Tag Archive: Healthy

Arborists Help Maintain Healthy Trees

Trees are a valuable resource. They add beauty to our community, serve as food and shelter for animals, filter the air, and cool urban environments. Trees can also be a liability when poorly maintained, damaged, or diseased. There are often times when an arborist is needed to help determine the best course of action for the tree.

There are many individuals who are involved in the tree care and removal business. Not all of these people are certified in the care of trees. Arborists are people who receiving training in the planting, care, and maintenance of trees.

Professional arborists have specialized training to create safe, structurally sound trees, even when damaged by storms. Photo by Beth Bolles, UF IFAS Extension Escambia County

Certified arborists go through a voluntary certification process with the International Society of Arboriculture which means that they have at least three years experience and have passed a comprehensive examination developed by tree experts. A certified arborist maintains certification by attending regular training courses.

An arborist may also be a member of another organization which helps professionals stay up-to-date on tree care techniques and information. These include the National Arborist Association and the American Society of Consulting Arborists.

Hiring an arborist to work on your trees is important for several reasons. An arborist can evaluate the tree and determine the steps necessary to create a healthy specimen. In regards to pruning, the professional will determine what type of pruning is necessary and remove branches properly.

Professionals will also perform tree care practices that are recommended by University research.   A few practices that the arborist would not perform include topping trees, using climbing spikes on trees which are not being removed, and making flush cuts against the trunk.

Flush cuts are damaging to trees and can create a future hazard in your landscape. Photo by Beth Bolles, UF IFAS Extension Escambia County

 

Finally arborists have the skills and equipment to safely and efficiently prune or remove trees.  This includes personal and property damage insurance and workers compensation insurance.

Next time you need tree work or advice, hire a professional for the job. It will definitely be worth the investment.

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Author: Beth Bolles – bbolles@ufl.edu

Horticulture Agent, Escambia County

Beth Bolles

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/09/09/arborists-help-maintain-healthy-trees/

Seven Tips for a Healthy School Lunch

Seven Tips for a Healthy School Lunch

Jazz up traditional peanut butter sandwiches with raisins or carrot straws.

Now that school is back in session, are your struggling to find healthy and safe lunches to pack?  Do you cringe with every peanut butter and jelly sandwich you make?  If you are like me, finding healthy lunch time meals that are packed with nutrition, offer some variety, and won’t end up in the trash requires planning, creativity, and lots of energy!

  1. Get children involved! Even young school-age children can help make their own lunch.  Give children healthy choices and let them decide lunch menus.  Children may be more willing to eat the food you pack if they have been involved in the process.
  2. Dunk it and dip it. Children love finger foods they can dip.  Serve raw vegetables with hummus or fresh fruit with yogurt.
  3. Offer some “fun foods.” Let children choose some low-calorie fun foods.  Healthy or low-calorie options for the sweet or crunchy tooth include pretzels, plain popcorn, mini rice cakes, low-fat pudding, a miniature chocolate bar, or a rice crispy treat.
  4. Jazz up boring favorites. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a nutritious favorite.  Liven them up with carrot straws or raisins.  Add color and nutrition to sandwiches with lettuce, tomato, or sliced vegetables.
  5. Keep lunches safe. Make sandwiches the night before and freeze them.  Freeze juice boxes or water bottles to keep foods cool and for a cool lunchtime beverage.  Experiment to be sure there is enough time before lunch for the items to thaw.
  6. Re-think leftovers. Even if children don’t have access to a microwave to reheat food from last night’s dinner, some leftovers work for lunch, too. Try cold pizza, meat sliced for a sandwich, or pasta salad.
  7. Skip the fuss and sign up for the National School Lunch Program. While some schools may offer free and reduced-price lunches to eligible families, the school lunch program is for everyone.  School lunches provide low cost, balanced meals that follow USDA dietary guidelines.  Take a break from packing lunch and check out your school’s lunch menu.

Turkey Rolls:
2 flour tortillas
2 tsp mayonnaise
2 slices thinly sliced deli turkey
½ cup shredded lettuce
2 Tbsp shredded cheese, any type

Lay out tortillas. Spread with mayonnaise. Layer turkey slice, lettuce and cheese onto tortillas. Roll up and wrap. Makes 2 servings.

One serving provides 218 calories, 9 g total fat, 20 g carbohydrate and 14 g protein.
Exchanges – 1 bread, 2 meats, 2 fats.

