Nutritional Substitutions for your Grocery List

Do you have a favorite recipe or meal that you wish was a bit healthier? Are you looking for healthier options for items frequently on your grocery list? Well good news! With a few simple changes to what you put in your cart, you can improve the nutritional content of what you put on your table.

Instead of this .....try buying this!

Bacon....turkey bacon, smoked turkey or lean prosciutto
White bread or pasta.....whole grain bread or pasta
Iceberg lettuce....arugula, spinach or watercress
Whole milk...reduced fat or fat free milk (stepping down gradually from whole to 2% to 1% to skim, can help to adjust you to the taste)
White rice....brown rice or wild rice
Seasoning salts...herb only seasonings
Creamy salad dressings...flavored vinegars
Ramen noodles...brown rice or whole wheat pasta
Oil packed tuna....water packed tuna
Chips...popcorn (lightly salted and/or buttered)
Ice-cream - frozen yogurt
Ground beef...lean ground chicken or turkey spray

Instead of cooking with this...try substituting this!

Bread crumbs.....rolled oats or crushed bran cereal
Baking with butter....baking with applesauce
Baking with all purpose flour...baking with whole wheat flour for half of the called for all purpose flour
Sugar...reduce sugar by half and add vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon
Sour cream...low fat or fat free greek  or regular yogurt
Cream cheese....fat free ricotta

To read more about these and other substitutions check out the following helpful links:

Sesame Spinach

Thanks to Go for submitting this common Japanese appetizer!

Spinach (about a half of 11oz pack )
Sugar 2 tsp.
Soy sauce 2 tsp.
Sesame Seed 2 tbsp.

Put the spinach on to boiling water, wait about 10 seconds, take out and put it in cool water (to cool down). Squeeze out excess moisture from spinach.

In a separate bowl, stir up the sugar, soy sauce and sesame seed.
Dress spinach with the sauce.

Peanut Butter Banana Shake

1 large banana
1-2 tablespoons reduced fat creamy peanut butter
1-2 handfuls of ice
1/2 cup skim or low fat milk

Combine all of the ingredients above into a blender. Feel free to alter the quantities of ingredients depending on your taste (e.g. if you like more of a peanut butter flavor or banana flavor; if you prefer more milk and less ice, etc.). Blend all together, pour into a glass, and enjoy!

Deciphering a Nutrition Facts Label

On your next trip to the grocery store, take a few minutes to stop and consider your options. With just about any food item, there are several varieties and brands to choose from. So what's a good way to decide which to buy? Check and compare the nutrition facts labels! Check out the image below for some helpful tips on reading a nutrition facts label. You can also play with an interactive version created by the Mayo Clinic:

We also think it's important to look at the ingredients on packaged food. Try to avoid things that are over-processed and contain excessive preservatives/ flavoring. Whole foods often contain more potent nutrients and fewer harmful chemicals. A good rule of thumb: try to buy foods with 5 or less ingredients. Think you can do it?

Go Team DIET!

Students in the University of Maryland Gemstone program have developed an online diet tracking and nutritional feedback tool for students! The Team DIET (Dietary Information and Evaluation Technologies) website offers an opportunity to enter and track your meals, and provides personalized nutrition feedback on your intake of calories, fats, sugar, and sodium.

This website can help you make informed decisions, and gives you easier access to nutrition information. So, log in with your directory ID and password, and give this great new tool a try!

You can access the Diet Tracker at

If you would like more information about Team Dietary Information and Evaluation Technologies (Team DIET) or about the research they've done, you can visit

You can also contact them at if you have any questions!

Healthy Menu Items Around College Park: Cornerstone Grill & Loft

Greek salad with salmon and oil and vinegar dressing.

Healthier options can be found on almost any menu. Do you have a healthy menu item you've found near campus? Snap a picture of your food and email it to along with the name of the food establishment and a brief description of the food item and we'll post your find on the blog!

A Healthy Substitute: Free Range Eggs

 Last Wednesday's Farmers' Market brought an abundance of fresh and healthy foods to campus. Twin Post Farms, from Princess Anne, MD, was there with free-range duck & chicken eggs.

