the “rub”. Use a fork or your fingers to coat the salmon with the mixture. It should look something like this: 20140302_192802

I like to use a foil lined baking pan with a rack when I cook fish in the oven. Otherwise, it can get a little too fishy tasting. Make sure to spray the rack with a little oil, but not too much. If your fish still has the skin on, when you remove it, the skin stays behind!

3.) Now that your salmon is ready, prep the squash. Using a sharp vegetable peeler, shave the squash lengthwise into long ribbons. Thinly slice the red onion next.


4.) Go ahead and put the salmon in the oven. The total cooking time depends on the size of your filet. Mine was just a small piece, about 3 oz. The original recipe I referenced said to cook 15 minutes. But I found it was a little too done for my liking.

5.) Half way through, add olive oil to a saute pan and heat over medium. Add onion, squash, and garlic to the pan.


6.) Cook about 4 or 5 minutes until onion becomes tender. The salmon should be done by now, so turn the oven off while you finish up the squash. Add red pepper and salt to the veggies, then toss to coat. Scoop some out and use that trusty vegetable peeler from earlier to shave Parmesan cheese over the top.

7.) Remove the salmon from the oven and carefully wiggle a spatula in between the skin and meat of salmon (unless you are using skinless salmon, of course). Plate along side squash ribbons.


The red pepper added a nice spiciness, but it wasn’t too much. And the lemon and lime really complimented the whole dish. I made this for my Sunday night dinner, but it could also be a light, refreshing lunch.

Nutrition Information

Salmon- 282 Calories; 13.3 g Fat (3.1 g saturated, 5.7 g monounsaturated, 3.2 g polyunsaturated; 36.3 g Protein; 87 mg Cholesterol; 464 mg Sodium

Yellow Squash- 84 Calories; 3.4 g Fat (1.4 g saturated, 1.4 g monounsaturated, .3 g polyunsaturated); 4.5 g Protein; 3.8 g Fiber; 5 mg Cholesterol; 266 mg Sodium

It’s that time of year: National Nutrition Month!


In 1973, National Nutrition Week began as a way for dietetic professionals to promote their profession and as a way to deliver nutrition education to the public. Professionals used the theme, “Invest In Yourself– Buy Nutrition,” to plan special events in schools, health care facilities, and community centers and used radio announcements and news releases. Because of the campaign’s widespread popularity and a growing interest in nutrition and health, National Nutrition Week was expanded to National Nutrition Month in 1980.

Today, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sponsors National Nutrition Month as an annual nutrition and education campaign during the month of March. And, according to their website, it “is designed to focus attention of the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.”

This year’s theme is: “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right,” and, if you haven’t already, I highly recommend you visit their website for a slew of promotional resources and credible sources. I found this free printable handout especially applicable to all of my fellow starving college students:Eating_Right_on_a_Budget-4.jpg

Food Digest will promote National Nutrition Month by posting healthy recipes twice a week: “Tasty Tuesdays” and “Thirsty Thursdays.”


So, sit back, relax, and “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.”

For a more detailed history of National Nutrition Month, check out “National Nutrition Month: A Brief History”