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Down Hill Ski Race

Downhill SkiWhile your enjoying the Winter 2014 Olympics, here’s a little game to get everyone up and moving during the commercials. Enjoy!

Put a Piece of Tape down the middle of the room, long enough that everyone has enough space to jump over the tape from side-to-side. You know, just like if you were skiing downhill! Put one minute on a stop watch. On your marks, get set, go! See how many times everyone can “downhill ski” from one side of the tape to the other in one minute.  The person with the most side-to-side movements wins!

Happy Olympic viewing!

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Spring in to Picnic Day 2013

PicnicCan you think of anything more ideally perfect than an April picnic? I can’t! I’m sure that’s why tomorrow, April 23rd, is Picnic Day. However, many people don’t think of this perfect opportunity to get out, get some fresh air and enjoy a fresh, ‘springy’ meal. So, here’s our challenge to you: If you’re not already too busy today, take your lunch outside! Even if you just find a park bench or an open grassy space, odds are you can have the perfect picnic with the lunch you already packed. Or, if that’s not an option, take a few minutes to plan the perfect picnic for your family tonight or this weekend. Need a little help? Here are our top tips for packing the perfect picnic.

  1. Pack a well-balanced meal – This is important to remember when preparing any meal, especially for your children. Be sure to include a protein, grain, veggie, fruit and dairy. Tip: Freeze some mixed berries ahead of time. They’ll make a great dessert to satisfy their sweet tooth!
  2. Take plenty of H20 – Our bodies are composed of 60-70% water. Therefore, it is important that we consume plenty of H2O, especially when we’re active. Make it a goal that everyone consume 8 oz. of water each hour while you are out in the heat enjoying your picnic.
  3. Keep the cold stuff cold – Always remember food safety! To reduce the risk of sicknesses due to bacteria, cold foods need to remain cold throughout your trip.  For any non-perishable items, a picnic basket is great. However, you’ll need to keep the cold items in a cooler with ice. Tip: Reserve the bottom of the cooler for the cold items. They’ll stay cooler down there.
  4. Think about the extras – Of course you’ll need food on your picnic. But, what else do you need? A couple things to take would be bug spray and sun screen. Sunburns are still possible in the spring, even when the sun isn’t as hot.
  5. Take a long a good ground-cover – Don’t you want to be comfortable? Sometimes, grass can leave your legs a little itchy. A good ground cover will keep you clean, and itch-free.

If you’re someone who already enjoys the occasional picnic to soak up whatever sun you can, use this holiday as an opportunity to invite some friends on your picnic with you. Or, invite some of your neighborhood families to picnic at the park with you this weekend. So, enjoy Picnic Day 2013. And, don’t use it as the only day each year you picnic, instead use it to get in the habit of getting outside often!

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Celebrate RD Day with a Little History

As Americans we love to celebrate. At any given point in the year we are amidst a special month, week or day set aside for awareness, commemoration or remembrance for a variety of causes, events and people. Usually I shake my head in amusement at every passing holiday but my attitude quickly changes at the start of national nutrition month. One day in March, registered dietitians get a chance at recognition and a time to shine. This year, it’s Wednesday March 13th.

Nutrition has long been regarded as an important part of human’s well-being. Over 6,000 years ago the Egyptian people believed that food was crucial to overall health. The ancient Indian and Chinese cultures used food as a form of medicine.  One of the founding fathers of medicine, Hippocrates, stated, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food”.  Leonardo Da Vinci compared metabolism in the human body to a candle burning. The now infamous first nutrition experiment done by the British physician, Dr. James Lind in 1747 found that limes prevented the deadly disease scurvy in sailors when included as part of their daily diet. Nutrition, however mysterious, mattered.

