Healthy Eating

Food Swaps for Better Digestion

Even the most delicious of foods can wreak havoc on our digestive systems. Once you identify which foods cause the most disruption to your digestion, you can try swapping out the culprit for an alternative that’s just as good, if not better! Here are 5 favorite foods (and drinks!) and a more digestive-friendly alternative:

Swap Whipped Cream For Coconut Milk Whipped Topping

What is a slice of Thanksgiving pie without a healthy helping of whipped cream on top? If you’re one of the 30-50 million Americans that are lactose intolerant, you might have to commit to some discomfort for the sake of your favorite dairy whipped topping. Or, you could pass on the whipped cream and instead opt for coconut milk whipped topping. It has all the creaminess and dreaminess without the gas, bloating, and other digestive discomforts that might come along with traditional whipped toppings. 

Swap Soda for Kombucha 

Soda provides no nutritional value to your body, and it’s also bad for digestion. The added carbonation in soda can cause bloating, gas, and cramping. The high acid content and sweeteners in soda can exacerbate symptoms for those who already suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. Try ditching soda in favor of Kombucha. Kombucha is a naturally and slightly carbonated tea that’s been fermented. Not only does it taste great, but it’s also chock-full of healthy probiotics that will help balance your gut’s microbiome, leading to a healthier digestive system. 

Swap Coffee for Chicory Coffee 

Caffeine is one of the biggest culprits of digestive issues. Everybody loves their morning cup of joe, but they don’t realize that slow digestion, indigestion, acid reflux, ulcers, and gastritis can all be symptoms of having too much caffeine. So, what’s the coffee addict to do? Start with swapping one of your daily coffees with chicory coffee. It tastes similar to coffee, albeit slightly nuttier, but doesn’t have the caffeine. Chicory root, which the caffeine-free brew is made from, is high in inulin, a prebiotic fiber that’s attributed to better gut health

Swap Red Meat for Lentils

The high iron content of red meat can make it difficult to digest for some people. While there’s nothing that can quite replace a good steak, swapping out red meat in things like tacos, stews, and spaghetti sauce for lentils could alleviate the digestive discomfort caused by some of your favorite recipes. 

Swap Raw Vegetables for Vegetables Sautéed Lightly in Olive Oil

You might think we’re crazy for telling you to cut back on eating raw vegetables. While they are all-around excellent for you nutrition-wise, many people have a difficult time digesting uncooked vegetables due to their high fiber content. To still get your daily recommended serving of veggies, try lightly sautéing them in olive oil. Cooking them helps break down the hard to digest fibers which will cause less stress on your digestive system. 

4 Back-To-School Nutrition Tips for College Students

When you think about back-to-school nutrition, the first thing that comes to mind is brown-bag lunches and cafeteria food. College students are hitting the books once again and eating nutritious meals on a college student’s budget can be challenging. But, maintaining a healthy diet will do more than just fuel your body, it will fuel your mind too. Having a balanced digestive system has been linked to mental performance and the gut is being referred to with increasing frequency as “the second brain.” Give yourself an edge on that next exam with 4 easy strategies to eat healthy as you head back to campus this fall:

Load up on Vegetables

With the abundance of fast food available on today’s college campuses, vegetables are don’t always make their way into every meal. But getting the daily recommended amount of 2-3 cups a day of vegetables can help alleviate GI issues, lower blood pressure, and protect against heart disease and certain kinds of cancer. With cooler weather setting in, we’re nearing the last few months to get your local, fresh veggies in the greater Boston area before winter. Get your hands on some delicious seasonal vegetables such as:

  • Brussel sprouts

  • Chicory

  • Cranberries

  • Fennel

  • Grapes

  • Pumpkins

  • Shelling Beans

  • Radicchio  

Meal Prep for a College Student 

A great way to hold yourself accountable, and make sure you get the most out of your farmer’s market haul, is to prepare meals ahead of time. Saving money is paramount when you’re a college student on a budget. Many students think eating healthy food costs more than grabbing a fast-food cheeseburger. But, by taking the time to plan your meals, you can save money and make sure you’re getting the right kinds of food. An added benefit? You’ll be able to avoid the dreaded “freshman 15” weight gain if you’re leaving home for the first time. Have mom or dad teach you a few simple recipes and you’ll be able to spend those extra calories on fun nights out in the greater Boston area with friends rather than filling your plate with dining hall cookies in between classes. Your wallet and your stomach will thank you. 

Stick to a Schedule

As a college student getting back into the swing of things, a routine meal schedule is probably the last thing on your mind. Meal planning will help with what you eat, but when you eat can also have health benefits.  Eating meals around the same time each day can give your digestive system some predictability. This can result in more effective digestion resulting in less GI distress such as gas, bloating, and indigestion. Having a set meal schedule will also help you remember to eat when you’re running between class, up for a late-night study session, or sleeping in on the weekend. 

Easy, GI-Friendly Recipes

Pumpkin Curry with Chickpeas- packed with veggies, this dish is perfect for fall and it’s vegan!

Full-Of-Fruit Muffins- a batch of these delicious muffins will easily make a week’s worth of breakfast. They’re perfect for a snack too. 

One Pan Chicken with Rice and Peas- This one-pan dish is super easy to throw together and as a bonus, cleanup will be a breeze because you’ll only dirty one pan. Tastes good hot or cold, so make a big batch to take for lunches on the go.

Lightly Toasted Overnight Steel-Cut Oatmeal- oats can do wonders for digestion and overnight oats are a staple in any good meal plan. Change up the toppings to keep it interesting. 

Whole-Grain Veggie Burrito Bowl- quench your Chipotle craving for this healthier (and cheaper!) homemade burrito bowl.