All Posts By

Christina Chu

Why Giving Feels So Damn Good

giving

Especially around the holidays, people are in the mood of giving. Whether this be giving gifts to friends and family, giving change to the Salvation Army, or making generous donations to philanthropies, people are more open to give. 

But there’s a reason for this.

So why does giving feel so damn good?

After compiling some research together, I’ve narrowed it down to three reasons:

1. Happiness is strongly correlated with relationships.

givingThey say that money can’t buy happiness, but perhaps it can when you buy for others. It is not the physical gift or donation that is what makes you happy, it’s the action. The feeling that you are bringing happiness into someone else’s life makes you feel happy yourself. Best explained by social psychology professor Stephen Joseph of the University of Nottingham, …”the things that are important are things to do with relationships, with other people, and things that help to promote meaning, the purpose in life.” The development of relationships, whether that be rekindling, strengthening, or starting them, gives our lives meaning.

A professor of mine once said that “when you pass, you won’t necessarily be remembered by your resume. But you will be remembered by your actions and who you are as a human being”. Having a successful career should be a goal, but in the end, what you do is equally, if not more important, and giving speaks loudly about your personality.

2. It’s universal.

givingThink of a person who hates gifts. Genuinely, despises receiving anything from others. It’s hard to do so. Primarily because it has been studied that the reward from helping others is deeply rooted in human nature, according to studies from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Despite the various economical and culture differences across the globe, this is one thing that remains true throughout. 

This concept doesn’t make sense to many economists, who often view human nature as egotistic. If you make money, how are you happier by giving it away, in one form or another? However, most people don’t fully understand this greater joy, and thus would never give. But it is worth a shot.

3. There is a physiological response.

givingOxytocin, or the ❤️love hormone ❤️, is released during the action of giving, building that connection between you and others. After this oxytocin is released, there is a lasting effect afterwards where you want to keep giving and doing things for others, so those who give often crave to give again. Also, the mesolimbic pathway, or the reward center closely relate to dopamine, was active when giving, according to researchers.

There’s a quote by Winston Churchill that sums up the joy of giving:

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

So how can you give?

The obvious donation route may be a little intimidating for college students, especially because #studentloans. However, there a little things you can do to give back:

  • Surprise a friend/co-worker with a cup of coffee or tea.
  • Give compliments to strangers.
  • Invite someone over for dinner.
  • Thank your professors, janitors, security guards, or cashier. Oftentimes, these people go unnoticed for their work, but if we didn’t have them, our world would suffer.
  • Offer your seat on the bus to someone who’s carrying a lot of bags.
  • Do a chore around the house without anyone asking.
  • Pick up the tab during your next lunch with a friend.

Whatever it may be, cherish the joy of giving, #fitufam.

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When It’s Not Fine: A Letter to People Who Always Puts Others First

To the people who always puts others first,

First of all, thank you. There aren’t many people in this world who are like you. You always ask whether or not you can help with anything, you initiate empathy, you let people vent to you even when you are running late and you answer those 3 am SOS texts. You are that go-to person, the “mom” of the friend group that everyone can rely on. 

fine

You catch yourself saying, “It’s fine,” at least a dozen times a day. When the barista messes up your order, “It’s fine”. When someone bumps into you, “It’s fine”. When an aggressive stranger takes your seat on the bus, “It’s fine”. People subconsciously catch onto this, however. 

Like I said, you go out of your way to help others. But it is so easy for “others” to take advantage of this. When you give up your time to help another with their problems, you feel intrinsic joy because you helped someone today and made their life a little bit better.

But what about you?

What about the nap that you skipped out on to attend to someone else? You desperately needed the nap because of your crazy sleep schedule (or lack thereof), but neglecting your needs is second nature. When was the last time someone said, “Hey, I really need you to take care of yourself right now”?

fineSee, this is when it is not “fine”, and you have every right as the selfless being you are to put yourself first. But this is a lot easier said than done. As you attempt to take a nap, you continuously toss and turn, checking every text. Or, whenever you try and do some at-home yoga, you almost always fail at savasana because you can barely close your eyes, be present, and breathe. 

So I’m asking you to do this.

Take care of yourself in order to help those you love. 

As all mothers would say, how are you supposed to take care of others if you yourself are not taken care of? The seemingly selfish act of letting yourself recover and taking care of you can actually be selfless, in the end. So, go and you take that nap, drink that tea, meditate or just close your eyes for 10 minutes and breathe, go to bed early and eat meals by yourself. Those who love you want you to do this.

Sincerely,

The people who love you.

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Impress Your Friends By Making This Cheap and Trendy Coffee

coffee

Starbucks is going to need to step it up after you read this article.

We all like to (pretend) to live that bougie lifestyle. While some of us prefer to order that extra guac and double chicken at Chipotle, others choose to be coffee snobs #noshame.

However, cold-brew from Starbucks or nitro coffee from a small coffee shop can get old (and expensive). After a while, a lot of your money is lost to these trendy coffee drinks, which means you have less to spend on other things, like cool workout clothes or healthy food. And let’s be honest here, that is where we would like to spend the majority of our money.

Lucky for you (and me, really), there’s a newly popular coffee-making method that you can easily do at home. With only four steps, minimal set up, and no fancy, obscure ingredients, a French Press allows you to brew a full-body medium to dark roast that’s at least as good as anything you’d get at your favorite shop – for a fraction of the price. 

In addition, the French Press removes the bitter, overwhelming flavors that can occur with normal drip coffee and can make a lot of coffee without using a large amount of beans. Also, the French Press can also be used for teas, so you might as well kill two birds with one stone!

coffee

Here’s how you make it:

Time: <10 minutes

When to drink it: In the mornings, afternoons, or late nights when you have tons of studying to do

Perks: Gets you energized, cheap, environmentally friendly since you don’t need a paper filter

Sh*t you need:

French Press (duh)

Coffee grounds

Kettle

Mug

The Rundown:

  1. Boil water in the kettle.
  2. Scoop 2 tbsp of ground coffee to 6 oz of water, which is a little less than a cup, and put coffee grounds in the bottom of the french press. 
  3. Pour half the amount of water you want in with the grounds, let sit for 30 seconds, and then pour the rest of the water in and cover with the lid. 
  4. Let this sit for about 3.5 minutes (or the length of an average song) and press (hence the name!) the grinds to the bottom. Pour and enjoy with a splash of low-fat milk or pour over ice for an iced coffee. Enjoy!

That’s all it takes, it’s so easy even a freshman can do it.

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5 Annoying Things All Nutrition Students Face

nutrition

Leave pizza and I alone.

Chances are, if you clicked this article, you are a nutrition student. No matter what route you go down, whether that is being a Registered Dietitian, public health influencer, or nutrition educator, we all bond over one thing: FOOD. 

