Is Coffee Good For You?

Ah, coffee. My pride and joy — the reason I get out of bed. But, what if it’s actually causing you to stay out of bed, even when you need to wake up in, say, a mere five hours? We’ve heard back-and-forth banter about whether or not it’s a myth that coffee is good for you and offers a whole array of health benefits. The other day I heard a couple conversing, and one asked, “Is coffee good for you? It can’t be, right?” Wrong!

The health impacts of coffee have long been a controversial topic, as there are two sides to every story. Pro-coffee connoisseurs promote coffee’s antioxidants, while those on the other side name the downsides, such as insomnia, increased heart rate and blood pressure.

Fear not: drinking coffee may be healthier for you than you thought. Well, it all comes down to what’s in your coffee, how much you drink, and when you drink it. Let’s break it down.

Three to Five Cups A Day: A-Okay!

Grab that java! A study of 25,000 participants in South Korea found that moderate daily consumption of coffee, or three to five cups, is correlated with a decreased risk for coronary artery calcium. The middle of the ground, four cups of coffee, was also found to reduce one’s risk of melanoma, a very dangerous form of skin cancer. A high amount of coffee consumption, or four to six cups a day, reduced coffee-sippers risks of getting multiple sclerosis (MS).

Before you start downing your fifth cup today, be sure to drop the cream and sugar. Drinking coffee with a loaded amount of cream and sugar and calling it “healthy” is the equivalent to deep frying potatoes and calling it healthy. (French fries for health!) If you can’t stand drinking completely black coffee, opt for a little bit of cream and a little bit of sugar. Just keep it to a minimum and be sure to choose all-natural sugar as opposed to artificial sweeteners.

Proven to Reduce Depression

Many studies conducted have linked coffee consumption to lower rates of depression in both men and women.  In several studies, the data suggested a relationship between coffee consumption and depression: in other words, heavy coffee drinkers seemed to have the lowest risk (up to 20 percent) of depression.

Lessening Your Risk of Type II Diabetes

A study from the Archives of Internal Medicine shows those who consumed six or more cups of coffee a day had a 22% lower risk of diabetes. A review of research conducted by Harvard’s Dr. Frank Hu showed that the risk of type II diabetes decreases by 9% for each daily cup of coffee consumed.

Your Liver on Coffee…

Aside from actually lowering the risk of liver cancer, coffee consumption has also been linked to a lower incidence of cirrhosis of the liver. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed an inverse relationship between increased coffee consumption and a decreased risk of cirrhosis, or a 20 percent reduction for each cup consumed (when consumed up to four cups).

Grab Decaf after 2 P.M.

We all know coffee is a stimulant just like soda, energy drinks, and some teas — that’s why we enjoy drinking it so much to stay alert. But be sure to keep an eye on the clock when you’re going for that afternoon coffee as you should stop drinking coffee about ten hours before you go to bed to reduce any sleeping issues. (No one likes waking up in the morning exhausted; it affects performance, happiness, and alertness.)

So, Is Coffee Good For You?

If you keep it to a minimum, drink your coffee in its (mostly) pure form, and watch the clock, you can see the many health benefits of consuming coffee. Just remember, if you’re sensitive to caffeine, try and reduce your caffeine consumption even more.

What’s your go-to caffeine kick? Or, do you prefer the au-natural boosts of sleeping a good 8 hours a night?

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via

list of healthy foods

You Need This List of Healthy Foods in Your Fridge

I recently wrote an article for Lifehack on the 20 healthy foods everyone should keep in their fridge. (Hint: You can have your peanut butter and eat it too!)

Here’s a little teaser of the top five:

1. Eggs


Eggs are an excellent breakfast choice and are a go-to source of high-quality protein, nutrients and vitamins. If you’re in a hurry or relaxing at home, eggs are a great way to enjoy your breakfast without feeling bloated or unhealthy. (Sorry waffles!!)

