Planks and Peanut Butter

A college girl's guide to healthy living

Study Break

Tired of studying for finals? Take a break and let your mind drift for a while. Make a bracelet or origami, color a picture, stretch, scrapbook, or do anything creative that doesn’t involve looking at a screen. This will keep your eyes from straining and will help you refocus and stay refreshed once you start studying again.




Between classes, meetings, and homework, it’s difficult to find time to get to the gym, especially as finals are approaching. But with HIIT workouts, you get some serious bang for your buck: an intense workout that burns 200 to 300 calories, and it only takes about 15 minutes. Crazy, right? I assure you, it does the trick. I’ve been doing HIIT workouts for about two months now and have seen the results: my stamina is better, my muscles have grown visibly, and I’m not as run down by the end of the day.

A HIIT workout involves going all-out on an exercise for 30 to 50 seconds, resting for 10 to 30 seconds, and then moving on to the next exercise. There are usually four to six exercises per cycle. You then repeat the cycle three to five times, with about a minute of rest in between.

The key is to go as hard as possible during each exercise, since they only last about 30 seconds. The rest in between each move lets you catch your breath, but your heart rate stays high as you move on to the next exercise, therefore your body burns fat more quickly than if you were steadily exercising for a longer period of time. It may sound complicated at first, but after your first class or workout, you’ll get the hang of it quickly.

The first time I tried HIIT was at a fitness class at my university’s gym. Starting out with a class is wise because it sets the bar as to how hard you should be working. When practicing HIIT on your own, it’s easy to let yourself slack off or get extra time between each exercise, so make sure to push yourself throughout the workout.

HIIT workouts can become monotonous if you always do the same exercises, and your body will soon adapt, meaning you won’t be working as hard or burning as many calories. This is why it’s important to switch it up. Below are a few HIIT workouts that will keep things interesting and work various parts of the body. Feel free to switch up the times when you get bored – you can try doing one move for 30 seconds and then resting for 10 seconds, then moving on to the next exercise. Or, you can do one move for 50 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, and then move on to the next exercise. 

The Booty Call

  1. Squats with 10-pound weight (or kettlebell)
  2. Single leg hip lifts (do one leg for 15 seconds, then switch to the other leg)edited hip down.jpg hip leg.jpg hip and leg up.jpg
  3. Plank with side step
  4. Squat jumps
  5. Backward lunge into kick (one leg for 15 seconds, then switch to the other leg for 15 seconds)

back lunge.jpg kick.jpg

Abs Master:

  1. Toe touches
  2. Mountain climbers
  3. Russian twists with 10-pound weight
  4. Renegade rows
  5. Burpees

Leg Day:

  1. Side lunge with twist with 10-pound weight

lunge.jpg twist

2. Split squat

3. Side kick


4. Jump squat

5. Skaters

Check in each week for more HIIT workouts!

Food and Drink App #7


When you first sign into Yummly, it asks about your age, how many people you cook for, what cuisines you like (from barbeque to Cuban to Japanese), what foods you dislike, and what your cooking skills are (beginner, intermediate, or advanced). Then, Yummly displays a personalized sets of recipes based on your answers. The app includes beautiful pictures of meals that will make your mouth water. You can view recipes that are popular in the area or explore recipes that are trending.


There are several categories, from quick n’ easy to diets, such as paleo, vegan, and pescetarian. Users can search for certain recipes and apply filters like prep time, nutrition, tastes (spicy, salty, sweet), and techniques. The app is basically like Pinterest, but solely dedicated to food. Users can save a recipe by tapping “yum.” Your “yums” are then stored under your account and separated into categories such as drinks, sides, breakfasts, dinners, and desserts.

Each recipe displays how many ingredients are needed, how much time it takes to make, and how many calories are in each serving. Users can add ingredients to their shopping list by tapping “add to list.” The recipe also says what nutrients are included, along with similar recipes. You can also easily text recipes, add to Pinterest, or share on Facebook.

“I’ve been using this app for a few months and it’s my go-to for all things paleo, gluten, and sugar free,” said user Glutensugarfree on Yummly’s review page. “I’ve found so many great recipes that I either leave as is or make a few changes to, depending on what I have on hand.”

Whether you’re looking to make some balsamic-glazed salmon or just watch videos of people preparing chocolate-chip peanut butter cookies, these apps will inspire your inner college-student chef.

Food and Drink App #6


This app is useful for anyone who buys alcohol. On the home screen, Bevrage features certain alcoholic beverages, such as 1.75 liters of Captain Morgan rum or a bottle of Los Vascos wine, along with a redeem amount, such as $2. Users who purchase the featured alcohol can scan their receipts into the app and receive a deposit onto their account. One example of this is that users can earn $4 for buying a 1.75 liter handle of Stolichnaya vodka or earn $2 on a bottle of tequila. Once your account reaches $20, it will reset and you will be mailed a check within two weeks.

The same process works for happy hours. Users can earn $1 for any shot of cinnamon whiskey or $3 on a Pura Vida tequila cocktail. Offers change periodically. For all the money college students spend on alcohol, it’s a bit of a relief to find a way to get some of it back.

“If you want to earn money for drinking, this is the best there is,” said user Jasinhollis on the app’s review page.