Food is what brought us into this field (and in general, keeps us going through our daily activity) and is what people identify us with. However, being in the field of nutrition is hard. With the many misconceptions in the world of nutrition and health, it makes it that much harder. Below are some struggles that we have all experienced before.

People assume you eat healthy 24/7.

Fun fact: we are human too. Thus, when we come across that delicious cookie or pizza, we aren’t afraid to dive in. So when we are caught in the heat of a moment telling our cookie ice cream sandwich how beautiful it is, we don’t need you to step in and tell us how bad it is for us. We know, trust us. But we live by the motto “everything in moderation”, and you just happened to catch us in our “moderation” phase.  

You are constantly pestered with questions about food.

nutrition“Should I eat this?” “Is this good or bad for you?” “This is healthy, right?” Somehow, food happens to fall into a “yes” or “no” category and you should know the answer to everything. But in reality, this is not how food works. Plus, we are still students and have so much to learn. For example, nuts are good for you in a way that they are full of fiber and protein, but can be considered “bad” if you are on a low-fat diet or need a high intake of carbohydrates, such as before a workout. So the answer really is “depends on the scenario”, which is not what anyone wants to hear.

You know everyone’s diet, whether you like it or not.

nutritionSometimes, it’s not even worth it to tell people what you study. Once you open your mouth and say “nutrition”, suddenly people open up and tell you everything about their diet. “Oh you study nutrition? I just recently hopped on the gluten-free, vegan diet and I don’t eat soy.” “What do you think about how I eat? I eat too many carbs, right?” Meanwhile, you’re just trying to peacefully go about your day, since you never asked them what their diet was. People bombard you, expecting you to fully analyze their diet (which is a paid service that takes years of training) just because of what you study. It’s like asking an accounting major to do your taxes or asking a pre-med student to perform surgery – it isn’t going to happen. 

Your other friends don’t understand your love for planners.

Let’s be honest, 99% of us are very Type A. We will schedule lunch dates on our Google Calendars, note our homework and exam schedule in our perfectly pristine weekly planners, and will always confirm plans before you make them weeks in advanced. Is this a little much? Maybe, but please stop shaming us for being organized.

People don’t understand that nutrition is a science.

Nutrition is not just some online trainer giving you advice for macros. It’s a balance between macro and micronutrients, bioavailabilty, and the process of digestion and absorption. We don’t just float around taking pictures of smoothie bowls and meal prep, nutrition is revolved around science. Yes, we took pre-med orgo (*shudder*), biochemistry, and medical nutrition therapy (EN/PN calculations, anyone?). Yes, these are extremely difficult classes that often get glazed over by the overexposure of “nutrition” in the media. But unfortunately, a $19.99 food program you found online through an overly-tan, hypertrophied “nutrition professional” won’t fulfill your healthy lifestyle. It takes time to develop a nutrition plan, a service that cannot be dealt in a one-stop shop.

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9 Easy Ways to Live a Little More Fit Today

christina chu

Because sometimes, you just don’t want to go to the gym.

Life is hard. Between work, school, friends, family, and you-time, staying fit sometimes does not even cross your mind. However, it doesn’t take expensive studio fees and luxury leggings to be your fittest self. Below are some simple ways to stay fit.

Maintain good posture.

We are all guilty of this. We might start off mindful of our posture, but after sitting at a desk for long hours, we catch ourselves hunched over. Roll those shoulders back and lengthen that spine to prevent back and neck pain.

Drink more water.

Staying hydrated is key to staying fit. Try carrying around your favorite water bottle and taking sips periodically.

Wear comfortable shoes.

Walking in uncomfortable shoes can cause hip, back, and knee pain, which can affect your daily life. Put on a pair of sneakers the next time you’re heading out for class and feel the difference.

Carry a healthy snack in your bag.

Sometimes, it pays off to be the mom of the group. Throw some of these snacks in your bag so you reach for healthier options rather than the sugary, processed foods you probably reach for when you’re hangry.

Breathe.

Especially during times of stress, it’s easy to literally forget to breathe. However, finding your breathing pattern and being able to control it will help lessen that anxiety you feel.

Include vegetables with every meal.

 

Truth time: it’s hard to eat a salad for every meal. But, it is manageable to include at least one vegetable with every meal. 

Walk.

Whether this is by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking your car a little further away in the parking lot, or strolling to class instead of taking the bus, get moving.

Stretch before bed.

fit

As easy as it is to just face-plant in your pillow at the end of the day, take 5 minutes to stretch out your muscles and relax before you sleep. 

Sleep.

You’ve had a long day, and it is so important to rest up. Put away the Netflix or extra homework you like to do as the overachiever you (probably) are. Snuggle up and sleep – your body needs it.

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Healthy Chipotle Hacks for Fit, Broke College Students

chipotle

To guac, or not to guac? That is the question of the century.

Let’s be honest here.

We all rely on Chipotle a little too much. Its mouthwatering, savory, Mexican flavors just hit the spot when you’re drowning in schoolwork and can’t cook dinner. Or when you’re starving post-workout and just need a quick bite before powering through the rest of your day. But as easy as it is to pile on the sour cream and cheese when you’re #hangry, you know that these are not the best decisions for your fitness goals.

However, below are some healthy hacks to satisfy your cravings without overindulging yourself:

Mo’ veggies, mo’problems:

Ask for a salad, for a base of lettuce, and rice (brown, of course). This will increase your vegetable intake without even thinking about it. You can also ask for fajita vegetables, which are free, and extra lettuce for your toppings.

Just ask:

Ask for a side of cilantro when you order. Not only will this add flavor, but it also has digestive properties that can soothe an upset stomach (I’m looking at you, beans).

Shells are the way to go:

If you absolutely love their chips, ask for hard taco shells instead. Not only are they ~free~, but you can use the money you would have spent on chips to buy guac (which let’s be honest, can make or break the meal)!

Half & half:

Ask for half of one meat and half of another. The employee behind the counter is likely to give you more meat, thus ensuring more #gainz.

Get it hot, hot hot:

Ask for a little bit of the hot salsa (aka the red tomatillo sauce) in order to spice up your dish for fewer calories (compared to the sour cream/cheese). Feeling brave? Get all of the salsa, life is short. 🙂

Doggie-bag it:

Let’s be honest here, we all feel a little stuffed after eating Chipotle. You blink and suddenly the whole meal is gone. However, ask for a to-go bowl when you check out and split your meal in half. That way, you can eat it twice (for the price of one) and add some extra veggies to it to fill you up!

So, what do I order?

