Food is the New Insurance (“7 Nutrition Trends in 2010”)

By looking at our post “7 Nutrition Trends in 2010” you can see that one of the growing ideas is that food is the new way to, well, immunize yourself, for lack of better wording. People are choosing foods to complement and protect them from diseases and defects.
Take oranges for example; a delicious fruit that also makes a great juice as well. Not only do oranges have an excellent amount of vitamins and minerals to help keep you strong and healthy, but they have a surprisingly lengthy list of ways to keep you safe from harmful diseases and such.
The high protein content in the orange helps lower cholesterol levels, which helps with overall health, especially in later life. Also, the folic acid gives the eater a lower risk of a heart attack. The high levels of potassium lower a person’s risk of stroke, while giving all of the other benefits of high potassium levels as well. Vitamin C not only prevents things, like scurvy, but it also gives you protection against some cancers. In addition, the same vitamin makes it easier to absorb iron from plant foods. And finally, the folate in the fruit lowers the risk of certain birth defects like cleft palate or spinal cord defects.
And that’s just what you get from an orange.
I pulled all of that information from a book called, appropriately enough, “The New Complete Book of Food.” It basically can tell you all of the benefits and side effects from most any food you can find in a supermarket, as well as how they interact with certain medicines. A must for anyone looking to stop sickness before it starts.  This book, and many others, can be found in our catalog or on our website at http://www.ncescatalog.com.


Food Safety, Simply Put (Week 2)

Since July is National Food Safety Month, it only makes sense to discuss topics such as proper food handling and, well, food safety.
In the household, food safety is your concern and responsibility, as well as the concern and responsibility of everyone else in the home. Many food safety rules are fairly basic, but oftentimes overlooked in the hustle and bustle of the modern day kitchen. Here are some rules to live by when taking care of food in the kitchen.

  1. Wash hand with soap and warm water, or use a sanitizing towel or liquid cleanser before handling food.
  2. Put all of your perishable foods into the refrigerator within 30 minutes of shopping.
  3. When grocery shopping, grab the frozen foods and vegetables right before you check out.
  4. Put cooked meats in a clean container instead of the container it arrived in as raw meat.
  5. After cutting raw poultry, fish or meat, clean the cutting board before using it for anything else.
  6. Keep the refrigerator between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Keep the freezer below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Cook ground meat until it’s ‘well done.’
  9. Throw items out when they pass the expiration or sell-by date.
  10. Before eating raw fruits and vegetables, wash or scrub them under running water.

These tips and more can be found in our “Health Beat” healthy promotion newsletters, available on our site, http://www.ncescatalog.com or in our catalog.


Six Picks: The Top 6 Things You Need to Know About Budget Shopping

  1. Check out the real cost. Examine the label that tells you the cost per ounce. Sometimes, you’ll find the bigger box may not always be the best deal for you. Compare between brands as well for maximum savings.
  2. Shop in season.  Whenever fruits or vegetables are out of season, their prices skyrocket, due to their having to be transported from farther away. Buy items when they’re in season to bring variety to your seasonal eating habits, and to bring relief to your wallet.
  3. Store brands are the best brands for cost. Since the store’s brands are usually significantly cheaper, and often just as tasty, they’re often the best purchase you can make when deciding to save money.
  4. Keep an eye on those coupons. If you look closely at most coupons, you’ll notice that they’re almost always for the national brands, and even with the coupon, it’s sometimes still cheaper to buy the store brand. Make sure to examine each coupon closely to see where you can really save money.
  5. Find a substitute for meats to get your protein. By buying canned beans as an occasional substitute for meats, you can save a significant part of your food budget. Meat is usually one of the highest costs in a food budget, and beans often are higher in their nutrition value.
  6. Make your own snacks. The most expensive items are usually the snacks. Try making your own for a change. A healthy trail mix, large batch pudding separated into reusable containers, things like these aren’t hard to make, nor are they expensive. Shop smart, not hard.

For more helpful shopping tips, check out our website at http://www.ncescatalog.com


The Right Size at the Right Time

Since July is National Community Health Awareness Month, we decided to offer some healthy advice that the whole community can use. And the topic this week is: Right-Sizing Your Portions.
In the past two decades or so, portion sizes have doubled when it comes to what finds its way onto our plates. It makes sense then that obesity is on the rise. Having the right sizes of portions on your plate is one of the first and easiest ways to begin living a healthier lifestyle.
When it comes to things like pizza, did you realize that a slice is considered a single serving in most cases? So when you’re looking at nutrition information for your pizza, make sure to count up how many slices you’re actually eating. The numbers add up fast, don’t they?
Instead of drinking a 32oz soda, the actual serving size you should be drinking is 12oz. Having a diet soda versus a regular wouldn’t hurt either.
Nearly every restaurant over-serves their customers, which isn’t really anything you’d find yourself complaining about. However, since these over-sized portions are there, they tend to get eaten anyway. When you go to a restaurant, try having half or your order boxed up right away, this way you can be sure that you won’t overeat, and you’ll be able to get two meals for the price of one.
It’s difficult to train oneself to eat smaller portions when much of our life has been different in that regard, but with a little control, and a lot less food, you’ll notice that your body will adjust itself accordingly. And your waistline will as well.
For a better look into what portions should look like, check out our “Right-Size Your Portions” handouts and poster online at http://www.ncescatalog.com, or in our catalog in the Teaching Aids section.


