Are Sub Sandwiches Really as Healthy as They’re Made Out to Be?

We all saw and heard the ads for the oh-so-witty “JanuANY” special Subway chains around the country were advocating as soon as the first light on New Year’s Day was visible. So, with all the hype about any regular footlong now being a $5 footlong, I became curious.

Fill your plate tastefully: avoid sub sandwiches that could compromise your intentions of eating healthy.

Fill your plate tastefully: avoid sub sandwiches that could compromise your intentions of eating healthy.

Subway is widely considered the “healthiest” fast food option to many people. But, exactly how healthy is a sub sandwich?

I mean, don’t meatball marinara and Philly cheesesteak subs make you question exactly how healthy a sub can be when it’s drizzled in cheese or loaded with potentially fattening meatballs?

It definitely got me questioning the health behind sub sandwiches. So, naturally, like any other 20-year-old, I consulted the internet.

According to NY Daily News, a $5 footlong at Subway might, in fact, be less healthy than a McDonald’s Big Mac. After citing a fascinating UCLA study, they uncovered some very intriguing realizations.

They found, for instance, that Subway’s Big Philly Cheesesteak sub sandwich weighs in at a whopping 1,000 calories and has nearly 2,560 grams of sodium. This turns out to be double that of the esteemed McDonald’s Big Mac, which clocks in at 550 calories with 970 grams of sodium.

What does this mean for that avid sub sandwich eater? Well, don’t freak out right away.

After consulting the NY Daily News article and other sources, I came to the realization that there is a way to avoid consuming all these excess calories that are masked behind a brand that people automatically equate with health.

It’s the added cheeses, excessively oily meats and calorie-rich sauces that really make the sub sandwich you think is a healthy choice an unhealthy one instead.

So, when you’re at Subway, or any other sub sandwich shop for that matter, be conscious of what sort of sub you are getting! Don’t overload on three different types of cheeses, salami and ranch dressing. Remember, moderation is key.

Your best bet is to customize your sub by adding a single slice of cheese of your choice, any cold-cut meat and a lighter dressing.

Wherever you are, whether it’s at downtown Phoenix’s beloved Carly’s or just the Subway on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus, be sure to be cognizant of what type of sub you’re consuming. Don’t fall victim to a great price and a healthy logo!

Stay healthy, my friends!

Late-Night Snacking 101

Hello, hello! Devilishly Healthy is back and is off to a running start! Welcome back, readers. To be honest, I may or may not have gone completely overboard this winter break. Okay, I definitely went overboard. With food, family and so much fun, it was hard to stay on track healthwise. But hey, it’s a new year and now is my chance and your chance to revamp your dietary habits!

Fruit is truly the best option for those late night munchies!

Fruit is truly the best option for those late-night munchies!

This week’s topic is going to focus on late-night snacking. We’re now at that point in the semester where classes have definitely started to pick up, and at this breaking point, our bodies might not have adjusted to the workload. So, we may start to overcompensate when it comes to our nutritional needs.

So can we speak in layman’s terms now?

Do you find that after a long day of classes and a mediocre dinner at 6 p.m., that by 10 p.m. or later your stomach is grumbling? If your answer is yes, good news! You’re not alone.

The bottom line is, sometimes we don’t get the most out of dinner, or we feel inclined to eat a few hours after dinner for no legitimate reason at all. That’s okay — as long as you regulate what you consume after about 6 p.m.

The metabolism is a fascinating thing. It is known that metabolic processes are linked to the time of day you consume food. So what does this mean for you?

Generally speaking, unless you’re some metabolic anomaly, the metabolism functions at its best during the day and slows during the night. So, it’s ideal to eat your biggest meals during the day time and then eat smaller portions as the day goes on.

But what happens when you’re starving at 11 p.m.?

I interviewed ASU sophomore Ashley Garcia, a nutrition major with a concentration in dietetics. She said, while eating late isn’t ideal — the reality is that it does happen.

So we should all be prepared for this!

Garcia said that eating heavy foods with lots of fats and oils are generally not the best options for a midnight snack. But she did say that eating fruits and even dark chocolate is a good option for that late night fix.

Being a college student in the lovely downtown Phoenix, where can you get some good tasting, healthy late-night snacks?

For one thing, Devil’s Greens is a great option. It has the fruit bar and a yogurt bar that can satisfy the sweetness craving while maintaining decent calorie intake.

Another option is to buy some fruit and keep it. I would highly recommend getting your fruit from the Phoenix Public Market. It’s always a good feeling to know you’re shopping locally and eating fruit that isn’t covered in pesticides.

