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Healthy Living

  • Food & Nutrition, Get Healthy!, Healthy Living, Wellness

    Meal Plan – Stocking Up

    Keep key ingredients stocked in order to be able to put together a balanced meal at a moment’s notice. A good stocked would include:
    • 2-3 Protein Sources
    • 2-3 Types of Fruit
    • 1 Bag Leafy Greens
    • 2-3 Pre-Cut Veggies
    • Quick-Cook Whole Grain

    Maintain a stocked pantry too! Having staples on hand is a great way to streamline your meal prep process and simplify menu creation.

    Here are a few examples of healthy and versatile foods to keep in your pantry:
    • Whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, oats, bulgur, whole-wheat pasta, polenta
    • Legumes: canned or dried black beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, lentils
    • Canned goods: low-sodium broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, artichokes, olives, corn, fruit (no added sugar), tuna, salmon, chicken
    • Oils: olive, avocado, coconut
    • Baking essentials: baking powder, baking soda, flour, cornstarch
    • Other: Almond butter, peanut butter, potatoes, mixed nuts, dried fruit

    Keep a variety of spices on hand as well

    Herbs and Spices add flavor and can make a difference to any meal.
    If you don’t already have a solid stash of dried herbs and spices, just pick up 2–3 jars of your favorites each time you go grocery shopping and slowly build a collection.

    Before you sit down to make your meal plan, Shop your pantry/freezer/refrigerator first

  • Food & Nutrition, Get Healthy!, Healthy Living, Wellness

    Start Smart with Breakfast

    You have heard it before and yes breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day. Whether you start your day at 7:00 a.m. or 11:00 a.m., you need to fuel your body and jump start your metabolism. Breakfast is the first chance your body has to refuel. After 8 to 12 hours without a meal or snack, your glucose levels, also known as blood sugar, are low. Glucose is the main source of energy for your body; and without proper blood sugar levels your body cannot function at its best, whether it be for school, work or daily physical activities like going to the grocery store, cleaning your house, or gardening.

    Eating breakfast can also help with proper weight loss and management. A nutritious breakfast will help you feel full longer and can help prevent you from snacking on high calorie foods later in the day. Studies show those who skip breakfast are more likely to over wart on fatty foods throughout the day.

    Most people give a variety of reasons for not eating breakfast. A common reason is that they are not hungry in the morning, which can be a result of eating a large meal or snack late in the evening. While you are sleeping your body’s ability to digest foods slow down because you are in a resting state. Therefore, you are left with undigested food in your stomach in the morning leaving you with the feeling of being full when you wake up. A tired stomach does not feel like digesting breakfast after it worked all night. A good breakfast will keep you from being tired and irritable mid-morning. Another common reason heard is the people do not lie breakfast foods. What’s the harm in having a slice of veggie pizza, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a glass of milk and some fruit? Breakfast does not have to be the traditional eggs, toast, oatmeal or cereal. It can be anything you like, just make it low-fat and high in fiber and nutrients.

    If you are one that sleeps late and doesn’t get up in time to eat breakfast, try some of these great ideas that you can take with you almost anywhere with little effort. Granola bars (make sure it has at least 3 grams of fiber per bar), string cheese, baby carrots, drinkable smoothies and trail mix (create your own by mixing dried cereal, dried fruit, raisins, nuts, etc.) are all great “to-go” breakfast ideas.

    Check out the trail mix combination below!

    Let’s reiterate why breakfast is so important. The effects of a skipped breakfast are short attention span, lack of alertness, longer reaction time, low blood sugar and decreased work productivity. In order to avoid these reactions, it is important to take time to eat a balanced breakfast. It’s a good investment of your time and once you get in the habit of eating breakfast, you may feel like your day isn’t complete without it.

    Nuts for Nuts

    Cashews

    Peanuts

    Almonds

    Walnuts

    Raisins

    Power Mix

    Dried redberries

    Pistachios

    Dried blueberries

    Flaxseeds

    Dark chocolate chips

    Tropical Mix

    Cashews

    Brazil nuts

    Dried mango

    Coconut flakes

    Banana chips.

  • Diabetes, Healthy Living

    Diabetes Health

    Diabetes has become an epidemic, affecting about twenty-one million Americans according to the American Diabetes Association. Yet more than 30% of that twenty-one Million are undiagnosed and don’t realize they have it.

    According to research, there is an additional 40 to 60 million Americans with pre-diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are more likely to develop type-2 diabetes later in life unless they change their eating and exercise behaviors.

    What is Pre-Diabetes

    Pre-diabetes is a condition in which the blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. To be diagnosed as pre-diabetic a fasting blood sugar reading of between 100 mg/dL and 125 mg/dL is needed.

    How to Manage Your Pre-diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes

    As mentioned before, pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes can be managed with a proper diet and exercise plan. With diabetes, it is important to keep your blood sugar as close to normal as possible throughout the day. By following a proper meal plan and exercise plan, you will prevent the highs and lows in your blood sugar. Those highs and lows can be dangerous and can lead to life threatening effects on health such as, retinopathy including blindness, circulatory problems, kidney disease, heart disease, neuropathy and in some cases amputation.

    What is Type 2 Diabetes

    Your body changes some of the food you eat to sugar that is carried in your blood. Insulin helps get the sugar from your blood into the cells so you can use if for energy. With type 2 diabetes, the body loses the ability to efficiently use insulin produced by the pancreas and causes your blood sugar to remain too high. For a proper diagnosis of type 2 diabetes a person needs two separate fasting glucose readings of 126 mg/dL or higher. Type 2 diabetes develops slowly and can be prevented or reversed through proper diet, weight management and exercise. Those at risk for type 2 diabetes include: people over the age of 45, being overweight or obese, a diagnosis of pre-diabetes, having a low HDL (good cholesterol) reading, and having a family history of diabetes.

    Early Detection is Key

    If you think you might have diabetes or pre-diabetes, see your doctor. Early recognition of this disease is important. The longer the body is exposed to high or uncontrolled blood sugar levels, the greater the health problems can be. It’s recommended to have a fasting blood glucose test every three years if you are over the age of 45.

    Signs & Symptoms of Diabetes.

    Thirsty|Frequent Urination|Blurred Vision|Tired without doing much activity|Unexplained Weight Loss|Irritability

    If you feel you have any of these symptoms be sure to see a doctor for a fasting glucose test.

    Spicy Chicken Tacos

    8 corn tortillas

    1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and cut into thin strips

    ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste

    2 teaspoons canola oil, divided

    1 large onion, sliced

    1 large green bell pepper, seeded and sliced

    3 large cloves garlic, minced

    1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

    1 tablespoon ground cumin

    ½ cup prepared hot salsa, plus more for garnish

    ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

    Sliced scallions, chopped fresh tomatoes and reduced-fat sour cream, for garnish

    Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Wrap tortillas in foil and bake until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes.

    Meanwhile, season chicken with salt. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat until very hot. Add chicken and cook, stirring until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

    Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to skillet. Add onion and cook, stirring, until they start to brown around the edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Add bell pepper, garlic, jalapeno and cumin. Cook, stirring, until peppers are bright green but still crisp, 2 to 3 minutes more.

    Stir in salsa and reserved chicken. Cook, stirring, until chicken is heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Spoon into warmed tortillas and garnish with scallions, tomatoes and sour cream.

    Per Serving:

    304 calories; 7.2 g total fat; 83 mg cholesterol; 396 mg sodium. 30 g carbohydrates; 29.8 g protein

    Exchanges:

    2 Starch, 1 Vegetable, 3 1/2 Lean Meat