Nutrition and Heart Health

  Be Kind to Your Heart: Supporting Your Heart Through Nutrition Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The good news is that creating healthy habits can decrease your chance of developing heart disease. 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. Reminder: Don’t overwhelm yourself with lifestyle changes. Reflect on your habits. What is one thing that you would like to work on? Eating more vegetables? Going for consistent walks? Set yourself up for long-term success by making one or two achievable lifestyle changes. If you try to make too many changes at once, you have a higher chance of not meeting your goals. Let’s look at how nutrition [...]

Heart Healthy Grocery Shopping

Use the tips below to create a heart-healthy grocery shopping list. Produce Choose a variety of fresh fruits and veggies No sodium added or low sodium canned beans & veggies Plain frozen veggies and fruit No sugar added dried fruit (raisins) Grains Plain brown rice, quinoa, or whole-wheat pasta Lower added sugar cereal (Total, plain Cheerios, Wheaties, etc.) and oats Protein Meats with loin or round in the name like pork tenderloin Salmon and tuna (look for canned tuna packed in water) Reduced sodium chicken or turkey deli meats 90% lean ground beef Skinless chicken and turkey Ground chicken or turkey No sodium added canned beans and lentils Fats Olive, canola, avocado oil Lightly salted or unsalted nuts Peanut butter, cashew butter, sunflower butter, etc. Avocado Dairy/dairy alternatives Reduced fat milk Reduced fat cottage cheese and cheese Reduced added sugar [...]

Winter Produce

  Does your New Year’s resolution include eating more fruits and vegetables? 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. Fruits and vegetables can be enjoyed all year round. Winter offers a variety of in=-season fruits and veggies including apples, bananas, carrots, celery, collard greens, cabbage, pears, oranges, winter squash, etc.  In-season fruits and vegetables are usually more affordable and make great additions to meals and snacks. Winter Produce Highlights Cabbage Choose cabbages that are firm with [...]

Holiday Eating

Holidays are all about food and traditions like baking grandma’s famous pie recipe with your kids each year. It is ok to indulge in your favorite holiday treats but try to be mindful of your portion sizes during holiday celebrations. Use the tips below to set you up for success this holiday season. Tricks to use while at the party Volunteer to bring a salad or fruit platter to the party. Bringing an appetizer or entrée allows you to have access to a nutritious choice. Have a small snack before going to a holiday party. If you arrive to a party feeling hungry, you may have oversized portions during the meal. How do I build a heathy snack? Combine two food groups together to create a nutritious and filling snack. For example, a great choice would be an apple with [...]

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 [...]