The 5 Most Amazing Tools to Have in Every Healthy Kitchen

We’ve all been there! We’re interested in preparing healthy snack and meals at home. But, we don’t have all the right tools. It seems like in order to get ourselves back in shape, we have to spend a lot of money getting our kitchens back in shape too. Based on the foods that wreak the most havoc on our waistlines, there are only a few essential items that you need in order to update your kitchen and lighten up your cooking.

Salad dressings are one of the most commonly overused foods. If we’re eating a salad, it’s healthy, no matter what we top it with, right? The truth is that salad dressings hide a lot of empty calories. So, limiting the amount used on a salad is a great way to cut back on overall calorie intake. Reusable dressing lids that measure portions make it super easy to watch portions and still enjoy your favorite dressings. This tool is also great for kids as they learn how much dressing they should be using on their salads.

NCES Healthy Step Pasta BasketI don’t know about you, but in my house pasta is a staple in many of our meals. It offers a great base for many vegetables and proteins. The key with pasta, like with any other food, is to keep an eye on your portions. The Healthy Steps Pasta Basket is perfectly sized for an individual portion. Plus, it hangs on the side of your pot of boiling water for easy draining when the pasta is done and collapses flat for easy storage after use. Truly, it doesn’t get much easier than that!

The Perfect Portions Food Scale also makes keeping an eye on portions easier. Not only will it weigh your foods before you add them to your favorite recipes, it will also give you the nutrition information for that food, including calories, fat grams, protein and much more. It’s like having your own personalized nutrition label for any amount of any food!

The best way to add flavor to any dish is by using fresh herbs. Cooked in to your favorite recipe or cut fresh on top of a salad, herbs are a great low (or no) calorie addition. If you don’t use them quickly enough though, they tend to go bad. The Herb Savor Pod stores them neatly and also helps to keep them fresher longer, prolonging their life by up to 3 weeks.

And, finally, no healthy kitchen is complete without this hands-free countertop tool, the iPrep iPad Holder. As technology changes, printed cookbooks are quickly becoming ‘so 1995’. In their place are online recipes, meal planning sites and digital cookbooks. What’s better to access them from than an iPad? But, those mini computers aren’t cheap so you don’t want it setting on your counter with all of your ingredients while you’re cooking. Instead, have it safe and secure in the iPrep holder for easy recipe viewing. It also comes with a stylus so you don’t have to touch the screen with dirty, meal prepping hands. It’s basically the cookbook holder of 2014!

Cooking healthy meals can be a lot of work. However, with the right tools, you can really simplify the process. The Wellness Spot, backed by NCES, offers an entire line of products just like you’ve seen in this blog. We chose these five as essentials for every healthy kitchen, but there are many more available to browse through by category. If you have any ideas for healthy products that should be featured on The Wellness Spot, send them in and we’ll see about getting them added. We hope you enjoy your new tools and your healthier kitchen!


Let’s Get Cooking to #StopDiabetes for American Diabetes Month 2014

Stop Diabetes American Diabetes Month NCES

Happy American Diabetes Month! Every November, we all join forces to raise awareness of diabetes. We’re excited to join the American Diabetes Association this year to further their vision of “a life free of diabetes and all its burdens”. By raising awareness and providing education, we can help to make this vision of the future happen today! We know that many of you, our customers, fans and blog readers are diabetes educators. Thank you for everything that you do, day in and day out, to prevent diabetes through preemptive education and help those living with diabetes through lifestyle education. This year’s American Diabetes Month theme is “America Gets Cooking to Stop Diabetes”. In the next few steps, we want to provide a few ways that we can all get cooking in a way that prevents diabetes and also helps those living with diabetes enjoy their meals without the ingredients that their bodies can’t process.

  1. Utilize cooking spray or small amounts of olive oil rather than butter when sautéing in a pan. Butter contains saturated fats, which raise blood cholesterol levels and is a risk factor for heart disease. A Tabletop Oil Mister allows you to create your own blend of oils, herbs and spices and use it sparingly across many types of foods.
  2. Steam your vegetables in water or broil them in the oven versus cooking them in butter or another source of fat. Many vegetables have a fantastic flavor that can be accentuated through the use of the right herbs and spices.
  3. Use fresh herbs or spices to add flavor to your foods rather than salt. Although salt packs a big punch, you’ll find that you won’t even want it after freshening up your favorite meals with some fresh herbs and the right spices. Fresh herbs always taste best, so a tool like the Herb Savor Pod help keep them that way. Plus, it’s just pretty cool looking! Herb Shears are also a great kitchen addition if you plan to cook with a lot of fresh herbs.
  4. Be sure to trim any visible fat off your meat before you cook. Many times, some fat will be left on the meat that you purchase at the grocery store in order to add some weight or leave ‘flavor’ on the meat. Be sure to inspect the meat and remove this excess fat. There are plenty of other ways to add flavor and don’t need this extra fat.
  5. If you have diabetes, it’s very important to measure your carbohydrate portions to make sure you’re staying within your daily allowance. There are many resource guides available to help measure your carbohydrate servings and exchanges. Our favorites are the Nutriportion Measuring Cups because carbohydrates in many common foods are listed around the sides of the measuring cups. No need to look anywhere else!
  6. Avoid high sugar and processed foods at all costs. When it comes to both preventing diabetes and managing it if you’ve been diagnosed, sugary and processed foods can be your worst enemy. Instead, opt for foods with natural sugars such as fresh or frozen fruits.

