Monday, March 2, 2015

Adding Physical Activity to a Busy Schedule

It may seem difficult to add physical activity to a busy schedule. Below are some tips on how you work exercise into your daily activities.

If you have a health condition, an old injury, or you have not been active in a while, talk with your doctor first about what level and kinds of activities are safe for you.

When you work, find ways to keep active and put extra moves into your routine.
  • If you sit a lot at work, try to get up and move every hour or two.
  • Stretch at your desk or march in place.
  • Walk up and down stairs, deliver a message, or pick up supplies.
  • Use breaks or part of lunch to walk for 10 minutes.
  • If you stand a lot at work, try walking in place or moving your arms.
  • If you’re stressed, take 5-10 deep breaths and sit up as tall as you can.
  • When you are doing seated activities, stretch your body while you stretch your mind.

When you watch TV, some good ways to move are:
  • Use an exercise DVD or video for a few minutes before you watch any other TV
  • Use commercials as an exercise break - during a 1-hour show you can get in 10 minutes of movement. Do chair exercises or a few quick stretches.
  • Take exercise breaks while you use a computer, do hobbies, or play games.
  • Walk around while you talk on the phone.
  • Do leg and foot exercises while you’re reading.
  • Take a quick walk after you finish a chapter.

When you do household chores, yard work, gardening, and home repair, think about ways to move and make your chores do double duty!
  • Scrub a little harder and longer. 
  • Put music on and turn cleaning into dance time!
  • Make several trips up the stairs.
  • Spend some extra time gardening.
  • Don’t use a sprinkler—walk around with the hose or watering can instead.
  • Walk or bike to get to where you need to go more often, and walk or pedal briskly.
  • Do errands or visit people on foot.
  • If you drive, park in the farthest safe parking spot; if you take the bus, get off one stop early.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Choose My Plate - Vary your Veggies

10 tips to help you eat more vegetables

It’s easy to eat more vegetables! Eating vegetables is important because they provide vitamins and minerals and most are low in calories. To fit more vegetables in your meals, follow these simple tips. It is easier than you may think.
  1. Discover fast ways to cook. Cook fresh or frozen vegetables in the microwave for a quick-and-easy dish to add to any meal. Steam green beans, carrots, or broccoli in a bowl with a small amount of water in the microwave for a quick side dish.
  2. Be ahead of the game. Cut up a batch of bell peppers, carrots, or broccoli. Pre-package them to use when time is limited. You can enjoy them on a salad, with hummus, or in a veggie wrap.
  3. Choose vegetables rich in color. Brighten your plate with vegetables that are red, orange, or dark green. They are full of vitamins and minerals. Try acorn squash, cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, or collard greens. They not only taste great but also are good for you, too.
  4. Check the freezer aisle. Frozen vegetables are quick and easy to use and are just as nutritious as fresh veggies. Try adding frozen corn, peas, green beans, spinach, or sugar snap peas to some of your favorite dishes or eat as a side dish.
  5. Stock up on veggies. Canned vegetables are a great addition to any meal, so keep on hand canned tomatoes, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, mushrooms, and beets. Select those labeled as “reduced sodium,” “low sodium,” or “no salt added.”
  6. Make your garden salad glow with color. Brighten your salad by using colorful vegetables such as black beans, sliced red bell peppers, shredded radishes, chopped red cabbage, or watercress. Your salad will not only look good but taste good, too.
  7. Sip on some vegetable soup. Heat it and eat it. Try tomato, butternut squash, or garden vegetable soup. Look for reduced- or low-sodium soups.
  8. While you’re out. If dinner is away from home, no need to worry. When ordering, ask for an extra side of vegetables or side salad instead of the typical fried side dish.
  9. Savor the flavor of seasonal vegetables. Buy vegetables that are in season for maximum flavor at a lower cost. Check your local supermarket specials for the best-in-season buys. Or visit your local farmer’s market.
  10. Try something new.  You never know what you may like. Choose a new vegetable—add it to your recipe or look up how to fix it online.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Peppermint Meringue Snowballs

Makes 3 Dozen
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract, optional *
1/4 cup finely crushed candy canes or peppermint candy

Line two large baking sheets with aluminum foil and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until frothy. Gradually add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating until whites stand in stiff, glossy peaks. This will take about 10 minutes. Beat in the peppermint extract as desired.

Preheat the oven to 200°F. Drop meringue by rounded tablespoon onto the baking sheets, leaving a 1-inch space in between. Sprinkle tops with crushed candy. Bake1 1/2 hours. Turn oven off and leave meringues in the oven for 30 minutes.
Let meringues cool completely before removing from foil. Store in an airtight container.

