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

  1.  What you don’t know might hurt you. Studies show that when people are offered larger servings, they tend to eat more. Most people don’t know it. But, when you fill up your cereal bowl, it’s usually two or three times as much as the actual serving size.
  2. Serving sizes aren’t exactly portion sizes.  Most serving sizes over the past 2 decades have doubled or tripled. Twenty years ago, a soda came in an 8 oz. container. Now you can get one that’s 48 oz. (More than 75% larger than a normal serving size!)
  3. Use the resources you can. Visit www.MyPyramid.gov to get a handle on what’s a serving size really is, and what you might normally be served.  
  4. Good health that you can measure. A good way to figure out what an actual serving size looks like is to use a food scale, measuring cups or spoons to dole out your servings. You’ll be surprised at what you end up with.
  5. Getting used to correct sizes is easy. After getting the correct serving sizes for a few weeks, you’ll notice how easy it is to make sure that you’re not overeating, and your body will have adjusted as well.
  6. Larger portions add up quickly. Having an extra 100 calories a day, which is essentially the equivalent of having a slice of cheese on your burger, can add up to an extra ten pounds a year… if the extra energy isn’t burned off.

All of this information was derived from weight control products in our catalog and at www.ncescatalog.com.  Check out our site for more products that can help you live a healthy life!


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

  1. You get more than what you pay for. When eating in a restaurant, you’ll tend to get full faster. This is because restaurant foods typically have more fat and calories, which will keep you full for longer.
  2. Eat what you want.  Whichever part of the meal you’re looking forward to the most, eat that dish. Don’t force yourself through an appetizer if the main dish is what you really want, or vice versa.   
  3. You don’t have to clean your plate. It’s a fact that people will usually eat more when given more. Restaurants can serve up to six times the recommended serving size. Only eat as much as your stomach says it can handle.  
  4. Start with a “to-go” box. At the beginning of the meal, ask for a box and put part of your meal away to enjoy on another day. This will prevent you from overeating, and it will also provide you with a meal on another day, stretching the dollars you’re spending on the meal.  
  5. Keep dessert in mind. If you know beforehand that you’re going to get a dessert, eat a lighter meal, or set more aside to take home. Consider splitting the dessert if you know you only need a few bites to be satisfied.
  6. Know the sales language. Certain words are used to make things more appealing (and are usually unhealthy). Watch out for: fried, breaded, battered, crispy, creamed, Au gratin, buttered sauce, stuffed with cheese, or in its own gravy.

For many more tips about restaurant eating, check out “Carb Counting in Restaurants”, item # 4524 at www.ncescatalog.com or in our catalog.


Fresh is the New Functional (“7 Nutrition Trends of 2010”)

Let’s take a closer look at one of the recent “7 Nutrition Trends of 2010.” The first of these predictions is certainly a bold prediction, and not too hard to see taking a strong hold in the near future. But what does that mean exactly?
People will be looking to the foods that are naturally full of nutrients and minerals. Anything that says “fortified” or “enriched” might be sitting on the shelf for longer than planned. There’s a significant movement towards our roots, literally speaking. Vegetables and fruits that are grown fresh and grown right are going to be flying off of the shelves in 2010, or so we think.
Things like leafy greens are going to be full of nutrients that help with all sorts of things, ranging from better vision to improved heart health. Any items from the cabbage family are a hot item for cancer prevention. Orange and yellow veggies have lots of nutrients that also help with cancer prevention and heart health, as well as helping the immune system.
Be sure to know when certain vegetables are in season and when they aren’t. Finding a fruit or vegetable when it’s in season is not only going to help immensely with the flavor of the produce, and the cost, but it also will contain more nutritional value when it’s in season as well.
Having a shopping guide to buying good-looking produce, like our ‘Veggie Quickflip’, will help you not only decide what vegetables are worth their price, but ways to help coax the most flavor you can get out of them with complementary spices and recipes.


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

1) Give the food pyramid some equality. Try to have a representative from each of the food groups. This ensures a good mix of vitamins and nutrients, and gives a great opportunity to vary up your lunch on a daily basis.
2) Put variety in the most mundane of places. Instead of using the same bread every day, try cycling between white, whole wheat and multi-grain. Maybe you could use bagels, wraps, or rolls instead. Give each ingredient of your lunch some thought as to how you can make it more interesting.
3) Recycle your meat. Don’t use processed lunch meat, which are normally high in sodium, try using your leftover meats from the dinner the night before. Chicken can be shopped up and put in a sandwich, or made into chicken salad.
4) Break outside of the sandwich mold. If you cringe at the thought of putting ingredients between two slabs of bread day in and day out, vary things up by substituting a good soup or stew. Try a pasta dish as well.
5) Keep your snacking in check. If you have to have your chips, try a 100-calorie pack to keep your consumption in check. Curb your cravings the healthy way.
6) Fruits and veggies are friends. Even if fruits and vegetables aren’t your best friends when it comes to eating, you can still make things appetizing by including a dipping sauce for them, or mixing them into your yogurt.

Eating the same lunch day-in and day-out can be very boring and make it hard to eat a well-rounded, healthy lunch. Use these tips and visit our website at http://www.ncescatalog.com to keep your lunch interesting!


Your Questions Answered

We’ve had so many responses to our music video! Thanks to everyone who helped with the video, and to everyone that keeps passing it along.
To answer some of your more common questions:

1.We shot this over a few days in various locations. A lot came from a local middle school’s library. (hence, all the books) Other locations included a grocer, and a local farmer’s market.

