ID-10066385How To Curb Cravings At Holiday Parties

Don’t Go To a Party Hungry: One of the biggest mistakes I see during the holidays is people arriving to parties starving! It’s easy to think that the less you eat earlier in the day, the more room you’ll have to eat later at the party…and the less damage you’ll do overall. But this mindset has disaster written all over it! Instead, think this way: ruin your appetite. Have a healthy, filling snack before the party so that you won’t be tempted to dive into the spinach and artichoke dip as soon as you arrive. A hardboiled egg, a slice of turkey, or a Greek yogurt are all small but satisfying options that you can have at home prior to making your big entrance.

Bring Your Own Healthy Dish: It’s never polite to go to a party empty-handed, right? So why not bring a healthy dish you know you can rely on? Bring a salad with delicious, colorful toppings like cranberries, roasted carrots and squash. Think of it as your safety net so that you won’t have to worry if there’s nothing but diet-busters being served. We’re sure you’re not the only one who will appreciate a dish that’s (finally!) not candied, casseroled, or drowning in gravy.

Scope Out The Entire Party Spread: Once you get to the party, take your time. This is very important. It’s easy to jump at the first thing and every different thing you see. You know how it goes: there’s the cheese and crackers, then the pigs in a blanket, then the shrimp cocktail, and then all the main course dishes… And studies show people eat more when they’re offered a greater variety of foods. By taking a tour of all the food first, you won’t fall into this trap. Walk around and look at everything, deciding what’s healthiest and what you want the most. And only after you’ve seen it all should you decide what to put on your plate. That way, you can make an informed decision you’ll be proud of at the end of the night. There just may be some healthy options you want to indulge in!

Socialize (And Not Just With The Bartender!): You’re at a party. With PEOPLE. It’s not all about the food. Enjoy talking to and reconnecting with family, friends, and coworkers. If you make an effort to socialize, you’ll not only enjoy the night more, but you’ll be too preoccupied to think about that pecan pie every 2.2 seconds. A word of caution: be wary of “food pushers”, those who refuse to take “no” for an answer when offering unhealthy treats. My advice? Keep saying no, as many times as you have to. And don’t feel bad! It’s a GOOD thing that you put your health first. Just decline politely and hopefully Great-Aunt Sarah will stop trying to hand you sugar cookies.

About the Author

Keri Glassman, nationally recognized nutrition expert and co-founder of MommyCoach, has put together a couple of tips for how to stay healthy, and how to help curb your appetite. If you’re unfamiliar, MommyCoach is a new online community for moms around the country to connect with leading experts and coaches for advice, encouragement, and answers to those hard-to-crack questions.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.*

ID-100101872Tips for Staying Healthy Through The Holiday Season

Plan Non-Food-Centered Activities: Take the focus off food. There are so many ways to spend time together besides cooking, baking, and eating. Instead of decorating cookies and gingerbread houses, make non-edible crafts like wreaths, paper snowflakes, or holiday cards.  Bundle up to take a walk around the neighborhood and rank the best decorated houses. And light a fire to gather around while you play charades or watch holiday movies.

Bring Snacks To The Mall: Welcome to the real jungle. There’s no denying how tempting it is  seeing peppermint mochas or smelling cinnamon rolls (from a mile away, no less). And with the  stress of the crowds and finding the right gifts for everyone, you can be in over your head fast.  You have to be smart enough to sidestep these hazards. The easiest way to make it out alive?  Pack filling healthy snacks like nuts, a piece of fruit, or a bag of air popped popcorn, and you  won’t need a search and rescue team to pull you out of the food court.

Make Your Own Hot Chocolate: Ditch the packaged powders and go for the real thing. Many  hot chocolate powders are convenient and boast very few calories, but they are chock full of artificial sweeteners and chemicals! Our recipe uses maca, a powder grown in the Andes Mountains of Peru and packed with nutrients, and cacao powder, a less-processed version of  cocoa powder that’s a great source of antioxidants. Spend a cozy afternoon in the kitchen with  your kids and cuddle up in with this super food hot chocolate recipe.

