A guide to avoid fast foods with easy homemade recipes

By Kelly Chian, ’16, and Becina Ganther, ’16

If you want to improve your health by eating better, here are some tried and true diet plans to get you started. These plans focus on varying the healthy foods you eat.


The DASH diet has the main goal of reducing the risk of cancer, stroke, heart disease, heart failure and diabetes. This diet recommends high amounts of produce, dairy products, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds and nuts, while decreasing the amount of sodium, sugars, fats and red meats.

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is based off the idea that people living near the Mediterranean Sea live longer in comparison to Americans. The diet has been linked to decreasing the risk of heart disease because it reduces blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol. The diet suggests more vegetables, fruits, dairy and seafood. It’s recommended to eat seafood often because it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that contain brain and heart benefits.

Mayo Clinic Diet

The Mayo Clinic diet was developed primarily for adult weight loss, but can also be for teens and children. Studies done by the Mayo Clinic found that the average weight loss for two weeks was eight pounds but there was no control group. The Mayo Clinic motto consists of two parts. The first part, “Lose it!,” takes two weeks and includes a nutritious breakfast,  fruits and veggies, whole grains, healthy fats and a half hour of daily exercise. The second phase, “Live it!,” focuses on being conscious of what you eat.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 10.22.34 AMNo-Cook Oatmeal

Unlike cooked oatmeal, this meal can be eaten at room temperature or refrigerated, and won’t become lumpy or sticky.  Plus, it contains the same health benefits as cooked oatmeal, which include lowering cholesterol and controlling blood pressure.

Ingredients -1 cup of oats – 1 cup of milk -¼ tsp cinnamon -1 tbsp honey -1 cup fruits

Directions 1. Mix together oats, milk and cinnamon in a bowl. 2. Refrigerate for at least two hours, preferably overnight. 3. Add honey and fruit.

Pro tip: If you’re using dairy milk, use a low-fat option like skim. Alternatively, try soy milk for more potassium with less calories.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 10.23.07 AMApple Cartwheels This apple-centered snack is easy to make and perfect for a quick after-school pick-me-up.  Apples lower your cholesterol and boost your immune system, so don’t skip your daily dose!

Ingredients -1 apple -¼ cup peanut butter -1 tsp honey -3 tbsp chocolate chips -½ tbsp raisins

Directions 1. Slice the apple horizontally (perpendicular to the core). 2. Remove the core from each apple slice. 3. Mix together the peanut butter, honey, chocolate chips and raisins. 4. Place one spoonful of mixture into the center of each apple slice.

Pro tip: If you make the hole in the apple slices too big, your mixture will fall right through. Aim for a 1/2 inch diameter.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 10.23.31 AMBLTA Wrap The bacon adds an extra crunch to the wrap, but the true stars of this meal are the fiber-rich avocado and the tomato filled with vitamin C.

Ingredients -¼ avocado -lettuce slices -1 bacon slice -1 small tomato -1 whole grain tortilla

Directions 1. Line a plate with paper towels and place bacon on top. 2. Microwave for 2 to 4 minutes, until just cooked through. 3. Crumble the bacon. 4. Slice the tomato and avocado. 5. Arrange the tomato,  avocado, lettuce and bacon on the tortilla.
Pro tip: If you use regular bacon, remove the fat on the sides! Bacon grease has eight times more fat than bacon bits.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 10.23.21 AMBanana Butterflies If you’re a PB&J fanatic who’s looking for more potassium in your life, this is the snack for you. Eating too much bread can increase your risk for type-2 diabetes, so replace your staple bread with a banana (which lowers blood pressure) and your favorite jam with berries.

Ingredients -1 banana – ½ cup berries -1/4 cup peanut butter

Directions 1. Unpeel the banana and slice it in half, lengthwise. 2. Spread the peanut butter on each banana slice. 3. Add the berries on top.

Pro tip: While peanut butter is a popular spread, it isn’t the healthiest. Try soy butter if you’re looking for more protein, or cashew butter if you need more vitamins and minerals.