The science of nutrition and connection to health has been present much longer than the actual profession of dietetics. The 20th century was a time of great discovery in nutrition. The majority of vitamins and minerals integral to life were chemically isolated and named in the first several decades of the 1900s. As the science matured, the profession of dietetics broadened its reach. Dietitians were formally recognized as a profession in 1967 by the International Labour Office. And, yes, they declared the spelling “dietitian” not the nails-down-the chalkboard irritating “dietician”.

Even before the formal recognition of dietitians, the field was evolving just as fast as the nutritional breakthroughs in the early 20th century. In 1919, the first dietitian, Hallie Corsette, was hired by the US Public Health Service Divisions of Hospitals and assumed the title, “Superintendent of Dietitians”. Mrs. Corsette grew the division to include 85 dietitians whose focus was the food service operations of the Public Health Service hospitals.  World War II added more duties to the dietitian’s repertoire, including doomsday preppers and consultants.  For example, dietitians partnered with the Civil Defense Mobilization Program to protect the food supply and nourish the population if the United States were bombed. Dietitians were hired by state and local health departments to create nutrition clinics. By 1940 there was enough nutrition research available to establish the RDAs and dietitians subsequently began providing nutrition education to their clients.

As the demand for nutrition experts grew, the need for standardized education and training of dietitians became paramount. In 1974, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly American Dietetic Association) was recognized by the US Department of Education as the accrediting agency for dietetic internships and tasked with coordinating undergraduate programs. The responsibility of accreditation was shifted to the Commission for Accreditation in Dietetic Education (CADE) in 1994.

Registered Dietitians and the profession of dietetics is still in its infancy. Nutritional science is announcing new intricacies about the healing properties of food on a daily basis.   Treating disease with a healthy diet comes with the intrinsic benefit of prevention. Medical nutrition therapy is a powerful tool that lacks the laundry list of side effects seen in many pharmaceuticals treatments.  As registered dietitians we have every right to celebrate our leading role in combating chronic disease and translating the science into meaningful advice and guidance. Stand up and claim your day!

Lauren Pillar
Written By: 
Lauren M. Pillar RD, LDN
Public Health Nutritionist
 
Visit Lauren’s blog at
http://www.ImperfectNutritionist.com
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How to Pitch your New Corporate Wellness Plan

The first step to achieving any goal is deciding to accept the challenge. So, you’ve accepted the challenge and decided to tackle your company’s new corporate wellness plan. Or, you’ve been given no choice because your boss has decided that you’re going to be the person in charge of the new wellness initiative. What do you do next? How do you convince everyone in the company, both the budget makers and the employees who you’re creating the program for, that the program is worthwhile?

  1. Create an awesome presentation: Sell your audience on the program! Make them believe that they can’t live without it. Or, that you’re making getting healthy so easy, they’d be crazy not to participate. If you can engage them when you’re pitching the idea, it will be easier to engage them when you actually implement the plan.
  2. Bring some products: Whether you want to use exercise equipment, educational tools, online classes or a combination of everything, show your audience exactly what you’re going to be using to help them get healthy. If they can see what everything looks like, they’re much more likely to use it when you bring it in to the workplace.
  3. Provide some background statistics: Do your research and show them why a program like the one you’re proposing really does work. Whether you’re presenting to company execs and explaining to them why they should invest in this or to your employees who want to know why they should participate, show them how it has worked for others and how it can work for them too.
  4. Understand your company culture: Each company works a little different. So, take time to understand your company’s culture and what makes it tic. What will appeal to the company execs? What will appeal to a majority of your employees? Be sure to build a pitch that will appeal to all of their interests.

There you have it! These are our top tips for pitching your new corporate wellness program. Pitching a new program is never easy, especially when you’re asking for a budget to get the program off the ground. But, the benefits of a solid corporate wellness program are undeniable.

If you need help getting a presentation started, we’re always here to help! Let our experts help you create a presentation that will knock your boss’s socks off. Just email info@ncescatalog.com to get started today.