Food Safety, Simply Put

Since July is National Food Safety Month, it only makes sense to discuss topics such as proper food handling and, well, food safety.
A study published in 2000 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) revealed some startling numbers about foodborne illnesses. Each year:

  • 76,000,000 illnesses are cases of foodborne illnesses.
  • These foodborne illnesses cause 325,000 hospitalizations.
  • 5,000 deaths each year are caused by these foodborne illnesses.

In the past years, it can safely be assumed that these numbers have grown with the population size. However, it’s relatively easy to practice the prevention of foodborne illness.
Control Time and Temperature
Make sure to properly store you foods at the best temperatures, especially with foods that need to be refrigerated or frozen. When cooking, make sure to cook an item at the recommended temperature. Too low, and the item may be unsafe for consumption. An easy rule to remember is the temperature danger zone is between 41 degrees Fahrenheit and 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooking or storing outside of this range will prevent most bacteria growth.

Avoid Cross Contamination
In dealing with raw foods, it’s essential to ensure that proper hand-washing techniques are being observed in between the handling of products. This is done to prevent any foodborne illnesses that normally occur within raw foods from being passed to other foods that may or may not have been prepared already.

Practice Proper Cleaning and Sanitizing Procedures
It’s good practice to know that before a surface can be sanitized, it has to be cleaned first. Leftover food particles can house and actually prevent germs and bacteria from being destroyed by sanitizing agents. Another tip is to keep the wiping cloth for the sanitizer with, or even in the sanitizing solution when not in use, instead of being slung over the shoulder or apron.

Practice Proper Hygiene Techniques
The last part is pretty simple. Wash your hands when moving from food to other activities and vice versa. This is the fundamental part of hygiene in food preparation, and the easiest rule to practice.

The facts and tips in here were pulled from “Food Safety 101,” available on our website or in our catalog in the ‘Food Service’ section.


Drink to Your Good Health

Since the month of July is National Community Health Awareness Month, we decided to offer some healthy advice that the whole community can use. And the topic this week is: a course in Beverages 101.
Most of the time, we give less thought to what we drink than what we eat, but beverages are an important element of your health and nutrition, just as food is. And, there are definitely beverages that are better for you than others.
Plain coffee has zero calories. Zero. As soon as you start adding things like creamer and sugar, the calories quickly increase.  Try skipping these additions and limiting yourself to 3-5 cups a day. If you get your coffee at a coffee shop, get your favorite drink in its fat-free, no-whip version to cut it down to only half the fat.
With sports drinks, it’s actually only helpful to you if you’re participating in a vigorous activity for 90 minutes or more in a day. Otherwise, all of the sugar and other additions add to your waistline instead of your energy levels.
Juice is good for you, as long as it’s 100% juice. And the best part is, you only need ½ cup a day to get the most out of all of the vitamins and minerals that juices have to offer.
As always, water is the body’s best friend. It fully quenches your thirst, and keeps you better hydrated than any other beverage. Drinking 8 to 16 cups a day, depending on your exercise levels, will give you the right amount of hydration and continued health throughout the day.
There’s more tips and advice in our “Beverages 101” handout and poster, which can be found in the Teaching Aids section of our catalog, or online at http://www.ncescatalog.com


Six Picks: The Top 6 Things You Need to Know About Breakfast

  1. It’s your body’s chance to catch up. Breakfast is the way to recharge your body’s blood sugar, or glucose, levels after 8 to 12 hours without a meal or snack. That makes breakfast your main source of energy until lunch.
  2. It keeps you from overeating. Eating breakfast will help you feel full longer, preventing you from snacking on high fat and high calorie foods to tide you over until your next meal.
  3. It’s even for those who aren’t hungry in the morning. While you’re asleep, your body digests that late-night meal or snack more slowly, since you’re in a resting state. After you get up, that full feeling will go away after an hour or so. Eating breakfast will counter that.
  4. Breakfast doesn’t have to be made of breakfast foods. There’s nothing wrong with a slice of veggie pizza or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast. As long as it’s nutritious, then it’ll work wonders for you.
  5. Even for those on the go. If you like to sleep late, and you don’t have time to make a full breakfast, there are ways to still get that nutrition. Granola bars, string cheese, baby carrots, yogurt smoothies, and trail mix are all great starts to the day.
  6. Without it, trouble ensues. The effects of a skipped breakfast are numerous. Some of them include: short attention span, lack of alertness, slower reaction time, low blood sugar, and decreased work productivity.

Six Picks: The Top 6 Things You Can Do For Food Safety

  1. Wash, wash, wash. Whether it’s your hands, your dishes, or your countertops, washing goes a long way towards keeping your kitchen safe.
  2. Keep raw foods away from other foods. Not only should you make sure all your raw foods are away from your cooked foods, but try not to share utensils between those two groups, either wash things like pots and pans between uses, or have designated utensils. For instance, maybe instead of using the same cloth towel to clean up after your foods, use paper towels for raw foods to prevent bacteria from spreading.
  3. Pick up cold foods last. When grocery shopping, save the frozen and cold food aisles for last. This gives you the longest amount of time to ensure that your foods stay in the safe temperature ranges before you can store them properly at home.
  4. Keep the good cans. Don’t buy canned goods with dents or bulges in them. Those nooks and crannies are safe-havens for bacteria to grow and multiply.
  5. Remember the Three C’s. When transporting food, keep your food clean, cold and covered whenever possible. When foods are left out in temperatures over 90°F for an hour or more, you can be sure bacteria has already started to grow.
  6. Be safe when dining out. Make sure the utensils and plates are clean. Inspect the plates for crack and crevices if necessary. Those cracks can hide bacteria in them.