Recipe source:  Janis G. Hunter, HGIC Nutrition Specialist, and Katherine L. Cason, Professor, Department of Food, Nutrition, and Packaging Sciences, Clemson University, New 08/08. Revised 09/11. Image added 8/15.  HGIC 4114

 

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Author: Kendra Zamojski – hughson@ufl.edu

Kendra Zamojski is a Family and Consumer Sciences Agent III in the Northwest District.
http://leon.ifas.ufl.edu

Kendra Zamojski

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/24/seven-tips-for-a-healthy-school-lunch/

Summer’s Harvest Brings Healthy Benefits

North Florida’s beautiful spring weather means we get to enjoy a variety of delicious, locally-grown fruits and veggies during the summer months.  Produce such as bell peppers, squash, tomatoes, greens, corn, cucumbers, okra, peas, eggplant, and a variety of melons are plentiful and fresh from late spring through early fall.

The benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables are numerous and well-known.  Fruits and veggies provide important vitamins and minerals that are vital to keeping your body working properly.  They’re rich in fiber, which is important for digestive health and helps lower cholesterol.  They provide antioxidants, which can help reduce your risk of a variety of cancers.  They’re low in calories, fat, and sodium, which make them an ideal snack.  And their colorful spectrum makes them a beautiful and healthy addition to any meal.

The MyPlate https://www.choosemyplate.gov/MyPlate guidelines call for making half your plate fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced meal.  But remember, preparation is key.  Steamed, roasted, raw, baked, and grilled veggies will provide the biggest nutritional bang for your buck, allowing the natural flavors to shine through.  Deep fried, breaded veggies add unnecessary fat and calories, so be careful not to rely on this cooking method too often.

Mix and match!  Pair a leafy green with a starchy vegetable for a wider spectrum of nutrients.  Add fruits such as mandarin oranges or dried cranberries to a salad for a little extra sweetness.  Try new flavor combinations by adding herbs and spices – but go easy on the salt!

While fresh fruits and vegetables are healthy, delicious, and plentiful during Florida’s summer months, frozen and canned varieties, including juices, can also provide many of the same health benefits.  However, be sure to read the label carefully before buying.  Look for low sodium or no salt varieties and only purchase 100% juice beverages, as other drinks may contain a lot of artificial flavorings and colors.

For more information about the benefits and uses of fresh North Florida produce, please visit the Panhandle Produce Pointers page at: http://wfrec.ifas.ufl.edu/panhandle-produce-pointers/produce-pointers-sheets/.

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Author: Samantha Kennedy, M.S. – skennedy@ufl.edu

Samantha is the Family & Consumer Sciences agent in Wakulla County. She has worked for UF/IFAS Extension since 2004. She has a B.S. in both Microbiology & Cell Science and Nutritional Sciences and an M.S. in Agricultural Education, both from UF. Her areas of expertise are nutrition, health & wellness, chronic disease prevention, food safety, disaster preparedness, and financial literacy. You can reach her via email at skennedy@ufl.edu or by calling (850) 926-3931.

Samantha Kennedy, M.S.

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/07/03/summers-harvest-brings-healthy-benefits/

Staying Healthy At Summer Camp

Staying Healthy At Summer Camp – 7 Keys to a Healthy Camp Counselor Experience

It’s getting hot outside and that means summer camps are heating up! Being a camp counselor is a fun summer job and it’s a great way to learn leadership skills. As a camp counselor, it is your job to take care of the children that are under your supervision, but your own health and well-being is as important as the campers.  If you’re not healthy, you won’t be able to properly care for the campers.

Here are 7 keys to staying healthy throughout your summer at camp:

