Healthy Eating for College Students

As colleges and universities finalize if and how students will be returning to campus, we all can agree it will be different this fall.

One thing we do know is that students will still have a microfridge in their dorm room. Whether your school hasn’t made drastic changes or you are just wanting to err on the side of caution, we’ve complied a list of recipes for you to try this upcoming school season, regardless of your diet or budget.

Thinking back on the food I consumed in my college days, it was not the pinnacle of health, at all! From eating uncooked ramen with the seasoning sprinkled on (by choice), Valveeta Shells & Cheese, and my all time favorite – sandwiches. Fruits and vegetables? Yea didn’t know those too well.

Understanding the basics of nutrition and what our bodies need is crucial to making it through college and pulling all-nighters. These tips from dietitian Malia Dunn help breakdown how accessible and simple this can be, while also debunking some myths (hangover cures and Freshmen 15).

Now for the good part – the recipes! Regardless of your dietary choices we have recipes and food ideas for you!

If you don’t have any dietary restrictions or are open to different foods these are for you:

Vegetarian Recipes

Vegan Recipes:


Keto Recipes:

Additional Resources:

If you try any of these recipes please let us know!

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Checklist for Families Touring an Assisted Living Community

Planning to tour an assisted living community with your family? Kudos for turning the first page onto a new chapter of life. There’s a lot you can do to help your loved one make the best transition possible.

Walking into an assisted living community for the first time can feel overwhelming. There’s so much to consider: accommodations, staffing, food, care services – the list goes on.

That’s why we’ve put together this assisted living checklist for families to use on their first visit to a new community. These points should help you decide which assisted living community is right for your loved one.

Assisted Living Checklist

1. Environment

Call it environment, atmosphere, or vibes; in any case, these points are about the overall feel of the community. A lot of this has to do with intuition, but there are also a few specific things to look for.

  • Before you enter…
    • Look at the grounds surrounding the community. Consider whether your loved one would feel comfortable sitting outdoors or walking the grounds. The property should be well-landscaped, with clear, safe paths and walkways.
    • Listen to the sounds all around you. Gauge the noise level from passing traffic and try to pick up sounds that give clues about the character of the neighbourhood (like children playing, dogs barking, or police sirens.)
  • When you first enter the main building…
    • Look at the floor of the front entrance, especially if it’s autumn or winter. It should be cleaned at least daily.
    • Look for seasonal décor that shows the community celebrates holidays and marks the passage of time.
    • Wait for a staff member to greet you. If you have an appointment, someone should attend to you promptly. Some communities offer visitors refreshments while they wait; does this one?
  • As you tour the community…
    • Feel the temperature inside the building. Is it well-air conditioned in the summer, or sufficiently warm in the winter?
    • Smell the air and take note of any odours, good or bad.
    • Note the atmosphere produced by natural and artificial lighting.
    • Listen for the sounds of liveliness: laughter, music, conversation. You want to hear more than the sound of a television.

2. Service Offerings

Different communities cater to individuals requiring varying needs and levels of care. If an assisted living community does not offer all the services your loved one needs, it’s essential that they can either bring a service provider on-site or provide transportation to one outside the community.

  • Ask whether the community offers…
    • Nursing
    • Pharmaceutical services
    • Massage therapy
    • Physical therapy
    • Counselling
    • Memory care
    • Hairstyling
    • Transportation
  • Find out…
    • Whether there is an additional cost for any or all services
    • How long your loved one must schedule an appointment in advance
    • How to add services to your loved one’s care plan if their needs change

3. Suites

Your tour will likely include a visit to a vacant suite. Ask yourself: is this a place your loved one can call home?

  • Are the suites…
    • Single or double-occupancy?
    • Smoking or non-smoking?
    • Lockable from the inside?
  • Can your loved one…
    • Furnish and decorate the room as they wish?
    • Have a pet living in the suite?
    • Cook inside the suite?
    • Bring food from the dining room into the suite?
  • Does the suite have…
    • A kitchenette with Safe Plug® appliances?
    • Emergency call buttons at the bedside and in the bathroom?
    • Telephone, internet and cable service?
    • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors?

 4. Common Areas

Shared space is the heart of an assisted living community. It’s here where your loved one will make connections and spend most of their time during the day. Pay particular attention to rooms that relate to their hobbies and interests.

