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Are you ready to build a community of Healthy Heroes?

Are you ready to build a community of Healthy Heroes? It’s pretty simple to do. Especially with some new free downloads at NCES! Research has shown that children are more likely to enjoy foods they have a positive relationship with. So, how do we help foster a positive relationship between kids and healthy fruits & vegetables? We make it fun! Today, we’re encouraging you to challenge your students to “Become a #HealthyHero” by creating their own SUPERfood HERO. Here’s how it works;

  • Download the free “Become a #HealthyHero” Activity Card
  • Have each child write their name on the card, as well as their favorite fruit and their favorite vegetable.
  • After they’ve chosen their favorites, have them create a name for their SUPERfood HERO using the fruit and vegetable name. IE: My favorite fruit is pineapple and my favorite vegetable is an artichoke. So, I’ll name mine artichapple. Make sense? Great!
  • After they’ve named their SUPERfood HERO, have them draw a picture of what this SUPERfood HERO would look like.
  • After they’ve filled out the activity card, have them turn it in and give them a #HealthyHero sticker for becoming a #HealthyHero.
  • Hang or place all of the activity cards together and take a picture. This would be great to send home to parents and to share with the rest of your community to see how each kid has become a #HealthyHero.
  • But, don’t stop there. WE want to see your Healthy Heroes too! So be sure to email your pics to info@ncescatalog.com, or share them with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Making learning about fruits and vegetables fun is critical in the success of raising a healthier generation! We’re so impressed by all the efforts that we see every day by others JUST LIKE YOU to teach kids the healthy benefits of fruits and vegetables. Hopefully these free nutrition resources can be one more tool you use to spread your message. Have fun!!

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The 5 Most Amazing Tools to Have in Every Healthy Kitchen

We’ve all been there! We’re interested in preparing healthy snack and meals at home. But, we don’t have all the right tools. It seems like in order to get ourselves back in shape, we have to spend a lot of money getting our kitchens back in shape too. Based on the foods that wreak the most havoc on our waistlines, there are only a few essential items that you need in order to update your kitchen and lighten up your cooking.

Salad dressings are one of the most commonly overused foods. If we’re eating a salad, it’s healthy, no matter what we top it with, right? The truth is that salad dressings hide a lot of empty calories. So, limiting the amount used on a salad is a great way to cut back on overall calorie intake. Reusable dressing lids that measure portions make it super easy to watch portions and still enjoy your favorite dressings. This tool is also great for kids as they learn how much dressing they should be using on their salads.

NCES Healthy Step Pasta BasketI don’t know about you, but in my house pasta is a staple in many of our meals. It offers a great base for many vegetables and proteins. The key with pasta, like with any other food, is to keep an eye on your portions. The Healthy Steps Pasta Basket is perfectly sized for an individual portion. Plus, it hangs on the side of your pot of boiling water for easy draining when the pasta is done and collapses flat for easy storage after use. Truly, it doesn’t get much easier than that!

The Perfect Portions Food Scale also makes keeping an eye on portions easier. Not only will it weigh your foods before you add them to your favorite recipes, it will also give you the nutrition information for that food, including calories, fat grams, protein and much more. It’s like having your own personalized nutrition label for any amount of any food!

The best way to add flavor to any dish is by using fresh herbs. Cooked in to your favorite recipe or cut fresh on top of a salad, herbs are a great low (or no) calorie addition. If you don’t use them quickly enough though, they tend to go bad. The Herb Savor Pod stores them neatly and also helps to keep them fresher longer, prolonging their life by up to 3 weeks.

And, finally, no healthy kitchen is complete without this hands-free countertop tool, the iPrep iPad Holder. As technology changes, printed cookbooks are quickly becoming ‘so 1995’. In their place are online recipes, meal planning sites and digital cookbooks. What’s better to access them from than an iPad? But, those mini computers aren’t cheap so you don’t want it setting on your counter with all of your ingredients while you’re cooking. Instead, have it safe and secure in the iPrep holder for easy recipe viewing. It also comes with a stylus so you don’t have to touch the screen with dirty, meal prepping hands. It’s basically the cookbook holder of 2014!

Cooking healthy meals can be a lot of work. However, with the right tools, you can really simplify the process. The Wellness Spot, backed by NCES, offers an entire line of products just like you’ve seen in this blog. We chose these five as essentials for every healthy kitchen, but there are many more available to browse through by category. If you have any ideas for healthy products that should be featured on The Wellness Spot, send them in and we’ll see about getting them added. We hope you enjoy your new tools and your healthier kitchen!

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Healthy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Health Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Yield is 4 servings             Serving size is 1/4th recipe
No Salt Added Tomato Sauce – 15 oz.Ingredients:
Cider Vinegar – 1 Tbsp.
Diet Dr Pepper (or your favorite Diet Soda) – 1/8 Cup
Honey – ¼ Cup
Garlic Powder – 1 Tbsp
Onion Powder – 1 Tbsp
Chili Powder – 2 Tsp
Ground Cinnamon – 1 Tsp
Salt – 1 Tsp (more to taste if you like)
Red Onion – 1 sliced thinly (so it will cook)
Boneless Pork Loin – 1 lb
Directions:
It doesn’t get much easier than this. Add all ingredients to your slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. The pork should easily shred when done.
Serve the pork solo on a plate, or on a bun or roll. Nutrition information below is for meat and sauce only.
Nutrition
Exchange List Values
Carbohydrate 2.0                 Meat, lean 3.0
Weight Watchers Points Plus Value: 7

Healthy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**Nutrition Analysis created using Recipe Analysis Program. Use the link provided to learn more or order this software.

