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Tips for Healthier Holiday Meals

December 12th, 2012
Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit. Select a variety of vegetables for a great way to add color to the meal. Dish up smaller portions of meat on your plate.
Cut back on sugar. Use non-nutritive sweeteners in place of sugar for pie fillings, puddings, and cranberry sauces. You can usually reduce the amount of sugar by 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 in recipes that are high in sugar.
Lower the fat.
  • Use egg whites or a nonfat egg substitute instead of whole eggs.
  • Substitute a nutty cereal for half the amount of pecans in pecan pie.
  • Substitute chopped vegetables for some of the bread in stuffing.
  • Omit butter and margarine from stuffing recipes.

Be dessert smart. Cut pies in smaller pieces. Serve a large platter of fresh fruit along with traditional desserts. Try the Hurry-up Baked Apples for dessert. Bake fewer varieties of
cookies and bars and make them smaller. Use fat free whipped topping.

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Take Your Cycling Indoors

November 26th, 2012

When the weather is too cold and the roads are snowy and icy, try indoor cyclincyclingg. Many gyms and fitness clubs offer indoor cycling classes that are free with a gym membership or can be paid for per class. A benefit of indoor cycling is that, although you have an instructor guiding you through a workout, you can go at your own intensity and won’t be left behind. With indoor cycling you can keep the resistance low and go for an easy ride or increase the resistance and practice “climbing hills.”

If you like to work out at home, you can purchase a stationary bike or a bike trainer to set your road bike on to do indoor cycling. There are also indoor cycling DVD’s available that take you through workouts, just like at the gym.

For information on bike trainers and indoor cycling DVD’s, visit CycleOps or SPINeRVALS.

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Save Money and Calories on Thanksgiving Dinner

November 6th, 2012

With rising food prices, preparing Thanks­giving dinner can be expensive. In addition, large holiday meals with high calorie foods cause people to overeat. Here are some helpful tips to save both money and calories on the Thanksgiving meal.

Do not go overboard with variety. Do you serve mashed potatoes, stuffing, and sweet potatoes? Do you serve two meats? Remember, you do not have to have everyone’s favorite holiday food at one meal. Choose one meat, one starchy vegetable (mashed potatoes OR sweet potatoes), and one green vegetable that appeals to everyone. Doing so will help you save money and eat less.

Take guests up on their offer to bring a dish. Some of your guests would love to show off their cooking skills with a salad or dessert. Others with less time or ability could be asked to bring a dozen rolls from the bakery, a purchased dessert, or some type of beverage.

Simplify your recipes. Every dish does not have to be fancy. Try fresh or frozen green beans with a touch of olive oil instead of green bean casserole. Have a fruit salad with a mixture of canned and fresh seasonal fruits without lots of whipped topping or sweetened condensed milk.

Watch for sales. Many grocery stores put items frequently used for the Thanksgiv­ing meal on sale a few weeks before hand. Plan your meal ahead of time so that
you can buy items when they are on sale. Consider stocking up on some of these items that can be stored on the shelf or in the freezer and used throughout the year (e.g., fresh cranberries, canned pumpkin, turkey, brown sugar).

Know how many people are attending dinner. This is important so you do not end up making too much food and spending extra money. Make only as much as you need for the people who are attending unless you are deliberately planning for leftovers.

For more tips on saving money at the grocery store and budget friendly recipes, visit the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website

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Family Fitness – Get Healthy Together

October 31st, 2012

Today we go everywhere by car and sit for hours in front of the TV or computer. This sedentary lifestyle has been tied to obesity and other health-familyrelated problems.

Family exercise can improve the health of your loved ones, be fun, and at the same time develop stronger connections among all of you. The goal is to get youth active with 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day; adults need 30 minutes every day.

So, how do you find a way to make it work for everyone?

  • Combine exercise and household chores by having the entire family walk the dog, rake the lawn, or weed the garden.
  • Engaging the entire family in household chores/activities makes the workload lighter for everyone and builds a sense of teamwork.
  • Designate one evening as family fitness night and take turns designing the family workout you will all do together.

Eventually, all family members get to do their preferred workout activities and all will benefit from a workout that will never be dull. In the process, you’ll teach your children not only about health, but also family connection. Most importantly, make it fun for everyone!

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Get Ready to Rough It with Fiber!

October 3rd, 2012

You’ve probably heard it before: Eat more fiber! Do you know why fiber is so good for your health? Eating an adequate amount of fiber will lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and constipation. What a package deal! fiber

Current recommendations suggest that we consume at least 20 grams of dietary fiber per day from food, not supplements. The more calories you eat each day, the more fiber you need; teens  and men may require 30 to 35 grams per day or more. Eating a healthy diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits will usually provide most of the fiber you’ll need.

Here are some tips for choosing high fiber foods:

  1. Go with whole. Whole fruits are packed with more fiber and a lot fewer calories than their juice counterparts. Choose whole grains, such as whole wheat or whole oats. Select grain products that have a whole grain listed as the first ingredient–typically found just below the nutrition facts panel. Breads, cereals, crackers, and other grain foods should have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.
  2. Break the fast with fruit. Get off to a great start by adding fruit, like berries or melon, to your breakfast every day.
  3. Eat more dried beans. It’s easy to forget about beans, but they’re a great tasting, inexpensive source of fiber that also provides protein and other important nutrients.
  4. Try a new dish. Test new recipes that use whole grains, like tabouli, cooked barley, dried beans, or lentils.

