Thursday, December 18, 2014

Feeding with Impact Webinar

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This week we hosted the “Feeding with Impact: Addressing obesity through nutrition education and access to fresh healthy produce” webinar. Guest speakers Celia Cole, Feeding Texas CEO, and Deanna Hoelscher, Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living Director, provided their knowledge on feeding with impact strategies. Learning to feed with impact will help address persisting issues such as limited access to affordable healthy foods, few opportunities for physical activity, and overeating. These matters all contribute to high rates of obesity in our population.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Surviving the Holidays: Mindful Eating

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The holidays are officially upon us! ‘Tis the Season for quality family bonding, celebrations and time off from work. This time of year is special in many ways, but often brings with it decadent, unhealthy meals, loads of calories, and untold amounts of laziness on the couch.

Now, we aren’t bringing this up to try and ruin your holiday fun. We just thought it’d be nice to include some guidance in how to enjoy a little holiday indulgence while maintaining healthy habits. Instead of falling from your healthy grace, read on in order to eat, drink and be merry- the healthy way.

Balance
Maintaining your health during the holiday season is all about balance. Eat nutritious meals throughout the day. Don’t go all day without eating until your family’s evening feast. Eat a sensible breakfast and lunch so you aren’t ravenous before dinner, causing you to overeat. When you fill your plate, try to create a balance with protein, fruits and veggies, and whole grains.

You can include healthy holiday food choices by sticking mostly to "GO" foods, few "SLOW" foods and avoiding "WHOA" foods. See examples here:



Choose more often:                    
•Turkey breast •Salads
•Chicken breast •Steamed vegetables
•Mineral water
•Fresh fruit
•Soups
•Plain rice

Choose less often:

•Beef prime rib •Gravy
•Pie
•Bread pudding
•Cake
•Candy
•Stuffing
•Eggnog
•Sugar-sweetened
beverages





Balance socializing with food, and socializing with activity, such as taking a bike ride, going sledding or taking a walk with family and friends.

Prepare
If you know your family or friends are particularly fond of fried, sugary, carb-loaded dishes at holiday get-togethers, bring your own recipe or dish to enjoy. It may also help to pack healthy snacks. Whether you’re traveling or out shopping all day- be prepared when hunger strikes. Throw some healthy snacks into your bag and go on your merry way. Items like carrots, celery, small packets of nuts, or apples are practical on-the-go snacks. Check out other healthy snack ideas from our Pinterest page.

It is also helpful to exercise before the big holiday and stay active during the entire season. Just because you might have some extra time off work or school, doesn’t mean your health gets a break. Try to increase the number of steps you are taking each day if you are wearing a pedometer (like a Fitbit or something similar), or begin to wear a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day. Exercising before the holidays may help burn off some of the extra calories consumed, not to mention helps reduce stress! With the help of American Heart Association, you can find a walking path near your location and get your body moving.

Moderate
The holidays are often times of celebration, with foods and drinks that have special significance, or that may be served only at this time of year. The trick is to be mindful of the calories you are taking in with drinks and treats, avoid high sugar items and limit yourself. Here are some ideas:

  • Try to limit your consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages as much as possible. It is easy to take in extra calories when you drink, as you do not ‘register’ liquid calories as much as calories in solid foods. This includes decreasing your intake of regular sodas, sweetened tea, sweetened coffee drinks, and fruit-flavored drinks. Switch to water with lemons or other fruit, or plain tea or coffee.
  • Limit your consumption of sweets at other meals or between meals. Citrus fruits like oranges, tangerines and grapefruits are in season, so set out a bowl of clementines and snack on them when you get hungry.
  • Cooler weather is the perfect time to make pots of soup and/or stews. These can be very filling and lower in calories. As an added bonus, you can make extra and heat up for a quick meal during busy holiday nights.

As far as the main course, eat slowly and aim for eating the same amount of calories that you usually do, so when eating out or at a party, choose small portions. Also, research shows that you eat and drink less when you take a clean plate or glass each time you get another serving, so don’t let your host or hostess give you an ‘ever full’ wine glass. Finally, eat slowly and savor your food. Enjoy the taste of these holiday foods. The key is to enjoy what you eat and spend your calories wisely.

Maintain
If you are normally a conscious eater, avid exerciser, or health enthusiast, there is no sense in abandoning your healthy habits because the holidays come around. Set activity goals for your days off. The CDC recommends that people aim to be active for at least two and half hours a week and help kids and teens be active for at least one hour a day.

Need more health inspiration for the holidays? Listen to “The 12 Ways to Health Holiday Song” brought to your from the CDC. We hope these recommendations were helpful and above all, we’d like to wish you a happy, safe and (hopefully healthy) holiday season!

If all else fails, enjoy the holidays and sharing food and good times with your families and friends! But – set a limit for your holidays, and resolve to get back to your usual healthy habits on January 1!

Written by
Amanda Taylor
Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living

[image source: flickr/inafrenzy]

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Answers to Your Questions: Whole Child Model Webinar Follow-up

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On November 19th, we featured a webinar on the “Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child” model and discussed why school leaders care so much about student, staff and teacher wellness with our very own Dr. Steve Kelder and Frisco ISD Superintendent, Dr. Jeremy Lyon. If you missed the webinar and would like more details on how to improve school health with statewide solutions, click here for the video archive.