2.The Pom Boms are Kirsten, Mikayla, and Sophia, they love to dance and sing (and be on camera!).

3.Yes, this video and song are free to download and share with whoever wants to listen to it. This was a non-profit endeavor, and we want everyone to have fun with it.

If you know someone who’s related to someone who knows someone that wants to give this music video a little love in a big way, then get ahold of us! First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign needs as much national support as it can get (which is why we named the song ‘Let’s Move’!). Please join us in the fight against childhood obesity!

-NCES Staff.


“Let’s Move”: NCES Presents the Musical Sensation, the Pom Bom’s!

It’s finally here!
The wait is over, and you can finally get to see what we’ve had (so much) fun preparing. Here’s the “Let’s Move” music video, performed by our favorite Pom Boms.

If you want to download the song or video, you can get it free at our website, http://www.ncescatalog.com. Pass it on to your friends and family and get them moving too!
We all hope you enjoyed this video as much as we enjoyed making it.

-NCES Staff.


The Music Video Diaries (Part 2)

The release date for the “Let’s Move” video is rapidly approaching. The players have played (a lot), the score been struck (over and over and over again), and we here at the office are left to wonder: What’s going to happen.

First, we envision rapid success, catapults to stardom, and possibly a run on all of the night-time talk shows. But if that doesn’t happen, we have some goals in mind that aren’t Hollywood-oriented.

We want to inspire. Not just children to move (though that would be good enough), but for people of every age to be motivated to get their daily exercise in. 45 minutes of moderate activity is good enough to keep most of us in healthy condition. If we can make you dance for just a few minutes each day, well, then we’ve got you part of the way there.

What would be even better is to lead by example. The Let’s Move campaign, started by First Lady Michelle Obama is an admirable cause. It takes all of us to give it the hands and feet that it needs to be successful. Everyone who is involved in health and wellness areas should be finding their own ways to contribute to this noble movement.

After all, it’s not our future at stake, it’s the next generation’s.

Oh, and for grins, here’s a pic of our dance crew, clad in their raucous threads.

Meet the Pom Boms.


Veggies for the Picky Eater

As you may be aware, August is National Healthy Lunch Month, which provides a good opportunity to talk about making healthy lunches,  for you and your loved ones.
Feeding a picky child doesn’t necessarily have to be a big chore. In fact, there are several little tips that you can employ in order to help your child be a little more ‘open-minded’ when it comes to the fruits and vegetables that are good for them.
Let your child be a part of the process.  You can do this by letting them help grow the fruits or veggies in question. Or, even by letting them help pick it out at the store.  You may see some surprising results in their willingness to eat the vegetables.  The more a child is involved in what they’re eating, the better and easier it is to instill good eating habits early on in life, that will stick with them as they get older.
Letting your child help prepare the dish also can go a long way towards getting them to eat it. A matter of pride then pops up, and they might choose to eat it, and might even accidentally like it, since they provided it for the family (and themselves). Even at very young ages, some children have enough fine motor skills to shell peas, wash lettuce and pop beans.
Presenting the vegetable or fruit in a different manner can also help. Now, we’re not suggesting dipping it into honey glaze or anything like that, but allowing for a light ranch dip, or peanut butter can make that celery a bit more appetizing. Even sprinkling parmesan cheese on top goes a long way to improve the appeal of vegetables and fruits.
Tips like these, as well as helpful recipes, can be found in the book “Meals Without Squeals.” A good guide for parents, and a great guide for childcare providers when it comes to what foods you choose for your children. Look in the ‘Educated Kids’ section of our catalog, or search for item #3925 at www.ncescatalog.com.


Bag the Best Lunch For You

In the spirit of August being National Healthy Lunch Month, we’ve posted some helpful ideas for you on how to spice up that drab brown bag lunch that you dutifully bring to work.
“Bag Lunches and Snacks to Fit Your Food Plan” from the International Diabetes Center is a helpful and informative tool to add a little health and variety to your everyday lunch. Giving you 30 quick and easy recipes to try out, you could go a whole month without having the same thing twice, and feel secure that everything you tried was great for you. For the carb-conscious, all of the carbohydrates have been counted out for you.
Whether you’re looking for a fun side dish like the Peanut Butter Fruit Dip with Apple, or a main dish that whets your appetite like the Broccoli, Ham, and Shell Pasta Salad, this book has something for you to at least try.
The menus even come with accompaniments for your meals that help round out the nutritious experience, and supplying any key vitamins or minerals that might have been left out by the other fabulous parts of the meal.
Try the Oatmeal Casserole Bread or the Creamy Butternut Soup. Maybe mix the Wild Rice and Seafood Salad with some Spicy Cranberry Muffins. Enjoy it, because with these recipes, it’s all guilt free.
You can find “Bag Lunches and Snacks” in our catalog in the Cookbooks section, or at www.ncescatalog.com.


The Music Video Diaries

August 4

First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity is an inspirational, and a much-needed banner to rally around when fighting the childhood obesity epidemic. With the highest childhood diabetes and obesity rates in history, it’s time that someone started doing something about it.

Here, at NCES, we’re rallying around her cause, and how better than with something that will get you moving in the first place: a music video.

There’s more than one person here at the office who’s written some lyrics once or twice, and we definitely know some people who can carry a beat. It’s easier to dance and move if you’ve got something to dance and move to.

We’ve written the music, grabbed a few up-and-coming stars, and a camera. Stay tuned to see the magic that happens when all of these elements come together.

-NCES Staff.