healthy lifestyles


ChooseMyPlate: The USDA Food Guides


Did you know: The USDA has made nutrition guides for over 100 years? Today we use a simple picture called MyPlate, which shows a table setting with a plate and a glass. When serving food, remember to cover half (50%) of your plate with fruits and vegetables. About a third (30%) should be grains like pasta or rice, and about 20% will be protein, like lean meat, chicken, or eggs. Choose Myplate Don’t forget dairy, which can be a beverage like non-fat milk, or even cheese, which can be part of a mixed dish. First Lady Michelle Obama, whose "Let’s Move!" program aims to fight childhood obesity said:


"Parents don't have the time to measure out exactly 3 ounces of chicken or to look up how much rice or broccoli is in a serving. ... But we do have time to take a look at our kids' plates. ... And as long as kids are eating proper portions, as long as half of their meal is fruits and vegetables alongside their lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, then we're good. It's as simple as that."


Tip of the week: Check out the official website for Here you will find healthy eating tips; a diet tracker; food safety information; sample menus and recipes; and other advice that can help you and your family eat more healthfully.


For more information visit:




Did you know: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day? It helps your brain work well, and gives you extra energy for the whole day.When you wake up in the morning, your body needs energy. Even simple tasks like walking and reading require energy. Breakfastpic When you do not eat breakfast, these tasks are harder to do. Focusing at school or work is also harder when you are hungry. You need to take care of your brain and your body by fueling it with food every morning. Breakfast does not have to be a fancy meal that takes hours to prepare. A simple meal like yogurt with granola and fresh fruit will help your brain and body work their best.


Tip of the week: Sometimes people skip breakfast because they are rushed in the morning. One thing to try is to get some breakfast foods ready the night before. For example, prepare and store veggies that you can use in an omelet, or fresh fruit to add to a bowl of cereal. Remember, your morning meal is the most important of the day, so even if it’s a quick bowl of cereal with milk and fruit or toast with some melted cheese and a tomato slice, you’ll get the boost you need to make it through the morning until lunch.


For more information visit: heart healthy living


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Family Meals


Did you know: Sitting down to eat a meal as a family can help keep you and your family healthy? Family meals are a great way for family members to bond.Familymealspic At the table, adults and children can share stories and help each other learn. Sharing helps reduce stress in children. When a child is less stressed, he is less likely to smoke, drink, and do drugs. When a child knows a parent cares, it means that kids have a better chance to succeed in school and make healthier decisions in life.


Tip of the week: Plan ahead! It may not be easy to find a time to eat together as a family. Talk as a family about your schedule for the week and set aside time to eat together. Then put a reminder about what time everyone should be home and ready for dinner on your refrigerator! To keep everyone interested in family meals, have children help plan the menu. Kids can also help prepare the food, set the table, and help clean up. Mealtime is a perfect time for you and your family to enjoy quality time over good food!


For more information visit: Family meals


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Portion Control


Did you know: The best diet for a healthy lifestyle lets you eat your favorite foods? Instead of focusing on what we should not eat, this diet focuses on what we should eat. Half of the food we eat should always be fruits and vegetables.PortioncontrolpicWe also need to control the amount of the foods we eat. With a wide variety of foods and portion control, we can fight obesity and live a healthy life! Obesity is a growing problem because we tend to eat more food than we need. When we eat too much food, our bodies store the extra food as fat, causing us to gain weight. The good news is that all we need to do is pay attention to our body’s hunger cues. When we feel full, our body is telling us that we have eaten the right amount of food. That is our cue to stop eating until the next meal. We do not need to stop eating our favorite foods, we just need to know how much is enough!