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Time to S-T-R-E-T-C-H

September 26th, 2012

Cats do it, and it’s good for people, too! Stretching is good anytime, but especially…stretch

  • First thing in the morning—wake up your muscles
  • After sitting or standing—relieve muscle tension and work out the kinks
  • Before exercise—reduce the risk of joint and muscle injury
  • After exercise—prevent muscle shortening and tightening; improve flexibility
  • During or after driving—improve your alertness
  • When you feel tense or stiff—relax your mind, reduce your stress level, and
    promote circulation throughout the body

Remember these guidelines when stretching—focus on slow, smooth movements; remember to breathe; hold a stretch for 8 to 10 seconds; move only as far as you can without experiencing discomfort (stop if you feel pain). Bouncing to stretch farther can cause injury; remember that frequent stretching is more important than trying to stretch so far that it hurts.

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September is Food Safety Month

September 12th, 2012

“Be Safe — Don’t Cross-Contaminate” is the theme for Food Safety month.handwashing

Cross-contamination is the physical movement or transfer of harmful bacteria from one person, object, or place to another. Preventing cross-contamination is a key factor in preventing foodborne illness. Be sure to follow a game plan for food safety when you tailgate this fall:

  • Before handling food, wash hands and utensils thoroughly with hot soapy water.
  • When packing the cooler, be sure raw meat and poultry are wrapped securely to prevent their juices from cross-contaminating
    ready-to-eat food. Have separate coolers; keep beverages separate from food.
  • When taking food off the grill, use a clean platter. Don’t put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry.

Remember—“Be Smart, Keep Foods Apart.”

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Back-to-school Nutrition

September 10th, 2012

Nutrition plays an important role in assuring your child has a successful school year. Many children do not eat breakfast every day; others grab a soda and high-fat, high sugar pastry—definitely not a “breakfast of champions” relative to cost or nutrition. breakfast

Studies have shown that those who eat a morning meal perform better in school;

  • they have higher test scores,
  • higher attendance,
  • less tardiness,
  • better concentration,
  • and more muscle coordination.

Also, children who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight.

If your child doesn’t like traditional breakfast foods, don’t worry—breakfast can be most any food, even a slice of pizza. If your child claims not to be hungry, offer 100 percent juice and toast. If the school has a midmorning snack time, pack healthy snacks like yogurt, cheese stick, or bagel.  Remember to use an ice pack and insulated lunch bag to keep foods at a safe temperature.

As for lunch, school meal regulations are new this year and have improved the nutritional quality of lunch. School meals have always supplied one-third of a child’s nutrition needs; however, tighter regulations mean lower fat and sodium limits and a greater variety of fruits and vegetables (including fresh). If you choose to pack your child’s lunch, let your child help plan and prepare the lunch. Include meals that are easy to prepare and fun to eat as well as nutritious. A few examples are sandwiches, raw veggies, crackers, string cheese, whole fruit, and yogurt.

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What Does Gluten-Free Mean?

May 20th, 2012

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley,malts, triticale (a cross between wheat and rye), and rye. Foods that typically contain gluten include bread, pasta, crackers, cereal,candies, brown-colored soda, beer, and gravy. Manufacturers now produce gluten-free products labeled “gluten-free” indicating products do not include ingredients containing gluten.

Examples of gluten-free foods: rice, corn, potato, soy, buckwheat, most dairy products, eggs, meats, beans, fish, fruits, and vegetables.

gluten free

Gluten-Free Diets

Approximately one percent of Americans have Celiac Disease and are prescribed a gluten-free diet. When people with this disease eat gluten, they are likely to become ill, have stomach pain and diarrhea, because their small intestines become inflamed and damaged. After multiple exposures to gluten, the intestines lose their ability to absorb essential nutrients.

Some people may experience weight loss when they initially begin this diet, partially due to the limited number of gluten-free products. There is recent interest in using a gluten-free diet for weight loss, though gluten-free diets are not recommended as a long-term solution. There is no evidence showing that a gluten-free diet will lead to weight loss. Gluten-free products contain a similar number of calories and may have increased sugar and fat to make them palatable.

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Physical Activity: Break Time

February 21st, 2012

work outNew research on physical activity supports the importance of Break Time— moving periodically throughout the day. Research done at Australia’s Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, suggests that sitting for long periods of time is associated with health risks, including cancer risks. This even applied to people who are regularly active.

The studies showed that biomarkers for chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes such as waist circumference, insulin resistance, and inflammation can all be lowered with activity breaks as short as one to two minutes.

Practical tips for taking many movement breaks throughout the day:

  • Set a timer on your computer or phone to remind you every 60 minutes it’s time to get up and move.
  • “Walk with me.” Need to discuss something with a co-worker? Ask him or her to join you for a walk while you hash it out.
  • Keep light weights or a strength band in your office to use while talking on the phone or reading e-mail.
  • Use your office and/or office wall to do simple things like stretches, leg lifts, or marching in place.

Adapted from reports from the American Institute for Cancer Research Annual Research Conference, 11/ 3/2011.

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