Category Archives: Nourish the Mind

Green Eating: Healthy for the Body and the Planet!

Today is Earth Day! Healthy eating and sustainable eating go hand in hand. Try one or more of these tips to help reduce your carbon footprint and improve the environment! 

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Support Your Local Community: Shop your local farmers market and buy locally produced items like fruits and vegetables. Eating food that’s in season where you live lets you choose the highest quality, most nutritious produce, while cutting down on imported foods that come with a heavy fossil fuel cost.

Try Meatless Meals: Meat production is inefficient and environmentally costly, it takes more water to raise cattle than it does to plant produce. Cattle ranching has contributed to forest destruction to make way for grazing land. Simply cutting back on your meat consumption can make a difference: try going meatless once a week – Meatless Monday!

Eat with the Seasons: A peach at the height of summer is fragrant, juicy, and flavorful. The same peach in winter, though, is hard, mealy, and bland, and has probably traveled many miles to get to your plate. Fresh fruits and vegetables tend to lose nutrients every day after they are picked, so locally grown in-season produce is high in nutrients & tastes better!

Grow Your Own: Growing a garden lets you enjoy fresh, delicious produce that tastes better than anything you could ever get at the store. It could save you money, and it also decreases your dependence on a food system that relies on fossil fuels to get produce to market.

Try New Things in the Kitchen: Knowing a few basic cooking techniques – how to make a stock, stir-fry vegetables, cook whole grains, whip up a salad dressing – can help you to reduce your carbon footprint and save you money. Restaurant meals and prepared foods require more water and energy to produce, and entail more waste. When you are at ease in the kitchen, you can find creative uses for leftovers, garden produce, and foods that are in season or on sale.

Limit Your Waste: A large amount of food is thrown away every day in the United States. Cutting down on waste is an easy and gratifying way to save money and reduce your impact on the earth. Shop with a menu in mind: buy small amounts of perishable foods (meat, dairy, fresh produce) at a time, and use them right away. Clean your fridge every week, so you can use what you have before it goes bad.

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16 Health Tips for 2016

Need an idea for a new year’s resolution? Start with one of these healthy tips to get your new year off on the right foot!

  1. Eat Breakfast: Start your day off on a healthy foot with a nutritious breakfast! Include a protein, whole grains, and fruits and/or vegetables.
  2. Make Half Your Plate Fruits & Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are a lower calorie option full of fiber, vitamins & minerals. Aim for 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables per day.
  3. Watch Portion Sizes: Using smaller plates, bowls, and glasses can help you keep your portions under control. Try measuring your food to see how much you are putting on your plate.
  4. Be Active: Start with as little as 10 minutes per day and gradually build up to at least 30 minutes 5 days a week.
  5. Fix Healthy Snacks: Snacks can sustain your energy levels between meals. Pair a fiber rich carbohydrate with a lean protein for maximum energy & satiety.
  6. Read Food Labels: Learn about portion sizes and understand what you are consuming! Read the ingredient list and choose foods with easy to understand ingredients.
  7. Get Creative in the Kitchen: Make healthy cooking at home fun! Try new recipes and experiment with new ingredients.
  8. Drink More Water: Water helps to regulate temperature, transport nutrients and oxygen to cells, carry away waste products, and much more! Try adding a glass of water to each meal and throughout the day.
  9. Dine Out without Ditching Your Goals: Plan ahead, ask questions, and choose foods carefully. Swap out higher calorie side dishes for veggies or fruit.
  10. Enact Family Meal Time: Turn off the TV and other electronic devices and enjoy the mealtime with family or friends. Family meals promote healthier eating.
  11. Follow Food Safety Guidelines: Reduce your risk of foodborne illnesses by washing your hands often and keeping raw meats and poultry away from ready to eat foods. Use a food thermometer to ensure food is thoroughly cooked. Refrigerate leftovers quickly
  12. Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time: On the weekend, plan your meals out for the week! With pre-planned meals, you will be more likely to stay on the healthy eating track & avoid any of your fast food cravings.
  13. Make Half of Your Grains Whole Grain: Whole grains are full of fiber & nutrients. Try using brown rice and whole wheat pasta instead of white. Or, try a new grain like quinoa, wheat berries, or barley! Whole grain intake has positive health benefits, learn more here.
  14. Go Meatless Once a Week: Studies show that going meatless as little as once a week (“Meatless Monday”) you decrease your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol, which benefits heart health.
  15. Eat Mindfully: Be in the here and now when you are eating. Focus on each bite of your food instead of a TV, computer screen, or book. You will be more aware of your body and your fullness cues, all while having more satisfaction from your food.
  16. Consult a Registered Dietitian: Got a nutrition question? Want to get on the right track? Contact a dietitian today, and get the right facts from a nutrition expert.