Though everyone has different tastes, here’s what I usually order:

  • Salad (no dressing)
  • Side of shells (if I’m in the mood for a little crunch)
  • Brown rice
  • No beans (unless it is post-workout, then black beans for extra protein)
  • Fajita vegetables
  • Half chicken, half steak
  • Mild salsa (pico de gallo), medium salsa (green tomatillo), and a little bit of hot salsa (red tomatillo)
  • Corn salsa
  • Guac (duh)
  • Extra lettuce on top

Care to share your Chipotle creations with us? Tag us @fituniversity and use the hashtag #fituniversity!

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Why I Wake Up at 4:30 in the Morning

Why I Wake Up at 4:30 in the Morning

Some people call me crazy.

We’ve all said it before: “I just wish there were more hours in the day.”

Between classes, work, internships, food, sleep, daily hygiene, relationships, and me-time, it may seem like every day flashes before your eyes due to the volume of activities you have to do. But who’s to say that this isn’t manageable?

With the help of Google Calendar, an alarm clock, and the support of loved ones, it is doable. That’s why I wake up at 4:30 in the morning.

Is it easy? No. But is it worth it? Yes.

Waking up at 4:30 means being awake and productive before the majority of the world is even up making breakfast. Waking up at 4:30 means crossing something off your checklist before 10 AM. Waking up at 4:30 gives you those hours in the day you were asking for, and allows you to sleep peacefully at night knowing that you’ve made the most out of your day.

What’s my motivation?

I don’t live in my home state. Raised in Illinois, I moved to Boston for college, a situation you may relate to. This means that my family has given up a lot for me to just live here, on top of paying for tuition. So who am I to not make the most of my time here?

Why I Wake Up at 4:30 in the Morning

Plus, this view at dawn is pretty cool.

Some people call me crazy. “You’re doing so much. Why would you do this to yourself?”

But we’re at a time in our lives where we are supposed to be a little crazy. To be honest, we’re young, and life is short. It’s not long before the nature of life will take over, our metabolisms will slow down, and we may start a family and have a stable job. This is the time to do everything you’ve ever wanted and more. An early morning alarm clock may be the key to doing just that.

So try it out. Make it a realistic goal by setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier every week. Gradually work yourself toward an earlier time and see how much work you can do in the mornings. You’ll be surprised by how much you can do when the rest of the world is sleeping.

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14 Annoying Things People Do at the Gym, as Told by a Personal Trainer

14 Annoying Things People Do at the Gym, as Told by a Personal Trainer

The gym is a jungle. Between the cardio queens and the jacked Hulks, the diversity is real. With this comes a wide range of annoying behaviors at the gym. Being a personal trainer, I get the pleasure of being in this jungle for a good portion of my day. Here are some of the top annoying gym behaviors:

1. Putting weights where they don’t belong

I’m the one who puts them back. And when I turn around for a hot second, someone manages to screw it up all over again.

2. Not dressing in proper workout attire

I’m look at those of you who wear jeans, scrubs, or polo shirts to the gym. 

3. Not wearing enough workout attire

Did you forget something? Like a shirt or pants with dignity?

4. Grunting

Ugh.

5. Not trying at all

“But I was at the gym, so that counts, right?”

6. Coming to the gym to talk and occasionally work out

Go chat somewhere that’s not 2 inches from my face, like a restaurant or bar, far, far away from here.

7. Flexing in the mirror

We get it. You have muscles. But do you really need to lift up your shirt and flex?

8. Curling in the squat rack

“Bruh”

9. Gloves 

Enough said. 

10. PDA

#1 cause of baby vomit at the gym.

11. Obnoxiously taking supplements

We have a problem when your shaker bottle is more like a chemistry lab.

12. Slamming the weights

If you can pick it up, you can put it down.

13. Flirting

“So, wanna watch me squat?”

14. Being scared to try something new

As a trainer, I encourage people to try different types of workouts. Whether you’re a cardio queen who walks over to the free weight section or a meathead who tries to reach for your toes to stretch, keeping an open mind with fitness is key to an overall healthier, fitter you.

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Thoughts You Have at the Gym, As Told By Parks & Rec

Thoughts You Have at the Gym, As Told By Parks & Rec

You walk up to the gym and are ready to crush your workout. Sometimes, things go a little differently; we’ve all gone through it before. Here’s how it all goes down.

How you think you look when you walk into the gym:

How you actually look walking in:

At first, you come in with optimism.

But two minutes in on the stairmaster…

Like seriously, why am I sweating so much??

Then, you go over to the squat rack and see that not one but two are open.

And you hit that new PR.

But then you try a new piece of equipment…

*slowly walks away…*

When someone spots you on that last rep:

But then you find out that they’re the kind of person that slams their weights.

You start talking to that cute guy/girl,

And they let you work in on the same machine.

Foam-rolling is always a great idea at the end of your workout,

Along with your protein.

Finally… your workout is complete!

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The Trainers At This Gym Have More Experience Than You Think

I grew up in “America’s safest city” where the worst crime was wearing the same homecoming dress as another girl in school. If I told my friends and family that I was being dropped off at a secret location to workout, they would definitely have disapproved. 

Naturally, I went anyways. I was invited by InnerCity Weightlifting to one of their two secret locations in the Boston area for a training session.

I Was Trained By An Ex-Con, and Here's How It Went

InnerCity Weightlifting is a Boston organization that takes high-risk individuals – those who have been shot, done significant jail time, and/or grown up on a family income under $10k per year – and teaches them how to be personal trainers. They develop their students’ physical training skills as well as the social, academic, and networking support needed, which college students like us take for granted. In doing so, InnerCity Weightlifting makes a huge impact in the community they work with by decreasing street violence and creating a social change. In keeping their gym location a secret, they are able to provide a safe space for their students who have certain conflicts with others. Read more about their mission here.

Due to their secret location and my lack of navigation skills, I eventually found the location and entered an ordinary building, only to open the doors to a pretty damn good-looking facility.

I was greeted by Josh, the Director of Development and Communication who originally invited me, and he introduced me to all the trainers. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming, so Mom and Dad, no need to worry.

After getting dressed in appropriate attire, I met with my trainer for the day, Carlos. We started up with some dynamic warm-ups and then he took me through a killer workout. It looked easy on paper, but with his encouragement to go for just one more rep, I was sweating for the entire hour.

Being a personal trainer myself, I can appreciate when someone knows what they’re doing. In our time together, it didn’t matter that we live in opposite walks of life, that we call very different parts of town home, or whether or not our free time is spent on probation or in the library. The only thing that mattered was that I, Carlos’s client, got a good workout in. And I liked Carlos… that is, until he said “Give me 10 burpees“.

In the end, I sweated my ass off. Was my safety at risk? No. Did I feel uncomfortable or vulnerable, as I honestly probably would have if I saw a guy like Carlos out on the streets? No.

I did, however, get killed (by rope slams) and was tortured (by wall sits).