  • Does the community have…
    • Game room
    • Library/reading room
    • Home movie theatre
    • Swimming pool/hot tub
    • Computer room
    • Community garden
    • Patio
  • When you visit these areas…
    • Notice the level of activity. Do the community members use the rooms, or are they only there “for show”?
    • Look for clutter. Do the common areas look neat and tidy?
    • Consider if the outdoor space is useable year-round. Are there shady areas for summer? Any outdoor heaters for winter?

 5. Activities and Recreation

Staying active and engaged is essential to your loved one’s health and longevity. The days of leaving people in front of the television are over. Now, reputable assisted living communities offer a variety of recreational activities.


Ask to see a schedule of the community’s programming for the next few weeks, or better yet, sit in on an activity and observe.

  • When you see the programming…
    • Look for activities that suit your loved one’s abilities and interests. Are there several things they would enjoy?
    • Look for variety. Are there activities to promote wellness, fitness and creativity?
    • Ask about the newest activity on offer. How long ago was it added? Does the community add new activities often?
  • When you sit in on an activity…
    • Watch the community members. Are they engaged and interested?
    • Watch the staff members. Are they leading the activity in a respectful and dignifying way?

6. Staffing

It takes a special kind of person to provide exceptional care. The quality of the staff can make or break an assisted living community; you should have no unanswered questions or lingering doubts about them.

  • While you’re touring the community…
    • Smile and wave at people you pass. Do they smile and wave back?
    • Watch how the staff and community members interact. Does the staff make eye contact and call people by name?
    • Watch how the staff members interact with each other. Is their tone professional and respectful?
    • Look the staff members up and down. Are they professionally-dressed and well-groomed?
    • When you stop and speak to a staff member, ask how long they have worked there. Get answers from several people to glean the staff turnover rate.
  • When you speak to the administrators…
    • Ask about the staff-to-community member ratio both during the weekday and on evenings and weekends. Are there enough people to keep everyone safe in the event of an emergency?
    • Ask about the vetting process. What do background checks consist of? Are the staff members required to have any certification?
    • Ask about your loved one’s medical needs. Does the staff have experience with this condition?

7. Meals

It’s said that variety is the spice of life, and that is perhaps most true when it comes to meal times. Assisted living communities have come a long way in this regard. Today, many communities have shifted from a cafeteria-style dining room to restaurant-style service, complete with greater choice and better service overall.

  • Ask the dining room staff…
    • How often does the kitchen change up the menu?
    • Are snacks and refreshments available as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner?
    • Could guests join your loved one for meals?
    • Does the dining room have assigned seating?
    • Can you inspect the kitchen pantry and refrigerator?
    • Could your loved one bring food from the dining room back to their suite and keep leftovers in their suite refrigerator?

8. Medical Needs

Every individual in assisted living has unique needs and circumstances. Regrettably, we cannot possibly create a checklist that covers every medical need; however, we can note some of the most common needs that may arise as your loved one continues to age.

  • In discussing the community’s services…
    • Find out how the community helps those who need assistance with the daily activities of living (ADL): getting dressed, bathing, brushing teeth, using the toilet, eating, walking, getting in and out of bed, etc.
    • Ask about security measures. Does someone watch the doors to prevent individuals from wandering outside unattended? Are there lockdown procedures?
    • Ask about meal times. Can they accommodate an individual with special dietary needs?
    • Discuss the community’s medication management policies. Can you loved one take their medication in their apartment if they are able?
  • As you tour the facility, notice…
    • Room layouts and doorways that accommodate walkers or wheelchair access
    • Handrails and benches in hallways
    • Non-skid flooring throughout the community
    • Accessible bathrooms
    • Elevators

Print off this checklist and take it with you on your visit. Knowing what to look for and ask about can help to alleviate the stress of visiting an assisted living community for the first time.

Choosing the Best Fit for an Assisted Living Facility

The Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) defines assisted living as, “a senior living option that combines apartment style housing, organized social interaction, and private duty support services as needed.” An assisted living facility has resources to aid with daily activities such as bathing, taking proper medication, eating meals, and transportation.

Maintain independence

Sometimes, this a long-term care option is for adults who cannot live fully independently but only need assistance with some factors that come with aging. For many seniors, assisted living provides just the level of care they need to flourish and triumph in their new phase of life.

Now that we are bit more familiar with assisted living facilities, does your loved one sound like they would be a good fit for assisted living? Here are some of the important factors to consider when choosing the best fit.

Types of Facilities

Assisted living facilities are usually communities ranging in size from 25 to 120 residents. The types of housing options depend on the residents’ level of independence and they care they require. Some facilities have a range of options to help people stay in the community as their needs change over time.

