Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Garden Fresh or Frozen?

Vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet, providing   vitamins, minerals, fiber, and disease-fighting antioxidants.  We can buy them fresh, frozen, or canned...but which type has the most nutrients?

People often assume fresh vegetables are highest in nutrients, but this is not always true. The nutritional content is dependent on a variety of factors. Vegetables can travel long distances and be exposed to light and temperature fluctuations which causes a loss of nutrients-especially vitamins A and C. One study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found most vegetables take 10-14 days to travel from farm to your table resulting in significant oxidation and loss of nutrients. Many vegetables are also picked before they reach peak ripeness, causing nutrients to never reach complete potency.

Frozen vegetables are picked at peak ripeness, steamed or blanched, and then frozen to lock in nutrients. Vegetables can lose nutrients during the washing, peeling, and steaming process; particularly vitamin C and several B vitamins. Some companies flash-freeze vegetables instead of steaming or blanching which retains the most nutrients.

Canned vegetables are also picked at peak ripeness, but are steamed or blanched for a longer time resulting in greater     nutrient loss. Nutrients is further degraded during the high-heat process used to seal cans. In some cases though canning can increase the bioavailability of antioxidants, especially in tomatoes, corn, and carrots which is beneficial. When purchasing canned foods be aware of sodium content; salt is often added to preserve flavor and to prevent spoiling. A high sodium diet is unhealthy and not recommended so look for reduced sodium or no salt added canned foods.

The highest concentration of nutrients likely comes from seasonal vegetables from your garden or your local farmers market during summer or fall when they are picked at peak ripeness. For produce traveling long distances or during the off-season flash-frozen vegetables are the next best choice. Canned vegetables are convenient and still provide nutrients when necessary, but be cautious of the sodium content. Whether is fresh, frozen, or canned eat at least three servings of vegetables every day for good health.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Kids Eat Right

August is Kids Eat Right Month, focusing attention on how important it is to shop smart, cook healthy, eat right, and be active. In the United States 1 out of 3 kids are overweight or obese resulting in health concerns such as depression, poor body image, behavior problems, learning problems, insulin resistance, asthma, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, early puberty, and fatty liver.

Shop smart by creating a shopping list with your kids and taking them to the grocery store to involve them in the decision making process. Fill your cart with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, low fat dairy, and healthy fats. Avoid packaged foods and don’t allow junk food into the house. Talk about food colors, shapes, flavors, and textures.

Cook healthy and encourage kids to get involved. Younger kids can rinse produce, mix ingredients, and clear tables. Older kids can crack eggs, peel vegetables, make salads, slice, chop, and pound chicken on a cutting board.

Eat right by sitting down for family meals without TV or phones. Serve all family members appropriate sized portions based on their energy needs. Keep serving dishes off the table. Let kids decide whether to eat what is served. Do not encourage kids to finish their plate. Offer vegetables or fruit if second helping are asked for.

Most importantly lead by example. Eat healthy meals and snacks with your kids. Live an active lifestyle and encourage your kids by playing with them, going on family hikes, biking  together, and taking trips to the pool. We can change the   obesity epidemic starting with one healthy meal at a time!

Healthy Snack Ideas
Celery sticks with natural peanut butter
Yogurt layered with berries
Cookie cutter shaped cheese and whole grain crackers
Kale chips
Carrots and hummus


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Workplace Snacking

Is your workplace a treacherous landscape when it comes to food choices? Is it a  battle ground between self-control and constant temptations from cake celebrations and catered meetings? Let’s not forget the unassuming candy dish land mines that pop up around every corner too.

With demanding schedules the workplace has turned into a grab-and-go culture for many of us. People with the best intentions still break down when unpredictable treats appear in the office.

A study at the University of California examined decision making around food in the workplace and found people with the best self-control drank water as a deterrent from unhealthy eating. People who packed their own food also had more self-control, especially since they were not dependent on office treats.

Eating the right foods can increase work performance especially when it comes to mental focus and patience. The wrong foods, or skipping meals, can cause less productivity, rash decision making, and mistakes. 

While healthy eating does take effort to plan, purchase, and prepare; it does not have to be difficult. Check out some easy options on the right.

Healthy Workplace Snacks
· 6oz nonfat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese
· 100 calorie nuts
· KIND, LARA, Uber, Balance, Kashi bars
· Apple with low fat string cheese
· Baby carrots with single serve hummus
· 2 rice cakes with natural peanut butter
· Piece of fruit
· Hard boiled eggs
· 1/4 cup trail mix
· Raw vegetables

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Cost of Exercise

Exercise can have a significant impact on the global economy according to a new study published in The Lancet medical journal. Costs of $67.5 billion a year from healthcare and productivity losses could be eliminated by an hour of exercise daily.

Inactivity is estimated to cause at least 5 million deaths each year and is linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. People who sat for eight hours (or more) a day and did not exercise had the greatest risk of premature death. People who sat for eight hours a day and exercised had lower risk of premature death, even compared to people who spent fewer hours sitting but did not exercise. This shows how important exercise is for the body, regardless of how many hours you spend sitting.

The ideal amount of exercise has been debated for many years. This research study found 1 hour of moderate-intense activity for every 8 hours of sitting reduced risk.

Moderate-intense exercise is defined as 50-70% of your maximum heart rate. Some examples include brisk walking, water aerobics, biking on level ground, doubles tennis, raking leaves, hiking, dancing, and vigorous vacuuming.

Greater benefits are seen with vigorous-intense exercise defined as greater than 70% of your maximum heart rate. Some examples include running, swimming laps, biking with hills, singles tennis, basketball, soccer, jumping rope, and stair climbing.

If you are new to exercise start with a goal of 50% or your maximum heart rate [(220-your age) x .50]. Count you pulse    during exercise or use a reliable heart rate monitor. Once you work up to 60 minutes of continuous exercise begin increasing your heart rate to higher zones for greater health benefits. Exercise safety is very important so speak with you physician before starting a new exercise routine...and even more importantly talk to your physician before you stop exercise too.