Keeping it Local

For many of you, like myself, graduating in 67 days, the countdown until the “real” world is a scary thing. This looming pressure to graduate, get good grades, look for a post-graduation job all while battling that never-ending senioritis bug can be overwhelming. We get wrapped up in this consuming saga of stress and countdowns and we forget to step back and appreciate what is around us. Never fear! I have devised a fall bucket list of events that are not so known in the Chico area. We live in a beautiful town that has a lot to offer. Let’s take advantage of this before it’s too late.

1. Run for Food: Thanksgiving is amazing in all its gluttonous glory. However, I have learned that in order to fully participate in over-indulging myself, a pre-workout is necessary. Thanksgiving day, Chico hosts an annual Run For Food in Bidwell Park. This charity event supports the effort to raise money and food for those in need from our community. There are several different categories in which you can participate. So, if you’re a competitive runner or leisure walker there is a spot for you. It is an incredibly popular event! Tickets and sign ups are encouraged prior to the run. I assure you there is nothing more rewarding than getting in shape to help others!

Register at: Chico Run for Food

2. Sierra Nevada Tour: For those of you over 21, our local Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. hosts weekly tours of its facilities. This local gem highlights its craft beer, brewing capabilities, sustainability education and the tasting room. It is a great way to educate yourself in the world of one of the industry’s finest. The brewery is located on 20th Street, so make sure you take a sober driver if you’re planning on tasting the beer.

3. Pug Sunday: One of the lesser known events (nonprofits) in the area is the rescue pug Sunday events. Devoted to finding these abandoned furry friends good homes, the organization invites lovers of this smashed-faced dog to come out and mingle every Sunday at Hooker Park. Last Sunday I attended the Halloween costume contest with my pug dressed as a Ninja Turtle. We were not victorious, however, I did end up getting lots of humorous pictures of a variety of costumes including a minion, cowboy and Indian duo, flapper pug,and vampire. If you have a pug or just love animals this is a great way to meet future play dates in the community. Half-breeds are also welcome!

Make new friends – like them on Facebook too: Pug Sunday

minion pug costume contest
First place goes to Ellie, the minion pug! Photo credit: Kiely Nelson

4. Saturday Farmer’s Market: To most of the Chico locals, the Thursday Night Market is a scheduled routine. The coveted booths of locally grown delicacies make this one of the go-to events of the season. However, most people do not know that on Saturday mornings, there is an equally plentiful farmers market. For those serious organic lovers this is your next destination for your shopping ventures. Located in the parking lot off of East Second Street on your way to Bidwell Park, it is a perfect destination to bring the family or your roommates on a relaxing Sunday. Parking is easy and located a hop, skip and a jump away from downtown. Also, make sure you bring your appetite because vendors are always looking for you to sample their product.

College Student Survival Guide to Eating Healthy on a Budget

Let’s face it. Being healthy in college is pretty hard. We’re constantly in situations such as snacking on delivery pizza with our roommates late at night or gulping down sugary energy drinks to help us study. It’s difficult because these unhealthy foods and drinks are easily available to us and usually pretty cheap which complement our “broke college student” lifestyle.

Luckily, eating healthy on a budget is not as hard as you might think.

For the most part, people have a good idea what foods are healthy versus what aren’t. When choosing healthier foods to eat, it’s important not to make yourself miserable. I know spinach is healthy, but would I want to eat it everyday? Absolutely not. Eating should be enjoyable! Focus on what healthy foods you do like and eat those.

Making small changes in your diet can go a long way. Try having egg whites instead of the whole egg or choosing wheat bread instead of white. If there is something unhealthy you absolutely cannot give up then look for healthier alternatives. If you’re craving chocolate, go for some dark chocolate (which is better for your heart) instead. If you love potato chips then find the one lowest in fat and sodium and choose those. Baked chips, instead of cooked in oil, are also tasty alternatives.

If you like energy drinks, like I am guilty of, a great alternative is green tea. Green tea has almost as much caffeine as coffee and provides amazing health benefits. It’s also inexpensive. You can find green tea at any grocery store for about $5 a pack.

Photo credit: Janet Beasley
Photo credit: Janet Beasley

Farmers markets are a great way to find fresh locally grown fruits and veggies at a reasonable price.  Unfortunately, the Thursday Night Market we are probably most familiar with ends on Sept. 26.  However, there are some other options.  There is a year-round Chico Certified Farmers Market  from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at the parking lot on Second and Wall streets.  There is another Chico Certified Farmers Market from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Wednesdays in the North Valley Plaza Mall parking lot on Pillsbury Road (adjacent to Trader Joes).  This market goes until November 27.

Another great place to do your grocery shopping is at Chico Natural Foods.  The store is located at 818 Main St. and they pride themselves on supporting local farmers and offering organically grown produce.  The store has a special co-op membership program where for $25 a year, members have access to member only discounts and monthly specials.  Students who are on financial aid and sign up for the program will receive an extra 5 percent discount for any product they buy.

With these tips, it is possible to eat healthy while in college.  It just takes a little dedication and knowing where to look.