Healthy Food Staples on the Cheap
Health | 

Healthy Food Staples on the Cheap

We live in a world where you don't even have to separate your own egg whites.

When you're busy memorizing the historical significance of shit or doing problem sets, you don't want to spend a copious amount of time on food decisions. So we've done the dirty work for you: These food items are versatile, nutritious, and can be purchased in bulk. And when buying your groceries, don't forget to check out the organic section. Most stores have their own organic brand (like Giant's Nature's Promise ).

Egg whites: We live in a world where you don't even have to separate your own eggs whites. You can literally pour them out of a carton. Sure, you can use regular eggs, but liquid eggs whites are all the protein--without the cals or the mess.

Bananas: What you don't eat, freeze for later. Then blend them into a smoothie or frozen dessert. Frozen fruit in general is a great way to save, but freezing your own bananas is by far the cheapest and most versatile option.

Non-dairy "milk": Get whatever's on sale, be it coconut, almond, hemp, cashew, or rice milk. Check the label to make sure you're getting something nutritious (look for things like added calcium, protein, etc.)

Chia seeds: Buy in bulk, sprinkle on everything, and massively benefit. OK, so here's the deal with chia: In its dry state, it won't do you much good. Rather, it's actually best absorbed when soaked and has developed that gelatinous coating. The easiest way to get your chia? Chia pudding. Stir together 3 tbsp. chia, 1 cup of almond milk, and 1/2 tbsp. honey, let sit for a minute, and throw into the fridge overnight.

Quinoa: Quinoa can go with almost any meal. Throw it in with eggs and veggies for a breakfast scramble, add a bit of maple syrup and fruit to make it into a breakfast porridge, use any which way in a salad, the list goes on. Quinoa is the boss daddy of kitchen grains.

Oatmeal: Easy, nutritious, keeps indefinitely. #winning

Beans: Similar to quinoa, beans go with breakfast, lunch, and dinner--and give your body a fuck-ton of nutrients. Opt for dry over canned to avoid the unnecessary sodium. Soak them overnight and they'll cook faster. Obvi skip them if you plan on hooking up in the next 12 hours or so.

Chicken: Buy in bulk and freeze in individual-size containers. Defrost as needed. Chicken doesn't keep that long once it's out of the freezer, so never cook a portion that will last you for more than 3-4 days.

Dates: Dates are the perfect snack to tackle sugar cravings in the healthiest way ever. Chop them up to sprinkle on yogurt or granola--or stuff with walnuts or almonds for an extra crunch.

Nut butter: Spread it on toast, dip your celery into it, or throw into a smoothie for extra deliciousness--the world is your oyster. They come in little packets now so you don't over-do it eating out of jar. Not that I do that or anything...

Image Alt
Health | 

5 Dorm Room Meals Better than Ramen

Pretty much all of them, but stick with me.

Ramen's great and all. It's cheap, easy, and doesn't taste that bad. But after a while, it gets pretty gross


I'm sharing my five go-to replacements for Ramen when you're cooking on a budget and your time is limited.

1. Pita Pizzas: Seriously, I live on these. Just spread tomato sauce and sliced fresh mozzarella on pita bread and put it in the oven at 350 degrees for five minutes, or microwave five minutes instead, if you absolutely must. Add more toppings if you wish! At $2.33, it's cheaper than any pizzeria, and it's much healthier.


2. Avocado Anything: Purchase an avocado. Slice it in half. Take out the seed. Spoon it out of the skin. Mix with salt, lemon, and anything else you want to add. Tomato, garlic, salsa, and hummus are optional. You have a great lunch to-go ready in less than five minutes.


3. Macaroni and Cheese: I'm not talking about the store-bought microwavable cups here. Do it yourself with ingredients you can actually pronounce. Put 1/3 cup macaroni and about 1/2 cup of water into a mug and microwave for six minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/3 cup of your favorite cheese, microwave for another 30 seconds, and then add 2 tbsp. of milk. You'll have a macaroni and cheese meal ready in 10 minutes.


4. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: Slice open a sweet potato, microwave for seven to eight minutes, and then add toppings like (more) avocado, black beans, shredded cheese, salsa, greek yogurt, or anything else you've got around.


5. Better Ramen: Plain Ramen is completely boring, but there's so many ways to mix it up if you're set on it. You can add eggs, or vegetables, or meat, or sauces. If you're feeling creative, try something different like a Ramen taco or Ramen salad. In fact, there are at least 30 ways to upgrade your Ramen.


You don't have to quit Ramen (even though having almost 40 percent of the recommended daily saturated fat in just one container is a good reason to), but mix it up sometimes! There's so many meals that are just as inexpensive and easy to make, but so much healthier and more delicious, so try a new recipe sometime! You never know if it'll become your next go-to Ramen replacement.

Image Alt
Health |  Source: L. Smith, Shutterstock

The Realistic College Summer Diet

For the fresher you.

When I returned from nine months of eating pasta, pizza, gelato and cannolis on the daily, I wound up donating nearly all my shorts and pants, because they wouldn't fit over my butt.

Shocker. 'Freshman fifteen?' More like 'Florence fifty.'

While I was away, I wasn't happy with my appearance (who ever really is?), but I was not going to sacrifice the tantalizing European cuisine. I told myself I would enjoy the food while I could and return to a healthy exercise and eating plan when States-bound.

I researched diets on Pinterest and wrote out strict workout schedules to help me drop some of the weight I inevitably gained. VS Model Bod, here I come was my mentality.

I've been home for just over a month now, and I have miraculously lost 15 pounds within that short time frame. However, it didn't happen the way I anticipated it to. I didn't pay any attention to the diets or workout routines I picked.

Instead, I found my own diet: trying not to eat anything that comes out of a plastic bag in addition to exercising when I can.

I'd call this diet "The Realistic College Summer Diet."

Eating food that doesn't come out of a plastic bag (a habit I picked up in Italy due to their presence of munchies at the smaller grocery stores) is not as hard as one might think. It involves indulging in lots of fresh fruits and vegetables which replaces Cheezits, Lays and Goldfish. Avoiding preservatives has become a priority, and the results have me feeling much better about myself and my diet.

I also haven't been eating as much red meat. I gravitate more towards fish, chicken, pork, beans and nuts to get my protein fix. In addition, I stray away from the sodas and juices, sticking mainly to water, tea and coffee.

As for the exercise, it really comes down to timing.

I work eight hours per day five days a week. Sometimes I don't have the energy at the end of the day to work out, and sometimes the weather just doesn't cooperate. If you miss a day, don't stress out. Yes, you should always try to find time to exercise throughout the day, but obsessing over a tight workout schedule isn't going to make you any more fit.

Most people have their own views on how to be a healthy eater or maintaining a 'balanced diet.' Some work better for others. But if you're looking to try a new style of eating this summer, try this one. It's very easy to follow, and you don't have to think much about it.

Your local farmers' market will be your new go-to. It's nearly impossible to stay away from some sweets, so don't be too hard on yourself. An ice cream cone, a Sex on the Beach or a chocolate bar once in awhile isn't going to kill you.

Try eating as fresh as you can and keeping a positive attitude. You'd be surprised how far it'll get you.

Here are some food ideas to get you started:

Salads: there's a plethora of combinations with vegetables, cheeses, protein, dressings, etc.
Snacks: carrots, dried fruit, nuts, celery with peanut butter, baked apples with cinnamon.
Yogurt parfaits: fresh fruit, granola, Greek yogurt, honey.
Toast: avocado on toasted bread from the farmers' market with a sunny side egg on top? A layer of peanut butter topped with sliced bananas and raisins on toast? Hellz yes!
Smoothies: what's in your green machine?
Dinners: roasted vegetables with garlic, rice or couscous and grilled salmon.

Image Alt
Health | 

Natch, Cheap Ingredients for Amazing Skin

Glow baby, glow.