This November, we’ll be doing everything we can to fulfill the vision of the American Diabetes Association, a life free of diabetes and all its burdens. We hope you’ll join us as we blog, Facebook, Tweet and even create a video to help stop diabetes through prevention, education and useful diabetes tools. Are you involved in the fight against diabetes? Share how you’ll be celebrating American Diabetes Month with us. We’d love to see what you’re doing too!


NCES Brings Together Diabetes Professionals with First Twitter Chat in New Series

Company Will Host First Company Sponsored Twitter Chat

OLATHE, KAN. (September 5, 2014) – In today’s “Social” workplace, NCES has seen an increase in social media and the role it plays in nutrition education, To meet this industry demand, NCES is launching a new series of Twitter Chat’s to facilitate conversation among nutrition professionals.

Topics will range across the various specialties within nutrition education; including diabetes, weight loss, portion control, child nutrition and much more.  The first Twitter Chat will focus on the area of diabetes in a conversation titled “Diabetes Products You Love and Hate”. The goal of these chats is to start a conversation that participants can continue both on and off-line.

NCES Health and Nutrition Education“We hope that these conversations will not only help to further educate nutrition professionals, but also to provide valuable information to consumers interested in bettering their own health and the health of their families”, says Carrie Mark, Chief Acquisitions Director of NCES, Inc.

NCES has shared this event through multiple social media channels and sent personal invitations to NCES customers. Because of this, the company is confident that the event will be well-attended by diabetes professionals.

“The more participants we can have involved in the conversation, the more useful the conversation will be”, says Chris Jackson, CEO of NCES, Inc.

About NCES

Founded in 1989, NCES is an Olathe, Kan. based company that provides nutrition education resources in the form of books, manuals, videos and teaching tools for educators, public health officials, health care professionals and consumers. NCES offers more than 300 titles, in English and Spanish, on their website of health and nutrition materials, including a number of products developed exclusively by NCES.

NCES can be found online at http://www.ncescatalog.com.


Understanding Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes

For those with diabetes, there is probably no confusion about the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. However, to an outsider (especially the general public) there is a lot of confusion about the differences. What causes diabetes? How does it affect a person’s everyday life? Is it fatal? These are some of the questions that many people don’t have the answers to. So, our goal today is to clear up the confusion on these questions and provide a resource for those who are looking to learn more about diabetes.

The first thing that is important to understand is that Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. Symptoms typically appear in childhood or young adulthood. Diagnosis comes because the bodies immune system destroys the cells that release insulin, meaning that the body cannot absorb sugar to produce energy. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, can typically can be prevented, or at least delayed with a healthy lifestyle including a proper diet and exercise. The signs of Type 2 Diabetes typically appear in adulthood. However, there have been more and more cases of childhood type 2 diabetes in recent years. Diagnosis for Type 2 Diabetes occurs because the body doesn’t use insulin properly, resulting in its inability to absorb sugar to produce energy.

Treatment for Type 1 vs Type 2 diabetes can also look very different. In Type 1 Diabetes, because the body doesn’t produce its own insulin, a patient must inject insulin to regulate their body’s sugar absorption. Many cases of Type 2 Diabetes can be treated with a lifestyle change. Getting appropriate physical activity and eating a well-balanced diet can reverse the affects of Type 2 Diabetes for many. However, many patients with Type 2 Diabetes may end up taking Insulin at some point in their life as well.

Because Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and can be prevented, there are many diabetes educators, nutritionists and dietitians working to educate our society on the dangers of diabetes and preventative measures they can take now to avoid living with diabetes.

To aid in this, NCES has selected and created a robust line of diabetes education tools, books and other resources designed specifically for the diabetes educator and patient. If you’re a person living with diabetes and looking for resources, please browse our diabetes selection to see what’s available to help you. If you’re a diabetes educator, there are a lot of resources that can help you spread your message. Plus, you can share this blog to help others around you understand Type 1 versus Type 2 Diabetes. Simply use the links in the blog or click Diabetes in the header to start browsing NCES diabetes products.

