Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama issued the challenge for 5 ways to be healthy! Here are our five… simple, tried and true methods to be healthy! Enjoy!
- Eat at least 2 fruits and 4 vegetables each day
- Exercise at least 30 minutes everyday
- Take a break from your TV watching and do at least 10 situps or pushups during the commercial breaks for your evening shows
- Drink at least 5 large glasses of water each day
- Try at least 5 new foods in a week. And no, you can’t count the ‘donut of the week’ as a new food! 🙂
How do you ‘live healthy’? There are so many ways to live a healthy lifestyle and inspire those around you to do the same. So, now, we issue the challenge to you to #Gimme5. Comment on this blog with 5 ways you stay healthy using the hashtag #Gimme5! Happy National Nutrition Month.
National Nutrition Month is a great time to promote good nutrition to clients and patients! But, it’s also a great time to say Thank You to your co-workers, clients, patients and doctors who work hard to make the world a healthier place.
Save yourself a trip to the store and order a trendy, healthy snack-packed gift box for everyone you want to say Thank You to!
The inside of each box is personalized with a message to fit the recipient!
To see the individualized messages, please click here.
I just returned from the 2014 annual Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) in Atlanta and I don’t know about you but I am energized! Most people return home from this conference exhausted, but I tend to return home each year energized. I love all the great people I met, the knowledge gained from the sessions I attended and all the new and fascinating products in the Expo hall.
One of my favorite sessions this year was on branding, titled “Creating Fame: The Power of Branding to Elevate Your Career” presented by Yvette Quantz and Thomas Karam and moderated by Sarah Koszyk. This session was well presented and provided many take away points that I will be incorporating into my professional toolkit. The presentation focused on how to brand yourself as a dietitian, no matter the focus of your practice. The also demonstrated how two simple things, “vocal tone” and your “default look”, can determine whether someone will like/trust you within the first 10 seconds of meeting you. This was excellent information to be reminded of since we, as dietitians, deal with patients, clients, vendors and many other groups of people on a daily basis. The session served as a great reminder of the importance of focusing on making a positive first impression. Because we interact with so many new people on a daily basis, the first impression is key to our success. If we fail to impress, it lessens the impact of the rest of our message.
Another favorite for me this year was the expo hall. Come one, who doesn’t like a place where great food vendors and sponsors showcase their products. This year, I especially enjoyed learning about the new natural food products on the market, and the trend of decreasing processed ingredients and additives that are currently in so many of our foods. This is a trend that dietitians have been focusing on for quite some time. It’s great to see it becoming a more mainstream trend. While I believe there is room in a person’s diet for most foods, I also believe it is important to get back to the basics. Because of this, it was nice see so many companies working with dietitians to produce a healthier product for consumers to choose.
For those who were able to attend the 2014 FNCE conference, I would love to hear about your favorite session(s), as well as your favorite part of the expo. For those of you who were unable to go this year, I look forward to connecting next year in Nashville. Finally, for those who are questioning whether it is worth it to attend FNCE in the future, I would definitely recommend it. Although it is a long weekend, I think you will be surprised at how you leave feeling more energized and excited about the future of our profession.
Talk to you soon!
Carrie Mark, MA, RD, LD
Chief Acquisitions Director
With back to school season in full swing, packing school lunches is on the brains of many parents. With all of the debate and discussions surrounding school lunches, more and more parents are taking on the responsibility of packing their child’s lunch rather than purchasing through the school lunch program. Although many school lunch programs have made great strides recently to provide healthier options to students, the reality is that many still fall short due to factors like a lack of funding or inappropriate standards set for the lunch program. By packing a student’s lunch, parents can rest assured about what their child is eating each day while they are at school. But, is this really beneficial? Many parents don’t always know how to choose the right foods that will fuel their child through the entire school day. Look at what many adults choose to eat on a daily basis; it’s not hard to see where parents may not always be equipped to make the best choices for school lunches. That’s where it’s our role as dietitians to educate parents on making healthy food choices; both for the parents and for their children.
