Healthy Dorm Room Snacks

Filed under: College Life, Food, Health & Fitness, Tips - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography
Nobody wants to fall victim to the freshman fifteen, or whatever they call it when you still gain weight as a senior… Ugh. Unfortunately, if you haven’t already learned, the older you get, the harder it is to keep a fit figure. Luckily, there are a few snacks that are not only tasty, but have a much better nutritional value than the chips in the vending machine down the hall.

Here are a few healthy dorm room snack ideas to satisfy the cravings and keep fit:

1. Meat & Cheeses

I’ve been keeping turkey jerky and light cheeses around to eat for a snack. The turkey gives me protein and keeps me full, and the cheese gives me a dose of calcium. Try beef sticks or regular jerky if you aren’t a turkey fan.

2. Popcorn

This is probably my favorite snack, which is evident when you open my pantry. I buy almost all of the flavors of Smart Pop, and I always have a box of microwave popcorn on hand. Popcorn has a great amount of fiber for you, and it’s very low in calories and fat. As long as you don’t eat movie theater butter popcorn, it is a very healthy and tasty alternative to chips.

3. Yogurt

I used to say I didn’t like yogurt, but that’s before I even tried it. Seriously, how can you know if you don’t like something if you haven’t tried it before? Now, I treat yogurt like it is dessert. I always get the pie flavors because it satisfies my sweet tooth without taking a big hit to my daily caloric intake. There are several types of yogurt, and many flavors.Test them all out until you find something that will alleviate your sweet tooth!

4. Fruit

This is one of the more obvious options, but it’s so important to learn early on how vital fruit is in our diet. A lot of weight loss systems, such as weight watchers, don’t even require you to log when you eat fruit because of all of the benefits you receive. When you shop right, fruit can be a lot cheaper than buying bags of chips, or candy. I make small to-go containers everyday that have just a small portion of my favorite fruits to take with me because it’s easy to pull out and snack on in class.

There are so many foods andsnacks out there that are delicious, but you have to find the balance between tasty and good for you. It’s so easy to snack when you’re in the dorm and just hanging out, but try to think of healthier options. This will prepare you for when you need to start being completely in control of your own meals (if you’re not already). Start creating these good habits!

Share your favorite healthy dorm room snacks with us in a comment below!

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Homework Hacks

Filed under: College Life, Education, Living, Tips - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography

It’s that time of year again, when we all have to do our best to find a routine that keeps us on track. One of the most common things college students skip (besides class…) is homework. When we have a quiz or a test, we make sure we are present, but the same does not always so easily apply to homework.

Here are a few hacks that have helped me complete my homework over the years:

1. Timing Is Everything

I’ve found that if I can make time to do the homework assignment right after the lecture, I get it done. Not only that, I get a much better grade because the lesson is fresh on my mind! Procrastination can get you into trouble. Just get it done and over with and you’ll be golden.

2. Do The Work

I stress this because after two years of blowing off reading assignments, I can honestly tell you that it makes a difference. I used to say I didn’t have time, but we do. Now, I read my book while I am working out, between commercials, or while taking a bath. I’ve learned to incorporate it into things I always do so that it’s less of a chore.

3. Constant Reminders

If you really struggle with remembering to do assignments, your best bet is to annoy yourself with continuous reminders. Set several alarms throughout the day, have a board in your room that you can write your assignments, write it on your hand – do whatever it takes! If I really have trouble, I’ll even tell my roommate to remind me when I get home everyday to do my homework!

4. Find A Study Buddy

Collaborating with other students is usually highly encouraged in most college classrooms, as long as you aren’t cheating. Share ideas and concepts, but formulate your own answers. If you don’t know anyone, try to meet someone. We’re all in this together.

College is supposed to be about preparing you for a successful life ahead. Well, one way for a successful future is to find a routine that works for you in your daily life. All of these things apply not only to homework, but to how you should carry through life in general.

Share with us what homework hacks you have, or how you turn your stress into success!

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6 Foods To Avoid At The Dining Hall

Filed under: College Life, Food, Health & Fitness, Tips - Angelina
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Cameron Tranchemontagne BookRenter Blogger Biography

If you have a college student meal plan, then you know the struggle of dining hall food. Sure, not having to cook the food or clean dishes is great, but you have to choose what to eat from what is offered. At first it may seem like there are endless options, but after a while you will realize that they often provide the same kinds of food over and over again, easily allowing you to get into a habitual eating pattern that may not be the healthiest option. The Freshman 15 is not a myth.

