Did you say hop like a frog?

 

School will soon be out for winter break and the kids will be home for a couple of weeks. Schedules might be busy with holiday activities for a few days but then you might need something to keep the kids active. If there’s snow, sledding and building a snowman are always fun. However, if you need some indoor activities, here are a few to try.

1. Speed-read
Choose a book with a word that will be repeated often (“green,” for instance, if you’re
reading Green Eggs and Ham) and have your child stand up or sit down each time she hears it.

2. Animal charades
Write the names of various animals on slips of paper and drop them into a bowl. Take turns choosing a slip and acting out the animal until someone guesses correctly. Try it with no sounds
for an added challenge.

3. Animal Races
Use the slips of paper to decide on the moves for a race. For example, the first time down and back, the kids need to hop like a frog. Then run on all fours like a dog. And finish by crawling on the ground like a lizard!

4. Catch with a catch
Have each player toss a beach ball into the air and try to touch his nose or high-five the other players before the balls drop. Make the challenges harder as you go along.

5. Dance Party
Turn on the music and have a dance party. Or start and stop the music, having the kids freeze when the music stops.

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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Be Active Your Way Every Day

You might be wondering why this blog is titled Be Active Your Way Every Day. What does that have to do with eating healthy on a budget? Well, being active might not affect your grocery budget but it is important to your health! Being active helps you sleep better, feel better and have more energy.  Who doesn’t want all of those things?

Here are the current recommendations for physical activity:

  • Adults should get at least 2 ½ hours of aerobic physical activity each week. This type of activity works your heart and lungs such as walking, running, or swimming.
  • If you break up the 2 ½ hours over the week, this means being active for 30 minutes 5 days of the week.
  • When your schedule is busy or you are just starting to be more physically active, do it in small segments of 10 minutes or so. To get in your 30 minutes of activity for the day you could walk for 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at lunch, and 10 minutes in the evening.
  • It is also recommended to do strength and flexibility training 2-3 times a week. This could be lifting weights, stretching, or doing exercises like squats and push-ups.
  • Children need to get 60 minutes or more of active play every day.

There are many ways to be active such as biking, gardening, dancing, and playing outside. If you like to track your activity, consider using the SuperTracker from choosemyplate.gov. It’s free!

When it comes to being active, the important thing is to find something you enjoy doing that moves your body!

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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A Healthier Me in 2016

It’s that time of year again when we tend to look at how we can live just a little bit healthier in the new year. For me, this means making more time for exercise throughout my day. I do alright with getting my workouts in, but I spend most of my day at a desk and I would like to work in some breaks to get my body moving throughout the day. Our bodies are not meant to be in a sitting position all day, it can damage our posture and even affect breathing. Being active for just ten minutes can help boost mental focus and increase energy.

I plan to use a strategy called SMART goals to make this happen. A goal is SMART if it is:

Specific – It identifies a specific action that will take place.

Measurable – it’s easily measured, I can tell when I’ve done it.

Achievable – it can be accomplished with my current resources.

Realistic – though the goal will stretch me, it is possible for me to do it.

Timely – the goal includes a specific timeline for accomplishing it.

So here’s my goal!

I will walk briskly for at least ten minutes three times per week while I’m at work. I will walk in the halls of our building when it is cold and snowy and outside once the weather gets nicer.

I’ve taken some steps to increase my likelihood of success:

  • I have comfy shoes at the office.
  • I have told my colleagues about my goal so they can keep me honest.
  • I have a chart to track my progress and help me remember to work in my walks.

This month’s blog posts are all about setting goals for the new year. Share your goals with us on Facebook! Sometimes letting just one other person know your goal can help you stay accountable.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2016!

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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MyPyramid Changes to MyPlate

Last week MyPyramid changed to MyPlate.

Dietitians and nutrition educators have been waiting for months for a new icon.  We knew there was going to be a change, but the details were kept top secret.  The new icon has a simple, but important message, we need foods from all five food groups at our meals AND half our plate should be fruits and vegetables.  Unlike the MyPyramid icon that tried to convey many specific messages, this new icon is just supposed to remind us about healthy eating.   Stay tuned as nutrition educators get innovative about how to use the new logo for breakfast and snacks as well as for meals.

There are lots of interesting programs on the ChooseMyPlate web site.  You can find interactive tools to analyze your diet and exercise, plan your diet, plan your child’s diet, and compare calories and nutrition between two foods.   Many of these activities will be rolled over to a new website planned to debut this fall.