Not sure what types of products to include in your proposal? Our expert dietitian is offering her insight in our next blog on what products to include in your presentation, and what products to never include. So, stay tuned later this week! Or, let’s make it easy… subscribe to the NCES HealthBeat blog today to get updates right to your inbox! (You can find the subscribe button on the top, right hand side of this blog!)

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Avoid the January Gym Rush!

Welcome to throwback Friday here at NCES. Here’s a blog that we shared just over a year ago, January 5th, 2012. But, there were some great tools that we wanted to share again in case you may have missed it or forgotten about it. Enjoy!

What’s your New Year’s Resolution for 2012? Mine is to make the gym part of my daily routine! Wait… You’re Kidding… that’s yours too? Okay, let’s face it… the most common new year’s resolution is to hit the gym more often. If you’ve ever been to the gym in the month of January, you’ll know exactly what I am talking about. At times, I forget if I am waiting in line for a weight machine or the newest attraction at Six Flags! So, how can you keep your commitment to your New Year’s resolution, but not waste your entire evening at the gym? Just stay home! That’s right… stay away from the gym. The truth is, you can get creative and complete your entire workout at home, at least until the gym starts to clear out again at the end of the month. Here are just a few ways you can get started today!

Static Running (Medium Difficulty)

  • Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart
  • Lift one leg toward the chest and raise the opposite arm, mimicking a running action
  • Alternate legs and arms     Repeat 20 times

Squat (Medium Difficulty)

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms crossed on your chest
  • Keeping the back straight and looking forward, bend the legs 90°
  • Return to the start position     Repeat 20 times

Oyster (Medium Difficulty)        

  • Lie on your left side with your lower arm extended above your head; keep the legs together, bent at 45°, making a straight line from shoulders to hips to feet.
  • Life the upper knees as high as possible, keeping the lower leg on the floor.
  • Return to the start position.     Repeat 20 times
  • Turn over and repeat with the opposite leg.

Side Raise (Medium Difficulty)

  • Sit on your right hip with knees bend and right arm extended under your right shoulder.
  • Without collapsing the arm, lift the hip to the ceiling, keeping your knees on the floor and making a straight line from shoulder to hip to ankle; hold for 10 seconds.     Return to start position and repeat 3 times
  • Roll over and repeat for the left hip

Side Stretch

  • Standing upright and looking forward, extend both arms above your head
  • Without bending forward or backward, lean to one side
  • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds
  • Return to the start position     Repeat for the other side

Like what you see? All of the exercises mentioned above were pulled from the book ‘Fit in 5’. (Item # 4507 at www.NCESCatalog.com) This book includes a lot of exercises that will work on your core strength, flexibility, Power, Abs and much more. The workouts are customized to you based on the amount of time you have to commit to working out. We’ve got plenty on the shelf to go around. So, go ahead and order your copy today! Give these workouts a try today and let us know what you think! You can always connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or right here on the blog.

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Please Help Me Avoid the Flu Epidemic of 2013

Young Male Doctor Wearing Protective Headgear and Face MaskThis morning, before I left the house, I went to the usual section of my wardrobe that has all the winter clothes in it. I put together an outfit of warm clothes. Then, before I left, I grabbed the warmest coat I have, gloves and even a hat because it was pretty chilly. But, if you are like me, you fight the temptation every morning to put on some sort of mask to protect you from all the flu germs that seem to be saturating the air this time of year. This winter is no exception! Every day, there is a breaking news story about how the flu outbreak is affecting so many Americans. So, even though we don’t all hide from it like the plague, most of us are still concerned about how to avoid getting the flu and letting it infiltrate our houses.

As many of you know, there are other measures you can take to avoid getting the flu besides getting the flu shot. Although the flu is very tricky and can’t be figured out completely, we’ve identified some power foods to be sure to include in your diet this time of year to help fight the flu germs that threaten us at every grocery store, office meeting and social gathering.