Try to become more aware of what you are eating at your next dining hall visit. Here are six foods that I recommend you avoid for the following reasons:

1. Fried Food

Although fried food can taste good, and it may be in abundance at the dining hall, it doesn’t have any nutritional value so try avoiding it if you can. Did you know a grilled chicken sandwich has about 420 calories and 10 grams of fat compared to a fried chicken sandwich that has about 530 calories and 20 grams of fat? That extra breaded layer really does add up. Typically anything breaded or crispy is fried and should be eaten in moderation.

2. Sauces

Some sauces can have up to 40% of your daily recommended sodium intake in just one serving (and by the way, one serving is often the size of one scoop from a spoon). And how many of us can honestly say we measure out the serving size before dumping BBQ sauce on a steak and cheese or the teriyaki sauce before drizzling it over some rice? Sauces may make something taste better, but they are a source of hidden calories and often can take away the health benefits of food without it.

3. Salad Toppings

Salad is great. It has lots of vegetables and a minimal amount of fat, but the taste can be so bland for most people. If you’re just starting to eat salads or want to trim down the fat in yours, consider avoiding toppings like bacon bits, excessive cheese, croutons, and creamy dressing. Using an oil-based dressing will spread more easily and cover up more leafy greens, tricking you into using less.

4. Processed Foods

Most processed foods like chips, pre-made desserts, and even some breads/wraps can have high fat content and may even contain trans fats, which are much worse than saturated fats and is something you never want to consume. Essentially, trans fats can slow down brain function by disrupting communication between brain cells. They also contribute to cardiovascular disease. If you have access to nutritional labels (which is not always the case in a dining hall where the food is prepared for you), look for words like “partially hydrogenated oils” and stay away from them. It is the one “food” that experts say is not okay at all even in moderation with one source saying it’s more like plastic than food.

5. Soft Drinks

If you haven’t seen the graphic of how your body reacts to a can of coke within one hour, I highly suggest you check it out. Soft drinks contain extremely high amounts of sugar, which your liver will be straining to keep up with and turning it all into fat. Any nutritional value that could possibly come from a soda is flushed out of your system by the caffeine’s diuretic properties.

6. The Same Thing All The Time

Once you have been in school for a couple months, you may notice that dining halls operate on a set schedule. They often offer up some types of food on one day and others on different days, but the schedule does not vary wildly. Though this makes it easier to serve a large student body consistently, it also makes it easy for the student to fall into a habit of eating the same foods every time. For example, there were many meals in any given week when they were serving food I didn’t like or didn’t think I’d like. My initial response was always to just go get a couple slices of pizza. It’s important to balance your meals, and just eating pizza all the time is not that; despite whatever toppings are on there.  Don’t be afraid to branch out and try new things at the dining hall. You may find that you actually really enjoy healthier options that you wouldn’t normally consider.

This is not meant to be a strict nutritional guide, but to make you aware of your eating habits. Don’t be afraid to ask one of the employees at the dining hall for nutrition information on any and all food being served in order to better plan out your meals. You have to remember that you’re in control of what you put into your body.

It may be hard to avoid the “yummier” foods, but it will benefit in the long run if you substitute that cookie for a side of broccoli.

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3 Things You May Not Know About Student Loans

Filed under: College Life, Education, Money/Budget, Post Grad and Career, Tips - Angelina
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Sylwia Baran BookRenter Blogger Biography





The very thought of a student loan makes most of us shudder. The complexity of it all, the stress of making payments on time, the debt that we fear will follow us around forever; this is what we think of when we think about student loans. It’s important to have at least a general understanding of loans to help minimize many of these fears.

Here are a few things that you may not have known about student loans:

1. Types of Loans

There are many different kinds of loans out there. Before you can choose the best loan for yourself, you have to get familiar with all of the different types of loans that are available to you. You can choose between getting a federal loan (if you are eligible) or applying for a loan from a private lender. Federal loans can be in the form of a Stafford loan which comes directly from the federal government, or it can be in the form of a Perkins loan which are funded by the federal government but are given out through the universities themselves. The breakdown continues even further from there. Check out this article to learn more about the different types of student loans to figure our which one is right for you.

