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Celebrate Halloween, not the candy

halloween candyHalloween. The crisp, October breeze in the late afternoon and the mounds of giggly, costumed kids running around the neighborhoods asking for treats is a sight to be seen! Halloween is a fun day filled with laughter, surprises, tricks, and…treats.

Many parents wonder what to do with the candy, most of which have little or no nutritional value. Kids want to eat it (preferably all in one sitting!); parents want to curb its consumption. Some parents want the treats out of sight to avoid the temptation for their own sake!

Here are a few suggestions to having a guilt-free Halloween: Continue Reading »

The benefits of eating a healthy breakfast

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” a million times. You may have heard other claims about breakfast in the media, from health experts and others. So is all this hype about breakfast true? Let’s review the facts.

Breakfast gives you energy to start the day. Breakfast helps regulate blood sugar levels by literally breaking the fast and providing your body with the fuel it needs to function properly throughout the day.

Breakfast improves diet quality. Research shows that people who skip breakfast are less likely to meet the recommended intakes for important nutrients like folic acid and calcium. Studies have demonstrated that if you start your day off with fruit, you are more likely to reach the daily recommended servings for it. Continue Reading »

Build A Better Sandwich (and how it fits into MyPlate)

 Sandwich for lunch, anyone? Take advantage of this simple lunch creation to increase your vegetable intake. Whether you are making the sandwich at home, buying it or creating it at one of the work cafeterias, you can COLORIZE your sandwich. 
Lettuce, onions and tomatoes are commonplace on a sandwich, but consider “sandwiching” in additional fruits and vegetables. Add pizzazz to sandwiches with sliced pineapple, apple, peppers, cucumber and spinach as fillings. You can also try sliced tomatoes, olives, pickles, onions, lettuce, bean sprouts, avocado or herbs.
First, start off by choosing a lean source of protein. Roast beef, ham, turkey or chicken may be some choices to consider. When choosing protein, check the amount of sodium in prepackaged and even deli-fresh meats since most run high. You can cut the sodium by roasting your own meat at home for a sandwich, or simply ask at the deli counter for a low sodium alternative. You can also create a veggie sandwich by choosing a bean burger, or simply create a roasted veggie sandwich. Get creative. Use cream cheese, hummus or avocado.

Hydrate with Color

It’s hot outside, so make sure to stay hydrated this summer. Add fresh fruit to your water for a unique flavor burst. Fill up pitchers of ice water and flavor it with fresh, in-season fruit, such as peach slices and raspberries.

You can also try slices of apples, oranges, pears, strawberries, lemons or limes. Feel free to add a handful of mint leaves or cucumbers for a refreshing taste that’s not as sweet.

Adding single-serve flavor packets may also add sugars, calories and other additives. Opt for flavoring your water naturally.

Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water in relation to their weight. Grapefruit, watermelon and strawberries have a high percentage of water. So do cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, zucchini and celery. Eat plenty of these on warm summer days. Continue Reading »

Make healthy choices with MyPlate

What do the Incredible Hulk and MyPlate have in common?

Two things: One, they both include the color green, and two, they are both celebrating a birthday!

The Incredible Hulk is celebrating its 50th anniversary (it first appeared in 1962), while MyPlate will be celebrating its first year this June.

One year ago, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) introduced their new and improved health food icon, MyPlate, which replaced MyPyramid.

As MyPlate celebrates its first birthday, it also wants to remind Americans that it is possible to eat healthfully at every meal. MyPlate illustrates easy and fun ways to make healthy food choices by encouraging consumers to make half of their plate fruits and vegetables, and to choose whole grains, lean proteins and low fat dairy.

MyPlate also encourages Americans to balance calories by increasing the intake of healthy food and decreasing high fat/high sugary foods in their daily diet.

One strategy to make dinner plates look more like the new USDA’s healthy eating icon is to colorize! That is, filling most of the plate with different colors. Continue Reading »

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