September 25, 2010, was Family Health and Fitness Day. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get this posted beforehand, but thought this information would be useful for everyone anyhow. Better late than never, right?!
If you are interested in improving your health or the health of your family, then you'll appreciate these handouts to help you start down the path to wellness within your home.
Health Tips for Families
Lifestyle Improvement: 4 Weeks of Small Changes
Tips for Raising Healthy Eaters
Managing Your Child’s Diet
Exercise: Setting Up a Home Gym
Well, it’s that time of year again. Fall is here, the kids are back in school, and it’s time to focus on you again. I just have one question for you…what are you and your kids going to be eating for lunch this school year?
While it is easy to rely on the school cafeteria for the kids and fast food meals for you, this pattern of eating will quickly result in unwanted pounds for you and lack of nutrition quality for your kids. The only way to ensure that you and your kids are eating a nutritionally balanced, health promoting lunch is to pack it yourself.
Use the following steps as your guide for packing healthy lunches that cover the wide variety of nutrients that you and your growing kids need.
No kids? No problem. Keep reading because these tips will be useful for your own nutrient-dense lunches while at work or at home.
Step 1: Hydration
The most beneficial and highly overlooked nutrient is water. Every function of the human body requires water, so it's a no-brainer that water should be included in your packed lunch. Eight glasses a day is a minimum. If you exercise, you should increase this amount by at least 2-3 glasses. If you’re thirsty, you’re dehydrated. Drink water with each of your meals and snacks throughout the day!
It's easy to fall into the trap of giving kids juice or soda pop, and once your kids are accustomed to drinking these sugary treats expect a battle when you switch to water. This is one fight that is worth winning.
Remind yourself that the sugary drinks are filled with empty calories, which quickly lead to weight gain. Sugar also robs the body of vital nutrients and minerals.
Step 2: Protein
* 3 – 5 servings daily
* 1 serving equals: 2 – 3oz meat, 1/2 cup cooked beans, 1/3 cup nuts or one egg
Protein is an essential part of lunch, both for you and your kids. Kids need protein to support their growing body, and you need plenty of protein in order to build and maintain lean muscle tissue.
Here's a list of healthy protein sources: fish, beans, tofu, unsalted nuts or seeds, eggs, chicken, turkey, Greek non-fat yogurt, low-fat cheese, veggie burgers, low-fat chicken sausage, lean pork and lamb.
Limit the amount of high-saturated-fat protein that your kids eat to no more than 3 servings per week. These include full-fat cheese, hot dogs, salami, bacon and sausage.
Step 3: Whole Grains
* Kids 6-9 yrs: 4 – 7 servings daily
* Kids 10-14 yrs: 5 – 8 servings daily
* Teens: 6 – 9 servings daily
* 1 serving equals: 1 slice of whole grain bread, 1/2 bagel, 1/2 cup cooked rice, 1/2 cup pasta, 1 cup of whole grains
Whole grains are one of the major building blocks of a healthy meal. The key word here is "whole" meaning not refined.
White bread, bagels, pasta and rice have been stripped of the nutrients and minerals. As a result these items convert quickly into sugar, leaving your child drained after an initial quick burst of energy. Always avoid refined white grain products.
Here's a list of healthy whole grains: oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, millet, bulgur, whole-wheat or sprouted grain bread, barley, whole grain cereal and whole wheat pasta.
Step 4: Veggies
* 4 – 9 servings daily
* 1 serving equals: 1 cup raw of 1/2 cup cooked vegetables
Variety is the key when it comes to including vegetables in your meals. Include vegetables with color such as orange, red, purple, green, blue, white and yellow to make sure that your kids are getting all of the necessary vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Don't save vegetables for dinnertime. Pack each lunch with lots of colorful vegetables.
Try these veggie-packing ideas: Put a small container of hummus with cut veggies for dipping. Fill your sandwiches with baby arugula, roasted peppers and slices of tomato. Pack a container of veggie and whole wheat pasta instead of a sandwich. Invest in a small thermos and fill it with vegetable soup.
Step 5: Fruit
* 3 – 5 servings daily
* 1 serving equals: 1/2 cup cut fruit, whole fruit size of tennis ball, half a banana, 1/2 cup 100% fruit juice
Fresh fruit is filled with vitamins, nutrients and minerals. As with your veggies, choose a variety of colors to ensure that your kids are getting a range of nutrients.
