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Your Toolbox for Fighting Childhood Obesity

With the Childhood Obesity Conference happening right now in Long Beach, CA, we thought it was a fitting time to address childhood obesity and some of the top ways to combat and reverse it. It’s no secret that the number of children in the US that are overweight or obese is overwhelming. And, to make it worse, that number is still growing at an astounding rate. But, the goal of the conference is to “Accelerate Progress”. So, what can we do to accelerate progress? As many of you remember from our last blog, we discussed some resources that are available to parents and educators to provide to children. Today, we wanted to provide some easy ways to teach health, nutrition and fitness to kids.

NCES MyPlate Lunch & Learn Placemat – Use at the breakfast/lunch or dinner table either at MyPlate Munch and Learn Placemathome or on the go. Designed specifically for kids, this placemat educates your child about the five major food groups while engaging their critical thinking skills as they work through the fun activities on the back.

EIEO Kids Tear pad

NCES EIEO tear pad – Use these handouts to help motivate kids to get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity in daily.  It also helps children understand that what you eat has to balance with how much they exercise in order to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.


Kids Portion PlateNCES Right-Sized Plate – With two designs, one for adults and one for kids, these colorful plates provide portioned sections for measuring out portions. This is great for kids so they can learn all about portion control by filling each section of their plate.daily.  It also helps children understand that what you eat has to balance with how much they exercise in order to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

Whiz, Zip, Zap Kids Cookbook

Whiz Zip and Zap cookbook – Get your kids in the kitchen to start cooking so they can see how fun it is. Summer is a greattime to engage your kids in activities like helping to cook family meals.   It has been proven that kids who participate in cooking with their parents or caregivers have healthier eating habits. This cookbook provides simple recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks.

Scratch and Sniff Learning Cards for KidsScratch and Sniff Learning cards – These interactive scratch and sniff cards provide a fun way for kids to learn about and try new fruits and vegetables.  First, have them smell the card. Then, have them taste the actual fruit and vegetable to compare the scent and taste. They can also note what they liked most and least about the foods.

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What’s Your Least Favorite Part of Grocery Shopping?

What do you dread most about going to the grocery store? Okay, besides trying to fight your way through the bakery section resisting all of the cakes, crème puffs and chocolate filled goodies! For me, it’s staying on budget. No matter how hard I try, sometimes it just doesn’t seem possible to stay on budget and feed my family foods that I know are wholesome and healthy. I’ve turned to coupon clipping at times. But, as Sweet Brown would say, “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That!”

So, is it possible to raise a healthy family while sticking to a strict budget? The answer is Yes! But how? The first step is to set a budget. Using our new “Budget Friendly Shopping” (link) handout, you can use US National Averages and our budget calculating tool to identify the budget that best fits your family. This tool provides calculations for families of all sizes with children at any age. Using this tool, you can create a budget that is the best fit for your family.

After you know your budget, the next step is to plan your meals. Whether you plan by the week or month, creating a meal plan and sticking to it will help you stay on budget. As you create your meal plan, there are two things that we think are most important to remember. First, remember to include foods from each food group in every meal. The second is to remember appropriate serving sizes. Many times, extreme food costs are a result of preparing and consuming too much food.

Now that you have your meal plan complete, it’s time to make a grocery list and head to the grocery store. Remember to buy off brand whenever you can and try to purchase foods that are on sale while you are at the store.  If you’re familiar with grocery prices, try to estimate your grocery bill before you get to the checkout to make sure you’re staying on track. If you’ve not paid close attention to prices in the past, spend a few weeks learning about your new meal plan and budget to learn what foods you can include and which ‘pricier’ foods you may want to hold back on.

So, we’ve shared how to calculate your budget and how to create a meal plan. Do you still need more motivation to check out our new Budget Friendly Shopping handout? This should throw you over the top! We’ve also included a 1 week meal plan for a family of 4 for less than $170.

How do you feed your family on a budget? We love hearing from you, our readers. So, please share with everyone the tips that you find most effective for feeding your family healthy foods on a budget! You can share your thoughts here on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter!

Budget Brochure Handout

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Get Your Healthy START

It’s not uncommon on a daily basis to overhear a conversation about someone’s latest diet fad. Whether you’re in line at the grocery store, talking with a close friend or working with a client, diet fads are a dime a dozen. As a dietitian, presenting a healthy, well-rounded diet and exercise plan is the #1 goal. However, sometimes it seems like people like the fad diet so much better because it sounds easier. In reality, we all know that maintaining a healthy diet and incorporating physical activity in to your lifestyle is the easiest approach. So, how can you help those around you understand that it’s easy too?

The hardest part of enjoying a healthy life is getting started! Whether your goal is to learn more about the ingredients in the food you eat, monitor your calorie intake, start a regular physical activity routine, or a combination of all of these, getting started is often the hardest part. For some of you, as the dietitian, helping your patients understand the logic behind getting healthy can be a pretty big challenge too.