Well, friends, the motto of this week is: when in doubt, eat fruit! When you’re up late studying and you need a quick pick-me-up, whip out a healthy snack that’s fiber-rich. But also, remember that portions are important too!

Stay healthy, my friends!

10 Healthy Holiday Treats

There’s a certain chill in the air, stores are marketing their sales like crazy and Christmas music is playing almost everywhere you go — the holiday season is here!

Traditional holiday treats are so tempting!

Traditional holiday treats are so tempting!

During this festive time, families gather and celebrate the bonds they have. It’s truly a beautiful time. But, often during this time of year, one simple yet vital thing tends to go by the wayside: your health.

The champagne is flowing and buttered ham is roasting on the spit and unhealthy habits are waiting for the opportunity to hijack your fitness progress or push back your future fitness goals.

Don’t let this time of year compromise your health! Make these 10 holiday treats and cut back on your holiday splurging!

  1. Whole-wheat sugar cookies: With less than 300 calories per serving, whole wheat flour can take you a long way with sugar cookies! So when you bake Santa’s cookies, you’ll be doing him a huge favor by making this healthier alternative.
  2. Chocolate-covered strawberries: 57 calories? Who knew? Get that fruit serving in while on break and indulge a little. After all, 57 calories is nothing — but be careful to not have to many of these delectable delights!
  3. Avocado chocolate mousse: This might sound repulsive, but I promise, it’s not. Using avocado as the main ingredient in mousse is one of the most ingenious ideas out there. You can’t taste the avocado replacing the chocolate mousse filling, and it’s so much healthier than regular chocolate mousse.
  4. Oatmeal toffee cookies: Adding oatmeal to almost anything makes it a lot more nutritionally friendly to your body, and especially when it comes to toffee cookies. Throw a handful of oats into your cookie dough, savor the amazing taste and relish in the fact that you’re actually being healthier this holiday season.
  5. Sugared cranberries: Avoid those other confections that are loaded with everything unhealthy. Try a sugared cranberry instead! Yes, it’s sugared, so it’s not the healthiest possible option, but it’s certainly better than the piece of candy you might be tempted to eat.
  6. Cardamom-coconut creme caramel: Creme caramel is a holiday classic for my family, and the way that it’s prepared is anything but healthy! Try adding cardamom and substituting coconut milk for the cream, and you have a concoction that is extremely unique and way healthier than the traditional recipe.
  7. Dark-chocolate orange cake: A derivative of chocolate cake will probably be at every Christmas party you attend. If you host a party or just feel inclined to eat chocolate cake one day, try making a dark-chocolate orange cake. Dark chocolate is much healthier than milk chocolate, and fresh oranges to top the cake add great flavor and nutritional value.
  8. Gingerbread pumpkin bars: Gingerbread is a traditional holiday food for many families. While it’s not the worst thing in the world for you, there are ways to make it a healthier indulgence. Try mixing gluten-free gingerbread with bits of pumpkin! It’s an interesting taste that will have you coming back for more — and at little cost to your waistline.
  9. Gingered cranberry-pear cobbler: Cobblers are a must; everyone knows this. Try marinating cranberries and pears in ginger puree and making cobbler out of it. It’s divine. Also, it’s a lot better for you than a traditional cobbler, because ginger extract is actually full of many nutrients the body uses.
  10. Light eggnog: You can make your own eggnog with reduced-fat milk to cut back on a slew of calories traditional mixes contain. Just mix low-fat milk, eggs, nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon, then boil. Serve over ice. Adding alcohol to the mixture just increases the calorie count without adding any nutritional benefit, so avoid it.

As you can see, these 10 items are fairly easy to make, and each of them has a unique flair. Be that person who has the “cool” food. Be unique and be conscious of what you’re eating.

Well, friends, I wish you an absolutely delightful holiday season, no matter what you celebrate. Have a joyous time this last month of 2013, and make good choices!

Stay healthy!

The Perils of Abusing Energy Drinks

When a sizable amount of the student body is wearing yoga pants, UGGs, and that signature messy ponytail, you know finals are approaching.

Don't be deceived by the hype! Avoid these at all costs.

Don’t be deceived by the hype! Avoid these at all costs.

Finals are just around the corner for college students, and holiday season preparation is beginning to peak! Many people may look to less-than-kosher stimulants to ensure their assignments are completed — energy drinks being one big potential culprit.

People often forget just how bad abusing energy drinks is at any time, but especially at this crucial time in the year.

Energy drinks might give you the buzz you’re looking for in a short-term sense, but continued consumption of energy drinks can negatively impact your health in a way that’s just not worth the one night you’re trying to bust an all-nighter.

