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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 Should a Family Fitness Plan Look Like?

ID-10034694There’s no denying the fact that exercising as a family is the key to raising children that understand the importance of physical activity. However, many families still struggle with how to pull it off. So, many families seek the help of professionals. When they come to you, of course you can design a fitness plan that will work for an individual client. But, where do you start when you’re helping a family design a fitness plan that will work for all of them?

Be sure that you include all of the family members. Discuss activities that everyone enjoys doing and be sure to let the children help decide on some of the exercises and activities that are included on the exercise plan. Giving the kids ownership in the program will help keep their interest and build their confidence in what they’re doing. Be sure to make it fun too. Although exercising is meant to increase your heart rate, it doesn’t have to be work all the time. Including fun, and even competitive games, will keep it interesting too.

Scheduling is also an important part of the equation when you’re helping an entire family plan their exercise schedule. Between Dad’s board meeting, Mom’s conference call and the kid’s basketball games and choir concerts, scheduling for a family is a nightmare. Work with your family to identify times that work for everyone. Then, help them create a calendar so that everyone knows exactly when to expect their family workout.

Planning an exercise plan for a family doesn’t differ that much for planning an individual schedule. However, there are certain elements that need to be included to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves and learning that exercise is an important & FUN part of everyday life… not just another chore.

How do you help motivate children to exercise? We’d love to hear your ideas. Please share them here in the comments or on our Facebook. We love hearing from you!

If you’re looking for tools that make exercising at home easier, be sure to check out the NCES Exercise section before you go!

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How can you Help Your Clients get Active in the New Year?

It’s that time of year again. The New Year brings with it new ideas, new dreams and New Year’s resolutions. For so many, these New Year’s resolutions focus around getting healthy through improved eating habits and increased physical activity. It’s our job to help our clients and patients reach their goals by keeping them focused. Unfortunately, although these journeys begin with the best intentions, more often than not they are cut short by busy schedules, a lack of motivation and non-existent support systems. So, how do you help your clients avoid the excuses and find success in their New Year’s Resolutions?

First, take the time to understand your clients. Every person is different, so understanding their struggles will help you tailor a plan that will fit their needs. Let’s take Kate for example. Kate faces the same struggles that most any of us face. She doesn’t have enough time to add in a workout plan. However, for her New Year’s resolution, Kate decides that she is going to start working out every day. But, after a couple of weeks, she gets tired as the stresses of work piling up on her desk and a busy home life get the best of her. So, she gives up on her workout plan. How can you help Kate?

The key to solving any scheduling problem is to create a solid schedule. You’ll need to help Kate identify the times in her day that are open for fitting in exercise. By going over Kate’s schedule, you can help her prioritize the things that she has to get done (ie: Attend work meetings, pick the kids up from school, etc.) with the things that are a lesser priority than exercise. If you have weekly meetings with Kate, take time during your meetings to identify her exercise schedule for the week. It may be the same each week. But, be sure to remind her to take in to account special events each week that may interfere with her schedule.

As we all know, even the best laid plans sometimes need to be changed. So, provide your clients, like Kate, with a list of backup activities. When the weather gets nasty or the kids get sick, it’s a lot harder to get out of the house and hit the gym. Some of these substitutes may be things they can do at home or at work. But, make sure they can be done easily in any home. The goal here is to avoid allowing your clients to make excuses as to why they aren’t sticking to their workout plan.

Accountability is the word here. Without accountability, there is no one keeping Kate, and all your other clients, on track as they get tired, lose focus and even get frustrated if things aren’t going just as they hoped. So, be the accountability that they need. There are a lot of different ways to hold your clients accountable. One easy way with today’s technology is to offer an accountability text service. Monitor the schedule that you helped them create and follow-up with them after workouts or at the end of the day to see how they’re feeling. Make sure you keep it positive and motivational too.

Lastly, make sure to make Kate’s workout plan easy to stick to. If you hand her the perfect workout schedule designed by a Certified Personal Trainer, how can she not stick to the plan?

So, that’s just what we’re doing. We’ve created an easy to use workout plan that you can print and hand to your clients so they’re ready to tackle the New Year and their New Year’s resolution. Just click here to order the free download. Complete the checkout process and the free download will be emailed directly to you.

 

Before you go, check out the NCES Exercise Section for great exercise equipment for any workout.