  1. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER : When working outside in the summertime, it is essential for you and your campers to stay hydrated and avoid developing heat-related illnesses. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/data-statistics/plain-water-the-healthier-choice.html recommends between 6 to 8 glasses of water daily for good hydration. However, the amount of water that your body needs should be based on your individual need. Some of the symptoms of dehydration are: Mouth Dryness, Fatigue, Headache, Lightheadedness, Dizziness and Thirst. If you or a child in camp shows signs of any or all of these symptoms, immediately seek medical attention
  2. GET SOME SLEEP: Everyone feels a lot better after a good night’s sleep. One of the most critical threats to wellness for camp staff members is sleep deprivation. It’s easy to burn the candle at both ends when you’re working at a summer camp.  Try to stick to your normal bedtime whenever possible. Routine is important for a good night’s sleep!
  3. EAT HEALTHY: During the hectic pace of summer camp, it is easy to forget to eat properly. What you eat can determine how well your body is fueled and how efficiently it functions. The MyPlate https://www.choosemyplate.gov/MyPlate guidelines call for making half your plate fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced meal.  Eating a balanced diet is important for good health and increased energy, especially when working with campers.
  4. HANDWASHING & FOOD SAFETY: Bacteria and germs are hiding anywhere: in your kitchen, on your plate and even on your hands! It is important to wash your hands and hard surfaces often. Make sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling food. Foodborne bacteria can’t be seen, smelled or tasted, but they can make you sick! Therefore it is important to practice good food safety and food preparation practices. When in Doubt, Throw it out!
  5. SUN SAFETY:  While enjoying the sun and outdoors, protect yourself from overexposure to sunlight by wearing a hat and using sunscreens. Severe sun burns (also known as sun poisoning) can also lead to extreme dehydration for you and your campers. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen (UVA/UVB), and re-applying every 2 hours or after swimming will help prevent a sunburn. As a camp counselor, you should remind kids to play in shaded areas to reduce their exposure to UV rays, especially between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM, when the sun’s UV rays are at their peak.
  6. BUGS AND TICK BITE PREVENTION:  Bugs and summer go together.  To avoid getting bug bites, you should apply insect repellant that contains DEET to exposed skin, and wear long sleeves, pants, and other light-colored clothing. Campers should also try to avoid areas where ticks can be found, such as high grass and wooded areas. Campers should check for ticks every day, and remove them right away. Tick bites can lead to Lyme disease, which is particularly dangerous in the summer.
  7. STRESS MANAGEMENT: Stress can occur when we feel overloaded or under pressure in a demanding situation. Stress is a common problem among camp counselors. Managing your stress level is just as important as maintaining your physical health. Even though stress can be uncomfortable, it’s not always a bad thing, some stress can be a good thing and can help us better handle difficult situations.

 

As a camp counselor it is vital that you learn to relax, eat right, stay hydrated, and make sleep a priority, wash your hands, protect yourself from the sun, and take care of yourself!

Extension is a great resource for tips to stay healthy during the summer. You can find fact sheets and more information in our Electronic Data Information Source (EDIS) publications: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/

 

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Author: Laurie Osgood – osgoodlb@ufl.edu

Laurie B. Osgood is the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent at the Gadsden County Extension office. You can contact her at: (850) 662-3287
http://gadsden.ifas.ufl.edu/

Laurie Osgood

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/07/03/staying-healthy-at-summer-camp/

Healthy and Delicious, Oyster Mushrooms Can be Grown at Home

Healthy and Delicious, Oyster Mushrooms Can be Grown at Home

Following basic instructions, grow oyster mushrooms using sterilized straw, a plastic bag, oyster mushroom spawn, and water. Photo by Sunny Liao.

Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) – which have nothing to do with oysters besides their similar shape – are some of the most delicate, subtlety flavored, and easiest to prepare mushrooms of the culinary world.

They can easily be fried, stir-fried, or braised within a matter of minutes in broths, vinegar, wines, and sauces; or added to soups, stuffed, or mixed with chopped garlic. Other mushrooms, such as shiitake, are sturdier and impart a meatier flavor and texture to a dish. Oyster mushrooms, especially those lighter in color, pair well with seafood or a white meat. Highly perishable, you will want to freeze oyster mushrooms after sautéing with butter or oil to preserve, or dehydrate them to enjoy at a later date.

In addition to being an easy mushroom to prepare, oyster mushrooms are a great source of fiber, protein, and many vitamins and minerals, as well as an excellent source of the antioxidant ergothioneine.

Oyster mushrooms can come in many shades, from cream-colored, to gray, golden, tan, and brown. Their white colored gills, when present, extend from beneath the cap down to their very short stems. They are often described as smelling slightly like licorice and can grow up to about nine inches, but are best consumed young when tender and mild.

Oyster mushrooms grow in many subtropical and temperate environments, commonly found in nature growing in layers, decomposing the wood of dying hardwood trees. This decomposition benefits the ecosystem, as the mushrooms return nutrients and minerals back into the soil.

