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Top Healthy Tips for Picnic Celebrations

PicnicHolidays such as Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, or any picnic holiday can cause break downs in our otherwise healthy eating plan. It is extremely important to be very aware that picnics can pack thousands of calories that we would not normally indulge in. 

So, what should you do?


1. Continue to practice your healthy eating habits on the picnic day. Do not skip meals or save calories for the “big meal”. That sets you up to overeat!


2. If going to a party or picnic, offer to bring an appetizer and side dish. That way you can guarantee their will be healthy choices for you. 


3. Be watchful of your portions and choose NOT to have the desert! Instead, maybe bring a box of sugar free popsicles to share with the crowd or have a cup of coffee instead! 


4. Make sure that you do not slack off from your daily exercise routine the day of the picnic. Try adding 10 or 15-minute brisk walks twice that day with available family members or the partygoers. Plan fun activities such as crochet, bike riding or hiking instead of sitting around talking or watching TV.


5. If you are throwing the party, have lots of vegetables available, instead of chips only. Prepare lower fat dips and offer salsa. Explain to your guests in advance your determination to make this a healthier holiday celebration, and ask them to keep this in mind when preparing any dish they may be bringing.


 6. Stay away from high calorie beverages such as sodas, juices, smoothies, and blended coffee drinks. There are nearly 150-250 calories in one 12-ounce can of soda or juice. Smoothies and coffee drinks are often 250-500 calories, excluding the whipped cream. Alcohol is packed full of calories and carbs. It can also cause you to let down your defenses and overeat or make poor food choices. All of these indulgences will kick you out of the fat burning stage and you’ll have to start over (in a sense).


 7. Make sure to have a healthy snack prepared before going to the picnic... ALWAYS plan ahead.


 8. At the picnic choose healthy foods and stay away from the chips and bread and corn.


 9. If the holiday party is at your house, send some of the left-overs home with your guests, especially the desserts!


10. Remember to eat slowly, which will help you to eat less and feel full and satisfied.


11. During holiday weekends, make your goal to maintain your weight and not to gain any!


12. Be positive. Don’t let your weight and cravings take control of you.


13. Holiday traveling, don’t forget to pack healthy snacks! Put them in zip lock bags and use them to cushion around items in your suitcase. Also bring a small cooler full of fresh vegetables and water.


14. Habits are habit forming... People form habits but habits transform people! Remember the reason for the season and focus on 'fellowship' and not on 'food'! Let's keep pursuing the Habits of Health and Take Shape For Life! Let’s transform our thinking a let’s make it a habit to select healthy foods as part of our ‘prescription for life’!


 Have a Happy and Healthy Summer Picnic Season!


Soda vs. Fruit Juice Comparison

SodavsFruitJuiceDid you have a healthy week this week? Did you make progress on your health goals or did you find yourself "challenged" to live a healthy lifestyle?

HBO recently released an extraordinary documentary series titled Weight of the Nation that highlights the consequences, circumstances and challenges we face as a nation around the obesity epidemic.

Regardless of whether your obese, overweight or just a concerned American I'd encourage you to watch it as it gives you great insight to why it's so 'challenging' to live a healthy lifestyle in America. One of the clips that got my attention was this one on the comparison of Soda vs. Fruit Juice.

Most of us don't know what we don't know about food and our obesogenic society. Click here for a further comparison of the amount of sugar in common American foods.

Maybe ignorance is bliss for a short while before the consequences come but our future depends upon those who will not settle for the status quo. Let's get you to achieve your next health goals and invite others to join you on the journey!

Mmm Meatless Mondays!

Why Meatless?

Meat-questionmarkGoing meatless once a week has a variety of health benefits, such as:

  • Limit Cancer Risk: Excessive intake of both red and processed meat
    consumption are associated with colon cancer.
  • Reduce Heart Disease: A Harvard University study found that replacing
    saturated fat-rich foods (for example, meat and full fat dairy) with foods that
    are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds)
    reduces the risk of heart disease by 19%
  • Prevent Diabetes: Research suggests that higher consumption of red and
    processed meat increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Prevent Obesity: Many people on low-meat or vegetarian diets have
    significantly lower body weights and BMI. A recent study from Imperial College
    London also found that reducing overall meat consumption can prevent long-term
    weight gain.
  • Longevity: Red and processed meat consumption is associated with increases
    in total mortality, cancer mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality.
  • Optimal Health: Consuming meatless options often results in higher intakes
    of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium with lower intakes of
    saturated fat and total fat.

Why Monday?

Social Significance: While we certainly all know about
having “a case of the Mondays” or the “Monday blues,” there is also a desire to
restart our week positively. Many of us reframe our mindset on Mondays as on
opportunity for a fresh start or a day to “get it together, “especially if we
had a hectic or perhaps an off-Plan weekend.

Health Promotion: Studies have shown an increase in
secondary care referrals on Monday related to heart problems, occupational
injuries, strokes, suicides, etc. These are likely caused by stress, unhealthy
weekend behaviors and disruption of sleep cycles. Health promotions, such as
Meatless Mondays, which foster a positive transition to a structured routine,
can have the potential to improve these health conditions and reduce secondary

Monday=Health Day: People are more likely to start diets,
exercise routines, start smoking cessation, schedule doctor’s appointments on
Mondays than other day of the week. A health promotion that reinforces this
tendency can help people adhere to their health goals.

Cyber Monday: Internet searches for health related
information is highest on Mondays. Searches include: “healthy recipes,” “healthy
children,” “weight loss” etc.

Sample Meatless Lean & Green Meals:

  • Mediterranean Salad
    • 1 ½ cups 1% Cottage Cheese on a bed of 2 cups of lettuce greens, topped with
      ½ cup of chopped tomatoes, 5-6 olives, sliced and drizzled with 1 teaspoons of
      Extra Virgin Olive Oil and 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar.
      • Provides: 1 Lean Option, 3 Green Options, 2 Healthy Fats and 1 Condiment
  • “Spaghetti & Meatballs”
    • 12 Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs on top of 1 cup spaghetti squash
      and ½ cup sautéed mushrooms, topped with ¼ cup Walden Farms Pasta
      and 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
      • Provides: 1 Lean Option, 3 Green Options, and 2 Condiments
  • Taco Lettuce Wraps
    • Divide 1 cup Morning Star Farms Meal Starters Grillers Recipe
      seasoned with 1 teaspoon low-sodium taco seasoning, between 3
      leaves of Boston Lettuce. Top with 2oz of 2% milk cheddar cheese, ½ cup chopped
      tomatoes, ½ cup chopped bell pepper , 2 teaspoons sour cream and ½ oz avocado
      (divided between the 3 lettuce wraps)
      • Provides: 1 Lean Option, 3 Green Options, 1 healthy fat and 2 Condiments