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Memorial Day weekend is coming right up. Dust off the ole barbecue. Get ready to grill and cook outside. The USDA reminds us that at this time of year, foodborne illnesses are on the rise. Heat and moisture equal bacterial growth!
Food Safety – Even Outdoors! Clean hands with disposable washcloths. Wash surfaces. Wrap raw meats well so juices don’t leak. Separate raw meat from cooked – no cross-contamination wanted. Use a new set of tongs and clean serving platter for cooked meat.
Cook meats to safe temps: red meat to internal temp of 160 F; poultry to internal temp of 165 F. Don’t pre-cook meats earlier in the day.
Chill Out! Use insulated coolers with ice packs/ice. Have food chilled before storing in coolers. Keep drinks in separate cooler for frequent opening. Coolers stay in the shade or under the picnic table- out of the sun!
Picnic leftovers? They can’t be left in the warm outdoor temps for more than 1 hour. Further information at www.usda.gov.
Losing weight can be challenging – but keeping the weight off can be even more difficult, especially when it comes to children. Researchers have found that educating the parents of obese children is critical to their child’s weight loss, and then maintaining a healthy weight.
In a recent study on childhood obesity (February issue of Pediatrics), the parents were encouraged to be good role models for their children. They learned healthy lifestyle habits, including reading nutrition labels to select healthy foods and understand portion sizes. They were also taught how to set limits with TV time and computer/video game use.
Obese children whose parents attended lifestyle education classes for six months experienced a 10% drop in BMI, as well as a reduction in waist circumference. AND they kept the weight off for the entire length of the study (18 months).
EXERCISE: The parents of obese children were taught how to plan more active family activities such as going for hikes or riding bikes together.
DIET: At mealtimes, the parents served more fruits, vegetables and reduced-fat dairy products – and FEWER sweetened beverages, such as soda.
This recent study confirms that the most successful way to fight childhood obesity is by taking the family approach. Raising healthy children begins in the home with parents serving as good role models.
What are you doing to share healthy habits with your children?
Sugar… hmm, we all would probably say that we like sugar and sugar-containing foods. But USDA research of dietary habits of Americans indicates that added sugar intake is on the rise. It is estimated that 15% of calories come from added sugar – or about 21 teaspoons ( 360 calories/day). The primary source of added sugar is sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages and energy or sorts drinks.
High added sugar intake may be associated with:
Nutrition label and ingredient lookout:
The new 2010 American Heart Association Added Sugar Guidelines:
It will be pretty much impossible to completely eliminate added sugars – you will have to be very vigilant with looking at the nutrition and ingredients labels on food products.
Check out the sugar content – it will be listed in grams. Try to keep foods to 5 grams of added sugar or less per serving. For example, a serving of Raisin Bran has 17 grams of sugar but a serving of Cheerios has only 1 grams of sugar. What a difference!!
Do not worry about the natural sugars in fruits, milk, plain yogurt and certain vegetables (carrots and beets). These are very healthy foods that contain loads of good nutrition.
Tough health news to receive as we head closer to 2011: The results of the Virginia Childhood Obesity Survey of 2,500 youth, commissioned by the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, have found that 1 out of every 5 kids between the ages of 10 and 17 are either obese or overweight. This should be a wake-up call to all parents about their own health habits and those that they are helping to develop in their children.
Stats about childhood obesity in Virginia:
These results should shake us all into action, but especially Virginia parents. Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., behind smoking. And here in Virginia more than 60% of the adults are either overweight and obese.
We cannot take childhood obesity lightly. More young people are developing what traditionally were adult problems: type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. All reversible with a leaner weight.
Be sure to focus on veggies when serving family meals. Toss any fresh veggies with olive oil and herbs. Bake in hot 425-degree oven for just 6-10 minutes or until crisp tender. This dish includes fresh cauliflower.
It’s back to school for kids across the country. Packing lunches is budget-friendly, and gives you total control of the nutrition that your child gets in the middle of the day. Be creative, too, so that lunch is enjoyed week after week.
Nutrition FIRST. Lunch should provide protein for growth, fluids for hydration, starch for energy, fruits & veggies for vitamins & minerals.
PROTEIN: nuts & nut butter, tofu cubes, reduced-fat cheese cubes or slices, cottage or ricotta cheese with fruit or veggies, tuna or salmon salad, hummus, black & kidney bean salad, leftover meatloaf or grilled chicken in a sandwich, hard cooked eggs, and leftover stew or chili.
FLUIDS: skim or 1% milk, water, vegetable or 100% fruit juice. The 2010 American Heart Association guidelines suggest no more than ½ -1 cup of 100% fruit juice per day for kids.
STARCHES: whole-grain bread, roll, tortilla, pita pocket or crackers; homemade muffins such as banana or carrot; potato or pasta salad, couscous or leftover rice stir fry.
FRUITS & VEGGIES: assorted raw veggies (peppers, cherry tomatoes, carrots & celery sticks, broccoli florets), avocado slices, coleslaw, 3-bean salad, veggie soup, fresh fruit in season, no- sugar-added fruit cups or fruit salad.
A large study, looking at the medical records of over 690,000 children between the ages of 2 and 19, found yet another health consequence of obesity. Carrying this extra weight in the mid-section increased risk of developing gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD or acid reflux.
GERD causes stomach acid to go back UP the esophagus. This can irritate and inflame the delicate lining of the esophagus. There can be a burning feeling in the chest.
Untreated GERD is not good! With the stomach acid constantly irritating the esophagus, over time the cells react and change. They may become cancerous. This condition is called Barrett’s esophagus.
Pediatric researchers are concerned about GERD starting in young obese children because this means they potentially have a longer time that their esophagus is exposed to the destructive stomach acid and bile. Will we see esophageal cancer at younger ages – we don’t know.
The bottom line: we need to help our young people get to and maintain a lean weight with a healthy diet and regular physical activity.
GERD Treatment Tips:
These baked stuffed potatoes are low in fat, high in protein with the addition of Greek yogurt to the potato filling. Top with grated veggies for added fiber. Make extras to keep in the refrig for an easy-to-warm-up snack.
Have you been trying to save some money in the grocery store? Join the crowd. Consider having several vegetarian meals each week. The meats that you buy eat up a big part of your food dollars.
Inexpensive animal-based protein: eggs & egg whites and reduced-fat dairy (milk, cheeses & yogurt).
Non-animal protein replacements: combine two together to have the essential amino acids: soy (milk, cheese, tofu, veggie burgers), nuts & nut butters, seeds, quinoa, rice, barley, pasta and dried beans & peas.
Yummy vegetarian examples that provide the essential amino acids:
Quinoa is a rice-like grain from South America that provides ALL essential amino acids. It is versatile and can be cooked in water or other flavorful liquids like vegetable broth. All supermarkets carry quinoa in either the rice section or the health-food section.
Bring your kitchen to the out-of-doors this summer. You will have the opportunity to lighten up most of your dishes and save hundreds of calories: Read the rest of this entry…
June is Dairy Month. That makes me think of milk, yogurt and cheeses; all of these beverages and foods belong in the Dairy Group of the Food Pyramid. And they are jam-packed with good nutrition. Recommended serving: 3 or more from the Dairy Group per day: Read the rest of this entry…