Tip of the week: Before eating, make sure that half of the food on your plate is fruits and vegetables. The more kinds, the better.You can make your salads crunchy and colorful with cucumbers, tomatoes and bell peppers. Try adding grapes, orange slices or strawberries to your salad. Also, remember to pay attention to your body’s hunger cues. When you feel full, wrap up and save the rest of your meal for when you are hungry again later. Following these tips will help you feel great all day long


For more information visit: enjoy your food, but eat less


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Dairy Products


Did you know: Dairy products are a great way to get calcium and high-quality protein in your diet? It is important for everyone, especially growing children and teenagers to have enough calcium for strong bones and teeth. dairyproductpicOther health benefits of dairy include reducing blood pressure and bad cholesterol, reducing PMS symptoms, and preventing bone loss later in life. The best choices include fat-free milk, plain yogurt, and low-fat cheeses. Choosing low or non-fat dairy instead of whole milk products will give you similar taste and texture with a lot fewer calories and a lot less fat! A cup of whole milk is 160 calories and provides 8 grams of fat, while a cup of skim milk has only 90 calories and is fat free! Try to eat at least 3 servings of low-fat/non-fat dairy products each day!


Tip of the week: There are so many ways to have dairy products each day. Try a low-fat mozzarella cheese stick for a delicious snack! Use skim or 1% milk in your cereal or have a glass of milk with breakfast. Add some sliced fruit to non-fat yogurt for a snack. When making pizza at home, use low-fat mozzarella cheese. You can also add low-fat or fat-free cheese to salads, omelets, and fillings to increase your calcium and protein with fewer calories.


For more information visit: Dairy


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Importance of Calcium


Did you know: Calcium is one of the most important nutrients? Calcium and vitamin D help build strong teeth and bones. A great way to consume enough calcium is to make sure you eat at least 3 servings of dairy foods every day. Most people think that means we have to drink 3 cups of milk. Since cheese, yogurt and ice cream are all made from milk, each of these foods is a "dairy product" and contains the same amount of calcium per serving as milk.


It is important that the dairy foods you eat are low in fat and sugar. When thinking about fat, pick cheeses like mozzarella that are labeled "low or reduced fat" to avoid extra calories. When choosing yogurt, it’s best to choose low-fat or non-fat yogurt, which has the same amount of calcium as the full-fat variety. Since yogurt often contains a lot of added sugar, try adding cut up fresh fruit, or frozen fruit with some granola to plain unsweetened yogurt. There are also many "light" yogurts and ice creams that provide calcium without extra fat and sugar.


Tip of the week: Try to eat 3 servings of dairy every day from milk, cheese or yogurt. Try to choose dairy foods that are low in fat and added sugar.


For more information visit: Nutrients in Milk


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Cooking With Herbs, Not Salt


Did you know: Eating too much salt is one of the main causes of high blood pressure? Salt is found in many foods that you would not expect. Soups, salad dressings, sauces, breads, low-fat milk and cheese, and canned fruits and veggies can all contain a lot of salt, even if you can't taste it. But eating food without salt sometimes takes the flavor away. So how can we eat food that tastes great with very little added salt? Use herbs! HerbpicFresh herbs can have a stronger taste and smell, but dried herbs that are found in any grocery store are just as good!   You can even mix herbs together to create different tastes and smells. Herbs are a healthier choice and have no calories. Use as many as you want to add flavor to your meals!


Tip of the week: Add tarragon and dill if you are making dips with sour cream or yogurt. Chop up some chives and add a bit of crushed garlic to your mashed or baked potatoes. You can make tomato sauce using dried basil and oregano. For beef and chicken, mix equal parts garlic and dried parsley instead of a salty herb rub. Make sure with any new dish, you add just a little bit of each herb to start to make sure you like the taste. Then you can add more, or mix in a different herb. Yummy and good for you!


For more information visit: Cooking Guide: Fresh Herbs


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Healthy Baking Substitutes


Did you know: The aroma of chocolate chip cookies or brownies makes us hungry for what's in the oven? But while these foods may taste good, they are often packed with calories, fat, sugar, and salt - all of which you want less of if you're eating healthy! hbpIt's a good thing there are so many options when it comes to baking. Fat and sugar are the main sources of calories in baking. Making a few simple changes can lower the fat and sugar in your recipes without a major change in taste. Some substitutes also raise the amount of fiber, protein, and/or vitamins and minerals - an extra health boost!