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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!

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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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How do I Create an Engaging Corporate Wellness Plan?

There are so many resources available today for creating a corporate wellness program. Some of them are free and some cost. But, regardless of price, how do you choose the most effective corporate wellness tools, activities and programs that will best fit your audience? Let’s face it; the key to a successful program is employee engagement. When you’re employees are engaged and getting healthy, then you know that you’ve created an effective, successful corporate wellness program.
So, how do you begin sifting through all the tools to find the ones that your employees will love? We’ve enlisted the help of our expert dietitian to share the top things that you should look for… and avoid, when creating your corporate wellness program.

  • Include useful tools: Online tools are great for employees with busy schedules. Because they can access them anytime anywhere, they are easy for employees to take advantage of. i.e.: NCES Virtual Learning Series
  • Incentives or giveaways: Nothing motivates like getting free stuff! NCES offers a full line of Incentive products that will work great for motivating your group.
  • Create something for them to follow: Creating an 8-12 week weight loss program that your employees can stick to will help gain interest. Many times, people just don’t know where to start. So, by giving them a plan designed by a professional, you’re giving them everything they need to get started. Need help getting started? NCES has created a free 2-week workout plan that you can use to get your program up and running.
  • Decorate the cafeteria: Does your workplace have an onsite cafeteria? If so, decorate it with posters, healthy meal choices and inspirational quotes that will help your employees think about making healthy choices.
  • Host a Health Fair: Provide an opportunity for your employees who are interested in getting or staying healthy to come get resources. Be sure to have plenty of handouts that your employees can take home and share with their family. Also, at your health fair, be sure to provide them some value for attending. For example, do free cholesterol screenings for everyone that attends and have a blood pressure machine available for employees to be proactive in determining the state of their health.
  • Create a monthly E-Newsletter: Providing helpful resources directly to your employee’s inbox is a great way to reach them. Most of the time, taking the time to create a resources like this is the toughest part. Our NCES Health Beat newsletter gives you 24 predesigned, customizable newsletters that ready for you to distribute to your audience.

Now that you know what types things to include in your newly developing corporate wellness plan, here are a few tips from the experts on what you want to avoid when you’re thinking about creating your corporate wellness program.

  • Avoid useless, overdone information: The internet is a vast tool full of resources on everything, including how to ‘get healthy’. Keep your program new and exciting so that your employees will be engaged.
  • Don’t answer all of their questions right off the bat: Leave them wanting more! If they want more, they’ll continue coming back. Plus, they’ll stay engaged in your program.
  • Don’t create a plan with no basis: Make sure that you have a firm understanding of what your employees want to see and be sure to provide those tools and resources in your program.
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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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Get Your Portions in Control

Portions, Portions, Portions! If you are plugged in to nutrition at all, you probably read a different article about portions every day. But, do you pay attention? Or, for you dietitians, do you struggle to get your clients to pay attention? Portions are a very important part of any diet. However, for most of the fad diets that exist today, it’s the element that is given the least amount of attention. Or, for many, the expectations on portions are so completely unrealistic that it’s impossible to continue to practice what you’ve learned once you’ve reached your goal weight and stop ‘dieting’ in the literal sense of the word.

Between the common plate sizes in America growing as fast as our waistlines and restaurant portion sizes increasing in size to try to get ahead in their competitive market, we’re paying the price with rising obesity and diabetes rates. Did you know that the average household dinner plate has grown to 12 inches? Yet the appropriate size is 9 inches. So, here’s a tip that can make bringing your portions back under control very simple: instead of serving dinner on your dinner plates, serve them on your smaller salad plates. These plates present a much more realistic size for serving up correct portions for your family. You’ll be amazed at how satisfied you can be when you eat your dinner on these smaller plates. You’ll still get the satisfaction of cleaning your plate. However, you most likely won’t have eaten larger portions than you should.

So, we’ve made it easier to serve the correct portion sizes at home, now what are you supposed to do when you’re out to eat? I’m sure you’ve heard this tip before; cut your meal in half and put it in a take-out box before you even begin your meal. This is a great tip and can really help you control your portion sizes when eating out. But, it’s not always a great “across the board” kind of rule. There are some restaurants that serve appropriate portions. So, how are you supposed to gauge your portion size here? (BTW – This tip is great at any restaurant… whether you think the portion sizes are correct or not) Start by asking the server to bring an empty salad plate out with your meal. When you get the salad plate, visualize the MyPlate image sitting on your plate. Begin moving the meal from your dinner plate over to the salad plate, making sure to consider your portions in reference to MyPlate. By doing this, you’re fixing two big problems in restaurant servings; 1) the size of plate that your food is served on, and 2) the skewed proportions of grains and protein compared to fruits and vegetables served. Once your salad plate is full and closely reflects MyPlate, then you know you’ve got a correctly portioned meal while you’re out to eat. Take the rest and set it aside or put it in a to-go box to enjoy later.

Don’t feel like guessing? NCES has created Right-Size Portion Plates for Kids and Adults. So, whether you’re looking to take control of your own health or your entire family, we’ve got the plate for you! These plates are great for use at home. Or, they can be used as an easier tool than the salad plate while you’re out to eat. Use the links above to view each plate.

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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.

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Summer Fun: How to Stay Hydrated, Healthy & Happy

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!

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

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