Drinks like Monster, Full Throttle, Amp, Rockstar and Red Bull may give you a temporary boost in energy, but they can result in symptoms like nervousness, irritability, insomnia, rapid heartbeat and increased blood pressure.

So what exactly is an energy drink and what makes it bad for you? Energy drinks are stimulants, meaning that they provide both mental and physical stimulation. They contain stimulants such as taurine, ginseng, and carnitine.

However, while these drinks may stimulate your senses in the short term, they can cause harmful neurologic and cardiovascular damage in the long run. Also, they can be very dehydrating if adequate water isn’t consumed.

Additionally, energy drinks are usually very high in sugar! Stay away from them as much as possible. They can cause weight gain, and nobody wants that right before the holiday season!

So maybe you already know just how bad energy drinks are for you — but do you know how to stay energized without them?

Can you say green machine? Green machine is usually a blend of dark green vegetables and some fruit. It’s high in fiber, protein, vitamins and energy! It’s literally all you need to get through those tough days of studying and holiday prep.

Green tea is also a great alternative to sugary energy drinks. It contains a smaller, healthier amount of caffeine and is also known to improve mental clarity.

Protein shakes are also a good substitute for energy drinks. They will boost your energy levels in no time and have the carbs you need to sustain long-term satisfaction.

Last, but certainly not least, get a decent amount of sleep and stay hydrated. Don’t write off sleep and water! They are the ultimate energy boosters and should be an integral part of your routine.

Be sure to avoid abusing energy drinks this year and in years to come! Like many other stimulants, they might help you now, but you’ll regret the effects they’ll have on your health in the future.

Have a safe, successful and simply wonderful holiday break!

How to Stay Moderately Healthy this Thanksgivukkah

A week from today, we will experience something extremely rare — the intersection of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah!

Budget your calorie intake this Thanksgiving!

Budget your calorie intake this Thanksgiving!

So how are you celebrating this holiday anomaly?

Whether you’re having a romantic, candlelit Thanksgiving for two or you’re enjoying the company of your jubilant extended family, one thing’s for sure — this Thanksgiving has to be celebrated on epic proportions.

And no, I don’t mean pig out. This Thanksgiving, I challenge you to control your portions and eat smartly.

This doesn’t mean miss out on your holiday favorites! It just means that you’ll make a few adjustments that shouldn’t affect your overall Thanksgivukkah experience.

Follow these eight steps for a healthier Thanksgivukkah celebration:

  1. Practice portion control: Even though Thanksgiving only comes around once a year, and you might have this raging urge to just eat and eat and eat some more, don’t. Take a little bit of everything at the Thanksgiving buffet, and eat with moderation.
  2. Use low-calorie substitutes: If you’re making any sort of sweet delight this Thanksgiving, cut back on a lot of calories by using a sugar substitute or honey! Any way you can cut back is beneficial to your health, even if it’s as simple as a sugar substitute.
  3. Eat a meal early: Most people think that if they starve themselves all day and “save” up for the big Thanksgiving meal, they will somehow be budgeting calories in an efficient way. This couldn’t be more false! Make sure to eat a meal before the huge feast. That way, you won’t binge later. High-fiber meals in the morning are highly recommended.
  4. Avoid eating seconds: Yes, I know this one may be hard, but try your hardest! Even though everything is going to taste so good, you don’t need more than one serving in one sitting.
  5. Go for the veggie options: Be sure to eat your veggies! Whether they’re boiled, steamed, baked or fresh, eating veggies as part of your Thanksgiving meal will only make your diet that much more balanced.
  6. Try to stick to water as your primary drink: Thanksgiving is one of the many holidays with delicious drinks everywhere, and whether it’s an aged wine or a nice glass of sparkling apple cider, be careful not to drink too many calorie-filled drinks. In fact, if you can stick to water as your main drink, you will be even healthier in the long run. Think of this as calorie budgeting.
  7. Savor your food: Really take your time when chewing. Research has shown that when you chew slower, your digestive processes work better. So be sure to slow down and really enjoy what you’re eating.
  8. Stay away from turkey skin: Turkey skin is a huge no-no! While it may taste delicious to some, it is extremely high in fat. Instead, you should eat the white meat of the turkey.

Ultimately, it’s about sacrificing a little in order to be your healthiest this Thanksgiving. Making a few of these small changes will benefit you immensely! So try them. Give them a shot and notice how much better you’ll feel.

Well folks, now you know how to have a healthy, happy Thanksgivukkah! Follow these eight steps and you won’t feel bad when you’re trying on that new pair of jeans on Black Friday!