Boil water or warm milk on the stove and let cool slightly, then mix in the following ingredients:

● 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
● 2 teaspoons maca powder
● 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
● 1 teaspoon honey
● Pinch sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and pure vanilla
● 1 ½ cups milk of your choice or water

Be Mindful of Your Hunger Quotient: Your HQ is a measure of how hungry you are at a  given time – famished, satisfied, stuffed. Try to be in tune with your HQ and let hunger dictate  when you eat (versus having a serving of stuffing just because your sister brought it over). On a  scale of 1-10 (1 being stuffed, 10 being famished), you want to be between a 4 (slightly hungry)  and a 6 (slightly satisfied) all the time.

About the Author

Keri Glassman, nationally recognized nutrition expert and co-founder of MommyCoach, has put together a couple of tips for how to stay healthy, and how to help curb your appetite. If you’re unfamiliar, MommyCoach is a new online community for moms around the country to connect with leading experts and coaches for advice, encouragement, and answers to those hard-to-crack questions.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.*

Find The Fun In Healthy Eating

Keeping kids healthy can be a tough job. Sometimes, the things that are good for kids aren’t always what they want.

But moms know that eating healthy and being active can help kids grow strong bodies and lower their future risk of obesity and health problems like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. It can also help them do better in school.

Start by being a good role model. Kids are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they see you eating them, too. Be a good role model by staying active and doing activities the whole family can enjoy.

There are also many ways to make healthy eating fun. One way is by encouraging kids to help in the kitchen. When kids help pick and cook food, they are more likely to eat it. Younger kids can tear lettuce for salads or rinse fruits and vegetables while older kids can chop and slice.

The Network for a Healthy California provides these and other mom-tested tips to empower families to live better by eating more fruits and vegetables and being active every day. The tips come from Champions for Change, real moms who are role models for healthy change.

You don’t have to turn your life upside down to make healthy changes. Even small changes add up quickly to make a big difference, like adding fruit to cereal or offering crunchy carrots instead of chips as a snack.

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Here are more mom-tested tips on how to make healthy change fun:

• Kids get excited when they can pick what they are going to eat. Have them pick the fruits and vegetables they want to pack in their lunch each day.

• Keep fruits and vegetables in easy-to-reach places at home to encourage healthy snacking. Leave a bowl of fresh fruit on the table and cut vegetables in the fridge. Get a mix of dried fruits and let kids make their own trail mix.

• Make shopping fun. Let kids pick three colors of fruits and vegetables to try, or choose three fruits to snack on during the week.

• Be creative when cooking. Try fun ideas like arranging different vegetables on pizza to make a face. Use slices of bell pepper for the mouth and eyebrows, olives for the eyes, and a cherry tomato or carrot for the nose.

• Play together. Turn off the TV and turn up the music. Have a dance contest to everyone’s favorite songs. Enjoy the outdoors and go for family walks, ride bikes together or play at a local park.

You can find more great tips, resources and healthy recipes that kids will love at www.CaChampionsForChange.net and www.Facebook.com/NetworkForAHealthyCalifornia.

*Article and image courtesy of NAPS.*

ID-10010604310 Tricky Tips for a Healthy Halloween from the Pritikin Longevity Center

1. Buy candy you don’t like.

Love Snickers bars? Leave them on the store shelf. Otherwise, you can bet you’ll be breaking into that bag days before the costumed kiddies arrive at your doorstep. (And let’s not even talk about what happens if there are Snickers left over at the end of the evening.) Buy candy that does not call out to you, and on November 1, throw any leftovers out or take them to a homeless shelter.

2. Think outside the candy box.

“On Halloween night, trick or treaters love non-food goodies, too,” recommends Pritikin dietitian and educator Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD. Look in the party aisle of your favorite discount or dollar store for treats like glow stick necklaces (your little neighborhood princesses will love you!), spider rings, stickers, decorative pencils, stamps, notepads, erasers, balloons, play tattoos, game cards, and more. Better yet, buy treats that encourage kids to be physically active, like little bouncy balls, Frisbees, jump ropes, hacky sacks, and sidewalk chalk for drawing hopscotch or foursquare games.