Here are just a few of the many great products you’ll find when you visit us!

Right-Sized Diabetes Plate

diabetes plate





Diabetes Food Models

NCES Diabetes Food Model Kit


Glucose Wands

Glucose Wands


Sweet & Savory Energy Bars

1 Cup lightly salted peanutsNCES Nutrition Energy Bars

½ Cup crispy rice cereal

½ Cup old fashioned oats

1/3 Cup sunflower seeds (or your favorite seed)

¼ dried blueberries

6 dried apricots (chopped)

3 tbsp. mini chocolate chips

½ Cup honey

  1. While preheating your over to 325°F, line an 8-inch baking pan with foil. Coat with cooking spray.
  2. Combine all ingredients, except the honey in a medium sized mixing bowl. Pour the honey over the top and mix well.
  3. Spread this mixture in your lined baking pan. Press mixture down in to the pan firmly. It may help to spray another piece of foil and use this to press down evenly on the energy bars.
  4. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Keep a close eye on the energy bars and remove them whenever the edges begin to turn golden. Do not remove from pan and cool for 10 minutes.
  5. This recipe makes 6 servings. You can cut and store them in the pan. Or remove them the pan, cut them and store them in a separate container. Enjoy!

Diabetes Plate Tackles Diabetes Education

Did you know that 25.8 million Americans are living with diabetes? Some are diagnosed and some still undiagnosed. And, unfortunately, this number is not shrinking. In 2010, 1.9 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people aged 20 and over.** Not only is this a problem for the individual suffering from diabetes, it’s a problem for all of us as a society. How can we educate people on the causes and effects of diabetes? How can we take a population that is living with diabetes and get them back on the right track? How can we take a generation that is being raised addicted to food and teach them about healthy eating habits? Educate!

diabetes plateProviding education and the right tools is the best thing we can do. In the upcoming Fall 2013 edition of the NCES catalog, we’ve focused on diabetes prevention and education with our new products. Our new Right-Sized Diabetes Plate is designed specifically with the diabetic in mind. On this plate, our dietitians have tackled the major issues facing diabetics and given them tools to manage their diabetes right on the plate.

  • Portion Control: This is a very important consideration for all of us, but especially for a person with diabetes. Keeping blood sugars in check often means only eating proper portions of foods from each food group.
  • Carbohydrate Counting: More than just watching portions, a person with diabetes must keep track of the carbohydrates they consume. Because carbs play such a huge roll in blood sugar levels, monitoring carb intake helps a diabetic control their highs and lows.
  • Physical Activity: Managing diabetes through diet is only part of the equation. Maintaining a healthy weight and building a strong body is reliant on getting the recommended amount of physical activity.

The NCES Right-Sized Diabetes Plate combines these three concepts in to a visually appealing plate that can be used on a daily basis to help a person living with diabetes remember how to manage their diabetes through diet and exercise.

This plate and other new diabetes related products have been added to our growing Diabetes section in the catalog and at www.NCEScatalog.com. Take a second to view the diabetes section here today. Do you have ideas for us to add to the Diabetes section? Please share your ideas on Facebook, Twitter or email them to us at info@ncescatalog.com.

**Source: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-statistics/


Build your arsenal against Diabetes!

In light of our last blog, we wanted to share some of the products that we currently carry for diabetes education.  Thank you for all the feedback that we did receive! We are excited for the fall catalog and all the new products that will be featured in it.

Although we are currently looking for new and exciting ways to enhance your diabetes education program, we have a solid line of diabetes education products currently available. Many of you already know this because you’ve used them in the past. But, I wanted to highlight a few today in case you haven’t had a chance to check them out yet. Or, this is also a great opportunity to share them with all of your colleagues by email using the button at the bottom of this post.


Diabetes Food Model Kit: This NCES exclusive kit is a staple of our diabetes education program. This kit is perfect for hands-on nutrition education and includes tools for teaching your diabetic patients about proper portions, exchanges and menu planning. Learn more…

5021 Front

MyPlacemat for Diabetes: This recent addition to the NCES line of diabetes education products is a great tool that you can easily send home with your patients. Using this placemat, they can create meals based on a plate that is specifically designed with their needs in mind. Plus, it features an exchange list for easy access. Learn more…

5025Complete Diabetes Education Kit: Don’t have time to sift through the catalog for all of the best diabetes education materials? This kit includes all of the essential tools for your diabetes education program, including glucose wands, food models and more. Click here to see the complete list of items.

Diabetes education is a growing topic of conversation. We intend to offer the latest and greatest in diabetes education. Anytime you have product feedback for us, or ideas for new products, don’t hesitate to share it with us through social media or email us at info@ncescatalog.com.