Plus, they’re inexpensive and filling. If you like a sweeter version, I like to add a dash of cinnamon and vanilla extract to my scrambled eggs! (Like French toast without the bread and sugar!)

2. Chicken and Lean Meat


What is considered “lean meat”? Lean meats are relatively low in fat and are usually skinless. Chicken and other lean meats are essential healthy foods to keep around as they can make a main course pop with just the right ingredients. In a pinch, mix chicken, stir-fried veggies, and soy sauce for a healthier version of take-out.

3. Apples


What better breakfast, snack, or dessert than a succulent, crisp apple? Not only are apples fiber-laden, but they’re great for helping people lose weight. Try slicing an apple up and tossing it in your morning oatmeal with a dash of cinnamon. You can find a ton of creative recipes, or enjoy them straight out of the fridge!

4. Yogurt

greek yogurt-healthy-foods

Now, before you grab that 200-calorie topping-heavy yogurt with loaded sugars (artificial or not), stop! The best type of yogurt to eat is plain Greek yogurt with added toppings like fruit, nuts, seeds, or a drizzle of honey. (Greek yogurt also makes a great substitution for mayo in chicken salad!) Greek yogurt makes for a satisfying dessert, breakfast, snack — or even dinner!

5. Cheese


Cheese lovers, rejoice! Yes, cheese can be a healthy food! You just have to watch your proportions. Low-fat, part-skim string cheese and shredded cheeses are a delicious addition that can add a huge flavor punch to many recipes or on their own (String cheese is my go-to lunch snack; I’m still a child at heart!). Just be sure to eat sparingly — (I know, it’s hard) as cheese can add a lot of fat and sodium to your diet before you can even think to drop the cracker. Treat yourself to a better-quality cheese so you’ll not feel the urge to overindulge.

Check out the list of all twenty here!


how to work from home

How to Work From Home and Nail It

I’m straying away from my usually lifestyle pieces to turn to a topic I’ve been quite familiar with for the last six months or so: working from home. It’s both the best thing in the world, and many times, the worst. I like waking up at 8:30 in the morning and working from my bed, but that only lasts so long until I start chugging endless cups of coffee and bouncing off the walls, probably blasting the latest Drake album or something. I don’t do that in an office. The best way to learn how to work from home comes with pretending you’re going into a office, forget that you’re in your own living quarters, and create an office space, even if you don’t have an additional room.

It should be easy to work from home, right? Hmm…maybe for you, but I’m a coffee addict and me + coffee + my apartment = a recipe for disaster and a lack of accomplishments.

Follow these tips to maintain your sanity while typing away from the luxury of your bed:

1. Turn Off Your Phone and Put it Away


This one is my number one favorite. Ever since I decided to take the “smart phone leap” my junior year in college, I’ve been a fiend since. It’s not on purpose, it just is. (I’m trying to get better.) To be honest, knowing you may have a message or two awaiting for you during your lunch break is more fun than always responding to your messages right as they come in. In fact, research from The Harvard Business Review suggests that sound alerts from your phone, whether it be a simple ding or vibration, can make you less productive and more prone to mistakes.

Do you ever get annoyed when someone doesn’t respond right away? Don’t focus on the negative and start getting what really needs to be done accomplished.

2. Stay Away From Your Social Media Accounts

Seriously, whether or not your friends are “re-gramming” last week’s impromptu vacation or just about TBT it doesn’t matter. You can care about that once 5 o’clock comes around…if at all 😉 Around 60 to 80 percent of Americans admit they don’t go online for anything necessary, but rather to kill time or be entertained.

Social media is great if it helps benefit you for work, but your personal accounts won’t benefit you any. It doesn’t matter during your work hours what your friends ate for dinner last night, or that your neighbor bought a new watch. Chances are, you won’t feel any better checking social media anyway.

Reddit, Imgur, even Twitter are everyday websites I go to for work, but I make sure to never log into my own account. It’s a dead-end!