Interestingly, oyster mushrooms are one of the few known carnivorous mushrooms. The mycelia of the fungi can consume and digest nematodes, which is how it is thought the oyster mushrooms acquire nitrogen.

Arguably one of the best qualities of oyster mushrooms are the ease to which they can be cultivated at home. Using sterilized straw, a plastic bag, oyster mushroom spawn, water, and following basic instructions, oyster mushroom can be produced in as little as two weeks!

You can learn all about oyster mushroom production on the Penn State Extension page: Cultivation of Oyster Mushrooms (http://extension.psu.edu/plants/vegetable-fruit/mushrooms/publications/guides/cultivation-of-oyster-mushrooms).

Once you have the materials gathered, follow this guide, developed by UF/IFAS Suwannee County Extension, to prepare oyster mushrooms bags at home: Preparation of Oyster Mushroom Bags (http://suwannee.ifas.ufl.edu/documents/PREPARATIONOFOYSTERMUSHROOMBAGS.2012.pdf).

As well as being healthy and delicious, oyster mushroom cultivation is fun, and just needs a small amount of space and effort!

 

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Author: Molly Jameson – mjameson@ufl.edu

Molly Jameson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/06/11/healthy-and-delicious-oyster-mushrooms-can-be-grown-at-home/

Small Steps Are the Key to Healthy Change

drinking waterOliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once said, “The greatest thing in the world is not so much where we are, but in which direction we are moving.” That saying holds true when it comes to our health and our finances.

Health and personal financial issues affect millions of Americans. We struggle with epidemic obesity rates, over 79 million Americans have “pre-diabetes”, debt and bankruptcy filings remain high and millions of Americans live on the “financial edge” with less than the recommended three months’ emergency fund set aside for the future. Problems that develop gradually soon become overwhelming.

Many of us, when faced with the need to change, see our problems as unbeatable and “freeze” instead of moving forward. It is true that there is no easy way to lose weight, gain wealth or become debt-free. Even drastic fixes like weight loss surgery or bankruptcy come with huge risks. So, what is the secret?

According to Former HHS Secretary Tommy G.Thompson, small steps are the key! Mr. Thompson stated, “Consumers don’t need to go to extremes – such as joining a gym or taking part in the latest diet plan – to make improvements to their health. But they do need to get active and eat healthier.” No step is too small to get started and you can never be too early or too late. Examples might include walking during your lunch break, cutting out 100 calories a day, saving the change you accumulate each day or tracking your spending for a month. Anything you do daily over a period of time will soon become a habit, or an “automated” behavior. When your healthy behaviors become automated – no matter how small – you’ve just taken a step toward physical and/or financial wellness.

In the end, your health is in your hands. Set realistic goals, take small steps to reach them, learn from the obstacles and believe that you can achieve. And remember, “In the end, the only people who fail are those who do not try.” – David Viscott

 

Adapted from Small Steps to Health and Wealth, B. O’Neill and K. Ensle, 2013.

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Author: Ginny Hinton – ghinton@ufl.edu

Santa Rosa County Extension Agent with UF/IFAS. Focus areas include nutrition, food safety, injury prevention, and healthy families. Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from University of West Florida. Master’s degree in Public Health/Health Education from University of South Florida.
http://santarosa.ifas.ufl.edu

Ginny Hinton

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/04/01/small-steps-are-the-key-to-healthy-change/

Packing a Healthy School Lunch

Healthy school lunch

Packing the kids’ lunches for school means you know which nutritious foods they are eating. Here are some budget-friendly, creative ideas to keep kids happy and healthy at lunchtime.

Make a “Smarter” Sandwich:

While some kids prefer the same thing every day, others may be okay with a slight switch to their sandwich.

  • Use different breads like 100% whole wheat tortilla wraps (choose wraps low in saturated and made with no hydrogenated oils) or 100% whole wheat pita pockets.
  • Besides lettuce, try shredded carrots or avocado slices with a turkey sandwich.
  • Buy blocks of low fat, low-sodium cheeses. You save money when you slice it yourself. Or use a cookie cutter to cut into fun shapes.
  • Instead of lunch meat, try a leftover grilled chicken sandwich with lettuce and tomato.

 

Love Those Leftovers:

Try using the leftovers from the family dinner for the next day’s lunch. Invest in a thermos to keep foods hot or cold until lunchtime.