For more nutrition information and healthy tips, check out www.eatright.org

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Six Steps to Setting New Years Resolutions That Stick

Every year many people make New Years resolutions to better themselves for the new year. Majority of people do not meet their goals. Here are some tips on setting and meeting your goals for 2016. 

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  1. Change One Behavior at a Time: When setting your goal for the New Year, make a list of all you want to accomplish in 2016, then choose to focus on one goal that will either have the greatest impact on your life, is easy to accomplish, or simply is the greatest chance of success.
  2. Break Your Goal into Multiple Action Commitments: Break your goal down into smaller steps, and hold yourself accountable for each step. This will help take a long term goal, and bring it into the short term. With small, attainable goals, you will be more likely to stick to the big goal.
  3. Put Your Goal & Action Commitments into Writing: Keep your goal posted somewhere visible so you can review it and re-engage on a regular basis.
  4. Talk About It: Enroll a friend in a goal setting partnership where you support each other on a weekly basis to meet your goals. Consider joining a support group to reach your goals, such as a workout class, or a weight loss program.
  5. Don’t Beat Yourself Up: Perfection is unattainable. Minor missteps are normal and OK. Don’t give up completely if you fell off the wagon, pick yourself back up and jump back on. Use the slip as a learning opportunity on how to prevent it from happening again.
  6. Reward Yourself: Give yourself some kind of acknowledgement when the action steps are accomplished and a big reward when the final goal is reached. Do not make the rewards counteractive to you reaching your goal. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, choose a reward such as a new pair of shoes instead of a food reward.

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15 Way to Increase Your Intake of Whole Grains

September is “National Whole Grain Month”! Here are some tips to increase your intake of whole grains.. try something new this month! Remember.. aim for making at least half of your grain intake a whole grain option.

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  • Try multiple loaves of whole-grain bread to find a new favorite. Remember to look for whole wheat or whole grain listed first on the nutrition facts ingredients list.
  • Serve brown rice instead of white rice.
  • Swap potatoes for a whole grain side – quinoa, bulgur, or wheat berries.
  • Look for the whole grain stamp on the front of packaged food items.
  • Try a new breakfast cereal with at least 16 grams of whole grain per serving.
  • Serve whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta. Or do half-and-half for a whole grain rich pasta night.
  • Buy grain you have never tried – Look in the bulk bins at the store.
  • Cook a pot of steel-cut oatmeal on the weekend to eat for breakfast during the week. After cooking, store in individual containers in the fridge for an easy whole grain meal.
  • Make pizza night whole grain rich with a whole-wheat crust.
  • Bake cookies with whole-wheat flour instead of white.
  • Serve burgers or hot dogs on whole-wheat buns.
  • Try a new recipe. Visit wholegrainscouncil.org for recipes.
  • Use whole corn meal when baking corn bread or muffins.
  • Add cooked whole grains like wheat, rye berries, brown rice, sorghum, or barley to canned soup.
  • Add ½ cup uncooked oats for each pound of ground beef or turkey when making meatballs, burgers, or meatloaf.

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Summer Food Safety

With rising temperatures and outdoor dining events, food safety is a major concern this Summer (and all year around). Use the following tips to keep your next outdoor picnic, barbecue, or gathering safe for all!