We know that free-range eggs are better for animal welfare because the birds are more likely to have enough space to roam around, forage for food, and keep tensions between them down. But these eggs also carry nutrition benefits for us, which the farmers from Twin Post indicated on their sign:

"Did you know? Pasture raised eggs contain 35% less fat, 60% more Vitamin A, 200% more Omega 3's than even Omega 3 fortified eggs (per Prevention magazine). Oh... the rich colored yolks? That's beta carotene."

Now that's more of a reason to eat cage-free eggs! 

Recipe: Tofu and Vegetables in Peanut Sauce over Soba

Thanks again to Cara for this delicious recipe! 

Tofu and Vegetables in Peanut Sauce over Soba

Serves 4
Takes about 25 - 30 minutes

"This is a great, fancy weekday night dinner because it is very fast to prepare but very satisfying and beautiful.  You want to go for high heat, fast cooking of the vegetables so that they don’t lose their crispness.  Soba noodles cook in a matter of minutes so you won’t be waiting around for them.  Thai food is usually spicy but I’m not a fan of super spicy so the most I put in is a small amount of ground cayenne.  You can add hot peppers if you want more spice.  Feel free to serve over rice instead of soba noodles, if you prefer."


1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tbsp soy sauce
2/3 cup water
1 tsp curry powder
¼ tsp ground cayenne

1 ½ tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 (16 oz) water-packed, extra-firm tofu, cubed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
¼ cup water

3 bundles (9 oz total) soba noodles, cooked according to the package
1/3 cup of roasted peanuts for garnish

1. In a bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients and stir well until smooth.
2. Add 1 tbsp sesame oil and the 1 tbsp of soy sauce to a wok or frying pan.  When the mixture is hot, add the tofu cubes.  Use a spatula to lightly fry each side of the tofu.  Total cooking time will probably be around 5 minutes until tofu is lightly browned.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
3. Add the other ½ tbsp of sesame oil to the pan and heat.  Add the onion and sauté for about 2 minutes.  Add the carrots, ginger, and garlic and sauté for about another 2 minutes.  Add the broccoli and water.  Allow the water to come to a boil and then cook very briefly, probably about another 2 minutes until vegetables are just cooked but still crisp.
4. Add the tofu and the sauce and stir.  Heat briefly, only a minute or to, until everything is warmed through.  Serve hot over soba noodles with peanut sprinkled on top.

Recipe: Orzo Salad

Thanks to Cara, a CONS graduate student, for submitting this recipe! Cara keeps her own food blog with lots of yummy vegan recipes. Check them out!

Serves 4 as a side
Takes about 15 to 20 minutes to make

Super fast pasta salad.  Any pasta can be used but orzo has a nice texture.

1 lb orzo, cooked
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 ½ cup cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
1 tbsp fresh basil
1 tsp Italian season
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 peeled, diced cucumber (optional)

1. Mix all the ingredients together.  Serve at room temperature or chilled

Calories: It's what counts..

Counting calories is a common strategy for dieting. There is a caloric value associated with literally everything you do. But what is it exactly?  Check out this cool info graphic on calories from

 The Cost of Calories

Farmers' Market: First Day Recap

So, it appears that The Farmers' Market at Maryland was a great success! Even before the ribbon cutting ceremony (featuring such campus celebrities as President Loh and Testudo) officially launched the weekly market, eager shoppers were already bustling, armed with reusable shopping bags donated by MOM's, and ready to shop healthy!

There were free range duck and chicken eggs, breads and baked goods, delicious cheese spreads (conveniently located next to the breads- breads n' spreads together!), an abundance of produce, honey, apple juice, lamb meat, transplantable plants for your own garden, and much more.

Because of the rush of Terps looking to buy healthy food, many of the vendors were completely sold out within the first two hours of market. While vendors say they plan to bring twice as much next week to meet the demand, we'd advise getting to the market early if you want to be guaranteed to find your favorite items.

We're so proud of our campus community's obvious support for this farmers' market. It means that Terps really do eat well, after all. Way to go, Terps!