Stay away from fruits that are canned and coated in syrup, and also from fruit snacks and chews that contain added sugars and artificial ingredients. If fresh fruit is not readily available then go for plain dried fruit, with no added sugar.
Unlike veggies, it IS possible to eat too much fruit. Though the natural sugars within fruit are much healthier than refined sugar, too much of it will have a negative impact on your blood sugar levels and the extra calories will be stored as fat. Stick with 3 – 5 servings per day and spread these out throughout the day.
Step 6: Calcium
* 4 – 6 servings daily
* Serving size based on the amount of calcium in the food. Examples of 1 serving: 1 cup cooked beans, 1/2 cup almonds, 1/2 cup dried figs, 1/2 cup dark leafy green vegetables, 1/2 cup tofu, 1 cup low-fat milk, 1 cup low or non-fat Greek or plain yogurt
Your kids need calcium in order to build strong, healthy bones. It is important to incorporate calcium into each meal. As you can see, calcium isn't just found in dairy products. There are many plant sources that contain calcium that are more readily absorbed by the body than the calcium found in dairy.
Try these sources of calcium: unsalted nuts, dark leafy greens, salmon, broccoli, tofu, soy milk, sardines, beans, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, low-fat milk, low and non-fat Greek or plain yogurt.
Step 7: Healthy Fat
* 3 – 4 servings daily
* Serving size based on the amount of healthy fat in the food. Examples of 1 serving: 1 teaspoon of olive, safflower, sesame, flax or canola oil, 1/2 cup nuts, 1 tablespoon peanut, almond or cashew butter, 1 cup cooked beans, peas or lentils.
You may think of all dietary fat as being bad, but fat from plant sources are very important to the growth and development of a child's body. They are also important for adults, helping to reduce cholesterol levels and maintain a healthy heart. Healthy fats have also been shown to help with weight loss.
Limit animal fats, which are filled with saturated fat and cholesterol, and eliminate trans-fatty acids contained in foods that are labeled as hydrogenated.
There you have it, the essentials to building a nutritious, and energy-sustaining lunch. See the example below to get you started on your first day!
Here's what you need...
For the wrap:
- 1 Joseph’s Tortilla or Lavash Bread; Cedars Whole Wheat Wrap Tortilla; or La Tortilla Factory Tortilla
- 1 chicken breast (or your choice of protein: veggie patty, lean turkey, hardboiled egg, smoked salmon, grilled white fish, or baked tofu)
- Sliced tomato
- Romaine lettuce
- 1 Tablespoon hummus
For the veggies:
- 1/2 cup cut veggies (try broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and bell peppers) - 1/4 cup hummus
For the yogurt:
- 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt - Handful of berries (such as strawberries, blueberries or blackberries)
For the trail mix:
- 1oz raw mixed nuts
- 5 golden raisins
September 21, 2010, is World Alzheimer’s Day!
For more information about how diet affects the mind, check out the following links.
Neurological Health: Food for Your Brain
Brain Health: How to Reduce Your Risk of Developing Dementia
Professional Dialogue: Does the Mediterranean Diet Prevent Alzheimer’s?
Recently, the media has been referencing a study in which researchers have determined that calcium supplementation has now been associated with increased incidences of myocardial infarct. To those who understand the relationship between calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K, the researcher's conclusion makes sound physiological sense.
Unfortunately, what the media has neglected to mention is that this potential problem can easily be averted by always supplementing calcium with vitamin D and vitamin K. Vitamin D is necessary in order to help transport calcium into the blood stream. But once there, calcium can then find its way into soft tissues including blood vessels, thereby leading to calcification or hardening of the arteries which can then lead to cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin K plays a major role in calcium metabolism as it is responsible for activating a key protein that actively transports calcium away from soft tissues and into the bone where calcium can help strengthen bone and diminish the chances of developing osteoporosis.
This is the primary reason why I recommend Isotonix vitamins. Isotonix Vitamin D contains the important addition of vitamin K.
Source: Effect of calcium supplements on risk of myocardial infarction and cardiovascular events: meta-analysis
Learning how to achieve sustainable weight loss is my ultimate goal when working with my clients. I could put my clients on a more severe diet plan that would lead to faster, more transient weight loss. And sometimes, in extreme situations, I do just that. Physique contest coming up? Gotta make weight for a fight? Wedding day in a month? In these situations I might shoot for the most weight loss in the shortest time possible.