 

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National Celiac Awareness Day

Tomorrow is Celiac Awareness Day. Celiac Disease is a condition that many of us are unaware of. But, research suggests that 3 million Americans suffer from Celiac Disease, and about 95% of people are completely undiagnosed. So, the first question is ‘What is Celiac Disease’? According to www.celiaccentral.org, Celiac Disease is “an autoimmune disorder triggered by the consumption of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye“. Can you think of the foods that you eat every day that contain gluten? Bread, pasta, cookies, muffins, oats… these are all the main things we think of when we think of gluten. But, gluten is also found in many dressings, gravy’s and other sauces. This disease definitely requires a change in lifestyle for those who are diagnosed.

Are you concerned that you may have Celiac Disease? Getting diagnosed is the first step in getting help! In order to be sure, you’ll need to talk to your doctor about a celiac blood test. But, you can start by going through CeliacCentral.org’s Celiac Disease Symptoms Checklist. Keep in mind, it’s always possible that you feel like you have Celiac Disease but your test comes back negative. You may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Whatever level of sensitivity you may have, it’s important to know that there are answers. There are things you can change within your life to stop suffering.

Have you already been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, or know someone who has? Living with Celiac Disease or a gluten allergy can be difficult, expensive and time consuming. But, NCES offers a line of books aimed at helping you live with Celiac Disease. As more and more people are diagnosed with Celiac Disease, more resources have become available. So, always talk to your health care professional about resources that are available to you.

To celebrate National Celiac Awareness Day, we’re taking 20% off the books in our Celiac/IBS & Gluten Free section for the rest of the week. Simply enter code ‘celiac’ upon checkout on the NCES website.

Do you know of any other great resources for Celiac Disease or Gluten Allergies that we haven’t included? Be sure to leave it in the comments section for everyone to share! Or, you can visit us on Facebook or Twitter to share your thoughts with all of our friends and fans!

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Top 5 Summer Foods to Enjoy Before their Gone

As we all know, summer is here! We’ve all been feeling the relentless heat that the summer of 2012 has thrown our way! If nothing else, you can look through our past few blog posts and hear us rant and rave about the heat this summer! So today, we’re turning it around… we’re taking lemons and making lemonade! Today, we want to share with you our top summer foods to enjoy before their gone! Before we know it, winter will be here and all the amazing fresh fruits & veggies that we enjoy all summer will be nothing but a memory, or a hard, flavorless grocery store imitation! So, enjoy these top picks while you still can!

  1. Peaches – Has anybody ever told you, “You’re a Peach!”? If so, you should be flattered! Peaches are sweet, flavorful and unique to their core. Enjoy one today because they are at the peak of their season right now!
  2. Tomatoes – Umm… BLT! Need we say more! Although great by themselves, adding a freshly picked tomato to your favorite sandwich or salad is sure to make your mouth happy!
  3. Blueberries – Talk about the perfect snack! Once you pop… the fun won’t stop! And, with these little guys, the fun doesn’t have to stop! You can pop as many as you want without counting fat or calories.
  4. Cherries – And we’re not talking maraschino here folks! When was the last time you bit in to a fresh, unprocessed, Bing cherry? They are in season now and give those jarred guys a run for their money on sweetness!
  5. Cucumbers – Although probably not a vegetable that you always think to turn to, cucumbers are a great addition to many recipes. Sliced or diced, a fresh cucumber can be added to any summer salad for a splash of unique flavor!

Well, that’s it! Our list of top summer foods! What’s on your list? We’re always up for trying new ideas, foods and recipes! Share your favorite summer foods with us right here on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter! If it’s reasonable, we promise we’ll try it! We hope you enjoy these fresh, flavorful and fun foods! Come back and let us know what you think!

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Getting Fit Without the Heat

For much of the U.S., the insatiable summer heat has taken a break! Here in KC, we’ve traded in our triple digit temps for much cooler 90° days! Although these temps make walking from the parking lot in to a building much more bearable, it’s still not quite cool enough to get excited about heading outside for any kind of workout. So, this summer, we’re bringing it inside for you! Brought to you from one of our favorite fitness guides, Fit In 5, here are 6 workouts that will keep you up to speed with your fitness goals throughout the summer. (Note: All workouts given below are Medium intensity. The book also includes easy and hard intensity workouts.)