It is so easy to judge someone by their looks or background, but until you see what they are capable of doing, you don’t know them. You don’t know that Carlos just wants his kids to have a better life than him. You don’t know that he is a great trainer, regardless of whether or not he has a fancy certification. You won’t know until you’ve had a conversation with him or trained with him. 

I Was Trained By An Ex-Con, and Here's How It Went

There’s Carlos teaching a group class at one of their secret locations!

If I’m being completely honest, I wouldn’t have had this mindset before I met Carlos. I would have said that I don’t treat people differently, but in reality, I would have. It’s in my nature. I was born in a town where if something does not fit a cookie-cutter image, it means danger, and you’d rather be safe than sorry. But life is short, and I recognize that it’s sometimes better to step out of your comfort zone than to stay in this cookie-cutter mindset.

Lesson learned? There are numerous social justice groups who just want to make change. But change doesn’t happen by saying how you feel. Change happens when you physically dive into the community and take action, which is exactly what InnerCity Weightlifting is doing. 

Want to get involved with InnerCity Weightlifting? Click here for more information.

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Food Trends That Will Get You Excited For 2017

Food Trends That Will Get You Excited For 2017

Get excited. Get cookin.

With 2016 coming to a close, we reflect on the wonderful era of zoodles, cauliflower rice, sushi-ritos, and rolled ice cream. Fortunately, 2017 holds plenty of new food trends to look forward to. Below are the new year’s food trend predictions:

Turmeric

The main spice in curry has been gaining prominence for its anti-inflammatory properties. Used in grain bowls, tea, roasted vegetables, and even smoothies, turmeric is an inexpensive must-have in your pantry!

 

The #color of fresh #tumeric is so #beautiful and full of so many #healing #benefits

A photo posted by Kisha❤Kind (@kisha.kind) on

 

Food Foraging 

Approximately 40% of food in the US goes to waste. Expect that number to drop in 2017. Carrot tops, beet leaves, and cauliflower stems are being put to use in numerous recipes in an attempt to reduce this percentage. 

 

Dinner-in-a-Box

Companies like Blue Apron and Plated ship their customers (typically busy people, like yourself!) the exact ingredients for a recipe of their choice so cooking at home becomes more convenient without sacrificing health and comfort. With being overwhelming busy becoming the new normal, whether for better or for worse, these start-ups will skyrocket.

 

For tonight’s take on takeout, whip up sesame chicken with fresh bok choy and jasmine rice.

A photo posted by Blue Apron (@blueapron) on

 

Goat Meat

Goat meat often goes under-appreciated, but it has the same amount of protein as chicken breast and more iron than beef. The flavor can be described as sweet, mild, and not at all gamey. Try out this recipe to integrate this protein into your diet!

Also this..

 

Bowls

You’ve seen it before: those trendy grain bowls that look so simple yet so delicious. Good news, it is only just the beginning. #InWithTheBowlOutWithThePlate

 

A photo posted by Christina Chu, CPT (@foodietunes) on

 

Everything Sparkling

This soda alternative doesn’t just go well in your ~adult~ drinks, but is great by itself or with fruit flavoring! Advice I got from the Dig Inn barista: Take lemon seltzer water and add a little bit of agave… you’ve got healthy Sprite!

 

Savory Yogurt

We’ve had savory oats, but can savory yogurt be done? Try out these recipes for a quick lunch/snack!

Have you tried one of these trends? Tag us at @fituniversityituniversity and tag #fituniversity! Happy New Year!

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Fun Fall Fitness Activities To Do If You Don’t Want to Work Out

Fun Fall Fitness Activities To Do If You Don't Want to Work Out

Ahh, fall is here, greeting you with the smell of pumpkin spice and crisp leaves.

Though we are saying goodbye to beach workouts and swimming in the pool, autumn provides numerous ways to stay active without stepping foot in a gym. Need some ideas? Keep reading!

Take a hike

With all the beautiful fall foliage, who wouldn’t want to take a stroll? But sometimes you can run into obstacles. Be careful! 😂

Go apple picking

Apples are in season during autumn, so gather up some friends to go to your nearest orchard. Sneak some apple cider doughnuts while you’re at it. 😉

Throw around the ol’ pig skin

As fun as watching football can be, getting up and actually playing with your friends is even better.

Visit a pumpkin patch

Later, you can carve it (hello, forearms), or better yet, wear it like Dwight.

Run a race

Whether it be the Chicago Marathon or a local 5k, get those legs pumpin’.

Let us know if you did any of these activites by tagging @gofitu and using “#fituniversity” on social media!

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How My Mom Changed My Life With Food

How My Mom Changed My Life With Food

I remember the first time I took interest in food.

I was with my mom in the kitchen and told her I wanted to cook, just like she did. And since I was about three feet tall and my head didn’t even meet the stove, she let me wash the cabbage instead. So there I was, little preschool me, on a step stool proudly wearing my princess dress with a “crown” that was actually a handkerchief, and I was washing cabbage— and having the best time of my life.

How My Mom Changed My Life With Food

When it all began…

As years went by, I still wanted to cook, to turn plain ingredients into enjoyable dishes; but my mom told me “once you see the stove, you can cook”. So I grew.

I grew a lot faster than the kids in my grade (thanks puberty) and ended up being “tall” for my age at 5’7”. As promised, once I started to grow, I started to cook.

How My Mom Changed My Life With Food

That’s me and my 5’3″ mother, both surpassing the “you must be this tall to cook” requirement 

At first, I made simple foods like steamed broccoli, pasta, and sautéed veggies. Then I moved on to making sushi, dumplings, lasagna, foods that aren’t just a dump and stir (but those are still good too!). My mom would always make sure that I ate all my food groups, especially my vegetables. She wasn’t a huge dessert person, so we ate fruit instead.

How My Mom Changed My Life With Food

The whole gang chomping down some post-dinner fruits

Little did I know that not everyone has such an awesome mom like I do. She instilled the healthy habits that my peers are struggling to pick up now. I try to eat dinner with company whenever I can, I always include vegetables at every meal, I stay active, and I carry a water bottle with me everywhere I go. I learned the baseline of a healthy lifestyle when I was young so it doesn’t even feel like a chore now that I’m older, but it is what it is: a lifestyle. 

How My Mom Changed My Life With Food

I just went out for a run, she actually loves me, I promise

How do you thank someone who set you up for a well-off future? How do you thank someone who has guided you to your passion, one that you are going to follow for the rest of your life? (For those of you who don’t know me, food is now closely tied to my career goal. I study nutrition at school; it’s truly become a passion)

Well, I’m still trying to figure that out.