As many of us already know, packing school lunches on a daily basis is a huge commitment. If you take the time to make sure that your children are getting the right amount of foods from each food group, changing up meal options enough to keep them excited and keeping the pantry stocked with all the right foods to make it happen, you quickly find that it’s much easier to just have your child purchase a school lunch. But, we’ve got a couple of tips to ease the burden and make this important task a seamless part of your everyday schedule. As a dietitian, these are great tips to share with clients.
- Create a Plan: If you’re the type of person who thrives on a schedule, make a meal plan a week or two in advance. If you have a list of common meals that your family enjoys, you can just pull from that list to fill your meal plan. Be sure that you have slots for each food group under every meal. Fill these slots with MyPlate in mind to create a balanced plate for every meal. Then, use your meal plan to create a grocery list. You’ll be amazed at how simple it is to look at your meal plan and make what it says. There’s no guessing or thinking involved. You just read it and do it!
- Pack Meals in Advance: Depending on the lunches you’ve chosen, you can prepare the meals ahead of time. Many times you can take some time on Sunday afternoon and get all your lunches for the week packed and ready to go. If you’ve chosen fresher options, it may be a little more difficult. But, always plan to pack lunches in the evening so you can simply ‘grab n go’ in the morning.
- Always Remember MyPlate: Sometimes it’s hard to look at a blank slate and start filling in a meal plan or packing a school lunch. But, if you keep a copy of MyPlate hanging in your kitchen, just begin going around the plate choosing foods that fit in each food group. For example, as I go around the plate, I can easily fill it with 1 slice of whole wheat toast, peanut butter, green beans and grapes. Top it off with a glass of milk or yogurt and voila, we have a full meal that is packed with everything a student needs to stay energized throughout their day at school.
Like I said before, packing school lunches for your family is a commitment. But, once you get in the swing of it, it will become second nature! Be sure to utilize all the different resources available online that make packing school lunches easier. In fact, some of them will even create balanced meal plans for you if you don’t have the time or energy to create your own. Until next time, here’s to healthy lunches and happy families!
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I know we say it all the time, but it’s not enough to just focus on the types of food your putting on your plate, you have to pay attention to the amount of food you’re putting on your plate. I was reminded of this concept during a recent trip to an all-you-can-eat buffet. I still struggle with the concept that many people struggle with… If I’m going to pay an all you can eat price, I need to eat all I CAN eat. But, in the words of Ellen Degeneres, “We don’t need to be eating all we can eat”. They make it so easy though. I mean, just leave your plate at the table and go get a new one. It’s like washing away all the guilt from the food that we just ate so we can clean our conscience and go eat more. We’ve all struggled with this… am I right? The key is to not give in to the temptation to eat all we can eat. Your body doesn’t get any more nutrition by eating 4 plates full of food than it does off of one healthy plate. In fact, you’re going to harm your body more by adding all the extra calories your body doesn’t need. So now, I try to look at it this way… If I’m going to pay $12 for lunch, I’m going to leave feeling full, satisfied and having enjoyed some of my favorite foods. When we over eat, it’s hard to enjoy the food because our stomachs begin to stretch and feel overly full.
So, how do you overcome the temptation to over eat when you’re at a buffet? You have to find a portion control tool that works for you. In the past, we’ve published the ever-popular hand guides for portions of different foods. These work great in a pinch, as long as you can remember all of the proper portions by looking at your hands (and don’t have abnormally large hands). An easy to use pocket portion guide, like this free NCES one, can be a big help too. But, we’ve got something that can make it even easier. Whenever possible, I take along my NCES Right-Sized plate so I can be sure I’ve taken the correct portions in each food group. It really doesn’t get any easier than that! You walk up to the buffet with your right-sized plate and Voila, no more guesswork! These plates are available for both kids and adults and really do take the guesswork out of portion control. Give one a shot today!