Food and Drink App #5


This app is designed to help users make healthier decisions at the grocery store. It involves entering your health goals, taking pictures of your groceries, and receiving recommendations on what grocery items to purchase next time. ShopWell offers options for people who are allergic to gluten, peanuts, soy, eggs, wheat, corn, milk, and shellfish. The app suggests certain foods for you based on your age and health goals, such as being more athletic, having better heart health, or losing weight. It even features a live chat option to talk with a ShopWell dietician. Users can connect a certain food store to the app, such as Target or Stop and Shop, so the app can recommend food that is available in those stores.

Food and Drink App #4

Cocktail Flow

This app has hundreds of drink recipes, from smoothies to mixed drinks. It has an easy-to-use interface and step-by-step instructions. Categories include Thanksgiving drinks (or any approaching holiday), sparkling drinks, winter drinks, healthy drinks (such as smoothies), and several others. You can even search under weak cocktails, extremely strong cocktails, and in anywhere between.

Cocktail Flow has an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars in its reviews. “I’ve been using this app for two days and have already tried many drinks that I would never have come up with on my own,” said user james.cote in an app review in the App Store. “There is a feature that allows you to put in all of the liquor, beer, wine, and mixers that you have in your bar. The app will then tell you recipes that you can make with what you have.”

There are also drink recipes specifically for certain occasions, such as girl’s night out or poolside lounging. From the Fruity Spinach Smoothie to a Winter Chill, this app will inspire anyone with a desire to try a new drink. Another added benefit: it’s way cheaper to make your own than to buy one at the bar.


Food and Drink App #3


Tastemade could be described as a cookbook on social media. The app features TV series about food, recipe videos, and cooking classes. For people who are visual learners, Tastemade is ideal because there are dozens of videos to watch that will teach you exactly how to make a meal. Users can browse recipes by cuisine, ingredients, and more, and are able to save their favorite recipes to come back to later.

One of the shows featured on the app is called Sweet AF, which is described as “sweet recipes and sexy food porn guaranteed to satisfy even the most bizarre cravings.” Another is The Grill Iron, which travels to different colleges and tries out their famous tailgating recipes. Several of the fall-themed recipes include apple cider donuts, pumpkin French toast, and caramel apple ginger root beer float. The app is aesthetically pleasing, contains lots of content, and is as easy as scrolling through Facebook (and possibly as addicting, too).


Food and Drink App #2

My Fitness Pal

For students who want to cut back on cafeteria food and free cookies from your RA, My Fitness Pal is an essential tool. The app lets you count calories by selecting the food you’ve eaten that day and in what quantities. The app can even count how many steps you take and how many calories you burn, providing a free alternative to a Fitbit. You can save meals that you frequently eat, making it easier to count calories. The app will also take into account the exercise you input and subtract that from the total amount of calories you’ve consumed that day.

Hannah Elliott, a junior psychology and business major at The University of Tampa, uses My Fitness Pal to track the food she eats. “I think it’s really useful,” Elliott said. “I have been using it for 5 months now and have lost 40 pounds, so it works. It keeps you honest about what you are eating, and it’s good to use to track your weight as well.”

One of the most convenient features of the app is that it lets you scan a food item’s barcode and it will tell you the nutritional value of it. This is especially useful when grocery shopping. The app is easy to learn and can connect with multiple other fitness apps, including Apple Health, Fitbit, Garmin, Runkeeper and Misfit.



Must-Have Food and Drink Apps for College Students

Food: most college students have it on their minds almost 24/7. It’s a priority, especially during those late nights when all you crave is mac n’ cheese or buffalo wings. But munching on cafeteria pizza every day or ordering Uber Eats can get unhealthy and expensive. That’s why there are apps to spark your creativity in the kitchen, help you save money at the liquor store, and learn about the best (and least expensive) restaurants around.I’ll feature the top seven this week. The best part is, the apps are all fit for a college budget (aka, they’re free).


This app is great for finding nearby restaurants, complete with customer ratings and tips. The app divides restaurants into breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee & tea, nightlife, and things to do. It even keeps a history of places you’ve visited in case you want to go back or recommend them to a friend. Users have the ability to link the app to their Facebook or email so they can follow friends and foodie experts to see what establishments they suggest.

“I think that [Foursquare] is especially useful when you are traveling and want to know what to visit or where to get something delicious to eat,” said Renee Levie Budak, a Foursquare user. “I especially like that the recommendations come from real people who have had real experiences at that restaurant, event or museum, etc. I also like that I can view a menu, make a reservation through Open Table, get a ride with Uber, or just get directions with Google Maps.”


Foursquare Labs, Inc., the creator of the app, claims there are no reviews from businesses trying to promote themselves or long rants from unsatisfied customers. With Foursquare, you can rate the places you’ve been to and which menu items you enjoyed so the app can recommend other restaurants that would be a good fit for you. The app also lets you create a list of restaurants and bars in the area you want to visit. There are hundreds of tips from food aficionados about special menu items, wifi passwords, and even speakeasy entrances.

When searching for a dinner place in Tampa, a list of restaurants with their closing times and average score on a ten-point scale appears. Several of the places on the Tampa dinner list include Boca, Mise en Place, Edison Food and Drink Lab, and Spain Restaurant and Toma Bar. Users can click on a map to see the different restaurant locations. You can also apply filters such as relevance, distance, rating, and price, which can be very useful if you’re trying to stay under-budget. The app will also let you know if the restaurant delivers, allows dogs, has happy hour, or is within walking distance.


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