Happy Thanksgivukkah – make the most of this special time!

How to Combat Allergy Symptoms without Medication

Allergies are never a convenient addition to your daily activities. Especially not now, when school and work are picking up right before the holiday season arrives! Severe allergies sometimes force us to resort to various drugs and steroids to suppress annoying sniffles, coughs, sneezes and more.

Go natural!

Go natural!

However, it doesn’t always have to be like this.

There are other ways to treat your allergy symptoms without getting loaded up on prescription drugs. And no — these aren’t just old wives’ tales! They are legitimate ways to treat your allergy symptoms without the harsh chemicals found in prescription drugs.

  1. Probiotics: The probiotics found in yogurt and other dairy products are beneficial to your body in more than one way. Not only do they strengthen your immune system against foreign invaders, they also help regulate digestive processes.
  2. Cardamom: Despite its bitter taste, it’s a keeper! Cardamom has been used over the centuries to clear sinuses, and boy, does it work. Grinding up some cardamom and tossing it on top of your tea is sure to clear up a stuffy nose and prevent future congestion.
  3. Honey: Buy local honey! Local honey arms your immune system with the tools it needs to combat allergens that are around you. It’s one of the few ways to prevent allergies as a whole. It’s definitely worth buying!
  4. Herbal teas: Nothing soothes a throat sore from coughing and nasal drip quite like a hot, steamy cup of herbal tea. Green tea, black tea, red tea — you name it! Herbal teas are full of antioxidants and will calm your allergy symptoms within seconds upon consumption.
  5. Cherry juice: Quirky, I know! But it’s true. Cherry juice has actually been shown to decrease allergy symptoms because it is so tart. Much like cardamom, cherry juice opens sinuses and clears your throat, making breathing much easier.
  6. Assorted nuts: A mixture of a variety of nuts has shown to strengthen the body’s reaction to allergens. Aside from being filled with lots of beneficial proteins and fiber, nuts can really help prevent certain allergy symptoms.

Well, there you have it! Avoid going to the pharmacy this winter unless you’ve tried these six options. Unless you’re at risk for pneumonia or bronchitis because of worsening allergy symptoms, these home remedies should help you through the rough patches you may experience this winter!

Make sure you’re ready for the holiday season by frequenting the six options above! Even if you don’t have allergy symptoms, these six options will fortify your immune system and prevent any pathogen from ruining your plans!

Stay healthy, my friends!

Power Salads: a punch of energy and nutrition

During this last month of school, stress levels begin to rise, I feel the hours of the day slip through my fingers, and the cries from my stomach go unanswered. Many days I just feel like I don’t have enough time. Other days because I’m just too lazy to make myself a healthy lunch so I eat out … again. With work, school, homework, projects and a million other things we students have going on, it’s hard to find the time and energy to eat something healthy.

I’ve been looking for an answer to this eternal lunch/snack problem. I think I finally found my answer, and hopefully yours — power salads. They are easy-to-make fast snacks, and are perfect for on-the-go days.

Image via wholeliving.com

Thanks to Pinterest I was introduced to power salads. These salads are no new concept. They have been around and will always be. However, finding a couple of these recipes has been a lifesaver.

Usually when people say they’re having a salad for lunch, everyone assumes it’s a healthy choice, but with the amount dressing or the choice of vegetables (or lack thereof) salads can be a sneaky unhealthy dish. So first, the basics. How is a power salad different from a regular salad?

Power salads include one to two cups of leaves (lettuce, spinach, arugula, kale, etc.), plenty, plenty of different vegetables (think big splashes of color) and a good source of lean protein like chicken, ham, turkey, fish or beans. You can also include a small source of starch like croutons, pasta or even potatoes. For dressing, keep it on the lighter side using lime juice or olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Salads are easy to make, can be prepared in advanced and easy to take with you on the go! I’m seriously in love with these awesome recipes.

Here are a few recipes I particularly love from WholeLiving.com. I’ve changed and adapted some of these recipes to fit my budget and preferences.

1. Caesar Salad
Not your typical Caesar salad! Instead of anchovies, I add canned tuna.

2. Egg and Nut Salad
I choose to take out the firsee (a type of leaf) from this recipe.

Image via WholeLiving.com

Image via WholeLiving.com

3. Waldorf Revisited
I just swap out the ranch dressing for something lighter, like a splash of lime juice.

4. Chicken and Grape Salad
A delicious salad with grapes, almonds and avocados. I love the different flavors, the sweetness and the crunch. You have to try this!

