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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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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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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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Fighting Cancer with Fitness

The Major Role Fitness Plays in Fighting Cancer

Chances are that a friend or loved one will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Although experts in the medical community still have a lot to learn about the different forms of cancer, there have been some very intriguing findings involving the relationship between cancer and fitness. In general, increased fitness levels seem to have a positive impact on people in all stages of cancer treatment. Whether someone is a healthy adult or a cancer survivor, including fitness into daily life can offer many benefits.
One of the most recognized positive outcomes for people who routinely exercise is a lowered body mass index. Getting frequent exercise helps to reduce body fat and increases lean muscle mass for those who work out.  Medical experts have recognized a correlation between lowered body mass index and the prevalence of cancer. Based on this scientific data, people of all ages should incorporate fitness into daily routines to help prevent a cancer diagnosis. Staying in shape can also help to lower inflammation throughout the body and lower the occurrence of other major illnesses.
Even with proper diet and exercise, a cancer diagnosis can sometimes happen without warning. For most, getting this news from the doctor is a stressful experience that is difficult to deal with. However, this is the time when staying fit can be the most advantageous. Fitness and medical experts agree that regular exercise helps to lower stress hormones in the body. After an initial cancer diagnosis, patients should stay motivated to stick with exercise programs in order to maintain a positive outlook. Staying active will help the body deal with the shock of this information.
After a cancer patient has agreed upon on a treatment method with a doctor, some may undergo depression and withdrawal. It can be easy to get discouraged when undergoing strong chemotherapy treatments for mesothelioma and other cancers. Patients should confer with their oncologist about the type of exercise that would be right for them. Moderate walking and resistance training can increase energy levels and positively affect mood. Additionally, there are many side effects associated with these aggressive treatments that can leave patients with the feeling that they have lost control over their bodies. Simple, short-term exercise goals can help patients to regain confidence with their abilities and help them to overcome a cancer diagnosis.
Even patients in remission from cancer can benefit from routine exercise.  Several studies have shown that exercise helps to prevent the cancer from recurring. One specific study of breast cancer survivors found that women who walked three to five hours a week saw a 50% reduction in mortality. Getting frequent exercise after going into remission offers survivors the chance to prevent the disease from coming back. In addition, those who maintain this level of exercise after going into remission are able to regain a lot of the strength that may have been lost during the treatment process.
Although staying active and maintaining a proper body weight is not a definitive cure for cancer, there is enough evidence to suggest that patients greatly benefit from regular participation in cardiovascular and strength training. Further, taking a simple walk around the block or picking up lightweights on occasion offers benefits for anyone desiring to prevent major medical issues. Cancer doesn’t have to be fought lying down. Oncologists can work with cancer patients to help them stay in shape during the long and arduous fight against the disease.

Author: David Haas

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2011 Is the Year YOU Will Stay Healthy for the Holidays!

Are you tired of saying ‘THIS is the year I will stay healthy for the holidays’, only to get consumed with all of the unhealthy habits that run rampant throughout the holidays? It can definitely be a frustrating experience. But, this is your year… we’ve compiled a list of ideas to help you avoid unhealthy holiday habits and stay on the path to a healthier you!

  1. Cut the fat! Remember, there are so many substitutes you can use in your foods to cut the fat. In many recipes, you can replace oil with applesauce. Plus, it’s always a great idea to use egg substitutes instead of eggs.
  2. Continue to exercise! With all of the Christmas parties and family get-togethers, it is hard to keep your workout routine. But, find a buddy and commit to working out at least 4 times per week. You can help hold each other accountable.
  3. Don’t over indulge!  Who can resist the platefuls of homemade fudge, gallons of holiday Wassail and Santa’s cookies?  I know I can’t! The key is moderation… enjoy your favorite foods in healthy portions. And, if you do over indulge, be sure to make up for it in the gym! Remember the E.I.E.O theory, Energy In (food) needs to equal Energy Out (exercise).

Although we are pretty proud of this list, we understand that there are many other things you can do to stay healthy during the holidays! What do you do? We’d love to hear about your ideas for staying healthy this holiday so we can all start 2012 on a healthy foot! Share your thoughts here on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter! Cant’ wait to hear from you!

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Don’t Get the Sugar Scares!

Halloween is here! The most dreaded holiday for dentists and dietitians across the country! But, it’s nothing a little education can’t fix, since the holiday has the potential to be a lot of fun for kids of all ages. All of the unique costumes give kids an opportunity to show off their creative abilities. Then, they go door-to-door ‘trick or treating’ for some sugary snacks! Many people have already begun changing this tradition by passing out more health conscious items, including stickers, granola bars and even fruit! But, how do you keep your kids safe from those ghouls and goblins that still pass out sickening sweet treats? We’ve put together a list of the top things to do with all that candy so your children don’t spend the entire month of November amped up on a sugar high. (As with everything, it’s important to remember that moderation is key! Don’t feel like you have to take it ALL away!)

  • Donate to your Dentist: Obviously, you don’t want to be that parent that gives away all of your children’s hard earned candy. So, have them set aside their absolute favorites. Then, find a local dentist who will trade you for the leftovers. Many dentists have items that they will trade your children for their candy.
  • Put it on Ice: Sit down with your kids and pick out all the chocolate. Then, throw it in the freezer. This way, your kids can enjoy their Halloween treats all year long! Throw away the rest… or you can always trade the dentist!
  • Take it to Work: Although no one person needs to be consuming all that sugar, spreading it out amongst your co-workers will keep your kids healthier. Plus, you’ll probably be a big hit around the office.
  • Sell It: There are many organizations out there that will purchase your leftover Halloween candy. Some of them even take what they purchase and send it to our troops so they can enjoy the sweet treats. Try searching your area for locations you can take your Halloween stash and sell it.

As you can see, there are many options for keeping all that candy out of your little one’s tummy. A little bit of Halloween fun can go a long way. So, be sure to take this opportunity to teach your children about healthy habits and using self-control when digging in to their tasty treats!

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Right-Sizing Your Plate Made Easy

In today’s world, we all know how hard it is to find right-sized portions. From fast food chains to upscale dining restaurants, portions have grown out of control. Even at home, it’s hard to get a handle on proper portions because our idea of a proper portion is so skewed. That’s where we can help. Our dedicated, professional staff has developed hundreds of products, designed to educate people of ages about health and nutrition and teach everyone how to live a healthy, happy life!

 

One of the most user-friendly products we carry are our Right-Sized Portion Plates and Tearpads. Both are available for children and adults. Our children’s “Right Sized Portion Plate” tearpad is a colorful plate with fun food characters, designed to teach kids and their families the importance of filling their plates with healthy foods from each food group. The front of the tearpad depicts the difference between the size of the average American plate compared to the typical American plate. Along with tips for staying active and healthy.  The back of the tearpad gets children involved with an interactive chart to help them track their daily food and activity goals.

The right sized portion plate tearpad is also available for adults. This version is geared to teaching adults how to eat healthy and stay physically active.  The front illustrates the recommended American Plate versus the typical American plate. It also provides information on how these difference impact our health and wellness. The back covers portion control, healthy eating tips and the importance of physical activity, all for adults.

Both of these tearpads, and the plates they are designed after, are great resources for parents, teachers and nutrition education professionals. The colorful two-sided handouts are easy to read and understand.  The plates are interactive and make perfect portion control as easy as 1-2-3.

If you have any questions about the products listed above, or any other NCES products, contact us today.

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