Health & Wellness

National School Breakfast Week

Posted on March 10, 2010. Filed under: Health & Wellness | Tags: , |

Breakfast - with Flickr notes!
Image by Earl – What I Saw 2.0 via Flickr

National School Breakfast Week

March 8 through March 12 is National School Breakfast Week across the country, and we want to help you and your family celebrate! Take this opportunity now to learn the benefits of a healthy breakfast, ways to increase breakfast consumption, and ideas for a well rounded breakfast. Follow along for posts about breakfast!

About National School Breakfast Week

National School Breakfast Week (NSBW) was launched in 1989 to raise awareness of the availability of the School Breakfast Program (SBP) to all children. Each year, the School Nutrition Association (SNA) helps schools to celebrate NSBW with a fun theme – this year it is School Breakfast Ready Set Go! Learn more at their website.

Please join us in promoting awareness and eating a healthy breakfast each day this week!

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Eat Slow and Reduce Calories

Posted on February 26, 2010. Filed under: Health & Wellness | Tags: , , |

How can I reduce calories by eating slow?  Well when you take your time eating a meal, your body is more likely to absorb the necessary nutrients and signal the brain when it’s had enough (i.e., you feel full). Studies have shown that women particular consumed less calories and ate smaller portions when mealtime lasted 20 minutes or longer.

Check out a couple of articles related to the subject:

New York Times >>

Report from the Journal of the American Dietetic Association >>

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What to choose?

Posted on January 26, 2010. Filed under: Health & Wellness | Tags: , |

Spinach in flower
Image via Wikipedia

When choosing fruits and vegetables, there is one main rule to keep in mind, the more colorful the better. The benefits received from eating a tomato are different than those from eating broccoli. Eating fruits and vegetables of different colors gives your body a wide range of valuable nutrients, like fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C.

Some examples include green spinach, orange sweet potatoes, black beans, yellow corn, purple plums, red watermelon, and white onions. Click here for a more detailed list of which foods contain the most highly desired nutrients.

There are many options as to how you can purchase your fruits and vegetables. Purchasing from your local Famer’s Market is your best option in terms of price and freshness. Once fruits and vegetables have been picked, they immediately begin losing some of their nutritional benefits, such as amount of Vitamin A and C.

Purchasing from Farmer’s Markets helps cut down the time from the garden to the table. Canned or frozen fruits and vegetables are also beneficial due to added convenience, price, and extended shelf life. Freezing vegetables “locks in” important vitamins and stops the nutrient loss that can occur in fresh vegetables over time and frozen vegetable are often the least expensive option. When choosing canned products, look for those that specify low sodium/salt and no added sugar.

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Variety, Moderation and Balance

Posted on July 20, 2009. Filed under: Health & Wellness | Tags: , , , |

USDA Food Pyramid
Image via Wikipedia

Following the Food Guide Pyramid is a great way to ensure you are eating the right foods in the right amounts. The amount of food needed from each group depends on how much physical activity an individual takes part in everyday. The more active you are, the more fuel your body will need, and the opposite if you lead a sedentary life.

The food guide pyramid has 5 major groups: Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, Meat and Beans, and Dairy. Each group plays a vital role in our overall health, the way we feel day to day, and how much energy we have.

Choosing a variety of foods from each group is the first step. For example, while fruits and vegetables are very healthy, each kind offers a different combination of vitamins and minerals. So try not to choose the same fruits and vegetables every day…shake it up a bit!

The second step to eating healthy is to eat in moderation. Eating when our bodies do not really require food can easily lead to overeating, weight gain, and other health problems. Take a look at the size of the portion on your plate. Eating smaller portions and limiting processed and fast foods are great ways to eat in moderation.

Did you know that eating foods high in sugar and sodium as well as drinking alcoholic beverages can have negative affects on your body (and diet)?  These foods and beverages should be limited to less that 15% of your daily total calories. For example, the guideline has been set that individuals only need about ¼ teaspoon a day of salt, but a majority of us get 8 times that amount!

Eating a well balanced diet is also a key component to staying healthy. Much like variety, balance is choosing different foods from each group on a daily basis. Eating fewer calories than you burn throughout the day, increases your chance for weight loss. So, when you consume more calories than you burn, then it is possible to gain weight.

Successful dieting and weight management comes from eating a variety of foods from each of the 5 food groups and balancing food intake with physical exercise.

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Staying Hydrated in the Heat of Summer

Posted on July 1, 2009. Filed under: Fitness & Exercise, Health & Wellness | Tags: , , , , |

With summer officially in season and temperatures consistently in the 90s, staying hydrated while working and playing outside is critical.

Water is the most important nutrient in our diet and plays a key role in regulating our body temperature, which is extremely important while working and playing in the heat. If you do not stay hydrated during this time of year, you run the risk of dehydration and heat stroke.

On average an individual needs 6 to 8 glasses of water per day to stay sufficiently hydrated. However, drinking water is not the only source of water intake.

Consuming fresh fruits is a great way to include extra water in the diet. Fruits such as apples, pears, watermelons and bananas have a relatively high water content and not only hydrate, but also replenish electrolytes and carbohydrates lost during physical activity.

The key to staying hydrated is remembering to drink fluids before the feelings of thirst emerge, which is the first sign of dehydration. The early stages of dehydration can also produce feelings of hunger and a desire to eat.

Here are a few tips for staying hydrated and beating the summer heat:

  • Skip the soda, coffee, tea, and alcohol. These drinks can dehydrate
  • Flavored water, such as Propel or Vitamin Water, is a great alternative to water for those desiring a hint of taste
  • Diluted sport drinks, such as Gatorade with a little added water, are great for those individuals active outside for long periods of time, but may contain a high number of calories
  • A good rule of thumb is to have a “gulp” of water every 15 minutes while doing an outdoor activity.

Don’t have flavored water readily available? Try these neat ways to “spruce” up your water:

Mint Water
Twist or bruise 1 cup of peppermint, spearmint, or other mint. Place in a clean half-gallon container. Fill the container with fresh, cool water. Chill in refrigerator. Strain and serve on ice. You can also add honey for a little extra sweetness.

Orange and Green Apple Water
Slice one orange. Spread some lemon juice on 2-3 slices of green apple. Put the apple, the orange, and half a lemon juice in a large pitcher. Fill the half of the pitcher with ice cubes. Fill with water. Let it rest 24 hours in the fridge before serving.

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What is Obesity?

Posted on July 1, 2009. Filed under: Health & Wellness, Healthy Living | Tags: , , |

Obesity is defined as the condition of being more than 30% above the average body weight for your age and gender.

Obesity is commonly measured in adults by a calculation called BMI or Body Mass Index. Body Mass Index is determined by dividing your weight by your height. Having a body mass index of 30% more than the ideal body weight for your age can classify you as obese.

Want to determine your BMI? Check out this handy calculator by WebMD
Youth can assess BMI a bit differently than adults. Check the youth BMI calculator here

What Causes Obesity?
Several factors can lead to obesity. Generally, eating more calories than you burn is a simple cause. Others include:
* Age and Gender
* Genetics or Family History
* Lack of Physical Activity
* Poor Eating Habits
* Medical Conditions

Health effects of obesity:
> risk of heart disease
> diabetes
> depression
> high blood pressure

Obesity can be managed. The first step is visiting a pediatrician or family doctor who can evalute and consider the cause. Upon evaluation, the doctor can make a recommendation on a practical weight management program.

There are things you can do at home as well. This site will walk you through a variety of healthy living activities to get you on the right track.

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  • National Nutrition Month

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