What we eat doesn’t just affect our bodies – good nutrition is essential to mental health as well. Here are some easy ways to feed both your body and your mind. Consider keeping some of these foods in your pantry at West Point Family Housing.
Whole wheat toast
While many people try to avoid carbs, they do have their benefits. They can trigger the release of serotonin in the brain, which improves mood. This is especially true in women. So, if you're looking for the best, healthy option, stick with healthy whole grains, and you have a great mood-enhancing bite.
There’s truth to the cliché – dark chocolate is an emotionally and physically satisfying snack. The cocoa in dark chocolate contains significant amounts of the antioxidant flavanol, which improves blood flow to the brain.
Seafood contains the mineral selenium, which helps sharpen mental faculties and fight depression. You only need a tiny amount of selenium per day, but failing to consume enough can lead to a decline in mood and brain power. In addition, seafood contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids, another safeguard against depression.
Beans, greens and lean proteins
Combine foods rich in folic acid (such as beans and greens) with foods rich in B12 (meat, poultry, fish and dairy) for a 1-2 punch of nutrition that fights mood and nerve disorders. Try a simple spinach salad with grilled salmon for starters.
Vitamin D fortified foods
Vitamin D naturally occurs in only a few foods, but it is essential to a positive mood and good nutrition. Luckily there are many products fortified with vitamin D like juices, cereal, and milk. For the best benefits, try to incorporate some of these items into your diet daily.
Created by Google, the Android platform, has become a very popular alternative to Apple’s iPhone and iPad. And now, it’s starting to take real strides into the competitive tablet market. If you own an Android tablet, and are looking for a few useful app suggestions, check out these:
This awesome file management app is a fabulous tool if you use your tablet for organizing files and paperwork. This app allows you to access cloud storage for up to 2GB of data from anywhere you have a wireless connection.
This app is one of the best RSS readers and aggregators available for Android. Pulse News is an easy-to-use application, and it lets you compile content from all your preferred websites, and then review them with images so you can decide what you want to read more about.
This is truly the best Twitter application for Android. It offers smooth, efficient programing, and takes advantage of the increased screen real estate to show you embedded media in addition to your timeline. This app also has a browser built in for links.
Of course you can go to YouTube on your browser, but the official app is free, and also offers one of the best video experiences on a tablet. 720p HD videos look incredible on a tablet-sized screen.
Did you know that you can use your Android tablet as a video phone? Skype is the most-used application on the market, and even with a Wi-Fi only tablet you can use it to make and receive calls if you’re connected to a network.
Adding spices to your cooking can open up a whole new range of flavors and possibilities. In addition, spices provide numerous health benefits, and allow you to use less fat and calories without sacrificing taste! Enjoy these additions that not only add flavor, but also boost your health! Try them sometime in your kitchen at West Point Family Housing.
Add just a 1/2 teaspoon of this super-spice to your food to lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides. Cinnamon has an anti-clotting effect on the blood, and the smell of cinnamon has been shown to boost cognitive function and memory! Sprinkle on your morning cereal, oatmeal, or fruit or add a bit to your morning cup of coffee for a treat.
Believe it or not, this spice, usually associated with egg nog, contains antibacterial compounds that can help to ward off E. coli and salmonella. Nutmeg has proven itself a versatile spice and can be added to both sweet or savory dishes – add a dash to a skim milk cappuccino or add to sweet potatoes or spinach dishes.
This root has been used in Asian cultures for centuries to soothe nausea, relieve heartburn, and prevent bloating. Grate some fresh ginger into a cold glass of ice water for a refreshing beverage or add some to Asian-inspired dishes like stir-fries. Candied ginger is also a healthful and delicious sweet treat.
In actuality, curry is not a spice – it is a mixture of several spices. But this delicious combo also serves up some real health benefits. Curry is said to aid with digestion, have anti-inflammatory properties, contain antioxidants, and also help prevent type 2 diabetes. New to this spice? Add some to chicken dishes, soups, or stews – it's delicious and will give your meal a hearty, Middle Eastern flair!