  • Low-sodium tomato, vegetable or bean soups
  • Chili made with lean or extra lean ground turkey
  • Whole wheat spaghetti with low sodium tomato sauce
  • Low-sodium baked beans, bean casserole or beans & rice

 

Let Them Dunk:

Sometimes it is okay to let your kids play with their food, especially when they are getting extra nutrition.

  • Apple and pear slices to dip into low-fat plain yogurt mixed with peanut butter.
  • Carrot, celery and sweet pepper strips to dip into hummus, fresh salsa or homemade bean dip.
  • Whole grain crackers (choose crackers low in sodium and saturated fat and made without hydrogenated oils) to dunk into low-sodium vegetable or tomato soup.
  • Unsalted sunflower seeds, crushed whole wheat cereal and sliced banana to mix into low fat vanilla yogurt (no added sugars) to eat with a spoon like a sundae.

 

Get Them Involved:

While letting kids in the kitchen might mean a bigger mess, if they help pack their own lunch, they are more likely to eat it! On nights you have a bit more time, like a Sunday night, have them choose which piece of fruit or what type of whole grain bread they want and let them assemble their lunch. Make this a weekly routine – it’s another great way to spend family time together.

For more heart healthy lunch tips visit: www.heart.org

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Author: Melanie Taylor – metaylor@ufl.edu

Melanie Taylor

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/09/11/packing-a-healthy-school-lunch-2/

Packing a Healthy School Lunch

Healthy School Lunch

Healthy School Lunch

Packing the kids’ lunches for school means you know which nutritious foods they are eating. Here are some budget-friendly, creative ideas to keep kids happy and healthy at lunchtime.

Make a “Smarter” Sandwich:

While some kids prefer the same thing every day, others may be okay with a slight switch to their sandwich.

  • Use different breads like 100% whole wheat tortilla wraps (choose wraps low in saturated and made with no hydrogenated oils) or 100% whole wheat pita pockets.
  • Besides lettuce, try shredded carrots or avocado slices with a turkey sandwich.
  • Buy blocks of low fat, low-sodium cheeses. You save money when you slice it yourself. Or use a cookie cutter to cut into fun shapes.
  • Instead of lunchmeat, try a leftover grilled chicken sandwich with lettuce and tomato.

Love Those Leftovers:

Try using the leftovers from the family dinner for the next day’s lunch. Invest in a thermos to keep foods hot or cold until lunchtime.

  • Low-sodium tomato, vegetable or bean soups
  • Chili made with lean or extra lean ground turkey
  • Whole wheat spaghetti with low sodium tomato sauce
  • Low-sodium baked beans, bean casserole or beans & rice

Let Them Dunk:

Sometimes it is okay to let your kids play with their food, especially when they are getting extra nutrition.

  • Apple and pear slices to dip into low-fat plain yogurt mixed with peanut butter.
  • Carrot, celery and sweet pepper strips to dip into hummus, fresh salsa or homemade bean dip.
  • Whole grain crackers (choose crackers low in sodium and saturated fat and made without hydrogenated oils) to dunk into low-sodium vegetable or tomato soup.
  • Unsalted sunflower seeds, crushed whole wheat cereal and sliced banana to mix into low fat vanilla yogurt (no added sugars) to eat with a spoon like a sundae.

Get Them Involved:

While letting kids in the kitchen might mean a bigger mess, if they help pack their own lunch, they are more likely to eat it! On nights you have a bit more time, like a Sunday night, have them choose which piece of fruit or what type of whole grain bread they want and let them assemble their lunch. Make this a weekly routine – it’s another great way to spend family time together.

For more heart healthy lunch tips visit: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/

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Author: Melanie Taylor – metaylor@ufl.edu

Melanie Taylor

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/08/29/packing-a-healthy-school-lunch/

3 Ways You Can Help Keep Our Bays Healthy

3 Ways You Can Help Keep Our Bays Healthy

Following a previous article on the number of ways you can help sea turtles, this week we will look at ways that local residents can help keep our waterways clean. Poor water quality is a concern all over the country, and so it is locally as well. When we have heavy rain all sorts of products wash off into streams, rivers, bays, and bayous. The amount and impact of these products vary but most environmental scientists will agree that one of biggest problems is excessive nutrients.