3. Stop With the FOMO


Ok, you’re not in an office with a puppy or a Keurig machine, or you’re not getting  free bagels on Friday. It’s okay! You didn’t have to commute, you’re working from the comfort of your home, and you can buy your own bagels for only a few dollars a bag. Or, better yet, grab some fruit and veggies or whip yourself up an omelette! You can’t do that in an office.

When all else fails, there’s nothing wrong with checking out some TED talks on productivity!

4. Coffee Shops are Work Spaces Too

Sometimes when I’m feeling down or unproductive, I hit up one of my neighborhood coffee spaces, which I know is good for working. (Atmosphere = everything!) When you’re around other productive people, you can be more productive too, even if you go in for just a few hours. Get a headstart on your work, and you’ll be done in no time.

5. Silence is Golden


Do you ever feel a constant need to put in ear buds when you’re at work because of all the outside sound? Yeah, well, who’s talking when you’re at home? (Unless your dog is yapping or you’ve got a roommate!)

Appreciate the silence, but if it’s getting to you, then take a trip outside, call a friend, turn on some productivity-enhancing music, whatever it may be that helps you concentrate. In fact, Business Insider recommends nature sounds with no lyrics to help you stay on task and even enhance your cognitive functioning.

6. Set Goals For Yourself

I love setting goals for myself, especially when I work from home. I used to struggle  to write a 400-word article in several days in college, and now I aim to write 500-600 words in an hour. Not rushing or being sloppy with my writing, just making sure I block out any distractions and just writing. There’s always time for editing, but it’s much easier to edit when you already have something to work with.

7. Give Yourself Breaks

How to be productive when you work from home

No one ever suggested working 8-hour days without getting up for food, exercise, sanity breaks, etc. You’re at home after all, so take some time to turn on the TV for a little while, binge on some daytime television (oh what fun!) and go back to work. You’ll probably enjoy working more than watching those terrible re-runs on TV.

If you work best in sprints of 3-4 hours, then set an alarm for a specific time to remind yourself to get up and take a break. If it’s warm outside, I try and run during my lunch breaks or even take a walk. Figure out what works best for you!

8. Think Longterm Benefits

Last I checked, you can’t get a promotion, a raise, or a congratulatory thank you from your boss or peers when you’re perusing endless cat videos on YouTube. Think about what you wish to accomplish from your job, your work, your career, even a month down the road. Do you have big dreams and goals for yourself? I sure hope so!

9. Have a Schedule and Stick To It

home office

When I’m working from home, I like to plan my day right when I wake up in the morning and make sure I don’t spend too much time on one  task. If I know I have a blog post to write that day, I’ll try and dedicate an hour to research so I don’t start going off-track. If I have a huge post to promote by the end of the week, I’ll spend a few hours during the day making sure I’m all set to promote right as the piece goes live.

10. Reaching Success

Remember, productivity is good! Accomplishing your tasks feels amazing, especially when you go above and beyond to complete your goals. Reserve the “fun” stuff for your lunch break and please please please don’t check your Facebook unless you’re posting your latest article for work! Only you can figure out how to work from home to achieve the most success.


5 Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions in Check

new year's resolution

New year, new year’s resolutions? Eh, I talk, but it never goes further than, “I’m going to try and go to the gym more,” or, “I’m going to learn how to play this instrument,” etc. Sadly. My thing is: What do I really want to do this year that I didn’t (or couldn’t) do last year?

Research from 2015 actually suggests that approximately 50% of Americans make resolutions, while only 8% keep them. It’s a new year, so why do our new year’s resolutions go out the window?

Maybe we’re dreaming too big, or setting the bar too high. Maybe we just can’t shake our current situation and lose all hope by mid-January. (Let’s hope not!)