They say you can only choose two of three in college: good grades, a social life, or sleep. If you're like most people, you sacrifice sleep. But when we don't get enough rest, our cells don't have enough time to properly regenerate, so we compensate with sugar and caffeine, end up vitamin-deficient and dehydrated, and it's our skin that suffers. So here are a few quick staples to add to your beauty routine for that spa treatment feeling on a student budget.
1. Water: There's a reason water tops every list of health advice ever given. Want to spend less on moisturizers? Drink more water. Your skin will be hydrated from within, and you won't have to use a whole jar of cream just to keep from feeling like a puff pastry.
2. Coconut oil: Coconut oil contains the antioxidant Vitamin E, which protects skin cells from damage over time, soothes eczema, sunburn, and psoriasis. It also has antiviral and antifungal benefits.
3. Honey: Honey also has powerful antibacterial properties, so despite how counterintuitive it may seem to put something sweet and sticky on acne-prone skin, your face will thank you.
4. Oatmeal: A great natural exfoliator, mix oatmeal with yogurt and honey for a smoothing, moisturizing mask.
5. Baking soda: This is a great exfoliator for problematic and oily skin. Mix with water until it forms a thick paste, and apply. Make sure to tuck a paper towel into your shirt because this stuff will crumble and make your look like a cokehead.
6. Eggs: Eggs are incredibly versatile. Use the yolk alone to create a healing and moisturizing mask, or beat the egg whites until frothy, then apply for a pore-tightening, skin clearing effect. But be sure to wash either mixture really thoroughly to avoid smelling like a raw egg (not sexy).
7. Yogurt: Yogurt is a natural probiotic containing lactic acid; it moisturizes, shrinks pores, and tames break-outs. (So long as you're not allergic to dairy!) Be sure to get the plain kind with live and active cultures to reap the maximum benefits.
8. Nutmeg: Nutmeg is a great addition to a honey mask--throw in some cinnamon while you're at it for an extra yummy exfoliator. Nutmeg is also antiviral and antimicrobial and helps reduce redness and acne scars!
9. Lemon juice: Lemon juice exfoliates the skin, reduces oil, and helps reduce the appearance of scars and age spots. Mix in with honey and yogurt for a soothing and lightening mask.
10. Bananas: Bananas are rich in potassium and give your face an amazing boost of moisture. They even can help heal blemishes. Bananas are great on their own, but adding honey and nutmeg really supercharges this facial.
While skin conditions are often treated topically, it's important to remember that skin is best healed from the inside: this means figuring out an optimal diet for yourself, getting enough exercise, and drinking enough water. Consider going to an allergist or nutritionist if you are concerned about how your diet is affecting your skin.
Source: ROBYN514
Image Alt
Health | 

Lauryn Evarts Tips For Staying Fit, Saving Money, and Spending Less Time Doing It

Lauryn Evarts of The Skinny Confidential

I'm Lauryn, creator of The Skinny Confidential, and I'm super excited to be guest posting on FlockU today!

Let me start by saying, I feel for you guys. I remember the struggles of college life all too well: being broke as a joke, not knowing where the hell your next class is located on a giant-ass campus, the Freshman 15 (Ouch! The worst). The college struggle is real, and unless you aspire to be one of those "Super Seniors," you've got four long years of it.

I look back and thank my college days for one thing though: due to the lack of healthy food options on campus, during college I seriously improved my food modification skills, spending habits, and figured out how to work out in tiny living spaces. I guess I have San Diego State University to thank for my current career as a lifestyle blogger!

Today I'm sharing all the goods I've learned with you guys. I swear eating healthy, staying physically fit, and saving money is possible in college.

Here are my 4 tips to avoid packing on the extra pounds in college, save some money, and spend less time doing it.

Source: Lauryn Evarts

1. Say it with me: "MOD-I-FY!"

This one's a biggie, and being completely annoying about it is not only acceptable, it's encouraged.