However, when I want my clients to achieve a lasting change (which is most of the time), a change they can maintain for life, I recommend a different approach. This is what I call the behavioral approach, which focuses on helping my client to modify their current behaviors, one step at a time. This approach, compared to the "outcomes approach" (focusing on numbers on the scale), leads to real-world, maintainable weight loss. The kind everyone really wants, whether they realize it or not.
You see, I’ve found that the best results happen when:
It’s your nutritionist that should be thinking about things like the expected weight loss factor and your measurements.
So, clients, don’t stress out over weekly weight loss numbers. You can’t control the numbers. All you can control is your behavior. So focus only on the next workout you’re going to do and the next habit you’re going to adopt or follow. And leave the outcomes (the numbers part) for your nutritionist and trainers.
After a careful and long search, I have chosen to become a health professional with NutraMetrix™ –Advanced Nutraceuticals. These are just some of the services I now offer:
* A complete line of high quality nutritional supplements
* Isotonic or liquid supplements that provide maximal absorption
* A genetic test to determine what supplements are best for you based on your genetic variations
* Educational programs with DVDs and printed materials to keep you informed on the latest nutrition and health information
* The convenience of reordering your supplements from your home computer (or any computer with Internet access) via this nutraMetrix web portal.
So, browse around. Discover how easy it is to order your individualized supplements on-line. Take the Nutri-Physical, free to contact me should you have any questions or if you would like more information.
Alissa Robertson, MS, RD, LD
Consuming berries, especially blueberries and strawberries has been shown by researchers to help regulate mechanisms that help eliminate toxins and certain proteins from accumulating in the brain, thus decreasing the risk of developing age related cognitive disorders.
Source: Eating Berries May Activate the Brain's Natural Housekeeper for Healthy Aging
Everyone tells us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that it should be a substantial meal. Yet, some people awaken not feeling hungry and have no desire to wolf down bowls of soggy cereal and plates of dry toast. For such people, breakfast is more easily skipped until they feel their stomach has "woken up" later in the day. Whatever your reason, the breakfast supporters do have a point - breakfast fuels us for the day. Your current dietary habit of not eating breakfast and consuming most of your calories late in the day may be just the reason you wake up with on appetite. Read on for some tips for the less-than-keen breakfast folk.
Here are the steps to starting your day off on the right foot:
1. Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation or a bad night's sleep can make us feel nauseated and bloated. This will starve off feelings of hunger until later in the morning when tiredness begins to be mistaken for hunger. You are more likely to eat candy bars and fatty baked goods later in the day to calm the queasy stomach if this is why you skipped breakfast.
2. Map out a variety of choices for breakfast. Some of us dislike the same breakfast food on our plate every morning. If the thought of cornflakes, pop tarts or toast has you reaching for the car keys with an empty stomach, it's time to vary your choices. Consider the following possibilities:
3. Advice on substantial breakfasts. There is a saying: "Eat like a king for breakfast, a queen for lunch and a pauper for dinner." This makes sense as most of our activity is during the course of the day - not in the evening when a lot of us are used to consuming larger meals. If you have a more sedentary job, you are more likely to benefit from "grazing" - eating smaller amounts more frequently during the day. This might just make breakfast a palatable option for you as you will only need to consider eating half an apple with peanut butter, or a cupful of strawberries with Greek yogurt, or one piece of whole-grain toast with peanut butter, etc. to start out your day. As the day progresses, nibble on healthy portions every 3 hours striving to include a food with a source of protein (ex. plain or Greek yogurt, unsalted nuts or seeds, nut butter, cheese, protein shake or protein bar - refer to previous post on healthier protein bar options, etc.
4. Take care with the main meal. For many workers, dinner often ends up being the main meal. This could be having an impact on your breakfast desire. If this meal is very important in your household (e.g., it is the only time the family sits together) enjoy this time. Keep in mind, however, that the foods you enjoy together can be healthy choices. Try keeping your carbohydrate portions to a minimum and focusing more on your lean protein and vegetable intake. Try doing a stir-fry with sauteed chicken and vegetables, and serve with a salad. If you do have rice, pasta, or potato, keep your portions to a 1/2 - 3/4 cup or 1/2 potato or sweet potato. Try to finish your meal at least 2 - 2 1/2 hours prior to bedtime. That way the food will digest before you go to bed and your body can then begin to work its way towards morning hunger.