For personal space, you can choose from single or shared rooms or personal apartments. Residents have their own TVs, mini fridges, and other personal items, along with privacy that comes with their chosen rooms. Otherwise, the common areas are shared among everyone.

As time goes on and needs change, you can add on more care services or make the transition into a more supportive or health-focused facility. These could be from nursing homes, dementia/Alzheimer’s care, or hospice care.


When it comes to paying for assisted living, many facilities are privatized. According to

Costs vary based on factors such as unit size, location, and available services. Another thing to think about: some places may charge a flat rate that covers many basic services, while others may charge a fee for each service that you can build on.

Although most people have planned for assisted care down the road, many don’t know how much it can cost until they start looking. Fortunately, there are many ways to pay for senior housing, ranging from government resources, reverse mortgages, long-term care insurance, and private pay options.

Assistance Level

Now that we have discussed costs and factors associated with differing levels of pricing, what exactly are those factors?

It is important to research and investigate different assisted living facilities, as locations vary with their offerings. Service can include assistance with daily living activities, housekeeping, social services, laundry services, dining programs, transportation, and exercise activities.

24-hour service and security are available in many assisted living communities, but it is important to look into the number of staff members relative to the size of the facility. This can ensure that these and emergency services can be delivered to the highest quality promised.

All this information is relevant when thinking about looking into the right assisted living community for your loved one. The AARP has published an excellent checklist for what to look for when visiting any facility.

If you have chosen a facility for your loved one, we offer senior-living-suitable refrigerators for private rooms.

How to Save on the 5 Biggest Travel Expenses and Still Have an Incredible Trip

You don’t have to diminish your experience to save money while travelling! We’ve assembled practical tips to help you save on five of the biggest travel expenses: transportation, lodging, food, excursions, and shopping.

Save on Travel Expenses

1. Transportation

The average family spends about 44% of their travel budget on getting to (and from) their destination. Flying is most expensive way to get around, with cruise ships at a close second. These expenses are unavoidable if you’re travelling overseas, but there are ways to spend less on vacation transportation.

  • Timing is important when it comes to airfare. The best time to buy plane tickets is 8 weeks before the day of your trip; the most expensive times are when the flight is announced and two weeks before takeoff. Buy early, but not too early.
  • Travel off-season. Airfare rises and falls with seasonal demand. You’ll save money while travelling in the off-season, like the weeks immediately after a big holiday or celebration.
  • At your travel destination, take the scenic route. Planning to travel by taxi? Know that the most direct route is usually the most expensive. Consider using public transportation and commuting by foot when you can. You’ll save money and get a more immersive experience of your destination.

2. Food

One of the best parts of travelling is indulging in local cuisine. But those meals add up fast. More than 80% of the average traveller’s food budget is spent in restaurants, bars and cafés. Here’s how to spend less while still getting a taste of the culture.

  • Stock up on food at local markets and grocery stores. Store it in the micro-fridge in your hotel room. That way, you can enjoy at least one fresh meal a day in your hotel room without paying the restaurant premium. Be sure to request a room with a micro-fridge when booking your hotel.
  • Dine outside of tourist areas. Restaurants are always more expensive in touristy areas, and they aren’t necessarily the best your destination has to offer. Instead, try an out-of-the-way spot with a positive rating on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor.
  • Carry snacks with you on daytrips. Stockpile snacks in your hotel micro-fridge and take some with you when you go out. These will help you stave off mid-day cravings and avoid spending extra at food stands and vending machines

3. Lodging

Hotels are another significant expense, especially in major tourist destinations. Fortunately, there are lots of options for travellers who want to spend less on a bed and a roof over their head.

  • Avoid ordering room service. In most cases, the convenience isn’t worth the added cost. If you’re known to indulge in a midnight snack, store something tasty in your micro-fridge instead.
  • Always compare prices – but do it incognito. Some hotels and booking services use your browser history to manipulate the prices you see. Turn on your browser’s incognito mode to avoid price hikes.
  • Stay with friends and family when you can. Don’t hesitate to ask your acquaintances abroad if they’re willing to let you spend a night!

4. Excursions

The cost of excursions, entertainment, and activities vary widely across different destinations. In any case, these “things to do” amount to a major portion of travel expenses, especially for families. Planning ahead can help keep these costs manageable.