I talk about this a lot in my book, A Babes Sexy, Sassy Lifestyle Guide. When eating out, or on campus, modify EVERYTHING. For example, if you order a breakfast sandwich, take off one side of bread. If you can swap lettuce for spinach or kale, do it. Find substitutions for the fatty, chemical filled, GMO crap, and constantly ask for the alternatives. There are so many ways you can switch up a meal to make it healthier. My fianc? Michael gets totally annoyed with me over this, but I don't care. It's a game changer, you'll be shocked how much modifying meals can keep you from gaining extra weight.

2. Ditch the fatty fraps and extra LB lattes

Instead, go for a skinny, healthy version. I make my own coffee drinks at home, and let me tell ya, I'm obsessed. Not only do they taste way better, making coffee at home is waayy cheaper! Don't even get me started on the nasty syrups loaded with a bunch of gross chemicals they put in coffee these days. Noooo thank you. I prefer my coffee loaded with antioxidants and vitamins. Just try it, you'll be shocked how energized you'll feel from your AM coffee. Add cinnamon as a sweetener to balance out your blood sugar, and use a non dairy milk like unsweetened coconut or almond.

Source: Lauryn Evarts

Here are my fave at-home coffee recipes:

The Skinny Chia Latte

Sexy AM Coffee

Peace Out Fake Sugar Pumpkin Spice Latte

Taste Bud Shocking Vanilla Frap

3. Make eating easy

TSC is all about the KISS theory, aka Keep It Simple, Stupid.

In college, sticking to the KISS theory really helped me out. I could wake up, make breakfast, and be out the door in 30 minutes because I kept my meals to around 3 ingredients. My advice: keep your favorite flavors and spices around ( I always have chile flakes and cinnamon around ) so you can easily spice up any quick recipe.

Here are some of my favorite quick and easy recipes:

1 Minute, High Protein, Heavenly Banana Bread

Dorm Room Quinoa Salad

3 Ingredient Pancakes

4. Learn how to work out in small spaces with no equipment

Gyms cost money. Driving, biking or walking to the gym takes time. In college, you've got a million people to meet, friends to see, parties to go to, the occasional class to attend. Nobody has time to spend hours in the gym.

Well, you don't need a gym membership to get a kick ass, effective workout. Most of the workouts I do require ZERO equipment, or maybe a pair of 3 to 5-pound dumbbells. I'm all about quick, effective workouts you can do in a space smaller than your dorm room using your own body weight to tone and tighten.

There are plenty of YouTube vids out there that are free free free.

Source: Lauryn Evarts

If you're looking for workout examples, I recently launched The Bombshell Body Guide , all of the workouts in this guide are 27 minutes, will seriously kick your ass, and can be completed in your dorm room, hotel, closet, outside--seriously anywhere!

Good luck guys and keep it simple.

And definitely feel free to reach out to me via The Skinny Confidential, Instagram or Twitter , if you're looking for more tips on fitness, beauty, clean eating, and overall lifestyle.



Image Alt
Health | 

Protein Isn't Just for Dudes

My favorite protein shake recipes, as told by a (health-conscious) girl.

I've always been a protein drinker, and a fan of the many benefits of incorporating said protein into my workout regiment. But I started to get sick of the basic mix with milk or water routine, so here are some of my favorite shake and smoothie recipes. Bonus: Add in some vegetables whenever you can. I promise you won't even notice.

Apple Pie Protein Shake
1 serving vanilla protein powder
1 cup of ice
1 cup of plain greek yogurt
1 cut up apple
1 banana
1/2 cup of kale
10 almonds
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp honey

Orange Creamsicle
1 serving of vanilla protein powder
1 cup of ice
1 cup of vanilla greek yogurt
1 large orange
5 carrots
1/2 a banana
3/4 cup of orange juice

Chocolate Banana
1 serving vanilla protein powder
1 cup of ice
1 cup of plain greek yogurt
1 large banana
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp honey
10 almonds

Green Pineapple
1 serving vanilla protein powder
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup of ice
1 large banana
1 cup of pineapple
2 cups of kale
1 tbsp honey