Happy Birthday, 妈妈. I love you thiiiiiis much and I can’t wait to see you over Christmas break. I long to cook with you and make your amazing chicken soup. I cannot thank you enough for all the things you have taught me, from multiplication to knife skills. Even more, you taught me how to be independent, humble, patient (still a work in progress) and confident, and that’s something that I am eternally grateful for. I hope you have an amazing birthday because you deserve it, and my infinite gift to you is to make as big as an influence on the world as you did for me.

13 Types of Fitstagrammers You See On Your Newsfeed

13 Types of Fitstagrammers You See On Your Newsfeed

Hello, millennials. If you are anything like me, you spend a little bit too much time scrolling through your Instagram feed.

phone

The majority of people I follow are college foodies, fitness junkies, yogis, or just people who have an interest in health & fitness. Recently, I have noticed that these fitstagrammers typically fall into one of a few categories:

  1. The Bowl Queen

“Throw sh*t together and mix” usually doesn’t result in aesthetically pleasing food, but these fitstagrammers make it work – and make it look totally effortless.

The Bowl Queen is closely related to the Smoothie Bowl Artist, who makes kaleidoscope-esque fruit bowls on the daily.

  1. The Powerlifter

These fitstagrammers can lift some seriously heavy weights while maintaining perfect form. Most of their content is video of their killer workouts, but they work so hard you can’t hate them for the occasional flex picture.

  1. The Allergy-Friendly Foodie

Usually swapping out ingredients in a recipe so they can eat it safely, but their food looks twice as good as the original! Mango salsa, anyone?

  1. The Protein Food Porn Fitstagrammer

Fit people can have #foodporn too! The post is never complete without a drizzle or ooze of protein frosting… and macros!

  1. The Diary Writer

c a r b s 🍝 *long post warning* If I was stuck on an island and only had to eat one type of food, it would be pasta with red sauce (with a whole bunch of veggies chopped in there, of course!) 😍 such a great post workout meal- refuels your body and you get the protein (I used ground turkey) you need without supps. Yes that is possible!! Surprise, the fitness industry understands the general population's insecurities and fears and uses that to their advantage. And I know you are better than that 😉 Its important to stay skeptical if you want what's best for your body. Today at the gym (shoulders and arms day woo💪) I saw a personal trainer on his phone on multiple occasions while his client demonstrated poor form on his exercise… then saw a trainer put the weight in the wrong spot, which is a total pet peeve of mine 😲 and these are "professionals" who people pay a lot of money for… 😡 makes me want to be better than them yaknow? As much as I love to complain, it doesn't really get anything done, actions speak louder than words💭 {@barillaus whole wheat penne + red sauce + @jennieo ground turkey + chopped zucchini + onions + carrots + basil} #fituniversity

A post shared by Christina Chu, CPT (@foodietunes) on

SHAMELESS PLUG: guilty as charged, these fitstagrammers do not hold back about telling you how their day went.  Warning: rants and tangents are included.

  1. The Entrepreneur 

If you think being a student is hard, try owning a business on top of that.

  1. The Bikini Competitor

Unflexed vs. flexed because I like to be honest with you all! You can really only see my abs when I flex them and breathe all my air out sorry no permanent chicken nuggets here! I must say though I am proud of myself because when I did that 2 months ago you couldn't see anything 😂 just always be mindful of what you see on the gram or any social media because I am also guilty of showing my highlights 🙃 #npcbikini #npccompetitor #npcbikinicompetitor #pharmacyschool #trainhard #liftheavy #fuelyourbody #foodisfuel #iifym #iifymgirls #iifymwomen #macros #reversediet #flexibledieting #absaremadeinthekitchen #abcheck #fitnessmotivation #fitspiration #motivate #inspirational #flexfriday #unflexedvsflexed #girlswholift #girlswithmuscle #girlswithmuscles #musclegains #weightlifting

A post shared by Z U R I C K | 23 | 5'6 (@taylorzurickfit) on

Typically posing or posting mirror shots, these competitors have washboard abs and chiseled muscles. Fortunately, there are some like Taylor who also show the reality behind their stage bodies vs. their everyday bodies.

  1. The Healthy Med Student

Dinner date with Dr. Dale Dubin ❤️📈 …actually jk I got distracted and now I'm watching Grey's😂

A post shared by Dose of Dinner 💊🍴| PA-S 2 (@doseofdinner) on

        Soon-to-be Meredith Grey’s and Dr. McDreamy’s have to eat healthy too!

  1. The Go-To Trainer

These fitstagrammers speak exercise as a second language. You typically find yourself searching for their page when in need of a new workout.

  1. The Minimalist Foodie

 Usually posting pictures with a simple and consistent background, they make #cleaneats look actually clean.

  1. The Girl-Next-Door

Typically has a mixture of posts- healthy foods, workouts, and lifestyle, including their own. It feels like you know more about them than just their food and/or workouts. They also tend to be the sweetest people when you meet in person.

  1. The Yogis
 

A photo posted by Amanda & Zani (@acroyogies) on

They bend so they don’t break.

13. The Aesthetic Fitstagrammer

How I do taco Tuesday 💁 #Grassfed taco meat, shredded romaine, tomatoes, chopped cilantro, and an #avocadorose 🌹

A post shared by Rachel | Real Food Athlete (@real.food.athlete) on

Effortless and flawless food. They make food that you would make, but theirs looks 1000 times better.

Show us your fitstagram by using the #fituniversity and tagging @gofitu!

Check out these articles too:

Need a Cool Down Playlist? We’ve Got You Covered.

When you are finished being a beast at the gym, running in the sweltering sun, or cycling until your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy (or my favorite, mom’s spaghetti), it is so important to remember to cool down and STRETCH.

stretch

Unfortunately, music that makes you want to tear sh*t up isn’t really the best to blast in your earbuds while stretching your hamstrings at the end of your workout.

Fortunately for you all, your girl @foodietunes here loves making playlists (you can thank me later), and this time I made one just perfect for those cool down stretches, yoga sessions, or any other moment where you need to just be calm and breathe.

Listen to the Spotify playlist here (OR at the bottom of this article).

  1. Here for You//Kygo, Ella Henderson
  2. Unhinged//Nick Jonas
  3. I Was Made For Loving You//Tori Kelly, Ed Sheeran
  4. Eyes Shut//Years & Years

  1. Dynasty//MIIA
  2. Latch-Acoustic//Sam Smith
  3. Looking For Your Name//Armin van Buuren, Gavin DeGraw
  4. Barcelona//George Ezra
  5. Raging//Kygo, Kodaline

  1. Home To Mama//Justin Bieber, Cody Simpson
  2. I Choose You//Andy Grammer
  3. I’m Not the Only One//Sam Smith
  4. Paper Hearts//Tori Kelly
  5. She is Love//Parachute
  6. Fragile//Kygo, Labrinth
  7. Rise Up//Andra Day
  8. Give Me Love//MAX
  9. Talking To The Moon//Bruno Mars
  10. Run to You//Pentatonix
  11. The Men That Drive Me Places//Ben Rector
  12. The Scientist//Tyler Ward, Lindsey Stirling & Kina Grannis
  13. Lay Me Down//Sam Smith, John Legend
  14. Glitter in the Air//P!nk
  15. Make You Feel My Love//Adele

 

The Life of A College Ninja Warrior

Northeastern engineering student by day, Ninja Warrior by night.