This is why we strive to make everything simple. By learning two simple NCES concepts, you can begin your path down the road to a healthier lifestyle in no time. And, did we mention we’re ‘Fad Diet Free’, meaning that everything we teach focuses on simple, healthy nutrition; no starvation diets, crazy pills, chemicals, or activities that require any kind of shaking weight!

Our S.T.A.R.T. concept offers 5 simple recommendations for creating and maintaining a healthy diet. This idea keeps you from spending time counting calories. Instead, you’ll be focusing on general rules to follow when thinking about the foods that you are going to eat.

S – Solid Fats & Added Sugars: These provide no nutritional value and should be avoided as much as possible. Examples include: cake, cookies, butter, margarine, regular soda.

T – Try to make half your plate fruits and vegetables: A serving of fruits and vegetables can be fresh, frozen, dried or canned in their own juices.

A – Avoid oversized portions: Monitor serving sizes and enjoy your food, just eat less.

R – Refresh with water: Make water the beverage of choice and limit beverages with added sugars.

T – Track your Sodium: Limit foods that are high in salt like pre-packaged snacks and meals.

The second concept is our E.I.E.O. concept. This idea focuses on balancing Energy In (calories) with Energy Out (exercise). It sounds so simple. But, it’s amazing how simple the idea of maintaining a balanced lifestyle can be. If you focus on burning the calories that you consume above and beyond what your body needs to function every day, you’ll have nothing left over to turn in to fat. One of the easiest ways to get started here is to go online and determine your personal BMR using an online BMR calculator. You need to be sure to consume these calories each day, remembering the rules in the S.T.A.R.T. concept as you choose your foods, in order to fuel your body. Then, you need to make sure that you’re exercising to burn any calories above and beyond this amount of calories that you consume.

The great thing about both of these concepts is that they work perfectly for everyone! No matter your age, size, gender, nationality, etc. these recommendations will help you live a healthier life. Enjoying the benefits of healthy eating and regular physical activity is not limited to certain people. By incorporating these simple ideas in to your everyday life will allow you to enjoy all the benefits that come with having a healthy body!

4932 EIEO Tear Pad May 2012-page-001 (2)Healthy START for a Healthier You

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$3.49 Melamine Portion Plates

Our loss is your gain! Due to a printing complication, we received a batch of 2000 portion plates that have slight printing flaws. Please see the image below to decide if these plates would be a perfect fit for your health fair, nutrition event or even great giveaways to your clients or employees! If so, act fast because these plates won’t last long at $3.49 each.

Portion Plate

Contact Us Today

Phone: 877.623.7266

Email: orders@ncescatalog.com

or Click Here to let us know you’re interested

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Take the Work out of Selecting Nutrition Products

How do you provide your clients with the best resources possible? You could take the time to review thousands upon thousands of products in order to select the best ones that will help your clients live the healthy lifestyle that you’re teaching them about. Or, you can let us do it for you! As an NCES blog reader, HealthLinks newsletter subscriber or HealthBeat blog reader, you already know that NCES does all the work by selecting the best professional products for you. Now, we’ve created an all new website, www.NCESmarketplace, especially for the everyday consumer.

Filled with portion control tools, exercise equipment, nutrition for kids and even gifts for the ‘healthy giver’, NCES Marketplace is a great place to send your clients family and friends. Need a little more incentive? We’ve got a coupon to get you on over to visit our site! Use code ‘Health30’ to take 30% off your first order. Plus, share the coupon with your clients so they can take 30% off their first orders as well.

Learn more in this video! Or, just head on over to the site to start browsing now!

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Portions from the Eyes of a Beginner

With this Sunday touted as the official end to the ‘Eating Season’, Portion Control has been weighing heavily on our minds. Starting Monday, many people will begin the yearly ritual of ‘dieting’ to remove the extra pounds they accumulated during the holidays before swimsuit season hits in just a few short months. For some they’ll choose to go it alone and find an online program or book that can guide their healthier eating choices, others will seek professional help in person through dietitians, nutritionists, weight coaches, etc. No matter the method they choose, most have the same goal; to lose weight and be healthy. We received a note from a longtime friend of NCES who has started their journey of losing some extra pounds sharing their feelings on what they’ve learning about portion control. Odds are, many of your patients are feeling this very same way!

“I’ve lost a handful of pounds, slowly and safely in the past month, learning more and more about healthy eating in the process. The most eye opening fact, however, was the difference in the amount of food I ate, rather than the content. Don’t get me wrong, a deep fried Twinkie is still a deep fried Twinkie, and there’s really no way to logically fit that into a diet, no matter how you try to sneak it in. But, say a nice cheeseburger and fries; that’s something you can enjoy, even on a diet. It’s size that really matters.

