0

Create Your Best Thanksgiving Menu Yet

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipe MenuIt’s finally here! Although Thanksgiving is rolling in a little later this year, if you’re like me, it still found a way to sneak right up. It’s pretty easy to cook the same foods that you’ve been cooking for the last 20 years. Even though you keep thinking that one of these year’s you’ll lighten up your Thanksgiving meal, time gets away and looking up new recipes just gets pushed off until next year… again! So, to make it a little easier, we’ve pulled together our list of favorite sites to find lighter versions of your favorite Thanksgiving classics.

It’s important to remember that the key to a healthy Thanksgiving plate is still portion control. Although adding lighter, healthier ingredients to your foods is a great addition to a healthy diet, portion control is still very important. TIP: Fill your plate with your favorite fruits and vegetables. Then, fill in the holes with those other foods that you wait all year to enjoy. And, remember, don’t be too hard on yourself. Enjoy your favorite Thanksgiving foods on Thanksgiving. Just remember to get back to your healthy daily eating habits quickly after the holiday!

Mayo Clinic: As a trusted professional in health and medicine, the Mayo Clinic is a great place to turn when looking for health information. They have incorporated some great healthy Thanksgiving recipes in to their site. Sorted by dish, they are easy to search and find.

Simply Organic: Offering a full line of organic seasonings, Simply Organic has created a website chocked full of healthy renditions on many holiday classics. Plus, you can bank on the fact that the recipes will be full of flavor!

Eating Well: There motto is “Where good food meets good health” and they aren’t kidding! These guys have put together a great resource for healthy cooking with recipes, menus and news. Thanksgiving is no exception… you’ll find some great recipes. Including a healthy spin on one of my favorites, green bean casserole.

Readers Digest: We’ve been turning to Readers Digest for everything, including the best holiday recipes for years. Now, you can get healthy recipe ideas from them too! If you’re looking for a side dish, this is the place to go!

EatRight.org: Of course the dietitians over at the Academy have great resources for every holiday, event, age and topic. They’ve also put together a little shopping guide for Thanksgiving. It’s not a lot. But, it’s got a few tips for shopping with a healthy Thanksgiving meal in mind.

Pinterest: Of course, every recipe imaginable can be found on the new super recipe book… Pinterest. I’m a huge fan of this Healthy Thanksgiving board by Brittany Mullins though. If I had the time, I would try EVERY single one of these recipes. Maybe if we split it up, we can cook through this board together!

0

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.

2

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

0

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!

1

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

0

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!