3. Fuel up your little ones before they go trick-or-treating.

Before they head out the door, try to get them to relax (we know this isn’t easy!) and sit down to dinner, or, at least, a fruit plate and a cup of yogurt. That way, their appetites for the rest of the evening will be curbed, somewhat. (Maybe they’ll be happy with 6 little chocolates, not 16.)

4. Be firm but loving.

Keeping junk out of the house most of the year is important. “But realize that some junk on Halloween and other rare events is inevitable, and that’s okay. Embrace those moments, and at the same time make sure your kids understand how important it is to keep these indulgences occasional,” counsels Tom Rifai, MD, Medical Director of the Metabolic Nutrition and Weight Management program at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Oakland, Michigan, and member of the Pritikin Scientific Advisory Board. Always emphasize the many positive outcomes of eating fresh whole foods like fruits and vegetables, like a leaner body, clearer skin and excellent energy for all their activities and sports.

5. Perform trick-or-treat triage.

Once the kids bring in the candy, “get rid of the excess,” suggests Pritikin nutritionist Kimberly Gomer. “The children don’t need a ton around, and neither do you. Also, if there are certain treats that ‘glow and glitter’ for you, triggering temptation, put them out of sight, perhaps in an out-of-the-way kitchen cabinet or freezer in the garage. The kids often forget about the candy faster than mom and dad!”

6. Meter it out.

On Halloween night, allow your children to enjoy a few bites, not a binge. Then, stash the goodies they’ve selected as “keepers” in the pantry. Get rid of the rest. In the days that follow, dole out one or two treats at a time (but only if your children ask for them), and always in combination with a healthy snack or meal. When the excitement over the candy has waned (and before you start digging into them), toss them out or take them to a shelter.

7. Focus on fun, not food.

“Make dressing up in costumes a big deal,” suggests Kimberly, “and get in on the action, too. Dress up with your kids.” Carve pumpkins, and enjoy the exercise of trick or treating around the neighborhood. (Do make sure you’ve also eaten a healthy snack or dinner before walking out the front door.) And sure, nibble on a treat or two while out enjoying the evening, as long as you know you can stop after one or two. “And always remember that it’s one night a year,” says Kimberly. “Enjoy the evening, but don’t drag out the candy eating till Thanksgiving. Tell yourself, ‘I’ve splurged a little tonight. I’m back to healthy eating tomorrow.’” What a gift for your waistline and overall health!

8. Plan party fun on the front lawn.

“Get the kids (and grownups) up and moving with party activities,” advises Pritikin Fitness Director Scott Danberg, MS. Set up a costume/dance contest. Before the sun sets, enjoy a pumpkin hunt (hide miniature pumpkins throughout the yard), pinning a heart on a scarecrow, or musical chairs (instead of chairs, use big pumpkins). And, of course, kids never tire of running from the big bad bogeyman (you dressed up in a creepy costume) in a game of Halloween hide and seek. Lots of calories burned. Lots of fun!

9. Stock up on sweet and nutritious.

The rest of the year, continue to think outside the candy aisle for treats that are sweet and nutritious. Make fruit fun. How about a Fruit Parfait? In a pretty parfait glass, simply layer your child’s favorite fruit with fat-free or low-fat vanilla yogurt. Then top with a strawberry.

10. Make healthy treats together.

Every summer in the Pritikin Family Program, kids love the hands-on cooking classes and, afterwards, eating their own creations. Set up shop in your own kitchen, and with the kids as sous chefs, create tasty desserts, such as our chefs’ Very Berry Ice Cream, for a healthy Halloween and good health year-round.

About the Author

Kimberly Gomer MS, RD, LDN, Registered Dietitian and Educator: In addition to her undergraduate degree in Dietetics/Nutrition and Masters in Public Health Nutrition, Kimberly brings to the Pritikin Longevity Center more than a decade of experience teaching and inspiring thousands nationwide to eat and live well. At LIFE Saint Francis PACE Program in New Jersey, she provided medical nutrition therapy for individuals with diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and obesity. At community health centers throughout New Jersey, she developed and delivered several wellness programs, including individual and group weight-loss programs for a variety of ages, from students to seniors.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

Cookie-Container5 Tips for Reducing Food Waste in the Kitchen

Did you know that the average household throws away an estimated 15% of the food that comes into the kitchen? If you spend $100 a week on food, that means you’re throwing away $15 a week, $60 a month, and a whopping $720 per year. And it could be a lot more. Not only is this wasteful but it’s bad for your budget. Just think of what you could do with that money! Luckily, there are tons of ways to get a handle on your food waste and save some money in the process. Here are some strategies you should definitely put into effect.