Citrus Fruits: I know. Usually you’ll see multiple blog posts in the Spring and Summer encouraging you to eat fresh fruits and veggies. They’re in season and so fresh at that time of year. Plus, they’re easy to find and fun to eat. This time of year, they kind of get left in the dust (literally). But, citrus fruits like Oranges, Grapefruits and Limes contain high levels of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a great food to have on hand when it comes to fighting cold and flu viruses.

Milk, Cheese and Yogurt: That’s right. Did you catch the trend here? Dairy! Dairy foods are a common source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D goes to work to fight viruses like the flu, helping to protect your body from their effects.
Meat: You may not pay a lot of attention to the amount of Zinc in your diet. But, zinc is important in keeping your immune system healthy and fighting off the flu. So, if you want to have a well-rounded flu prevention program, be sure to incorporate the appropriate servings of meat to take advantage of the zinc benefits. Just another little tip, red meats tend to have higher zinc levels than other meats.

Berries and Green Tea: If you’re looking for anti-oxidants, welcome to anti-oxidant central! Berries contain high levels of antioxidants, which are great for cleaning the free radicals out of your blood stream. Along with making your body healthier to help prevent the flu, antioxidants have also been touted as a great anti-aging tool and a way to help prevent many diseases.
So, here’s wishing all of you a flu-free 2013. And, be sure to share these tips with all of your favorite friends to help them avoid the flu too.

Do you have a place to display the best flu prevention tips? If so, NCES has created a free printable poster all about flu prevention. Click here to view and download this free poster.

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NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” Tackles Childhood Obesity

the biggest loser

Have you joined in on all the hype of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” Season 14? I mean, what isn’t there to be excited about? Jillian Michaels has returned, we all have the opportunity to join in on the fun through Biggest Loser’s ‘Challenge America’, and for the first time ever, The Biggest Loser is tackling childhood obesity with 3 child contestants. That’s right, of the 18 contestants on season 14, 3 of them are under the age of 18. If you had the opportunity to watch, you already know that Sunday’s season premiere kicked off with a bang. If you haven’t had a chance to catch up yet, let’s meet the kids of season 14.

On the blue team, 13 year old Noah (Biingo) is a fun-loving kid who wants to use his experience on The Biggest Loser to gain the knowledge he needs to lose weight and get healthy. On the white team, Sunny is the oldest of the child contestants at age 16. Sunny balances a very busy schedule, managing her advancement placement classes and extra-curricular activities. Time is tight and when stress creeps in, Sunny turns to food to relieve her stress. Fighting on the red team is Lindsay, age 13. Lindsay wants to use The Biggest Loser to change her habits and become more active. She’s also excited to be an inspiration to those watching at home, especially kids her age.

For those of who you who are familiar with The Biggest Loser gym and trainers, you’re probably very scared for these poor children right now. But, the format of the program for these child contestants is completely different from their adult counterparts. The kids will not be training on the ranch; they’ll be training from home. But, the trainers will be available to the kids as resources on their journey and a trainer will be checking in on each of the kid’s progress every week. Plus, the kids are not subject to the weekly weigh-ins and cannot be ‘kicked off’ the show!

As we all know, childhood obesity rates are scary… and their rising! So, thank you Biggest Loser for shedding more light on this problem. It’s up to all of us to do our part! Here’s wishing the best of luck to Biingo, Sunny and Lindsay on this season and to a lifetime of health and happiness!

If you haven’t tuned in yet, you’re not too late to join in on the fun of Season 14. NBC’s The Biggest Loser airs on Monday’s at 7:00 PM (CST). You can also learn all about this seasons contestants on The Biggest Loser page.

Stay tuned for all of our future blogs! Later this week, we’ll be talking about why drinking water is still important in the winter. Plus, if you’re tired of drinking glass after glass of water, we’ll share some great foods that can help you reach your daily fill of water. Use the box in the upper, right section of the blog to subscribe to the NCES Health Beat to make sure you don’t miss a beat.