Have no fear! Keep your goals in check, and you’ll be reaching them in no time:

1. When It Comes to New Year’s Resolutions, Think Big Picture

New Year, New Goal

If your goal is to “be healthier,” how healthy do you want to be? Are you looking to be healthier to lose weight, or are you looking to be healthier for overall better health? If you have an exact goal in mind and think in terms of the big picture, you’ll be sure to know what you’re striving towards.

2. Don’t Punish Yourself

New Year's Resolution: Don't Punish Yourself

Slipping up happens, and nobody’s perfect (especially on weekends or when you’re under the weather.) If your goal in mind is to hit the gym three times a week, and one week you only go twice, don’t give it an “all-or-nothing” attitude and give up from there. It’s okay to not hit your goal every single week. What counts is that you’re putting an efforts towards your goal, instead of writing it down and forgetting to make it a reality.

3. Take Note of Your Progress

New Years Resolutions Track Progress

How are you going to figure out your progress if you haven’t been writing it down? If you’re trying to learn an instrument, write down which chords and notes you learned and when. If you’re trying to become a better dancer, write down your progress in a daily journal or on your computer. If you physically see the results and progress, you’ll be sure to keep up the hard work.

4. Get Friends and Family Involved

New year's resolutions: involve friends

Hey, isn’t everything more fun when you’re doing it with your friends? If you make it a joint effort, such as, “Save ‘this amount of money’ by the end of each month,” it can become a fun involvement to help both you and your friends/family become more financially savvy. (Of course the amounts you save don’t have to be the same!) Even if your actual goal is to spend more time with friends and family, then there’s no other way to do it than to involve your friends and family, themselves!

5. Reward Yourself

give yourself a reward for sticking to your new year's resolutions

Everyone likes rewards, especially when you’re able to personally give YOURSELF a reward! When you reach a benchmark, reward yourself, whether through treating yourself to dinner, a night out, or even just a day to relax and unwind. We all have goals, but even Olympic athletes need days off.

What are your new year’s resolutions? Let me know if a comment below!

Dry Hair? Here's The Best Shampoo to Bring an End to Those Split Ends

I May Have Found The Best Shampoo For Dry Hair…

Dry Hair? Here's The Best Shampoo to Bring an End to Those Split Ends

Want to bring an end to your split ends? Well, you can’t quite do that without a haircut, but what you can do is find a remedy to improve your hair’s condition without cutting off your ends sooner than you’d like. To find the best shampoo for dry hair doesn’t need to be challenging — in fact, it can be easier than you think..

When it comes to finding the right shampoo and conditioner for my hair, I’m constantly on a quest. One day my hair is dry and curly, the other it’s smooth and straight. Unfortunately, with the weather changing, my hair has been getting more and more dry.

I’ve done it all: Tried various kinds of shampoos for various hair textures, changed my diet, stopped coloring my hair, and stopped applying heat to it altogether. The more I tried, the worse it seemed to get.

If you’re like me and have dry hair but can’t seem to figure out the cause, that’s because there’s no single cause. Dry hair can result be caused by:

  • Chlorine from the pool
  • Spending most of your time outdoors and in the sun (especially if you live in a hotter climate)
  • Blow-drying your hair daily.
  • Chemically treating your hair

So, everything good in life? That’s what I thought when I finally found a shampoo and conditioner that actually treated my hair well.

The shampoo and conditioner that I’m lusting over right now is Bumble and Bumble’s Seaweed Shampoo and Conditioner. Yup, you heard right! It’s made from marine seaweed, kelp, and spirulina. (Green smoothie anyone?)

If you’re wondering if it smells like your sushi dinner, it doesn’t! It practically doesn’t have a scent at all, which I love because there aren’t any additives in it to make my hair smell like a cocktail.

I’ve experimented with hair products that were supposedly for dry hair and ended up drying my hair out even more and making it brittle and lifeless. (It’s not like you can try a small shampoo of shampoo and decide whether or not you like it, like you can with makeup.)

There never seemed to be a suitable way out of this problem until I tried using hair products with more natural ingredients and less unpronounceable ingredients. If I already make these choices with my food, why wouldn’t I with my shampoo?