Dried Red Pepper
Capsaicin (a.k.a. the "heat" in chilies) is said to lower your risk of colon and skin cancers and also helps people to consume fewer calories by curbing the appetite. Add dried red pepper to pasta dishes, vegetable stirfrys or mix into hummus for an extra kick!
Mosey on over to your spice rack, and you’ll likely find a wealth of health just waiting to be used!
If you’re on a diet, snacking can seem like a no-no, but denying your hunger can make you overeat later. Instead of ignoring your rumbling tummy, reach for one of these healthy snack options. With under 200 calories per serving, these small bites won’t wreck your diet! Consider keeping them on hand in your kitchen at West Point Family Housing:
Peanut Butter & Celery
This childhood favorite deserves to be revisited. Top your virtually calorie-free stalks with two tablespoons of peanut butter. If you want to make it really old-school, add a bit less peanut butter and sprinkle on a few raisins, instead.
Yogurt & Fruit
Top 6- to 8-ounces of plain Greek-style yogurt with a handful of fresh berries. This delightful snack is loaded with antioxidants, fiber, calcium, probiotics, and other vitamins and minerals. When you shop, remember that not all yogurts are created equal, so educate yourself by reading the labels and avoid artificially sweetened or high-sugar varieties.
Cheese & Crackers
Portion control is key when snacking. Instead of sitting down with the entire box of crackers, plate up 4 to 5 baked whole grain crackers with 1-ounce of your favorite cheese. Sit down and enjoy!
Three cups of air-popped popcorn comes in at under 100 calories! After you pop it, spray with a little cooking spray, and then sprinkle with two tablespoons of grated Parmesan. This voluminous snack comes in well below the 200 calories mark and will also visually fill you up! For a sweet variation, spray with cooking spray and then top with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and 2 teaspoons of sugar.
Yes, your eyes did not deceive you: half a turkey sandwich is a great, hearty snack option if you’re really feeling hunger pangs. Take one slice of whole wheat bread, cut in half and fill with 2-ounces of turkey breast, 1/2-ounce of cheese, and a few tomato slices. This filling option also provides you with a lovely combination of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and minimal fat.
The sheer volume of kitchen tools on the market can be overwhelming. But if you're setting up your kitchen, there are only a few essential things you need to get cooking. Here are five important tools that will help you get cooking in your West Point Family Housing apartment:
1. A chef’s knife is essential for just about everything. There are a huge number of specialized knives for just about every purpose, but really a high-quality chef’s knife will do pretty much everything you need. Test grips and weight before you buy.
2. A good-sized pan is a given. Pans should be solid enough to not warp under heat but thin enough to transfer heat to your food as efficiently as possible. Opinion varies as to whether non-stick or standard is better, so go with what suits your lifestyle and cooking preferences.
3. A solid spatula fills so many needs. Use it to flip pancakes, mix stir-fries, or generally manipulate any food that’s too hot to touch.
4. A colander also has many uses, from draining pasta to washing vegetables. Traditional metal ones and high-density plastics share the market, offering a variety of hole patterns and styles.
5. A set of measuring cups is essential if you intend to do any baking. For many recipes you can wing it a little, but precision is key for baked goods.
Personalized stationery is a great way to add a little fun to a letter or note, and there are some things you just can’t do over e-mail. If you’re the crafty type, it’s easy and fun to make your own stationery. Here are five great ideas to get you started at home at West Point Family Housing.
For a really unique stationery presentation, take heavy, colored paper and embroider designs and shapes on them. Use bright, colorful thread and create a captivating design for a special note. Or just stitch a decorative border along one side of the paper.
Rubber stamps are also a great way to give a little visual interest to stationery. You can use a variety of ink or paints, but one really attractive method is using embossing powder and a hard surface to give your project a classy look.
One nice way to kick plain note cards up a notch is by using vintage fabric or wallpaper on the outside. Use Wonder-Under or another sheet glue to attach them, then add decorative stitching around the outside.