1. Go Euro. We have a tendency to plan our meals for the week, buying all of the ingredients in one fell swoop. But this can be problematic in terms of food waste because fresh items may go bad before the week is out and many nights, overworked parents end up ordering takeout instead of going to the added trouble of making a meal after a long day at work. So take a page from the European playbook. Traditionally, Europeans tend to visit their local, neighborhood market daily to get whatever fresh items they need for their meals. This is a great policy that not only ensures variety and that your foods are at the peak of freshness, but also that there is less food waste from spoilage.

2. Cook in bulk. If you have a lot of extra food in your fridge and you fear it will go bad, simply cook enough for several meals and freeze it in the serving sizes you prefer. When you need a quick meal, all you have to do is thaw and heat your frozen meals. It’s an easy and economical way to use your food instead of letting it go to waste and it makes for easy meals on nights when you just don’t feel like cooking.

3. Make smoothies and sauces. If your fresh produce has a tendency to go bad, consider that there are uses for fruits and veggies that have gotten a little too ripe to look appetizing. So long as they’re not moldy or melting, many fruits and vegetables can be made into delicious smoothies with milk, soymilk, juice, or even water as a base. And if you want a cool and healthy treat for the kids, pour your smoothie into popsicle molds (you can order them on Amazon). As for other veggies, consider steaming them, throwing them in the food processor, and then simmering to make delicious pasta sauces that you can save for later. Produce could also be canned and jammed for later use or to give away as gifts.

4. Host a potluck. Rather than throw food away because you accidentally bought more than you ended up using this week, invite family and friends for a potluck. You can use up all the extra ingredients in your kitchen before they spoil and your guests can provide side dishes or dessert.

5. Use what you’ve got. Every so often, say once a week, it pays to go through your fridge and pantry to see what you’ve got and figure out how to use it in a timely manner. Whether you want to spice up your leftovers or you’ve got a bunch of random ingredients, you can find ways to turn them into appetizing meals with a little creativity. Instead of ordering pizza for dinner, pull out your fondue sets, get some sauces bubbling, and use them for dipping extra veggies and leftovers from the week. Or use a website like Supercook.com or MyFridgeFood.com that allows you to enter ingredients from your kitchen in order to find recipes that you can make with them. You’ll use up anything that might go bad and save some money in the process.

ID-10069058Tips for Preventing Childhood Obesity

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and obesity is an epidemic that everyone in the family can help combat!

Did you know that in a study researching the trend of childhood obesity, an estimated 43 million children around under the age of 5 were overweight or obese, globally, in 2010. This number is staggering, but in honor of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, here are a few tips to help prevent any more children from becoming part of this statistic.

Designate Family Time for Getting Active

Whether it’s a walk together after dinner or getting together in a park on a Sunday afternoon, there are always times to get in some time for physical activity. Doing this together holds you all accountable, sets good examples for kids, and gives you more time to be with your loved ones!

Limit TV and Video Game Time

Sitting in front of electronic screens for prolonged periods of time isn’t good for kids—it makes it easy for them to fall into couch-potato status instead of getting outside and playing sports or meeting friends outdoors.

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Cook Meals Together

Here’s another easy opportunity to stay fit as a family. Cooking homemade meals together increases bonding time with the family and prevents you from picking up take-out or pizza on your way home from work

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Make Sure They Get Proper Nutrients

Following the idea of cooking meals together, you have to make sure what you are feeding your kids will help them continue to grow strong and healthy. Try to limit sweets, increase veggies, and make sure they get all of the vitamins and nutrients they need. Incorporating a children’s multivitamin like USANA USAnimals into your kid’s daily routine can help ensure that this happens.