For more information visit: Joy of Baking


Tip of the week: In order to lower the fat content, try substituting half of the fat (butter, oil, or margarine) called for in the recipe with one of these options:


• Fruit purees, such as unsweetened applesauce, crushed canned pineapple, or mashed bananas
• Vegetable purees, such as sweet potatoes, cauliflower, or canned pumpkin; darker vegetables like spinach can be pureed and added to items like chocolate desserts
• Great northern beans or pinto beans will add protein to your baking and doesn't change the taste when they are pureed!
For more tips and tricks, check out this great website for great ideas on all different types of baked goods:


For more information visit: Veganize & Healthify Your Baking


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Salt and Sodium


Did you know: Sodium is a component of salt? Salt acts as a flavor enhancer and is a necessary part of the diet. But too much sodium may be unhealthy. High sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure, which can lead to other heart conditions, and even a stroke. There are many ways to flavor your food without using salt. To reduce salt intake, try to use spices and herbs to flavor your food. Spices and herbs have no calories and may even have some health benefits. Using thyme, rosemary, cumin, pepper and basil will help you use less salt in your recipes.


The other way to monitor salt intake is by buying foods that are low in added salt or sodium. Sodium is found in most packaged foods. When you go grocery shopping, it's important to read the labels on food items. Choose foods that are "low sodium" or "reduced sodium." Focus on buying fresh foods like fruits and vegetables or products that naturally low in sodium.


Tip of the week: Fill up with fruits and vegetables, as they are very low in sodium and naturally delicious. Have at least one fruit or vegetable with each meal. Also, when you are cooking, experiment with herbs and spices instead of salt to create unique flavors for each of your meals! Cooking at home means that YOU control what goes into your food, so make low-sodium foods that are healthy and tasty for the whole family!


For more information visit: Most Americans Should Consume Less Sodium


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Benifits of Eating Seafood


Did you know: Fish has lots of vitamins and oils that are good for your body? There are two types of fish, white fish and oily fish. It is important to eat both types as part of your diet. besp White fish, like sea bass and halibut, have many vitamins that help keep your body strong and healthy. Oily fish, like salmon and tuna, have healthy oils that help lower your risk for heart disease.


There are many types of fish and they can be prepared in a variety of ways. Fish tastes best with vegetables and fruits and rice or bread. You can make fish tacos with tilapia and cold mango salsa. Tuna tastes good on a sandwich with lettuce, tomato and cucumber. Baked salmon compliments steamed veggies and brown rice. & The possibilities are endless!


Tip of the week: Choose 2 days of the week to be "fish days." On one of those days, try a new recipe with a type of oily fish. On the other day, try a new recipe with a white fish. You can even prepare some of your favorite meals and substitute the meat with fish! By eating both white fish and oily fish, you are giving your body the variety of nutrients that it needs!


For more information visit: Welcome to SeafoodHealthFacts


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Did you know: Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol may be good for your health? We all know that drinking and driving do not mix — one should never drink and drive. Too much alcohol can cause heart disease and other health problems. alcoholpicBut a moderate amount of alcohol provides some health benefits. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans indicate that moderate drinking may have some health benefits.   What is moderate drinking? For women it is ONE drink a day and for men, it is TWO drinks. One drink is the same as one 12 ounce bottle of beer, a 4 ounce glass of red or white wine, or a shot (1 ounce) of hard alcohol (like tequila). Combined with a healthy diet, small amounts of alcohol can help you reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke.


Tip of the week: It is important to know how much alcohol you are actually drinking. Some mixed drinks – such as margaritas may be stronger than you think. Also, these types of drinks contain a lot of added sugar and provide extra calories. Enjoy a glass of wine or a beer with your meal and enjoy the health benefits of moderate consumption.


For more information visit: The Nutrition Source Alcohol


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Trim the fat


Did you know: A piece of fried chicken can contain up to 900 calories and 52 grams of fat? If you grill that same piece of chicken, it has only 120 calories and 10 grams of fat. What a huge difference! When you decide to eat healthfully, one of the first things to do is to cut out (or cut down) the number of fried foods you eat. Lean meat This includes chips, donuts, chicken nuggets, fish fingers, or any other foods that uses heavy amounts of oil and/or batter to cook. When you eat baked meats and veggies, you eat much less fat and the taste of the food not overpowered by the taste of salt and fat. Baking your food is easier than throwing it in the deep fryer and it can taste as great.