New on the ChooseMyPlate site is a series called Ten Tips.  This consists of 14 different topics each with 10 tips/suggestions for changes you can make to be healthier.

Pointers by Peggy

My Top 10 Reasons to Garden

Little girl standing in a vegetable garden with spade in her hand, second little girl by a scooter with rake and shovelIt’s SPRING. Warm weather makes me start planning for my flower and vegetable garden.  Why?

  1. Health — Growing your own makes it easier to get the fruits and vegetables needed for good health. Kids involved in growing or preparing fruits and vegetables are more likely to eat them.
  2. Exercise — Gardening provides both cardio and aerobic exercise. Studies show that an hour of moderate gardening can burn up to 300 calories for women, almost 400 calories for men. Mowing the grass equals a vigorous walk, bending and stretching while planting compares to an exercise class, and hauling plants and soil is like weightlifting.
  3. Taste – Nothing matches the taste of green beans, tomatoes, basil, zucchini, or peppers picked fresh from the garden.
  4. Satisfaction — A weed less, mulched garden gives me a sense of accomplishment.
  5. Learning — The more I learn about plants and gardening, the more I want to know. Problems with insects or spots on leaves make me want to find the cause and learn how to keep plants healthy.
  6. Family time — Time spent planting, weeding, and harvesting with family is filled with talk and laughter.
  7. Friendship — Gardening expands your social circle. Whether it’s someone who lives down the street or halfway around the world on the Internet, gardeners love to talk about plants. Surplus tomatoes, a bouquet, or an extra plant are gifts to share with friends and neighbors.
  8. Creativity — Gardening provides an outlet for the artist in all of us, whether it’s planting a bed of perennials or arranging flowers in a vase.
  9. Beauty and love of nature — I love the colors, shapes, textures and smells of flowers.  Having flowers in my home gives me joy.
  10.   Links to the farm — Gardening takes time, effort and knowledge.  After lots of work, plants can be destroyed by hail, disease, or animals. I have a great deal of respect for those who farm for a living.

Notice anything missing in my top ten reasons to garden?  Saving money.  That’s because gardens don’t always save money. The article, “Can a Vegetable Garden Save You Money”?  by Cindy Haynes, Extension Horticulturist, gives tips to help you save money on your garden.  It’s from 2009, but the message still applies.

-pointers from Peggy

2010 Healthy Homemade Calendar on sale for just $2

Last week I wrote about making food gifts for the holidays. One of my friends asked me why I didn’t mention that our 2010 Healthy and Homemade Nutrition and Fitness Calendar is on sale for only $2 plus shipping and handling from the ISU Extension online store. Good idea—so here are some details about the calendar.

The calendar features a monthly recipe and color photo complete with ingredient list, preparation directions, nutrition facts, and menu ideas. Also, as an extra bonus, the preparation of each recipe can be viewed from the recipes section of the Spend Smart. Eat Smart web site. These videos walk even the most inexperienced cook through the recipe with ease, answering preparation and ingredient substitution questions.

In addition to facts promoting healthy homemade eating, the calendar encourages exercise, movement, and physical activity. A chart at the bottom of the calendar makes it easy to set activity goals; small boxes on each day are designed to track activity numbers. For people who have a hard time getting motivated, there are suggestions each month for building and sustaining physical activity habits. The last two pages of the calendar contain physical activity information—the amount of activity needed each day, how to fit it into your schedule, and ideas for increasing activity.

-pointers from Peggy

$30 serves 8 a Healthy Holiday Dinner

Thanksgiving is just a couple weeks away and for many of us that means lots of great food. But it doesn’t have to mean a lot of calories, extra weight, and an empty wallet. Last weekend we figured out a traditional menu that will serve 8 people a healthy meal for $30.

Why is it healthy? The turkey is roasted—not fried, the food is homemade so it isn’t loaded with sodium like many of the  convenience foods, the vegetables and fruits are prepared letting the natural flavors shine rather than be smothered, and we have skipped the crust on the pie and gone right to the ‘good for you’ pumpkin filling.

My sister is trying to promote a “Turkey Trot” on Thanksgiving morning for us—just like they do in her husband’s hometown. The Turkey Trot is a 3K route and everyone walks or runs as far as they want and are able. This sounds like a great plan to me, and I think it would work with our family since we share the cooking. Walking and talking sure makes the exercise go more quickly.

Check out the turkey dinner recipes and see how we figured the costs.

-pointers from Peggy

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