UCC Mainstream Online

Sabrina Bidwell

Sabrina Bidwell

Health Tips

Sip Down A Summer Smoothie
June 5, 2013
Not All Milk Is Created Equal
May 8, 2013
The Dangers of Being Clean
April 24, 2013

Nutrition Tips

Healthier Alternatives
Feb. 20, 2013
Cruciferous Vegetables
Feb. 6 2013
Jan. 23 2013

Nutrition Tips:

Healthier alternatives

Sabrina Bidwell / Mainstream

Balancing a hectic schedule of school, work, family and social life can be difficult. With so much going on, forgetting about health is easy and we jump to the easiest option. Going from place to place, fast food is an easy and cheap resource.

Though fast food is convenient, it is terribly unhealthy. The LiveWell Wellness Center conducted an experiment and the photos from it have been going around Facebook. They bought a hamburger and French fry meal from four of the most popular fast food restaurants, Wendy’s, Jack in the Box, Burger King and McDonald’s. They put the meals on display in their wellness center and let them sit for two years.

Although two years have passed, the meals look exactly like they did when they were purchased. As mentioned on SF Weekly, the LiveWell Wellness Center said, “Our fast ‘food’ display is now two years old. The word ‘food’ is questionable, since the bread-like and meat-like substances have not molded or spoiled in any way. Bugs won’t even bother with it. Please think twice about giving this to your kids. You have a choice, but they don’t. We truly are what we eat.”

Fast food burgers and French fries are high in calories, fat and cholesterol. As noted on Livestrong.com, this increases the risk of heart attack as well as liver damage. Foods high in fat and calories can lead to obesity, which makes the body more susceptible to diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

LiveWell Wellness Center’s website displays a tray of fast food meals that are two years old.
Provided by LiveWell Wellness Center
LiveWell Wellness Center’s website displays a tray of fast food meals that are two years old.

Instead of stopping at one’s favorite fast food place for a quick meal, making a healthy meal at home is far more beneficial. Cooking at home results in less fat and calories because the added oils can be controlled.

Using healthier oils such as olive oil or canola oil can make French fries healthier than those at fast food restaurants, but French fries can be further improved by making them out of sweet potatoes. As noted on Livestrong.com, sweet potatoes are packed with antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and B. They are also full of fiber, iron and manganese.

One’s weekly diet is suggested to consist of at least one day without meat. Veggie burgers are a great substitute to regular beef burgers. They also provide an easy source for vegetable nutrients.

Fast food alternatives

Ranch veggie burger
Sabrina Bidwell / Mainstream

Ranch veggie burger

  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans (rinsed)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper (sliced)
  • 1/2 onion (sliced)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 packet of ranch seasoning
  • 1 cup bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse the black beans and mash them in a large bowl with a fork. In a food processor, chop the green bell pepper, onion and garlic. Add the chopped vegetables to the beans. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg, chili powder and ranch seasoning. Add mixture to beans. Mix in the bread crumbs. Form 6 patties and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, flip over, then cook for another 10 minutes.

Sweet potato French fries
Sabrina Bidwell / Mainstream

Sweet potato French fries


  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. onion pepper
  • 1 tsp. oregano


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into ¼ inch slices. Lightly coat the slices in olive oil. In a separate bowl, mix together the garlic powder, pepper, onion powder and oregano. Place the coated sweet potato slices on an ungreased cooking sheet. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture over the potatoe slices. Bake in oven for 20 minutes until golden brown, rotating occasionally. Let cool for five minutes. Sprinkle with more seasoning if desired.