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  • The normal “two hour rule” changes to the “one hour rule” when temperatures creep up above 90 degrees F.
    • Hot temperatures are just right for allowing the bacteria in food to multiply to numbers that could make people sick. This includes foods on picnic tables, buffet lines at family reunions, and bag lunches.
    • If at home, serve the food inside the air conditioned house instead of outside in the heat.
    • Set an alarm on your phone to alert you when the food should be put away. It is easy to lose track of time when at a gathering with family and friends.
  • When carrying food to another location, keep it cold to minimize bacterial growth.
    • Use an insulated cooler with ice or ice packs to keep the food cold.
    • If traveling far, place the cooler inside air conditioned car, not the hot trunk.
    • Refrigerate all perishable foods immediately upon getting home.
  • When doing errands, make the grocery store your last stop.
    • Pick up frozen and refrigerated foods just before you hit the checkout lines, so it is not sitting in your cart for an extended period of time.
  • If you’re going to a farmers’ market, farm stand, or pick-your-own field, take a cooler along too. Don’t store fresh produce in the trunk of your car.
  • At an outdoor event (or any event), keep meat and poultry refrigerated until ready to use. Only take out the items that will be immediately placed on the grill.
  • When using a cooler outside, keep it out of the direct sun by placing it in the shade or under a shelter.
    • Pack beverages in one cooler and perishables in a separate cooler. This will help avoid warm air from getting in the cooler when the lid is opened and closed often.
  • Keep everything clean! If there is no running water, bring clean cloths or moist towelettes.
    • Don’t reuse ice used to keep food cold, could be a potential of contamination.
    • Don’t use the same plate or platter and utensils for raw and cooked food.
  • If you don’t finish your meal at a restaurant, make sure there’s a cooler in the car for any food you bring home. The “one hour rule” goes into effect here too!
  • Don’t get careless with picnics and other outdoor food events. Unless you are absolutely sure about the safety of the food, throw away any leftovers.

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Nutrition Misconceptions

You may not realize it, but every day you make unconscious decisions about how you eat. Some healthy and some not-so-healthy. This post will reveal the top nutrition misconceptions people have and the truth behind the myths.

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1. “I can’t eat after 7pm”
Calories are calories – it doesn’t matter when you eat them. What matters is the total calories you take in. If you do find yourself hungry at night, make healthier choices. Often, late night eaters reach for unhealthy processed snacks and may over-indulge while watching television (this would lead to weight gain).

2. You should purchase a food because it claims to be “Natural”
The term “natural” is so loosely defined by the government that you’ll find it on everything from cereal boxes to soda to packages of meat. You’re better off ignoring the word on any package and taking the time to read through the ingredients and nutrition information. Don’t be fooled into believing that natural means healthy.

3. You Need to Load up on Protein Post Workout
Your body can only digest about 30 grams of protein in a meal. With a good diet, you shouldn’t have to supplement protein unless you’re a serious body builder. Any extra protein will either be excreted or just hang around your waist line as extra calories. Continue reading

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Seven Simple Steps to “Create Your Plate”

Basing your meals on the government’s MyPlate is a simple and effective way to both manage diabetes and lose weight. The first step in the right direction towards healthy eating, “Create your plate” lets you still choose the foods you want, but changes the portion sizes so you are getting larger portions of non-starchy high-nutrient vegetables and a smaller portion of starchy and higher calorie foods. When you are ready, you can try new foods within each food category and expand your healthy eating goals. 

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Try these seven steps to get started:

  1. Using your dinner plate, put a line down the middle of the plate. Then on one side, cut it again so you will have three sections on your plate.
  2. Fill the largest section with non-starchy vegetables such as:
    • spinach, carrots, lettuce, greens, cabbage, bok choy
    • green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes,
    • vegetable juice, salsa, onion, cucumber, beets, okra,
    • mushrooms, peppers, turnips
  3. Now in one of the small sections, put grains and starchy foods such as:
    • whole grain breads, such as whole wheat or rye
    • whole grain, high-fiber cereal
    • cooked cereal such as oatmeal, grits, hominy or cream of wheat
    • rice, pasta, dal, tortillas
    • cooked beans and peas, such as pinto beans or black-eyed peas
    • potatoes, green peas, corn, lima beans, sweet potatoes, winter squash
    • low-fat crackers, snack chips, pretzels and light popcorn
  4. And then in the other small section, put your protein such as:
    • chicken or turkey without the skin
    • fish such as tuna, salmon, cod or catfish
    • other seafood such as shrimp, clams, oysters, crab or mussels
    • lean cuts of beef and pork such as sirloin or pork loin
    • tofu, eggs, low-fat cheese
  5. Add a serving of fruit, a serving of low fat dairy or both as your meal plan allows.
  6. Choose healthy fats in small amounts. For cooking, use oils. For salads, some healthy additions are nuts, seeds, avocado and vinaigrettes.
  7. To complete your meal, add a low-calorie drink like water, unsweetened tea or coffee

See more at: www.diabetes.org and www.choosemyplate.gov

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