I’m always on a mission to find the most mild daily shampoo I can find because I want to make sure I’m adding enough moisture to my locks. This shampoo-condition combo is so gentle on my hair, and, plus I barely have to use any product. After a few washings, my hair was so much smoother, softer, and healthier-looking. These products are gentle enough to be used on a variety of hair types and textures, so they’re great for daily use.

Though I don’t like to spend money on shampoo when half the time, I don’t get the results I want, I’ve had my two eight-ounce bottles since last Christmas, and they’re still going strong (but heading close to completion). I wonder what I’ll be requesting this year for Christmas…

What’s your favorite go-to shampoo for your hair texture?


What kinds of sushi are healthy?

Is Sushi Healthy?

What kinds of sushi are healthy?

If you asked me what my ideal last meal would be? I would probably say California rolls. (Either that or a honeygrow salad. But I’ll take a muffin too!) I used to assume sushi had tons of health benefits, regardless of its ingredients. In fact, I was wondering the other day, “Is sushi healthy? Is this just something I’ve been assuming, yet I’ve been wrong?”

There are few things I enjoy more in than eating high-quality sushi that you know is freshly made. To best completely honest, I rarely stray far from the cooked and vegetable sushi options. I know that some people swear by the raw rolls (and that I’m not eating “official” sushi when the fish is cooked), but hey, I enjoy it nonetheless.

A few weeks ago, I was eating a set of California rolls when I discovered that the crab I was eating was actually imitation. (I received a whole lot of, “You didn’t know that?! from friends). No, I assumed crab was crab, and only the supermarkets sold the “imitation” version.

Well, what exactly is imitation crab? The crab sushi restaurants use is actually called “surimi,” which means ground meat. (Gulp.) Surimi is a combination of different kinds of fish, often added with starch,  sodium, and artificial flavors. (Double gulp.)

I stopped eating and thought: “Well then, if I’m eating the equivalent of a Lunchable, then I guess this isn’t actually healthy?”

Well, it all depends! Luckily, you have the option of asking for real crab instead of imitation crab. It costs a little bit more, but wouldn’t you rather enjoy the health (and taste) benefits of real crab?

On the other hand, if you’re eating deep-fried shrimp tempura or sushi loaded with mayo and cream cheese, then you’re not enjoying the many health benefits of other kinds of low-fat, protein-filled sushis. Many sushi rolls are considered healthy foods and are a great source of omega-3 fat (the healthy kind of fat) and other vitamins and minerals.

To enjoy all the healthy benefits of sushi, make these substitutes when choosing your rolls:

Brown Rice Over White Rice

I cannot stress this enough! I personally find brown rice to be more satisfying, filling, and tasty than white rice, which is just brown rice that’s zapped of its nutrients. (Yeah, not satisfying.) Whole grain brown rice is packed with fiber, so it’s great for your digestive system. It keeps you full and satisfied, so you’re not craving fried ice cream afterwards. Unless specified, sushi comes with traditional white rice, so don’t forget to ask for brown rice!

If you don’t want a huge portion of rice interfering with the flavor, you can request half the rice. (Yes, you can do that, as well. Remember, it’s made fresh, so you can custom order.) If you really don’t want any rice, opt for sashimi, or plain, raw fish without rice. If you prefer cooked or vegetable rolls, you can also opt for nori, which is dried seaweed, wrapped around your filling. Nori is packed with fiber, protein, and a number of vitamins, making your sushi even healthier.

Wasabi Over Mayo (And Other Sauces)

Wasabi, the little green paste on the side of your dish (which is actually really just a combination of horseradish powder and mustard — it’s rare to find actual “wasabi” in America) packs a loaded spicy punch to your sushi. And — it’s healthy!

Like spicy? Well ordering a set of “spicy tuna rolls” is unfortunately taking a perfectly healthy food (tuna) and pairing it with unhealthy sauces (calorie-packed heavy spicy mayo) and then deep-frying it. Doesn’t sound like traditional sushi to me.