One clever way to add a little visual style to stationery is by making a pinhole pattern in the paper. Print out a template and then punch out holes every few centimeters – not enough to rip the paper, but just enough to communicate your design.
Block printing is a great way to add a decorative border or backing to stationery. You can use several different patterns for a more complex look, or just stick with simple geometric designs.
It’s important to help the environment however you can, and small changes can help you do so right from your home at West Point Family Housing. If you find the waste from traditional cosmetics to be a little excessive, check out these five great beauty products that are made with environmental safety in mind.
John Masters Organics is one of the most dependable producers of green beauty supplies, and many people rave about their sea salt sprays. These sprays give your hair a classic beachy look, and their combination of sea salt and lavender protects and hydrates your locks.
Burt’s Bees has made a great reputation for themselves as producers of high-quality lotions and other products. If you want an alternative to traditional alcohol-based hand sanitizers, try their excellent aloe and witch hazel-based product. It kills germs and leaves your hands feeling soft.
The German-made Dr. Hauschka products are very popular among skin care experts, and for good reason. Their rose day cream is made with natural rose petal extracts, and rose wax plus marsh mallow root strengthen and hydrate delicate skin.
To tone and clear up unsightly bags under your eyes, try 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream. Caffeine is a natural tightener, and it constricts blood vessels and makes skin clearer and smoother.
Makeup tools are also made with care for the future of the Earth. The brushes and sponges made by the EcoTools company are crafted from cruelty-free hair on bamboo bodies and natural, recyclable materials and come in a reusable storage pouch.
Asparagus packs a mighty punch of B vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. But it can be tough to find foods that pair well with its strong flavors. Here are some favorite asparagus dishes you can make right in your kitchen at home at West Point Family Housing:
For a classic pairing, use asparagus as an accompaniment for steak. The bold flavors of high-quality red meat go exceptionally well with the slightly acidic tang of asparagus, letting you use the vegetable as a way to cleanse your palate between bites. Just steam it lightly and serve with melted butter.
For an easy appetizer, wrap cooked asparagus stalks with thinly sliced prosciutto. The salty meat makes a wonderful pairing for the earthy asparagus.
If you want to get a little fancier with your asparagus spears, a popular pub adaptation is to make a beer batter – like the kind you would use to fry fish – and dip the stalks in it before quickly frying. The crisp crunch of the vegetable melds perfectly with the delicious outer coating, making this a great side dish.
For breakfast, serve asparagus with scrambled eggs and drizzle with hollandaise sauce. The buttery sauce, creamy eggs, and crispy asparagus offer up sensational flavors!
Asparagus is also good with pasta. Steam thin stalks and cut into small pieces, then serve over Japanese soba noodles with sautéed pancetta, garlic, and a fried egg for a great take on the traditional Italian carbonara.
The rise of the Internet allows for instant access to cooking inspiration. No longer do we rely on our box of recipe cards for dinner – with the click of a mouse you can access countless recipes to make right at home at West Point Family Housing. But with so many sites offering so many recipes, how do you know which are the best? Here are some suggestions:
- FoodTV.com, the website of the Food Network, is often a reliable place to look for simple preparations that don’t require a great deal of kitchen skill. The recipes are thoroughly edited by network staff and user reviews are helpful.
- BonAppetit.com is the official website of the long-running culinary magazine. As such, this site draws recipes from some of the world’s best chefs. If you're looking for a meal that will truly impress, this website is the place to go.
- Epicurious.com is for the gourmand, and is a great resource for more unusual dishes. The recipes here come from Bon Appétit magazine and several other renowned foodie publications. These recipes are often delicious, but tend to be more complicated and better suited for experienced cooks.
- Tastespotting.com is the "new kid" in the world of recipes. This site tantalizes with delicious food photography contributed by its very active community.
- Pinterest.com isn’t technically a food website. This platform allows its users to share visual content and links with each other. But the beautiful food photography on the site has attracted a strong foodie userbase. You can find some hidden gems in its "Food and Drink" category.