 

Marine science students monitoring nutrient levels in a local waterway.  Photo: Ed Bauer

Marine science students monitoring nutrient levels in a local waterway. Photo: Ed Bauer

Nutrient runoff comes in many forms. Most think of fertilizers we use on our lawns but it also includes grass clippings, leaf litter, and animal waste. These organic products contain nitrogen and phosphorus which, in excess, can trigger algal blooms in the bay. These algal blooms could contain toxic forms of microscopic plants that cause red tide but more often they are nontoxic and cause the water to become turbid (murky) which can reduce sunlight reaching the bottom, stressing seagrasses. When these algal blooms eventually die they are consumed by bacteria which require oxygen to complete the process. This can cause the dissolved oxygen concentrations to drop low enough to trigger fish kills. This process is called eutrophication. In addition to this, animal waste from birds and mammals contain fecal coliform bacteria. These bacteria are used as indicators of animal waste levels and can be high enough to require health advisories to be issued.

 

So what we can do about this?

 

  1. We can start with landscaping with native plants to your area. Our barrier islands are xeric environments (desert-like). Most of our native plants can tolerate low levels of rain and high levels of salt spray. If used in your yard they will require less watering and fertilizing, which saves the homeowner money. It also reduces the amount of fertilizer that can reach the bay.
  2. If you choose to use nonnative plants you should have your soil tested to determine which fertilizer, and how much, should be applied. You can have your soil tested at your county Extension Office for a small fee. Knowing your soil composition will ensure that the correct fertilizer, and the correct amount, will be used. Again, this reduces the amount reaching the bay and saving the home owner money.
  3. Where ever water is discharged into the bay you can plant what is called a Living Shoreline. A Living Shoreline is a buffer of native marsh grasses that can consume the nutrients before they reach the bay and also reducing the amount of sediment that washes off as well, reducing the turbidity problem many of our seagrasses are facing.

These three practices will help reduce nutrient runoff. In addition to lowering the nutrient level in the bays it will also reduce the amount of freshwater that enters. Decrease salinity and increase turbidity may be the cause of the decline of several species once common here; such as scallops and horseshoe crabs. Florida Sea Grant is currently working with local volunteers to monitor terrapins, horseshoe crabs, and scallops in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. We are also posting weekly water quality data on our website every weekend. You can find each week’s numbers at http://escambia.ifas.ufl.edu. If you have any questions about soil testing, landscaping, living shorelines, or wildlife monitoring contact Rick O’Connor at roc1@ufl.edu. Help us improve water quality in our local waters.

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Author: Rick O’Connor – roc1@ufl.edu

Sea Grant Extension Agent in Escambia County

Rick O’Connor

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/05/15/3-ways-you-can-help-keep-our-bays-healthy/

Busy People Need to Eat Healthy, Too!

Prepare a shopping list

It seems that we are rushing here and there, doing things at the speed of light. We may find ourselves consumed by work, meetings, school, sports practice for the kids… an endless list of things to keep us active, stressed, and often frantic.

Life has become so busy that we often forget to take care of ourselves, which can dramatically increase the risk of preventable chronic diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type-2 diabetes accounted for over 26% of deaths in the United States in 2013. Chronic stress, combined with poor planning, can likely lead to unhealthy exercise and eating habits for yourself and your family.

Planning ahead is critical in side-stepping the impacts of poor nutrition and obesity-related chronic diseases.

Follow these simple tips:

  • Plan meals (including brown-bag lunches and snacks) you and your family like that include lean protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Save time and money by making a grocery list before going to the store.
  • Be a master planner! Save your weekly meal plans and grocery lists to use again another week.
  • Avoid take-out and make foods that you can bring to work the next day for lunch.
  • Avoid the vending machine and bring snacks to work like nuts, fresh or dried fruit, or whole-grain crackers and hummus.
  • Don’t forget to eat breakfast! A quick bowl of cereal with low-fat milk and a small cup of orange juice can help you make it to lunchtime.
  • Carry a tumbler! Fill up on water all day, anywhere and everywhere, to keep you hydrated and help you to avoid sugary drinks and sodas.

Make sure to plan time each day to be active. Taking short walks and stretching at your desk can make a world of difference in your health and attitude. For additional information on healthy eating, please visit ChooseMyPlate.gov and Nutrition.gov.

 

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Author: amymullins – amymullins@ufl.edu

Amy Mullins is a Family and Consumer Sciences Agent responsible for coordinating the Adult Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program in Leon County. Amy is a Registered Dietitian and a graduate of The University of Florida and Florida State University.

amymullins

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/03/23/busy-people-need-to-eat-healthy-too/

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