5 Tips for Managing School and Your Stress

  A new school year is a busy and exciting time for students of any age. However, all that excitement can bring a lot of extra stress. Settling back into a routine can be a breath of fresh air after the summer break, but between changes in schedules, homework, tests, and day-to-day responsibilities, life can start to feel overwhelming quickly. We’re going to explore five different ways that can help you manage stress this school year. Stay Organized Nothing makes stress levels spike like losing an assignment or completely forgetting about a test. Clutter of the mind or physical clutter around you can leave you with your wheels spinning, unsure of what to do next. Even if you don’t consider organization one of your strong suits, there are several easy habits you can incorporate to keep your school responsibilities in [...]

Building a Balanced Lunchbox

Steps to Build a Healthy Lunchbox When filling up your children’s lunch box, make sure to include a variety of different foods. Half of their lunch should consist of fruits and vegetables, a quarter should be protein, and a quarter should be whole grains. It is important for children to consume a variety of nutrients because they play an important role in growth and development. Follow these 5 easy steps to build your child a balanced lunch! Tips and tricks to get your kids to eat their packed lunch: Get them involved! Encourage your kids to get involved with the planning and preparing of their school lunches. Teach them the importance of nutrition while making it fun and interactive! Write a note! Slip a handwritten note into their lunchbox. These notes can be a picture, story, memory, silly joke, or [...]

Hydration, Electrolytes, and Exercise

  Hydration is a key factor when it comes to physical activity. Our bodies need adequate water intake to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, and bring important nutrients throughout your body for energy. When you’re not well-hydrated, it can greatly impact your performance with exercise, and even more importantly, it can take a toll on things like organ function and blood pressure. From light intensity to high intensity and on hot days and even cold days, it is imperative to practice good hydration before, during, and after exercise. What Factors Affect Hydration? Many factors can affect hydration during exercise and activity. During physical activity, your body loses fluid through sweat. Sweating can occur on hot summer days, as well as cold winter days, and every other day in between. Sweating can occur without it being visible. For example, did [...]

Make a Hydration Station

  Make a Hydration Station in your Fridge! All the good-for-you foods are packed with water: fruits and vegetables. We get most of our hydration from drinking fluids, but about 20% of our hydration needs are met by the food we eat. Prepare fruits and vegetables once or twice a week to keep in the fridge. Wash and slice (if needed) and put in snack-size containers. When someone in the house wants a snack, they can quickly grab good nutrition and hydration. Some fruits and vegetables have a higher water content than others. The following is a list of produce picks with high water content. Pick a variety of fruits and vegetables from the list below to create great nutrition for your Hydration Station: Fruit Vegetables Apples Cucumber Watermelon Tomato Peaches Celery Strawberries Zucchini Cantaloupe Bell pepper Oranges Cauliflower Grapefruit [...]

Nutrition and Mental Health

  Eating healthy can help us to look and feel our best physically. But little is discussed about how the food we eat can affect our mental health. Eating a diet rich in nutritious foods can help us to feel more alert and think clearly. Well-balanced meals and snacks can also help us to concentrate and improve attention span. On the other hand, eating a diet high in unhealthy foods can affect our brain in a negative way. An inadequate diet can lead to fatigue, impair decision making skills, and slow down reaction time. A poor diet can aggravate or lead to stress and depression. Stress and Depression It has been shown that sugar and processed foods can cause inflammation throughout our bodies. Chronic inflammation can contribute to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. According to the Academy of [...]

Flavors of the Season: Spring Produce

Fruits and vegetables can be enjoyed all year round. In season fruits and vegetables are usually more affordable and make great additions to meals and snacks. Spring offers a variety of fruits and veggies including apricots, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, celery, collard greens, kiwi, pineapple, spinach, strawberries, etc. Produce has many health benefits but unfortunately most people are not meeting the recommended five servings of fruits and veggies each day.  In fact, research has found that, “just 1 in 10 adults meet the federal fruit or vegetable recommendations.” Not only are fruits and vegetables delicious but having a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Reflect on your habits. Where can you add an additional serving of produce? Can you add a piece of fruit as a [...]

Stress Eating

The strongest food cravings seem to hit when you are at your weakest point. I’m sure we can all think about a time when the stress of life was piling up, and in turn we coped by eating a pile of cookies. Many people experience stress eating, but making a habit of it can be detrimental to our weight loss goals. There is much power behind the term “stress eating”. Stress, the hormones it releases, and coping strategies involving comfort foods, all can factor into overeating. Research has shown that both stress and weight gain go hand in hand, which is alarming when nearly a fourth of Americans rate their stress as an 8 out of a 10-point scale. So, why do we turn to food in times of stress? Stress Eating, Hunger, and Hormones Appetite can react to stress [...]

Cooking With Fresh Herbs 

  Skip the salt shaker and start adding flavor to your home cooked meals with the help of fresh herbs. Herbs are a delicious and health conscious way to add life to dull dishes, without packing on the sodium from salt. Some of the world’s most renowned chefs swear these versatile leaves are the secret to a perfect dish. Coming in a variety of forms and flavors, herbs are sure to bring delight with every bite. Follow our guide to use more in your own kitchen. With these tips, your friends and family will think you’re a top chef! Basil This clover-like herb is one of the most popular in the United States. Basil comes in a variety of different forms with the most popular being sweet Italian and Thai purple. Adding basil to your dishes will give it a [...]

Heart Month-Boosting Soluble Fiber to Knock Down LDL

  February is American Heart Month. There are so many ways to be proactive in taking care of your heart health such as exercising, managing stress, reducing sodium intake, switching to healthy fats, and increasing your soluble fiber intake. Are you wondering to yourself “What is soluble fiber?” Soluble fiber lowers LDL (lousy, bad) cholesterol and is found naturally in many types of foods. Try adding soluble fiber rich foods into your meals to help support your heart. Sources of Soluble Fiber Vegetables Certain fruits and vegetables are higher in soluble fiber than others. Brussels sprouts, carrots, winter squash, broccoli, peas, etc. provide soluble fiber. Be inspired by the rainbow when picking produce. Choose different colors to give your body a variety of nutrients. Try this penne pasta dish that is loaded with soluble rich foods including broccoli and garbanzo [...]

2022 Food Trends

  Just as fashion trends come and go throughout the years, food trends are no different! 2022 is here and experts have narrowed down the food trends to watch out for.  Trend-watchers and foodies alike are predicting a focus on sustainability, more spice, and entertaining galore.  While you are probably tired of hearing social media trends like 2021's baked feta pasta and nature's cereal, rest assured 2022 food trends will extend far beyond the corners of your phone. Almost 2 years into the coronavirus pandemic, you'll notice many of the trends pivoting to meet the needs of our "new normal". While other trends are just fun! Think: life with fewer boundaries and tables filled with loved ones.  More Nostalgia  Food that reminds us of good childhood memories like grandma's pasta sauce or the apple pie after school snack can also [...]