5 Minute Workouts

Core Strength and Stability

  • Lie face down with arms out to the sides and elbows bent at 90°
  • Lift the left arm and right leg simultaneously and hold for 5 seconds
  • Return to the start position
  • Life the right arm and left leg simultaneously and hold for 5 seconds
  • Return to the start position

Repeat 20 Times

Glutes, abs and thighs

  • Stand with legs together
  • Take a large step to the left
  • Squat down with feet turned out, keeping your back straight and looking forward
  • Step to the right, returning to a standing position
  • Repeat the steps above, moving to the right

Repeat 20 Times

10 Minute Workouts

Lower Body Strength & Power (Squat & Jump Squat)

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

Repeat 20 Times

  • Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and looking forward
  • Squat down about 90° and then jump vertically upward as high as you can

Repeat 20 Times continuously without resting between

Upper Body Strength & Power (Push-Up_& Abdominal Curl)

  • Start with legs bent and knees together on the floor and arms outstretched with hand shoulder-width apart on the floor
  • Form a straight line from your head to your knees
  • Lower your body to the floor
  • When the arms are at 90°, pause and straighten the arms

Repeat 20 Times

  • Lie flat on your back with your legs bent at 90°
  • Place your hands across your chest, each touching the opposite shoulder
  • Lift your head and shoulders toward your knees
  • Left your shoulders about 20 cm off the floor and return slowly to the start position

Repeat 20 times

30 Minute Workouts

Treadmill

  • 3-minute easy walk
  • 2-minute medium walk
  • 1-minute jog

Repeat 5 times

Swim

  • 10-minute easy to medium
  • 10 laps (2 lengths hard, 30 seconds rest)
  • 10-minute easy to medium

Like what you see? There’s a lot more where that came from. This book also includes pictures with each workout to help with any instructions that you’re unsure about. Once you choose your exercise, you can adjust the intensity to fit your needs. Plus, with weekly training programs, you can use this book to reach your exercise goals, up to 150 minutes per week.

Still need more incentive? How about a super-exclusive 20% off coupon code just for you, our Health Beat fans! Simply enter the code ‘healthbeat’ at checkout to receive your discount. Click here to start your order today! Oh, and hurry! Supplies are limited and the coupon is valid while supplies last.

Don’t forget to come back to the blog, or visit on Facebook or Twitter to share your thoughts on these great exercises! Plus, what are you doing to stay fit this summer? Share your ideas with everyone!

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We’ve Got the Dish on Portion Control

Do you struggle with portion control? I know this sounds like the intro to 90% of Dr. Oz’s TV shows. But, it’s an honest question. Why? Because the truth is that most of us do struggle with it. We live in a society where food tastes so good that we just want to eat more and more. Eating a small handful of snack crackers is no longer enough. We only feel satisfied if we down at least half of the box! Let me tell you this… if you feel this way, you are not alone! That is why portion control has become such an important topic in nutrition. It’s not enough to solely focus on nutritious foods, although it is still important, you also need to remember portion control.

There are many products out there advertising that they can help with portion control. However, we have found a few that we think are more helpful than others, which is why we carry them in our catalog. Yum Yum Bowls are perfect for any snack. These perfectly portioned bowls conveniently tell you when ‘Yum Yum Time is Over’, ensuring that you will only eat a proper portion of your favorite snack. Yum Yum Plates are very similarly designed. At 9”, they are the perfect size for anyone who wants to eat correct portions. Each plate is sectioned and labeled for Protein, Carbs and Veggies to help you with portion control. And, of course they are all microwave and dishwasher safe! As if all this wasn’t enough motivation to order right now, both Yum Yum products are currently 20% off on the NCES website. Simply enter code Yum6 at checkout to receive your discount!

We’re also big fans of our Right-Sized portion plates. With two different designs, one focused on kids and one on adults, these plates are sure to fit everyone’s portion control needs. The size of the average plate has grown wildly out of control. This 9” plate demonstrates the plate size that we should be basing our portions off of. It also demonstrates how to fill our plate using each of the food groups as recommended by the USDA’s MyPlate and 2010 Dietary Guidelines.

The bottom line is that portion control is not something you can ignore! It is something that every adult needs to understand, not only to become healthier, but also to be a positive example for our kids! We learn eating habits based on what we see those around us doing. Why not take advantage of these exclusive savings to kick off your commitment to portion control?