Why take away the flavor of the tuna by adding an everyday condiment anyway? (Can you even taste the tuna?)  If you’re not too keen on spicy, you can also get a roll filled with avocado, which offers additional flavor, taste, and added vitamins. (Or — try some ginger, the pink side that you’re also offered with your sushi. It’s great for digestion!)

Vegetables Rolls Over Seafood Rolls

I know, maybe you’re thinking, “Why would I eat vegetable rolls when I get sushi?” but vegetable rolls are just as delicious. Plus, eating vegetable rolls is a great way of incorporating more veggies to your diet. (I didn’t say you couldn’t also order a set of seafood rolls! Just don’t order an excessive amount.) I love avocado and squash rolls, or just ordinary veggie rolls, which are filled with nutritious nori, cucumber, carrots, avocado, and occasionally, squash. (Many vegetable rolls include “sea vegetables,” or, yes, vegetables from the sea, which are a powerful healing food and are delicious). Go for the perfect balance when choosing your rolls. You won’t be disappointed!

Tuna Over Tempura

I told you that you could have your seafood as well and still enjoy it raw! Tuna is a very healthy fish, which is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which can actually reduce abdominal weight. So yes, fatty fish is good for you, too, as it contains unsaturated fat, which boosts brainpower and protects your heart. (Got a test coming up? Eat some tuna.)

On the other hand, tempura is a code word for “fried,” which will actually increase your risk of heart disease. (And it sure isn’t brain food.) Plus, do you really need fried batter for your sushi to taste great? It’s not a doughnut!

Less Over More

When it comes to sushi, less is more. If you’re a chopstick novice, practice perfecting your chopsticks to enjoy your rolls at a slower pace. Don’t down a set of rolls before you actually taste the fresh ingredients. A typical serving size is one set of rolls (about six pieces), so don’t go crazy and order everything on the menu (and then dessert). Still hungry? Try a green salad with delicious ginger sauce, or a bowl of miso soup, which has less than 75 calories and offers a powerful kick of nutrients. Avoid added ingredients and unnecessary sauces when you can eat and enjoy traditional sushi — minus the calories.

So, yes, you can eat sushi as a healthy lunch or dinner, but don’t forget to be smart when ordering. (Sorry, Philly, but I’ll skip the cream cheese.)

So is sushi healthy?

You can enjoy the simplicity of seafood and vegetables without adding a thick batter, deep-frying, or adding gratuitous sauce when you don’t even need it! So, if you find yourself asking, “Is sushi healthy?” Yes and no. Just be smart about your roll of choice!

What’s your favorite sushi roll? Leave me a comment below!



Monday Muses: Yves Saint Laurent

Fashion quote by Yves Saint Laurent

Happy Monday! Yes, I used “happy” and “Monday” in the same sentence. Maybe it’s the coffee talking, or maybe it’s the Kit Kats.

After witnessing quite the array of Halloween costumes this weekend, I’ve been thinking about costumes in the content of fashion.

I’ve been thinking about fashion quite a lot today — perusing Reddit, monitoring current fashion trends, and trying to think about how I would describe my style.

Aren’t clothes just a costume we wear as well? A way of displaying who we are, who we want to be, or, even, who we have to be? Are we buying clothes because we want to look a certain way or follow a certain trend, or are we buying clothes because we want to look our best?

When it comes to fashion, I used to be fascinated with trends and keeping up with “fast fashion.” Spending mostly on trend pieces and forgoing long-last I used to shop primarily at large retailers, where I bought clothes that were “cool” and “in,” only to never bring them out of my closet again next season.

I was reflecting on this quote by Yves Saint Laurent, a French fashion designer who introduced “le smoking,” or the male-inspired woman’s tuxedo in 1966. Pretty badass.