Who is Josh Levin?

Well…have you ever watched that show on NBC where everyday people do insanely difficult obstacles for a chance to win 1 million dollars (so basically just enough to pay off tuition and maybe a Chipotle burrito or two)? Josh is one of those people that runs the obstacles. And he succeeds.

I luckily had the chance to interview Josh about the life of an American Ninja Warrior. You can catch Josh tonight 7/11 at 8/7C on NBC.

Josh2

This dude is STRONG ^^

Fit U: First off, what was your experience like on American Ninja Warrior?

Josh: My first experience on American Ninja Warrior was awesome! This has been something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time, (I started watching the Japanese version ‘Sasuke’ when I was about 15) so even getting the callback from my audition video was super exciting. From there, I traveled down to Universal Studios Hollywood in early April to film the city qualifier episodes. Staying up both nights until 5am was pretty exhausting, but definitely worthwhile.

What were your competitors like?

Having been an avid fan of American Ninja Warrior for so many years now, getting the chance to not only meet but compete alongside some of the top names in the sport such as Kevin Bull, Flip Rodriguez, Jessie Graff, and Jesse La Flair was an incredible experience! Also, the Ninja Warrior community was extremely warm and welcoming to new competitors, and everyone had extremely interesting backstories in addition to being top-level athletes in many different sports.

How did you prepare for the competition?

I prepared for the competition by traveling to as many different Ninja Warrior gyms as I could all over the country to prepare myself for the variety of obstacles I would be facing. I also made sure to keep up with my climbing training as much as possible since climbing is by far the best way of training for Ninja Warrior.

*Fit U note: Check out Josh’s NU Snapchat takeover where he shows us a day of training!

How do you balance schoolwork and training?

For the last 6 months, I was actually pursuing a co-op at Apple in Cupertino through Northeastern’s co-op program in conjunction with my mechanical engineering degree. While there, my internship was as a manufacturing design engineer, so I did a fair amount of back-and-forth travel to China to visit manufacturing vendors. During my trips to China, I fortunately was able to find an excellent climbing community in Shanghai and trained there most weeknights after work. I also trained at Ninja Warrior gyms both in China and California for the duration of my co-op.

What are some of your favorite foods to keep you fueled throughout your busy day?

My favorite go-to snack is peanut butter and a banana. Literally all my friends can attest to this. I also like Clif Bar Shot Bloks to keep the energy high during competitions and long study sessions.

What is your go-to song to get pumped up before a climb or a workout?

I don’t really listen to music before training sessions, only just before when I compete. And that song is a secret for now 😉

How can Boston students get involved with climbing/Ninja training?

I recommend starting out with rock climbing for giving the best overall base of strength, coordination and problem solving to compete on American Ninja Warrior. Many universities have climbing walls on campus, but even if your school doesn’t, (like Northeastern) there are plenty of local rock climbing gyms popping up all over the country in major cities. After you have mastered the basics of climbing, it may then be the time to go visit a dedicated Ninja Warrior gym to test your abilities.

Josh

What advice do you have for students who are thinking of trying out for American Ninja Warrior?

If you’re thinking of trying out for American Ninja Warrior, go for it! Remember that as a TV show, American Ninja Warrior isn’t necessarily looking for the best athletes in the world, they’re looking for personalities. Being athletic helps, but if you can show that you have lots of energy and are passionate about ninja warrior, that goes a lot further than the number of pull-ups you do in your submission video. They’re actually casting the first-ever College Edition of American Ninja Warrior, so be sure to visit www.anwteam.com and apply with your team today!

You can follow Josh Levin on Instagram @josh.levin and give him #fitufam support for his run tonight!

8 Instagrams to Inspire Your Healthy Fourth of July

7 instagrams to inspire your healthy 4th of july

Having a hard time picturing a healthy Fourth of July? Let these Instagrams inspire ya.

The land of the free, and the home of the creative #foodstagrammers.

Though the temptation is real during this holiday to just go after those store bought cakes topped with an American flag made from processed and sugary icing, it is important to remember everything in moderation.

If you are looking for healthy Fourth of July food options, check them out below!

Who said it is just avocado toast that’s trending?

I scream for coconut milk ice cream!

Don’t you love it when your food looks like a kaleidoscope image?

 

A photo posted by Taylor (@hummusjunkie) on

Waffles are great, protein waffles are even better, but PATRIOTIC PROTEIN WAFFLES?? #icanteven

A close-up America-themed yogurt bowl is even better.

 

A photo posted by Taylor🍪 (@foodandfearless) on

If a patriotic protein waffle is #icanteven, what happens when you add zucchini…

 

A photo posted by Jordan Krause (@jordankrausefit) on

Might as well add a little lovin’

For the land of the #foodstagrammers!

 

A photo posted by @beccasbowls on

From Fit U, we wish you a safe, healthy, and happy Fourth of July!

Check out these articles too:
 

34 Songs to Bring Your Workout To The Next Level

We’ve all been there before. You turn on Spotify at the gym, getting ready to get that good pump on. You put on that gym playlist that you made back in high school.

music

Yeah… and then you hear the first millisecond of the song and you’re like

penguins nope

Soon, you’ve skipped through half the playlist and you’re back to square one.

Have no fear! Today is the day that we end this tragedy once and for all. I have compiled this list of 34 pumped-up songs to get you amped while working out. 🙂 Careful, you may feel like you want to bust a drug deal or fight a guy at a bar upon first listen — but grind it out during your workout instead!

Listen to it on Spotify here.