*Main image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

5 Examples Why Going Green Can Make You Some Extra Cash5 Examples Why Going Green Can Make You Some Extra Cash

Having extra money in your wallet is certainly delightful. At least for the time-being, you can stop stressing out about bills and spending money. However, when you want these changes to be permanent, you should look into going green. What are some reasons why doing so can save you money?

Reusable Food and Beverage Containers
Every day, you are tossing a water bottle and a lunch bag away. If you are not recycling the appropriate items, you are doing even more harm to the environment. Instead, you should choose reusable food and beverage containers. Finding a sports water bottle is not difficult, and you can just use this one each day. Plastic food containers that can be washed and reused are smart options as well.

Cash in on Your Bottles
Many different types of cans and bottles can be brought to recycling centers in your area. On the item, it should say how much you can turn it in for. Do not throw these types of items into the garbage. Cashing in on your bottles might not seem as though it will bring you a lot of money, but if you consider how many you have used in your lifetime, you’ll start to recognize the savings.

Solar Panels and Energy Star
In your home, you definitely want to have EnergyStar certified windows. These types of windows will help to make your house a more enjoyable climate. If you have a little extra money to spend right now, you should consider installing solar panels as well. You might wonder how spending more could help you save more. Well, consider the long-term savings as opposed to the short-term ones. In the end, having these types of upgrades to your house can definitely help you to save a lot of money.

Consider The Monthly Bills
You pay for things like electric, heat and water usage on a monthly basis. You probably notice a spike in the bills when certain seasons come around or when you have out-of-town guests staying at your house. Work on controlling these bills by reducing the amount of resources that you use. You might not think that little changes, such as turning off the water when you brush your teeth or shutting off the lights when you leave a room, really make much of a difference. However, these little changes really do add up in the end.

Avoiding Penalties and Fees
Depending upon where you live, you might actually get fined if you are not living a somewhat green lifestyle. For example, some communities will fine you when you are putting items that are supposed to be recycled into the garbage can. On top of that, most communities impose a fine if you litter. When you take steps to be friendlier to the world around you, then you can stop receiving these unnecessary fines for your current practices.

About the Author

Dixie is a freelance writer. She recommends visiting recycling centers in New Orleans if you want to get started on your greener lifestyle today.

Fresh-Fruit-BonanzaParents are living a more fast-paced lifestyle focused on their children and extracurricular activities as the kids head back to school this fall. With this on-to-go lifestyle, it can be hard for parents to find time to cook for their families after a long day.

To help make the planning and preparation process easier, Cooking Planit is offering a few tips for busy parents. Cooking Planit is an important website and mobile app that provides home cooks with step-by-step instructions to create full meals, organizing the process for a more efficient cooking experience that leaves all dishes ready to serve at the same time. Essentially a “GPS for the kitchen”, users can filter by main ingredient, occasion, dietary restriction and type of dish, with each recipe showing a full list of ingredients and necessary cooking utensils.

5 Meal Planning Tips for Busy Parents

1. Prep Ahead: Organize your grocery list for each recipe that you intend to prepare. Prepare ingredients earlier in the day, or while you are prepping dinner the night before. Wrap chopped herbs or aromatics, like garlic and ginger, in damp paper towel in airtight container, and refrigerate. Then, go straight to cook mode come dinnertime.

2. Freeze It: So many recipes freeze well and defrost in minutes, providing fast and flavorful dinner solutions. Soup is my favorite because it can make a meal all on its own.

3. Opt for Seafood: Fish or shrimp cook quickly and have unique health benefits compared to chicken or red meat. Don’t be intimidated by making fish at home.

4. Hide Veggies: Kid’s might not dig into a big pile of broccoli, but you can put broccoli or other veggies into a delicious recipe and they’ll never realize how much healthy stuff they are eating too.

5. Keep It Interesting: It’s easy to get into a dinnertime rut, making the same 5 or 6 relied upon recipes over and over again. Keep kids coming to the table by surprising them with new recipes.

six environmentally friendly waysSix Environmentally Friendly Ways to Dispose of Used Electronic Devices

As the world continues to consume more electronic products each year, it is important to either dispose of or recycle those items in a responsible fashion. The recycling of consumer hardware products is a major aspect of the global eco-friendly initiative. This is why so many firms have adopted a commitment to minimizing the environmental impact of their electronics, as well as that of their customers. To that end, there are numerous programs available to help consumers conveniently and properly dispose of or recycle their products. Below are six environmentally friendly ways to dispose of used electronic devices.