2. Grace Period

One of the perks of a federal student loan is the six month grace period (be careful, this is not applicable on ALL loans, so be sure to do your research). After graduation, you are given six months before being required to many any payments on your federal loans. This is great because it takes some of the pressure off of you for a few months after your graduation and allows you time to find steady income. Although you are given this option, you can still make payments during this period if you would like to get a jump on paying off your loan. Contact your lender to find out if your loan offers you a grace period and check out this article for some more information.

3. Discounts on Interest Rates

Signing up for automatic payments can save you money. Many lenders offer a small discount on your interest rates if you make your payments through electronic debit. Not only is this beneficial financially speaking, but it also ensures that you will not forget to make your monthly payments as your bank automatically makes the payment for you each month. Consolidating your loans into one payment may also slightly lower your interest rates, but may actually take longer to pay off. Read about consolidating and more ways to save on your loans here.

When it comes to student loans, your biggest tool is knowledge. When you become familiar with all of the possible student loans out there and what each one offers, you will feel more comfortable with the loan that you choose. Loans are not fun, but they are available as an opportunity to invest in education and your future. Just make sure you know what you can handle and in the long run, it could actually build up your credit!

What are some tips you have about loans? Share with us in a comment below!

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Dorm vs. Apartment – Which Is Better?

Filed under: College Life, Living, Tips - Angelina
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Serena Piper BookRenter Blogger Biography





The beginning of any school year comes with a plethora of decisions to make that can shape your entire year. Most of these decisions are fun because there is a certain reassurance knowing we can always change our minds later. Some may be a little harder to make if it’s a decision you’ll be stuck with for a while, such as choosing whether to stay in an apartment or a college dorm. No matter which one you choose, you’ll have to be fairly confident in your decision because you might, depending on your college, be stuck with it for at least a semester. Chances are you have already moved in to where you will be for the school year. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still think about your decision (and maybe change it if possible), or prepare yourself for a change next semester/year.

Living in a college dorm is different from living in an apartment, but which is better?

1. Expenses

The first thing you should consider when choosing where to live, is what kind of budget you’re on. Financially speaking, dorms can be a lot pricier than living in an apartment or house off campus because meal plans and utilities (sharing a bathroom, etc.) are included (and required) in the individual price. Dorm fees are usually cheaper with the more roommates you have, but this can vary upon which dorm you are in and can even still be too costly. Having roommates in an apartment can help reduce rent too, but usually this is still a cheaper option overall since you can all share costs of utilities, groceries, etc. However, the biggest difference in cost with an apartment and a dorm is usually when payments have to be made. Typically, living in a dorm requires payment in full upfront, while an apartment generally expects smaller payments each month throughout your stay. In order to make a payment for a dorm, you will likely either need to have saved up, have earned a grant/scholarship, or will need to pay the costs with a student loan. To pay for an apartment, you should have a part-time job to allow you to make these monthly payments.

2. Freedom

Living in an apartment does generally allow more freedom. You can decide what you eat each day (and not have to stick to what the dining hall offers) and what time (dining halls are not usually open 24 hours), you can have anyone over (some dorms are gender restricted), and typically apartments have less regulations than dorms (no quiet hours, different policies on what items are allowed, etc). However, with more freedom comes more responsibility.

3. Personal Life

Aside from the fact that I just couldn’t afford to live in a dorm, the main reason I chose to live off campus was to separate my school life from my personal life. I liked being able to leave school grounds at the end of my classes. The separation of my personal life from school life meant I could go home at the end of the day and not feel like I had to socialize if I didn’t want to. It’s a different experience to live on-campus and be in the middle of the college buzz 24/7, but some people prefer to have that experience.

4. Roommates

Most college students cannot afford to live alone. In dorms, roommates are generally assigned to you without ever having any idea of who they are, what they’re like, or if you’ll get along. Some schools allow you to make roommate requests, but freshmen especially are usually paired up since they may not already have friends at the school. Apartment life requires you to find your own roommates, which allows you the opportunity to find someone with your similar living habits and interests.

If you’re still having trouble deciding, make a pros and cons list for each option, or seek the opinions of friends and family. The more input you receive from those who have been there, the more assured you’ll feel about your final choice. Some college students even feel like they want to experience both the dorm-life and apartment-life and decide to live in the dorms for the first couple of years of college, and then get an apartment off-campus with some close friends. When you realize what experience and lifestyle you want, you will easily be able to decide what is best for you.

Do you live in a dorm or an apartment? What do you like best about it? Share your experience with us in a comment!

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