  1. Dynasty//MIIA, Elephante Remix

  1. Don’t Let Me Down//The Chainsmokers, Daya
  2. Get Down//Tiësto, Tony Junior
  3. Light It Up//Major Lazer, Nyla

  1. Spack Jarrow//W&W, Moti
  2. No Money//Galantis
  3. How To Love//Cash Cash ft Sofia Reyes

  1. Bonfire//Childish Gambino
  2. Off The Hook//Hardwell, Armin van Buuren
  3. SummerThing!//Afrojack, Mike Taylor

  1. GDFR//Flo Rida, Sage The Gemini, Lookas
  2. Now//Bassnectar, Rye Rye
  3. Now That I’ve Found You//Martin Garrix, ft. John & Michael

  1. Love Me A Little// Riggi & Piros
  2. To Ü//Jack Ü, Skrillex, Diplo, AlunaGeorge
  3. X Gon Give It To Ya//DMX

You know those workouts that were just… Good? Today was one of them 💪 💦 Practiced deadlifts (thanks to all that commented/DM'ed with pointers!) So I lowered the weight to 95# to focus on form. This video is the last couple reps out of 12, so it was a struggle but very beneficial to focus on form for today! To burn my body, I did light back squats (65#) immediately followed by the same weight but for front squats.. Legs were on fire 🔥 then ended with calf raises with 2 45# plates supersetted with oblique raises with the same 45# (my grip was fried by the end of this workout), <10 minutes of body weight abs, and a ton of stretching and rolling out… @alison_grooves inspires me that mobility is just as important as strength! Looking forward to not being able to walk tomorrow! 🐧 Gym song (inspired by the boyfriend @reillypat24) : X Gon Give It To Ya// DMX #fituniversity

A post shared by Christina Chu, CPT (@foodietunes) on

  1. TECHNO// Yellow Claw, Diplo, LNY-TNZ, Waka Flocka Flame
  2. Kanye (Riggi & Piros Remix)//The Chainsmokers, Riggi & Piros
  3. BoomBox//JETFIRE, Mr Black, Sonny Wilson

  1. All Night Longer//Sammy Adams
  2. Jump & Sweat//Garmiani, Sanjin
  3. The Universe is Ours//Headhunterz, Crystal Lake, Reunify, KiFi

  1. The Only Way Is Up//Martin Garrix, Tiësto
  2. POWER//Kanye West
  3. DJ Turn It Up//Yellow Claw
  4. Burial//Yogi, Skrillex, Pusha T, Trollphace, Moody Good
  5. This is Dirty//DVBBS, Moti
  6. Rave after Rave//W&W
  7. How Deep Is Your Love//Calvin Harris, Disciples, R3hab
  8. Inner Flame//Dasian
  9. 6 Foot 7 Foot//Lil Wayne, Cory Gunz
  10. All I Do Is Win//DJ Khaled
  11. Working For It//ZHU, Skrillex, THEY.
  12. Secrets (Diplo Remix)// Tiësto, KSHMR, Vassy

Check out @foodietunes for up-to-date song recommendations and a healthy #foodstagram!


 

You Know You’re A Fitness Fanatic When…

hiit

Richard Simmons would be proud.

1. You plan your schedule around gym time and meals.

meal prep

2. When you wear “normal clothes”, people have a hard time recognizing you.

the office

3. You have at least one day a week where you can’t walk.

penguin

4. You contemplate whether or not to wash your hair because you know that you’ll be sweaty within 12 hours.

otter

5. Your friends always say they want to come to the gym with you, but you know after a week they are always “busy”.

gym

6. You find yourself stretching at all hours of the day.

6

7. You know this is what heaven must look like: 

nike

8. The sound of the shaker bottle brings you joy.

 bobs burgers

9. And of course, you have your favorite flavor Quest Bar within reach at all times.

 

A photo posted by questnutrition (@questnutrition) on

 

You Need to Hear About Jamie Oliver’s Plan to Solve Obesity

What basic household item could possibly prevent 100,000 cases of heart disease, 8,000 strokes and 26,000 deaths? Food. Or really, lack thereof. Fit University, meet Jamie Oliver.

Jamie Oliver

You may know him as the UK Chef,


restaurant owner,


recipe developer,


successful author,


and TV personality,

 

My view when I’m cooking for you guys …. The crew

A photo posted by Jamie Oliver (@jamieoliver) on


but how can this man help reduce childhood obesity?

 

Hey guys, I’m still so happy about yesterday’s news about the sugary drinks tax that will be introduced in the UK in 2 years!! It’s a bold and good first step by our government but this is just the start and i have some questions ill be asking. there are still other measures that must be put in place to protect the health and future of our kids. A tax on its own wont work. There are six things me and a load of health professionals have recommended to Mr Cameron that should be part of the Childhood Obesity Strategy due to come out this summer….. This is defiantly about protecting the future of our kids … please hit the link in my bio and take a look, share and #regram Just look at what we can achieve when we keep pushing!! #foodrevolution

A photo posted by Jamie Oliver (@jamieoliver) on

Known for his 2010 TV Show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, where Oliver travelled across America revealing the hefty problems with our food industry, Oliver took his leverage back to his native country (I guess he needed a break from America, I get it, Jamie) and fought to apply a sugar tax on sugary beverages. He won.

Starting in 2018, Oliver would change the future of one of the least healthy countries in Europe. Here’s a breakdown of his plan:

  • A tax of 20 pences (30 US cents) per liter of sugary drink (this could include soft drinks, or even certain smoothies), to discourage consumers from purchasing the sugary drink.

grocery

  • The taxes yield up to 1 billion pounds (just under $1.5 billion, casual) to be recycled back into the community by funding programs aiming to decrease obesity.
  • A visual of the number of teaspoons of sugar in the drink will be displayed on its packaging. Traditionally sugar content is given in grams, which is harder for the average consumer to conceptualize than a teaspoon. It’s all about awareness!
  • Traffic light labeling with be enforced. Basically, red means bad and green means go. And yellow means “slow down and think twice”.

Jamie Oliver

  • Food education will become a priority in schools. This education involves students and parents; not only will students learn to cook and learn about nutrition, (i.e., where food comes from and how it affects your body), but in addition he parents will learn how to pack their kids a healthy school lunch. (Finally)
  • Products with high fat, sugar, or salt (“HFSS”) will not be marketed around school campuses. HFSS products sold in supermarkets will be strongly discouraged by the government.
  • Advertising for junk HFSS foods will not appear on TV before 9 pm. When children watch TV, they are no longer exposed to the tempting and convincing messages in junk food advertising.
  • Companies that fail to follow these new laws will be punished.

punishment

So yes, world; it’s that simple. If Jamie Oliver can do it for England, why can’t we do it here in America too?

And you can help! How? Simply making micro-changes to your daily life and influencing your loved ones to make small changes to live a healthy lifestyle can make such a difference.

Here are a couple of changes you can make, inspired by Jamie Oliver himself:

  • Reduce your soda consumption. I can’t stress this enough! Consuming soda (pop, coke, what have you) on a regular basis can increase risk of obesity, diabetes, cavities, and so many other health problems. If you regularly consume soda, try slowly decreasing the amount you drink. For instance, if you drink a soda with every meal, try limiting it to one meal a day. Then one meal every 3 days, then one meal a week to one meal a month, and so on. Little changes can lead to big differences!
  • Carry a water bottle. Ok so you’ve reduced your soda consumption, but that doesn’t mean your need for fluids decreases as well. Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go. That way instead of being tempted to buy a soda, just take a drink from your water bottle instead! Bonus: you’re helping the environment as well as your bank account… and who doesn’t like saving money?