  • Buy a multi-excursion package deal/pass. Many tourist destinations offer package deals that bundle various popular stops into a single purchase. The Toronto CityPASS, for instance, includes visits to the CN Tower, Casa Loma, the ROM, Ripley’s Aquarium, and the Zoo or Science Centre.
  • Choose destinations where the location itself is a trip. You don’t have to pay extra to see incredible sights in historic cities like Rome, Paris, or even Quebec City. The same goes for sunny destinations with public beaches.
  • Prioritize the excursions you really want to do. Don’t feel compelled to hit every iconic tourist spot in town. Focus your time and money on things that matter to you. Many people find that seeing a live show or going hiking creates more lasting memories than touring the same monuments they’ve seen hundreds of times on TV.

5. Shopping

Shopping isn’t a huge travel expense for everyone, but some of us just can’t resist the draw of souvenirs and duty-free. Keep these things in mind if you know you’ll want to shop on your vacation.

  • Avoid shopping near major tourist attractions. The more foot traffic the area receives from tourists, the more vendors can charge for their goods. The same goes for restaurants.
  • Use credit or debit whenever possible. Paying with plastic gets you better exchange rates compared to paying with cash and gives you recourse in the event that the product is defective or the service a scam.

Don’t buy specialty products you don’t know much about. Most people know better than to blindly trust a salesperson back home when they claim a product is top-of-the-line — they go online and research the product first. The same should apply to products purchased on vacation. If a vendor claims a product is special or high-quality, verify before you buy.

8 Tips for Traveling With Kids

Sometimes, even just going to the grocery store with your kids can be a hassle. Traveling is the dream for many, but it might seem like an impossibility to travel with kids. It is doable, however, and here are a few tips to make it a bit more manageable.

Family Holiday

Travel Light

Nothing takes the wind out of your sails like lugging around half your belongings, plus the kitchen sink. When packing, be ruthless. Only pack what you know you will need, not for every eventuality. Yes, it’s good to be prepared, but if you’ve packed to make sure your outfits always match, it’s time to rethink.

This goes doubly for children. Kids tend to pack things they don’t need and forget the things they actually do need. Your best bet is to do the packing for them.

Dress for the Weather

What’s worse than being stuck out for the day and being too cold or too hot? Having a child that’s miserable from being under or over-dressed. You either need to make sure everyone is dressed properly when they leave or can change to suit the weather.

If it’s cold but likely to warm up, make sure everyone has some way to carry their extra layers as they shed them off.

Plan Ahead

When traveling, it’s common to want to see as much as possible in a short amount of time. Plan your routes to make the most of every outing. Your hotel concierge should be able to point you in the right direction for sights and attractions that would be fun for kids as well as adults.

Some kids need structure to enjoy themselves, so a bit of planning can go a long way.

Take Your Time (and Add Buffer Time)

Going anywhere with kids, whether you’re travelling or not, can take longer than you expect. Children are easily side-tracked, and it’s important to allow time for them to explore and learn on their own. So, add a few extra minutes here and there to stop for food, bathroom breaks, or other unexpected detours.

Go With the Flow

While it’s good to have a plan and stick to it, kids can be completely unpredictable. They may get tired, or they might see something they just have to go and check out. This tip ties into the previous and will help you to avoid stress.

Don’t be afraid to switch things up. Sometimes the best vacation memories happen from a spur of the moment decision.

Use Public Transport

Kids love things like trains or buses. And there’s no better way to soak in local culture than immersing yourself in the way they get around.

Buses and trains tend to take circuitous routes, so sit back and watch the new locales and streets pass by. You might even see something you’ll want to hop off and check out!

Give Your Child a Camera or a Notebook

Keeping your child busy with a project is a great way to protect your sanity. Give your son or daughter a camera—a basic one can be found super cheap—or even just a notebook and pen to log every sight or memory. They’ll have fun, and they’ll also build something they can take for show and tell and keep as a souvenir for the rest of their lives.

Choose an All-Suite Hotel

One of the biggest challenges of staying anywhere other than home is not having the amenities that you’re used to. This is doubly the case with kids.

Having an all-suite hotel room means you’ll have extra room for the little ones to spread out and play, and mom and dad don’t need to stress about taking the kids out for dinner. With an attached fully-equipped kitchen, an all-suite room means you’ll have a home away from home to cook those family recipes that your kids are used to.

Traveling with kids doesn’t have to be a nightmare! Just remember a few of these tips and you’ll be sure to have an amazing time seeing the world with your family.