The hardest thing to wrap my head around when I started this diet, is that when I’m looking at that delicious, mouth-watering cheeseburger, and those fresh, salty fries, I’m actually seeing double; two servings. What I had to do was learn to immediately cut that burger in half, stash it (and half the fries) into a to-go container, and then begin my meal, savoring each saucy, delectable bite. Portions, or rather, what we put on our plates, have gotten ridiculously inflated over the past several decades of American dining. At any given restaurant, you’re usually given two servings on one plate at a time. So when you finish eating, it was only one plate of pancakes and hash browns, when in fact, you ate enough for two meals, or more.”

So, next time you meet with a client who is struggling with their weight loss program, hopefully this excerpt can help you to better understand where they’re struggling and why eating in America today makes it hard for us to be healthy. Or, if you’re someone who is struggling with portion control yourself, know that you’re not alone. If you feel exactly like our reader, you’re normal! Understanding and adhering to appropriate portions takes training. So, for many clients, the training is exactly where to start. NCES offers many products including portion plates, educational tear pads and food models to aid in teaching about portions at www.NCEScatalog.com. Feel free to browse the site, or you can call our on-site dietitian at 877.NCES.BOOKS for help shopping for the perfect product for you.

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Is the Paleo Diet Worth all the Hype?

If you’re clued in to the fad diet scene at all, you’ve probably heard of the newest entry in to the market, the Paleo Diet. The Paleo Diet is also known as the caveman diet. Simply speaking, the idea of the Paleo Diet is to consume only foods that our caveman ancestors would have consumes because our bodies are most equipped to process these foods. For an in-depth overview of the diet, you can visit the Greatist website.

Just as with any new diet that comes along claiming to fix the world’s obesity epidemic, the Paleo Diet makes us want to research some of the details and weigh out the pros and the cons. So, we did! Here’s what we came up with.

Pros:

  • Weight Loss: The Paleo Diet has produced many great examples proving that weight loss is definitely a benefit of the diet.
  • Healthy Choices: By participating in the Paleo Diet, people are more likely to make healthier decisions when choosing their foods, especially when it comes to fats, carbs, calories, etc.

Cons:

  • Sustainability: Due to the rigid structure of allowed foods, the likelihood of the average person maintaining this diet is slim.
  • Variety: Again, because this diet is so strict, participants will lose a lot of their food variety. Not only can that be boring and hard to stick with, it also increases the likelihood that they will miss out on important key nutrients found in foods that aren’t allowed.
  • Dairy Deficit: This diet completely removes dairy from your diet. Dairy is one of the biggest sources of calcium and Vitamin D in our diets. Although there are other ways to get these important nutrients, it will be a culture shock for most to continue to get these nutrients without consuming any dairy products.

The bottom line is that there is still a lot of research that needs to be done in order to determine the long term health risks and benefits to the Paleo Diet. This diet seems eerily similar to the Atkins Diet, and we all know where that went! According to NCES dietitian, Carrie Mark, “My main concern is the long term sustainability for a diet such as this one. Sure, people will lose weight because they are focusing on making healthier food choices. But, will they be able to maintain the diet and their weight loss long-term? I don’t know.”

What do you think? Have you seen any other pros or cons not listed here. Our list is brief because there is still a lot of research to be done. But, we look forward to seeing where this diet goes in the future. Please feel free to share your thoughts on the Paleo Diet right here on the NCES blog. Or, visit us on Facebook to share your thoughts.

paleo

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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.

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Trick or Treat: Or, should we say Trick the Treats!

Happy Halloween! I bet you’re expecting a blog all about how horrible candy is and that you should help your kids avoid it this Halloween at all costs. But, man have we got a surprise for you! The reality is that sugary junk foods like candy exist in the real world! Your kids have access to it at school, at friend’s houses and for many of you, even in your own home. Just like everything else, the trick is to teach your kids how to enjoy their treats responsibly. For many kids, simply heading out for an evening of trick or treating with a tummy full of nutritious, filling foods will help them make better decisions and not overeat all of the sweet treats they receive.

Here are a few simple & fun ideas to help you fill your family up before you head out for a night of Halloween fun!



Turkey Mummy’s:
Slice your mummy wrap (square wonton wrappers) in to strips. Then, wrap the strips around your mummy (a turkey hot dog) and bake. 350° for 20 minutes should do the trick!

Pumpkin Veggie Tray: Simply fill a plate with any vegetables of your choice and use them to make a pumpkin outline. Your kids will think its fun to make and then enjoy snacking on it too!

Pumpkin Krispies: Prepare your crispy rice treats the way you’ve always done it. But, add orange food coloring once your marshmallows have melted. After you’ve mixed in your crispies, set the mixture out on parchment paper in ‘blobs’ to let it cool. When it has cooled, but not quite set, form the blobs in to a pumpkin shape and add your features. We used chocolate chunks for the eyes and nose, almond slivers and white pearl candy for the mouth and Twizzlers for the stem. But, you can use your favorite treats to decorate your pumpkins.

Strawberry Ghosts: A Halloween twist on an old favorite. Using white dipping chocolate, give your strawberries a ghostly cloak, then decorate their faces using chocolate decorators icing.