Money Please

  • Try seltzer or flavored water. While these drinks aren’t as great as water, they could serve as a great, non-sugar-loaded, naturally flavored alternative to sugary or diet sodas!

Let us know what you think, and tag us in your movement for a healthy lifestyle on Instagram @gofitu and use the hashtag #fituniversity!

Use This One Simple Trick to Eat Healthier…

use this one trick to eat healthier

Chances are, you have seen one of these claims online before:

Lose 20 pounds just by drinking this tea on Instagram!

False.

Eat this South American berry and never feel bloated again!

Try again.

Use this wrap and instantly lose cellulite!

Really?

In the health industry, one-step solutions are usually a scam. However, there is one trick that everyone can use for guidance to a healthier life style – portion control.

Yep: it’s that simple.

Use This One Simple Trick to Eat Healthier...

One of the most widespread issues in America is portion sizing; in most restaurants, one serving of food is 250% larger than the suggested portion size. That means if you finish your entire plate of food, (of a dinner that would average around 650 calories) you will have consumed an excess of over 900 calories. The excess food that you would have consumed is greater than the dinner serving itself. Let that sink in.

But to every problem, there exists a solution (unless we’re talking calculus; let’s be real, that’s a never ending plethora of problems that still haunts me to this day—shout out to my mathematician brother). And there is a solution to portion sizing. One way to correct your portion sizes is by using smaller plates and bowls during a meal. The Small Plate Movement is bringing awareness to and promoting action to fix America’s portion control problem simply by promoting the use of a smaller plate at the dinner table. Using a small plate, a portion of food is perceived to be bigger when compared to the same portion on a traditional oversized plate.

Use This One Simple Trick to Eat Healthier... Use This One Simple Trick to Eat Healthier...

So, what are some ways that you can control your portion sizes?

    • Eat with small plates, such as dessert plates (or even your grandmother’s china if you ask nicely). Take it a step further and eat with dessert forks and spoons. I actually prefer to eat with smaller utensil, for portion size’s sake and also because it makes me feel like a giant, and that’s always fun too!
      • Simply putting large dishes in a place where they are not in your direct view or in reach will force you to use the small dishes more often.

Use This One Simple Trick to Eat Healthier...

      • Meal prep in advance. If you prepare your meals in a big batch, put them in single-serving Tupperware. Every meal, eat the food from one of the pre-portioned containers. You will be less likely to go and grab a little bit of extra (which let’s be honest, turns into a lot of extra when you eat family-style) after you’re already full. Plus, your meal can easily become an on-the-go alternative, if necessary. Additionally, try putting snacks in single-serving containers. Snacks are one of easiest foods to accidentally over-consume; dividing them into separate pre-packaged units will lessen your chance of going back and grabbing more.
      • When you’re at a restaurant, ask for a take-out box and pack half of your meal to-go immediately. This way, you don’t accidentally consume the entire oversized plate of food. Plus, you technically get two correctly-portioned meals for the price of one! You could also “order two appetizers instead of one entrée” to change your perception of the quantity of food consumed.

While it is important to enjoy your food, the reality of it is, the majority of Americans consume over-sized portions. But a smaller portion doesn’t necessarily mean less enjoyment! Simply changing your portion sizes to the standard quantity can be a huge step to lead you on the right path to a healthy lifestyle.

The foolproof gluten-free dessert you have to make

gluten-free dessert

Gluten-free, four ingredients, no-bake, and made without butter, refined sugar, or flour. It may seem too good to be true, but it all applies to this delicious fruit tart recipe. With permission from Sally’s Baking Addiction, I tried out her recipe and cannot stop raving about it. I tell my friends, my family, my neighbors, and while most of them tell me to shut up (typical), I am obsessed with how simple and healthy this recipe is.gluten-free dessert This recipe uses dates and raw cashews as a crust. Yep, that’s it. Dos ingredients. Commonly used in energy balls and Larabars, the dates are sweet and adhesive while the cashews add a smooth and buttery texture. Also, Greek yogurt (I used vanilla, but you can use any plain or any other flavor) is substituted for the fatty cream cheese filling. While Greek yogurt might not be as rich as cream cheese, it gets the job done with less fat and a more prominent tart flavor (pun intended) to balance with the sweetness from the fruit and the dates. This treat is also topped with fresh fruit, obviously, but omits the unnecessary sugar-filled glaze.

Now, you may think, “why would anyone want to make this recipe when it doesn’t have any of the rich, delicious (yet unhealthy) ingredients?” Well, since this fruit tart does use healthy, wholesome ingredients, it has a lower fat and sugar content and a higher fiber, protein, antioxidant, and other general health benefits than a traditional tart. Also, the procedure is far simpler than a traditional tart recipe. There are only four ingredients, five steps and you only need a pan/tin, a food processor, and a spoon. And really, who is opposed to easy cooking?

gluten-free dessert

If need more convincing to make this recipe, below are some reasons to try it out:

  • Dates are a low-glycemic index food, which means it will not raise your blood sugar as fast as refined sugar, and are a great source of fiber (1.6g for just one date!). Dates are also a good source of Vitamin B and potassium.
  • Cashews are also a great source of fiber as well as protein and unsaturated fat (0.9g of fiber, 5g of protein, 2.2g of polyunsaturated fat, and 7g of monounsaturated fat per 1 oz!). Additionally, cashews are filled with copper, Vitamin K, and antioxidants that are regarded as anticancer agents.
  • Greek Yogurt has an average of 13-20 g of protein per serving without compromising its creamy texture. To put it in perspective, a serving of Greek yogurt has approximately the same amount of protein as half of a serving of chicken. It also has probiotics to aid digestion.

Healthy, Gluten-Free Fruit Tart Recipe

Ingredients:

Edit Ingredients

  • 15 dates
  • 1½ cups of raw cashews
  • 1 container of Greek yogurt
  • A variety of fresh fruit

Procedure:

  1. Soak the dates in warm water for ten minutes. Drain and slice dates in half to dispose of the seed.
  2. Spray pan (either a tart pan or a muffin tin for mini tarts) with non-stick spray or cover with parchment paper if necessary. I used a non-stick muffin tin, so this step was not needed.
  3. Using a food processor, blend the raw cashews and depitted dates until the mixture is thick and adhesive (see photos for reference)
  4. Spread this crust mixture in your pan, making sure that every part of the pan is covered with the crust, especially at the bottom.
  5. Fill with Greek yogurt and decorate with the fresh fruit.

gluten-free dessert

So go. Try this recipe out. Surprise the friends and family who doubted your ability to make food by presenting them with these beautiful and easy fruit tarts. Prove the Paula Deen’s of this world wrong by showing them that we really don’t need more butter with everything. Eat your healthy heart out and enjoy every moment of it.