Participate in Earth Day
Many communities offer ways to celebrate saving the environment with festivals including dropping off unwanted electronics and their accessories at participating locations. This greatly helps to reduce and divert the approximately 96 million pounds or more of e-waste from U.S. landfills. Every citizen can check for details at their city or town’s website or other information resource.

Sell Your Old Electronics
Selling old electronics is another safe way to reduce waste and prevent improper disposal of potentially dangerous devices. For instance, it is safe to assume that many people generally have at least one or more old PDAs, cell phones or other devices lying about in their homes. However, rather than let these devices take up valuable space, people can participate in saving the environment while earning money by doing something as simple as deciding to sell your iPhone for cash at AppleShark.com.

Donate Used Electronics
Donating used electronics is another way to dispose of old products responsibly. Many organizations accept computers, VCRs, printers and other electronic products when they are still in good working condition. Check with community centers, schools and other firms in the local area or consider contacting an electronics charity program.

Find a Recycling Center
For electronics that no longer work, there are numerous disposal units and recycling centers in a number of cities and towns. Most state and major cities offer programs that make recycling convenient through special city-run drop off locations. Recycling organizations use old electronic product materials such as metal, plastic and glass, all of which require that energy be used to mine and manufacture them. In partnerships with townships and private vendors, some firms offer the convenience of recycling consumer electronics through national voluntary programs.

Trade In the Electronics
Trade in old electronic devices through retailer and manufacturer programs that give consumers credit or a gift card toward another purchase. Generally, the value of these products can be determined at each company’s website. Typically, items may be mailed in or dropped off. However, much like trading in a car, the credit for the product is generally less than what a consumer may receive when they sell their electronics.

Be a Conscious Consumer
Another way to reduce waste is to become a conscious consumer and purchase products that produce less toxins and are made of reusable products. This reduces the amount of potentially hazardous substances from entering the environment, while making it easier to dispose of them in the future.

5 Surprising Ways Going Green Can Save You Money5 Surprising Ways Going Green Can Actually Save You Money

Going green is often considered and expensive and privileged venture. It’s considered something that only rich people can afford, but that’s far from the truth. Going green can actually be cheap and save you money in the long run. There are plenty of green products that don’t cost a fortune, and you will be doing something good for the environment.

You Will Use Fewer Items
Using green all-purpose cleaners means you will be buying fewer cleaning supplies. Green cleaners, or ones you make yourself, are excellent at cleaning grime and stains. They are often made using natural oils and fragrances. You can also make your own cleaning solutions with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide.

Using Environmentally Friendly Energy
Energy consumption is the biggest concern for those who are going green. Energy is expensive. Switching to different types of energy from your electric company can result in a price increase, but you will be doing better for the environment. You can get a home security system like Vivint home automation so you don’t have to leave lights on all night or while you are traveling.

Organic Food Can Be Cheap
Organic-store brands can be just as cheap and affordable as normal brands. Buying organic is an important part of going green, but people often mistake it for being so expensive. It can be pricey if items aren’t in season, but overall it’s a better investment. Shopping around can net you cheaper organic items that you would otherwise buy conventionally.

Saving On Water
Saving on water is also a way to go green and save green. Use a low-flow shower head and time showers to be shorter. Take no more than 15 minutes to shower for saving the most water. You can also plant gardens that don’t require constant watering. Using a faucet aerator to get a high-pressure flow without using as much heat and water. It’s a brilliant solution that costs very little.

Think Before You Shop
Thinking about what you buy before you shop for it is a good method to save the environment and go green. You may not need to buy something new, but some items should always be purchased new. If you’ve been a victim of burglary, you may want to consider buying a new Aurora home automation system. Craigslist and other places online offer free items you may want and need. You can also go to thrift stores and yard sales to get the best deals.