Yves Saint Lauren 1966

Researching Yves Saint Laurent made me realize how meandering fashion is and how long-lasting style is. Style is a persona, how you carry yourself, and how you show your true self. No one asks, “What’s your fashion?” Instead, they ask, “What’s your style?”

The female tuxedo suit is still a classic, timeless piece that many women today own. The piece is fashionable, but it’s also a piece of “classic style.” These versatile pieces are great staples many women own, but why? The classic piece took one giant step for women-kind, and it is still as chic today and it was then. And that’s what style’s all about.

I’ve seen plenty of clothes from stores that cost a small (or large) fortune, and I don’t even understand how the pieces are supposed to be worn. Not to mention, how are they worn? What goes where? I’ve bought pieces from inexpensive stores that I wear for years and years (and luckily, they survive all those washings). I also find it hard to resist buying something I truly love, even if it costs a little more than I’d like to spend. If I know that I’ll actually wear it and it’ll be worth the money, I’m willing to buy it. (Bonus: You can find some great staples at thrift stores, and I frequent Buffalo Exchange in Philadelphia more than any other store.)

Luckily, I don’t have to adhere to a dress code of any kind, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to look professional in certain appropriate settings.

When I feel mopey and upset, I can instantly feel better by dressing myself up in one of my favorite outfits. And honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that.

What’s your take on fashion versus style? Leave me a comment below, or let me know on Facebook or Twitter!


Friday Favorites: Get The Boot!

I’m a flip-flop girl all summer long, but once fall rolls along, I need to start thinking about what I want in a pair of fall boots. Comfort, warmth, and style are all three necessities when buying a pair of boots. Buying a pair of new shoes is exhilarating, but not if you end up spending more money than your budget allows.
When I buy a good-quality pair of boots for the fall and winter, I wear them for years. Not to mention, I can wear them from September all the way through May.  When I used to purchase boots (or shoes in general), I didn’t think much about the material or the wearability of them; I would just buy cheap boots because they were inexpensive and I liked them. (Plus, what kind of college student has the funds to spend any money on boots? Ramen took precedence.)
Investing in a good pair of boots is my number one fashion recommendation. Your style may change often, but a pair of boots will always be fitting.  If you see a pair of boots that you think are too expensive, think about just how long they’ll last. (I’ve been wearing the same few pair of boots for years now.) Just like you invest in building up your wardrobe, invest in a pair of exceptional fall boots.

Berries in your Yogurt for a Healthy Swap

How To Get Healthy with 5 Easy Swaps

I love a good meal, especially after a long day at work, or even, a busy morning at the office. In all honesty, I probably think about my next meal far too often, which is why I always keep some healthy snacks around my apartment (and loads of peanut butter). I love comfort foods, but I love making simple food swaps to make my go-to meal a healthier, more satisfying choice.

Whether I’m cooking dinner, making lunch, or throwing together a breakfast, I don’t skim on the nutrients (no matter how tired I am). With empty calories, I end up feeling really full, then feeling very hungry within a few hours. (Sorry, pancakes — I’m talking to you.) When it comes to eating well, I try and pack lunch as often as I can, so I don’t feel starving by the time I realize I should actually eat lunch.

Crazy as it may seem, I’ve never actually eaten a cheesesteak in my life (and yes, I live in Philly). Once I tried a nibble of my brother’s and couldn’t even finish it. I know, I’m crazy. When I make my own homemade meals, I do not sacrifice taste. I don’t make a big bowl of plain oatmeal pretending I’m in heaven, but I just don’t sit around eating sugar-laden oatmeal either.

Healthy food doesn’t have to be bland, boring, or just plain, tasteless.

When it comes to choosing the right foods, I find the perfect balance.

Avocado instead of Mayonnaise

Avocado instead of Mayonaise

I am a passionate avocado advocate. Whether I’m eating it as guacamole (I’ll pay extra, I get it), as mousse (yes, it exists), or as a sandwich spread, you can find this staple in my fridge far too often. Packed with potassium and fiber,  these fruits (yes they are fruits) are good-to-eat even on their own.