* Do not use peppermint extract containing peppermint oil (the meringues will deflate). For best results, use imitation (gasp!) peppermint extract.

Nutrition Information per Serving (1 meringue): 30 calories, 0g fat (0g saturated), 5mg sodium, 7g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 0.5g protein

Peppermint Meringue Snowballs

Friday, December 5, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

12 Health Tips to Light Up Your Holidays

Brighten the holidays by making your health and safety a priority.

Photo: Christmas ornamentsFollow 12 recommended tips for self-care this season. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy—and ready to enjoy the holidays.
  1. Wash hands often to help prevent the possibility of spreading germs and getting sick. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Bundle up to stay dry and warm. Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: light, warm layers, mittens, hats, scarves, and waterproof boots.
  3. Manage stress. Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out. Find support, connect socially, and get plenty of sleep.
  4. Don't drink and drive or let others drink and drive. Whenever anyone drives drunk, they put everyone on the road in danger.
  5. Be smoke-free. Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. It's common knowledge that smokers have greater health risks because of their tobacco use, but nonsmokers also are at risk when exposed to tobacco smoke, also referred to as secondhand smoke.
  6. Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your children in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to their height, weight, and age. Use seat belts on every trip, no matter how short the trip.
  7. Get exams and screenings. Ask your health care provider what exams you need and when to get them. Update your personal and family history.
  8. Get your vaccinations, which help prevent various diseases and save lives. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year. Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk for complications from flu, and for people who live with or care for someone who is at high risk.
  9. Monitor the children. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items, and other objects out of children's reach. Dress your children warmly for outdoor activities. Develop family rules on safe behavior—on using electronic media, for instance.
  10. Practice fire safety. Most residential fires occur during the winter months, so don't leave fireplaces, space heaters, stoves, or candles unattended. Have an emergency plan and practice it regularly.
  11. Prepare food safely. Remember these simple steps: Wash hands and surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination, and cook foods to proper temperatures and refrigerate them promptly.
  12. Eat healthy, stay active. Eat fruits and vegetables, which pack plenty of nutrients and help lower the risk for certain diseases. Limit your portion sizes and foods high in fat, salt, and sugar. Also, be active for at least 2½ hours a week and help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Eating Right Means Drinking Right

The human body is made up of 50 to 75 percent water, or about 10 to 12 gallons, so replenishing your body’s water supply is crucial for proper function.
Staying well-hydrated may seem like a simple task, but you actually may not be consuming enough fluid. At minimum, the average adult female should consume 9 (8 oz) glasses of water or water-based beverages every day. Men need about 13 glasses. The actual amount you should consume may be higher based on your physical activity level, body muscle mass and exterior temperature.

According to the American Dietetic Association’s Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, the average adult loses about 2½ quarts or about 10 cups of water daily. To maintain your body fluid balance, you need to replace it each day.

Some great ways to make sure you're drinking enough each day are to take a water break instead of a coffee break, keep a cup or bottle of water handy at your desk, take a drink whenever you walk by a water fountain and keep a bottle of water in your backpack or tote bag. All fluids like juice, tea, soup and even coffee count, so drink up.

“Although there are many theories about the amount to drink, a safe bet is to drink at least eight cups of water each day to make sure you are properly hydrated,” says registered dietitian and American Dietetic Association spokesperson Dee Sandquist. “If you’re working out regularly, you should ideally drink even more than eight cups.”

Sandquist notes that many foods have a high water content, too, so it would be wise to include them in our diet:


Monday, November 3, 2014

Dairy Tips

Use lower fat milk and yogurt.

  • If you do OK with milk, drink some each day. Work your way down from whole or 2% milk to 1% or skim (nonfat).

  • Buttermilk has no butter—it can also be a healthy choice.

  • Cook with whole milk or 2% milk instead of cream. Then try 1%.

  • Mix whole fruit (sliced banana, strawberries, or peaches) into plain low-fat or nonfat yogurt for a healthy snack.

  • Avoid creamers in coffee. Instead, choose reduced fat milk or try evaporated skim milk for a creamy taste without saturated fat.

  • Go easy on high fat cheeses.

    • Try sharp cheeses like sharp cheddar or Parmesan—you get more taste with smaller amounts. Slice it thin or grate it.

    • For snacks, cut a small piece of cheese and put the rest away. It’s easy to eat too much!

    • Don’t add a lot of cheese to meat sandwiches—regular cheese is high in saturated fat and adds extra salt (sodium).

    • Ask for pizza with half the cheese and more vegetables.

    • Go easy on the cream cheese toppings for sandwiches and bagels.

    • Make lasagna and casseroles with cottage cheese or mozzarella.

    • Choose cheeses that are low in salt (low sodium).