This time of year, it's tempting to eat at restaurants more often. Sometimes it's too hot to cook and others it just sounds fun to visit a new restaurant and sit outside. It's also the time of year many of us take vacations, and that usually means eating out much more than we would at home. But eating out doesn't have to mean sacrificing good food choices. Scroll down for some tips to follow to help keep your portions right-sized and your selection nutritious.
At Jump In, one thing we hear a lot is that healthy food costs more than unhealthy food and that makes it harder to stick to a nutritious diet every day. While it's true that some processed food is, per calorie, cheaper than fresh food, there are lots of ways to maintain a very healthy diet while watching your budget. Pantry staples like beans and whole grains (rice, quinoa) are low-cost and important to a healthy diet. Eggs are an inexpensive source of good protein. And fresh, seasonal produce is especially plentiful at affordable prices this time of year when there are farm stands and farmers markets around town. Many farmers markets accept SNAP and some will even double the SNAP benefit for the products sold there. Here is a list of greater Indianapolis farmers markets this time of year, and here's another of farmers markets that run in the fall and winter.
How about that seasonal produce? You've probably noticed that certain fruits and vegetables go on sale at different times of the year. That's because of when the produce is harvested. Eating fruits and vegetables in season can help save money and give you a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to choose from all year long. In the fall, look for apples, squash (including pumpkin!), broccoli, brussels sprouts and everything on this list. In the winter, stick with citrus fruits, dates, sweet potatoes and everything on this list. In the spring, stock up on honeydew, rhubarb, pineapple, strawberries and all of these. Right now, in the middle of glorious summer, you can indulge in corn, tomatoes, berries, cherries, eggplant, and this whole long, luscious list. Summer definitely has a growing advantage over the other seasons, but as you can read, each season offers a wide variety to suit all kinds of tastes - and plenty of new fruits and vegetables to try.
Many more tips on ways to save money while making healthy choices come straight from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Planning meals and grocery lists ahead of time, reading labels - all these can help inform you to be better educated and a savvier shopper and eater. Here's the complete list, and it includes some terrific recipes:
With a little information and a little planning, you can make healthy choices for yourself and your family all year long while sticking to your budget. Bon appetit!
Have the Olympics triggered conversations in your house about sports and having a healthy body? Now is a great time to talk about the connection between physical activity and staying healthy. You don't have to be a world-class athlete to have strong bones and muscles. Here is a simple formula that you can use every day (you may already be doing one or more of these activities) to help your body function in good form.
Our friends at Let's Go! created a simple slogan to help you remember four ways to be healthy every day: 5-2-1-0. These research-proven recommendations come from experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
You often hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so it's important to make it count. Forget the doughnuts and the big-as-your-face muffins drowning in sugar sprinkles. A healthy breakfast includes a variety of whole grain, fruit, vegetable, dairy and meat or meat alternative combinations. With a little planning and our tips for a healthier breakfast, you’ll be well on your way to getting the recommended 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
Families look to their healthcare providers for trusted health advice, especially when sorting through the noise of social media where health messages can be confusing and contradictory. But time is short at a wellness visit—with lots of topics to cover—and conversations about weight can be challenging for doctors and patients alike. So what can a healthcare practice do?
Focus on healthy behaviors
Help families remember what's "healthy" by promoting the nationally recognized, evidence-based 5-2-1-0 goals:
- Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day
- Limit screen time to 2 hours or less daily
- Get at least 1 hour of physical activity
- Drink 0 sugary beverages and more water
Hearing the 5-2-1-0 message at the doctor's office is consistent with health messages children are hearing at school and child care. This, in turn, helps keep good choices top of mind and more likely to become habit.
Additionally, focusing on 5-2-1-0 puts healthy behavior for all children at the forefront of your practice, rather than singling out overweight individuals and focusing on the negative. Consider incorporating the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Habits Questionnaire into your office work flow.
Before you turn on the TV, computer, or other electronic device for your child, consider these facts:
- Screen time is habit-forming. The more time children engage with screens, the harder time they have turning electronics off as they become older children.
- Over 50% of advertisements accompanying children’s TV shows are about foods. Up to 98% of these promote foods that are high in fat, sugar, and/or sodium.
- The early years are critical. Limiting exposure to television during the first 4 years of life may decrease children’s interest in it in later.
- Excessive screen time has been linked to irregular sleep and delayed language acquisition for children under the age of 3, as well as increased early childhood aggression.
- Children who spend less time watching television in their early years tend to do better in school. They also have a healthier diet and are more physically active.
- Reducing screen time can help prevent childhood obesity. This in turn means significantly reduced risk for diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure at young ages.
Looking to start, expand, or freshen up your physical activity or health education program in the new year? We've rounded up 7 toolkits and curriculum resources for you to explore.
Animal Trackers is a complete motor skills and physical activity curriculum developed by the nation’s leading specialists in health and education. A program for preschool children ages 3-6, Animal Trackers features over 60 activities spread out over 10 units filled with colorful characters, games, songs, and stories. Creep and crawl like Lenny the Lizard, or gallop like Harry the Horse. Fee required to access program materials.
CATCH Early Childhood is designed to nurture a love of physical activity, provide an introduction to classroom-based gardening and nutrition, and encourage healthy eating in children ages 3-5. Little ones are motivated to walk, run, jump, dance, and move their whole bodies while playing and having fun.
Community engagement is an important part of a comprehensive workplace wellness program. Employers gain many advantages by engaging in community partnerships, but how do you choose effective partners for your community engagement efforts?
Effective community wellness partnerships require strategic planning and ongoing communication. You want to find a partner(s) whose interest in and commitment to improving wellness is well aligned with yours.
Physical activity is important to the overall health and well-being of everyone, including school-age children. The benefits are well documented and include significant reduction in health risks, building and maintenance of strong bones and muscles, improved health-related fitness, and positive social and mental health. Increasing scientific evidence suggests that healthier students are also better learners, and physical activity can improve academic achievement.
Schools are in an ideal position to influence children's health through increased physical activity, because school is where most children spend the majority of their time outside of home. A School Wellness Policy can help guide these efforts.
It's possible to celebrate Thanksgiving—or any holiday—without going overboard on sweet treats and calorie-laden food and beverages. Here are a few simple strategies to help support you in eating healthy at your Thanksgiving Day celebration.
Drinking water will help you stay hydrated and feel full. Additionally, by choosing water, you'll be avoiding empty liquid calories. Remember, that 12 oz can of Coke contains 140 calories and 10 teaspoons of sugar—skip it and you'll save room for dessert!