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Happy National Employee Wellness Month! Did you even know that June is National Employee Wellness Month? More importantly, do you have a reason to care? The truth is that we all have a reason to care! Employee health and wellness has a direct impact on healthcare costs. And, it’s no secret that healthcare costs in America are soaring right now and cause a lot of controversy across company board rooms and government negotiations every day. According to nationalemployeewellnessmonth.com, “75% of these costs are driven by preventable and highly manageable chronic diseases like, heart disease, type II diabetes and some forms of cancer.”
Many companies and organizations have joined forces throughout the month of June to raise awareness for employee wellness. But, it can’t stop here. On June 30th, we can’t all forget about employee wellness until June 2014 rolls around. We’ve got to keep the momentum going!
How you ask? That’s exactly what we want to answer today. Here are a few tips for encouraging employee wellness in your organization beyond National Employee Wellness Month.
- Participate: If your company has a wellness program in place, participate in the programs they offer. Join the wellness walks, participate in the webinars, compete in the challenges… Whatever they offer, take advantage!
- Campaign: If your company doesn’t currently offer a wellness program, or you see a need for improvements in the wellness program, become an advocate for a stronger wellness program. NCES has many products designed to make workplace wellness easy in any workplace.
- Get Started: Can’t find all the support that you’re looking for within your company? Odds are that you’re not alone. Get together with some co-workers and start a walking club, create a weight loss challenge or even host a wellness class. If your employer sees that you are interested, they’ll be more likely to get the program started for the entire company.
So, even though June is the official month for employee wellness, let’s keep the
momentum going! National Employee Wellness Month officially began in 2009. Since then, it’s gained great momentum year after year and has grown to have over 150 organizations with more than 65,000 employees supporting the cause. Get started promoting employee wellness in your workplace today. And, remember to become a 2014 supporter of National Employee Wellness Month. Visit www.NationalEmployeeWellnessMonth.com for more information and to become a supporter next year. For everything corporate wellness, take a second to browse the NCES Corporate Wellness section today!
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 home 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.
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.
NCES 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 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 – 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.
Welcome to throwback Friday here at NCES. Here’s a blog that we shared just over a year ago, January 5th, 2012. But, there were some great tools that we wanted to share again in case you may have missed it or forgotten about it. Enjoy!
What’s your New Year’s Resolution for 2012? Mine is to make the gym part of my daily routine! Wait… You’re Kidding… that’s yours too? Okay, let’s face it… the most common new year’s resolution is to hit the gym more often. If you’ve ever been to the gym in the month of January, you’ll know exactly what I am talking about. At times, I forget if I am waiting in line for a weight machine or the newest attraction at Six Flags! So, how can you keep your commitment to your New Year’s resolution, but not waste your entire evening at the gym? Just stay home! That’s right… stay away from the gym. The truth is, you can get creative and complete your entire workout at home, at least until the gym starts to clear out again at the end of the month. Here are just a few ways you can get started today!
Static Running (Medium Difficulty)
- Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart
- Lift one leg toward the chest and raise the opposite arm, mimicking a running action
- Alternate legs and arms Repeat 20 times
Squat (Medium Difficulty)
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms crossed on your chest
- Keeping the back straight and looking forward, bend the legs 90°
- Return to the start position Repeat 20 times
Oyster (Medium Difficulty)
- Lie on your left side with your lower arm extended above your head; keep the legs together, bent at 45°, making a straight line from shoulders to hips to feet.
- Life the upper knees as high as possible, keeping the lower leg on the floor.
- Return to the start position. Repeat 20 times
- Turn over and repeat with the opposite leg.
Side Raise (Medium Difficulty)
- Sit on your right hip with knees bend and right arm extended under your right shoulder.