5. The New Nicoise Salad
I know the name sounds flashy but this recipe is great, lean and delicious! I swap out the arugula for romaine lettuce and take out the olives.

Like I said, these salads have been a lifesaver. I prepare them the night before or early in the morning. Most, if not all, of the ingredients are conveniently easy to find and even easier to make.

These power salads offer a great solution during these last weeks of school when the workload picks up and the days seem to get shorter.

Eat up and stay healthy, Devils!

The Paleo Diet: a healthier lifestyle

After a plentiful holiday season with family and friends, many of us are feeling the aftermath of those delicious holiday meals. With the new year well under way, some people are looking to make a healthy lifestyle change, while others may just be looking to shed those extra pounds.

Whatever the motivation behind this lifestyle switch, there is an option out there that is not only healthy but that has also been around since the Paleolithic Era: the Paleo Diet, or, as some call it, the Caveman Diet.

This diet mimics the eating habits of our hunter-gatherer ancestors who ate meat, fish, shellfish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs and berries. The premise is that evolution has genetically molded us to eat like our predecessors 10,000 years ago.

Image via ultimatepaleoguide.com

Image via ultimatepaleoguide.com

No one likes counting calories or carbs. No one likes being told what they can’t eat. By making an immediate or progressive switch to this diet, not only will you lose those extra worrisome pounds, you’ll also see a number of other benefits.

According to Dr. Loren Cordain, author of “The Paleo Diet,” some benefits of the Paleo Diet are higher levels of energy and higher levels of alkaline (thanks to all those fruits and veggies) that result in better resistance against diseases like osteoporosis, asthma or hypertension. The Caveman Diet also improves your blood sugar and insulin levels, which improve your chances against diabetes and all those “itis” diseases.

Image via robbwolf.com

Image via robbwolf.com

Still interested? Here is what the Paleo Diet entails.

The goal is to consume as much meat, fish, eggs, fruit and vegetables as possible while avoiding an excess of starches, grains, dairy, processed foods and salt. Although eliminating potatoes, rice, cheese or milk might be hard for most, some doctors recommend keeping these foods to about 20 percent of your intake. This way you’ll still ease those cheese or potato cravings while still fueling your body efficiently.

Here is a typical Paleo day:

Breakfast: A healthy omelet filled with mushrooms, onions, peppers and broccoli. You can even add some turkey or slices of chicken.

Lunch: A salad with any kind of vegetable you like! Top with either lean meats or seafood. For example, try mixing spinach, bell peppers, cucumbers, avocados, carrots and almonds with some turkey or chicken.

Dinner: Switch the regular spaghetti for squash spaghetti. Then top with meatballs and marinara.

Pretty simple, right? Whether you decide to make the switch or not, aiming towards a healthier lifestyle is always a great choice. Exercising regularly, never eating anything in excess and keeping a positive attitude is already a healthy lifestyle.

Stay healthy, Devils!

For more information on the Paleo Diet and recipes, visit the Paleo Diet site.

Eating healthy: Black bean salad

The term “starving student” isn’t very far off when describing most college students. The cost of a meal plan is outrageous and paying rent takes precedence over just about anything else. When you’re a little short on cash and need something quick and healthy, remember that we’ve all bean there. Try out this no-bake, easy recipe great for vegetarians and perfect for any student who doesn’t want to spend a fortune to feed themselves for a few days.

Black Bean Salad

Photo by Kate Kunkel

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of low-sodium black beans (fat free)
  • 1 can of sweet corn
  • Fresh cilantro
  • 4 fresh tomatoes (or sub for one can of diced tomatoes)
  • 1 lime

Preparation:

  • Open the can of black beans and drain the excess liquid. Dump the beans into a large bowl.
  • Open the can of corn and drain the excess liquid. Add the corn to the beans.
  • Use a cutting board to chop the tomatoes into small cubes. Mix in with the corn and beans.
  • Remove the leafs of cilantro and chop into small pieces. Add those in with everything else.
  • Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice all over the salad.
  • Mix well and enjoy!

Photo by Kate Kunkel

Health Benefits

In addition to being cheap and easy to make, this black bean salad is good and good for you. Black beans are stocked with protein, fiber, antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals. They are considered a low-fat super food and are essential to any vegetarian diet. Corn is high in fiber as well and is a good source of vitamin C. Tomatoes are an excellent anti-oxidant and are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, and are scientifically proven to reduce the risk of strokes and certain cancers.

Because of the fiber, you’ll be surprised with how quickly this meal will fill you up. You can use this as a main dish, side to grilled chicken or as a hearty salsa with multi-grain tortilla chips.

Get cookin’, Devils!