Avocado can also be used as an alternative to calorie-laden spreads, such as mayonnaise. As opposed to avocado, mayonnaise is actually packed with sodium, calories, and cholesterol. Mayonnaise all-too-often gives your sandwich a bad (w)rap, no matter how many hearty vegetables you packed in. Yes, avocado does has fat, but it’s heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.

Did you know an entire avocado has only 14 mg of sodium, and only two tablespoons of mayonnaise has nearly 200 mg?

Instead of piling a heavy heaping of mayo on your sandwich, try cutting up and mashing 1/4th of an avocado and spread it on your sandwich. Not only is it delicious, but it’s good for you, and it makes your sandwich a whole lot healthier (and tastier!)

Mayonnaise: barely any nutrients. (For no nutrients, I’d rather eat an ounce of chocolate!) Avocado: lots of nutrients. I think the winner of the battle is evident.

Spinach Instead of Iceberg Lettuce

Spinach vs. Lettuce

You may think choosing any green for your salad is acceptable and healthy, but don’t be fooled. In fact, iceberg lettuce doesn’t claim much on the nutritional field. On the other hand, another popular salad green, spinach, is packed with vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. At only seven calories a cup, spinach provides 56% of your daily intake of Vitamin A.

Iceberg lettuce, on the other hand, only provides you with 10% of your daily intake. Talk about a wilted leaf. For a simple healthy swap, add spinach to your omelets, pasta dishes, and even your pizza. (Just try and make it thin-crust)

Turkey Burgers Instead of Hamburgers

Turkey burgers in lieu of hamburgers


Got beef with turkey? Some people assume I’m a vegetarian because I only eat poultry and avoid red meat. I was raised on chicken and turkey, so red meat was never really in my house. I’ve never had a cheesesteak before and I live in Philly. (I know, I’m crazy.) I still eat burgers — just made from turkey.

Three ounces of 85% lean ground beef actually has 75 mg of cholesterol. Ouch.

Luckily, you can substitute your beef with healthier, lower calorie and lower fat meats, like turkey or chicken.

I found a great turkey burger recipe that I try and make at least once a week. I personally love adding a little bit of guacamole (avocado, again), greens, and I’m super satisfied with my meal. Even if you love red meat, you should give turkey burgers a try!

Cheese and Apple Slices Instead of Cheese and Crackers

Healthier swaps: apples and cheese

Choose crunchy apples and low-fat cheese over overly-processed crackers with cheese. I love cheese, so I’ll never condone it (in smaller quantities). Instead, I find a healthier food to complement it, in lieu of overly salted crackers. (To be honest: I rarely add salt to any of my foods — unless it’s Brussels sprouts.)

Apples and cheese is actually one of my favorite snacks. As you can tell from my previous post, I love apples, and I usually eat them before I can even cook dishes with them. I’ve never really loved the combination of apples and peanut butter, but I really find the salty-sweet combination of apples and cheese to be really mouth-watering.

When I pick a cheese, I try and stick with a lower-calorie and lower-in-fat variety, like part-skim mozzarella, which only has about 70 calories per ounce,  or feta cheese, which only has about 75 calories an ounce. You can have your cheese and eat it too.

Plain Greek Yogurt instead of Flavored Greek Yogurt


Plain yogurt doesn't know plain taste

Plain doesn’t mean bland! No, you don’t have to give up taste and flavor by getting rid of your favorite fruit-flavored yogurt.  Instead, make your plain yogurt actually “fruit-flavored” and adding fresh fruit, like strawberries, blueberries, and adding a nice crunch, like almonds or other nuts. It tastes so much better than artificially sweetened “fruit” in your yogurt, but it’s a great way to add some fruit to your diet.


What’s your favorite simple food swap? Leave me a comment below, or let me know on Facebook or Twitter!