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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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$3.49 Melamine Portion Plates

Our loss is your gain! Due to a printing complication, we received a batch of 2000 portion plates that have slight printing flaws. Please see the image below to decide if these plates would be a perfect fit for your health fair, nutrition event or even great giveaways to your clients or employees! If so, act fast because these plates won’t last long at $3.49 each.

Portion Plate

Contact Us Today

Phone: 877.623.7266

Email: orders@ncescatalog.com

or Click Here to let us know you’re interested

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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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Don’t Let National Nutrition Month End

It’s hard to believe, but March is coming to an end! Another National Nutrition Month is wrapping up. But, as usual, that doesn’t mean that all the lessons learned this month should be pushed aside and forgotten. This year, you learned how to “Get Your Plate in Shape”. Our plates are a big part of our daily lives. For most of us, we sit down to a plate of food an average of three times per day. For those with hectic schedules, it may be less. And, for those that focus on 5-6 well-balanced meals, it’s even more. So, it’s easy to see why learning to get our plates in shape is vital to our everyday success.

Here at NCES, we like to provide tools that make staying healthy easier for you. So, here are a few takeaway lessons to remember, even after National Nutrition Month comes to an end.

  1. 1.       Fill your plate with foods from all of the food groups.  For the average person, our bodies require foods from all of the food groups to remain healthy. The key is to remember moderation; picture the USDA MyPlate when filling your plate, doing your best to match the two.
  2. 2.       Always remember portion control. We all have our guilty pleasures when it comes to food. It’s important not to deny yourself those indulgences and enjoy them occasionally. However, remember not to go overboard and don’t indulge all the time.
  3. 3.       Don’t underestimate the power of vegetables. Vegetables contain a variety of nutrients that are great for our bodies. Not to mention, they are a great way to fill up our stomachs without packing in extra fat and calories. So, be sure to make fresh vegetables a big part of your everyday diet.

Getting your plate in shape will require some effort on your part. You’ll have to remember to make conscious decisions about the foods you are filling your plate with. However, it only takes 21 days to form a habit. So, if you set some goals and push yourself to achieve them for 21 days, in just three weeks, it will be a habit.

In need of a kickstart? NCES offers extremely useful Right-Sized Portion Plate for both Adults and Kids. Also, fresh off the press are our new MyPlacemats for Kids. They come in sets of 50. So, they are great for taking to restaurants, as well as the houses of family & friends so your kids can think healthy while they are enjoying their meals. Be sure to check these great tools out today!

What did you learn during National Nutrition Month 2012? Did you make any commitments to yourself? How did it go, were you able to keep your commitments? Leave your comments here on the blog, or visit our Facebook or Twitter pages.