5. Check your lunch and dinner calories. If you are having both large lunches (especially in a business environment) and a large evening meal, you are probably removing your morning's hunger as the food is still being digested. Try eating a larger breakfast combined with making healthy choices both eating out and at home; while this will probably be hard at first, it might help to lessen the amounts you consume later in the day, thereby making it easier to eat more at breakfast. It will also make weight maintenance easier.
6. Exercise before breakfast. This might help you to work up an appetite prior to heading off to work for the day. At the very least, drink a small smoothie or a glass of 100% fruit juice prior to your workout to give your body some vitamins and a small amount of fiber. Make sure to refuel within 15 - 30 minutes after your workout with a source of protein and carbohydrate. A Greek yogurt with fruit would suffice, or if time allows, a few eggs and a piece of toast could work as well.
7. Allow enough time for breakfast. If you are feeling stressed or in a rush in the morning you may be less inclined to spend the time on a good breakfast. Try to prioritize sitting down for a relaxed meal (this can be true for all meals of the day.)
8. Drink juice at the very least. If you really feel too nauseated or can't fathom the thought of chewing, down a glass of juice (such as 100% orange juice) to give your body some energy. Try it before you take a shower, get dressed etc.; it may increase your desire for eating something afterwards by waking up your stomach after a long fast. Avoid drinks with fat in them (such as milk) which takes longer to digest, and may give you a feeling of fullness/satisfaction, leading to skipping breakfast altogether. If your stomach is sensitive to the acid in, say orange juice or apple juice, try 100% grape juice.
9. Don't snack at night. Some people, especially those who tend toward bedtime heartburn, stop eating a few hours before they head to bed. This makes them hungry enough to eat breakfast, and may also help them cut back on "empty" calories. If you absolutely need late night snacks, try small portions such as cheese cubes, apple slices, a banana or hot drinks like decaffeinated tea.
Hopefully tips like these will help you to make the switch and begin eating breakfast each day. Feel free to contact me for more information.
These seven underrated foods do more than fill space in the salad bowl
If broccoli and spinach are the leaders of the vegetable world, then corn and celery are knipping at their heals. For some reason, we've been dismissing these pale staples as nutritionally barren, focusing our attention on brighter and more colorful veggies. The fact of the matter is, ALL vegetables have nutritional value containing potent chemicals helping it to survive. When we consume these vegetables, we get them as well, which means benefits to us such as phytochemicals that may fight cancer and heart disease. So truly, it's wise to eat a large variety of vegetables every day!
Iceburg Lettuce - A source of vitamin K (one serving provides up to 20 percent of your daily needs), which helps your body build new bone. In a study of women ages 38 to 74, researchers found that those who ate lettuce once or twice a day had a 45 percent lower risk of hip fracture than peers who ate lettuce one or fewer times per week.
Mushroom (White Button) - A good source of B vitamins that help convert food into energy. Mushrooms are also rich in the antioxidant selenium, and contain potent anti-tumor compounds called triterpenoids. Now we know why they have long been used for their medicinal properties!
Radish - Part of the cruciferous vegetables, which means it contains cancer-protective properties. It's also an excellent source of vitamin C and heart-healthy potassium and folate, plus the trace mineral molybdenum, which assists energy production in the cells.
Cucumber - A good source of caffeic acid, which helps soothe skin irritation, and silica, an essential building block of connective tissue like muscle, tendons and ligaments, and bone. The flesh contains vitamin C, and the skin is rich in potassium and magnesium.
Onion - One of the richest sources of flavonoids in the human diet. Flavonoids are plant compounds that fight bacteria, viruses and inflammation, and help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Celery - A good source of energy-converting B vitamins such as riboflavin, B6 and pantothenic acid, as well as bone-building calcium and magnesium. It's also a good source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins A and C, folate and potassium, and blood and bone-preserving vitamin K.
Corn - Rich in fiber as well as B vitamins thiamin and folate. Maybe more important, each kernel is brimming with ferulic acid, a known cancer-fighting phytochemical. Research shows the longer you cook it, the more potent it becomes.
Alissa Robertson, MS, RD, Nutrition Specialist and Owner of Lifestyle Management & Nutrition, received her Bachelor's Degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Vermont. Upon graduation in 2003 she spent four years providing nutrition education and counseling to local Vermonters. In 2007 she returned to the University of Vermont to complete a two-year Master's program in Dietetics and Nutrition. She is now practicing as a Registered Dietitian at Essex Physical Therapy located in Essex Center, Vermont.