- Without collapsing the arm, lift the hip to the ceiling, keeping your knees on the floor and making a straight line from shoulder to hip to ankle; hold for 10 seconds. Return to start position and repeat 3 times
- Roll over and repeat for the left hip
- Standing upright and looking forward, extend both arms above your head
- Without bending forward or backward, lean to one side
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds
- Return to the start position Repeat for the other side
Like what you see? All of the exercises mentioned above were pulled from the book ‘Fit in 5’. (Item # 4507 at www.NCESCatalog.com) This book includes a lot of exercises that will work on your core strength, flexibility, Power, Abs and much more. The workouts are customized to you based on the amount of time you have to commit to working out. We’ve got plenty on the shelf to go around. So, go ahead and order your copy today! Give these workouts a try today and let us know what you think! You can always connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or right here on the blog.
It’s finally here! The summer vacation, float trip or trip to the lake that you spent all winter planning has finally arrived. Or, maybe your just excited to be spending every day at the pool to make up for all the vitamin D that your body missed all winter! Either way, outdoor activities are a lot of fun. The problem is, they take their toll on our bodies. As with anything, the sun sucks the H2O right out of our bodies, leaving us dehydrated. So, what can you do this summer to keep your body hydrated, healthy and happy? Here are our dietitians Top 3 tips for hydration in the heat!
- Monitor how much water you are consuming by time! As we’ve said in previous blogs, be sure to drink at least 8 oz. of water for every 30 minutes that you spend outside!
- Monitory how much water you are consuming in relation to alcoholic beverages! Alcohol assists the sun in drying out your body. So, if you are consuming alcohol, you need to be sure to offset the effects with plenty of water. Follow up every alcoholic beverage with a glass of water.
- Keep an eye on your body’s signals! Many people wait until they feel thirsty to begin consuming water. If you feel thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. So, continuously drink water throughout the day to remain hydrated. If you begin to feel thirsty, find a cool place and relax over a glass of water to get your body back on track.
Everybody wants to get out and enjoy these warm30. summer rays! Just make sure you are doing it responsibly. As with everything in life, the sun is great for us in moderation! So, make sure you plan time in the sun; but also plan time to get a break from the sun. Consume plenty of water! You’ll feel better and your body will function better!
Need some help teaching ‘Sun Safety’? This Thursday, we’ll be releasing our July Free Download, focused on the hydration tips featured in this blog. Sign up for our HealthLinks Newsletter to be the first to know when the download is available!
For more health & nutrition information, be sure to follow us on Facebook & Twitter. Plus, share this blog with your network. Let’s spread the word to build a healthier community!
Congratulations to our friends at Smart Picks for receiving the “2012 Parents Choice Approved Seal” for MyPlate Food Bingo. Read their Press Release below for all the details!
MyPlate Food Bingo wins
” 2012 Parents’ Choice Approved Seal”
What is The Parents Choice Approved Seal?
The Parents’ Choice Approved Seals are given on the basis of the production, entertainment and human values they exemplify.
A Parents’ Choice Approved Seal indicates a wholesome product that helps children enjoy developing physical, emotional, social or academic skills.
My Plate Food Bingo
Spring 2012 Games
Ages: 9 & Up
Manufacturer: Smart Picks, Inc.
MyPlate Food Bingo combines family game night and lesson in healthy eating habits. Based on the USDA’s new MyPlate food categories (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, protein and dairy) the game boards feature ninety-five different foods and their suggested serving sizes. It provides information and tips on healthy eating, exercise, food allergies and more. The game, which is ideal for the classroom or camps, includes 30 laminated cards, 114 picture squares, a checking card, 95 clue cards, 600 square markers, an instruction sheet and an information sheet. The game helps children learn information about healthy eating habits way while also encouraging family time, cooperative play and social interaction. Though the game may mention foods that kids may not recognize, such as kashi, seitan, and amaranth, there is an information sheet that explains what more obscure foods are. The sheet also provides enough nutritional information and additional resources to assist any teacher or home schooling parent to craft a healthy eating curriculum. The practical, tasty, and accessible healthy eating tips on each card (“try frozen grapes instead of popsicles” and “eat popcorn instead of candy or chips”, for example) add to the game’s health and educational value.