Tip of the week: You do not have to give up flavor when you eat baked foods. Add herbs and spices to your chicken and beef dishes. Try using cooking spray instead of pouring oil into your cooking pan. If you crave the crunchy feel of fried food, try dipping the food in a little bit of an egg and low-fat milk mixture. Then bread the food with crushed cornflakes or breadcrumbs, place on a baking sheet and put it in the oven instead of frying in oil. Oil-free frying!


For more information visit: The Nutrition Source Fats and Cholesterol


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Protein Foods


Did you know: Your skin, hair, fingernails, muscles and body organs are all made of protein? Since protein is so important, we need to make sure to eat the variety of protein that our body needs. Many different foods provide protein. It’s best to focus on eating a variety of foods that contain protein to meet our nutritional needs. In addition to meat (beef) and poultry (chicken), protein is found in eggs, nuts, beans (like lentils, black beans, chick peas, pinto beans), milk, yogurt and even whole grain bread! We need to be careful when choosing our proteins, however. Always make sure that meats and dairy products are low-fat, and that nuts, canned beans and lunch meats are low-sodium. We get a lot of protein in a small serving size, so make sure to eat only what your body needs, 5 to 7 ounces every day.


Tip of the week: Be creative with your protein intake! Have an egg scramble with vegetables and whole grain toast for breakfast. Add black beans and sunflower seeds to your salad for lunch. For dinner, grill some chicken and vegetables to eat with brown rice. You can even include protein in your dessert! Slice up an apple and eat it with peanut butter, or sprinkle some nuts on top of low-fat ice-cream!


For more information visit: The Nutrition Source Protein


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Whole grains


Did you know: Grains are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, oils, and protein? Grain products include wheat, brown and white rice, oats and oatmeal, cornmeal, barley, bread, pasta, cereal, tortillas, and grits. Wholegrains There are two types of grains: whole grains and refined grains. Most of us don’t have trouble consuming enough grains each day, but most of us have trouble consuming enough WHOLE GRAINS! Whole grains are the best choice for a healthy diet and contain the entire grain kernel. Refined grains have the bran and germ removed. However, removing these parts also reduces the dietary fiber, iron, and many vitamins. When choosing grains, look for the "whole grain" stamp on the label and try to make half of all the grains you eat whole grains!


Tip of the week: Try to eat between 5 and 6 servings of whole grains per day. One serving is a slice of whole grain bread, ½ cup cooked rice or whole grain pasta, or a cup of whole grain cereal. Make sure that the first ingredient on the food label is "whole grains" or "whole grain flour."


For more information visit: Tips to Help You Eat Whole Grains


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Sugar Substitutes


Did you know: The average American eats about 20 teaspoons of sugar per day that’s almost 300 calories? Over time this can add extra calories to the diets, which can increase the chance of gaining weight. Most of that sugar comes into the diet from sugar sweetened beverages like soda pop and juice drinks. SugarSubstitutes Replacing sugar with low calories sweeteners can help prevent weight gain. Another plus is that low calorie sweeteners have no effect on blood sugar levels an important fact for diabetics and do not cause tooth decay like sugar does. Where can you find these great sugar substitutes? They come in all different colored packets: pink, yellow and blue! Look for them when you’re at the grocery store p and buy in bulk at Costco. When buying a food, the label will usually say reduced sugar, low - sugar or sugar free. Enjoy the sweet taste of sugar without the guilt.


Tip of the week: Add your favorite low calorie sweetener to iced tea or coffee for a delicious and healthy alternative. Try diet drinks like Crystal light or add one packet to a big glass of ice water with lemon slices.


For more information visit: Artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes


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Snacking for Health


Did you know: Snacking can be good for you, especially when you choose healthy snacks? Snacking for Health Healthy snacking helps prevent weight gain, and may even help with weight loss. Snacking on healthful foods keeps you full, and keeps you from eating too much at your next meal. When is the best time to snack? When you’re hungry! Typically, you’ll feel hungry about 2-3 hours after you eat. If you start to feel hungry (and your next meal is more than an hour away), grab a healthy snack. You’ll get a quick energy boost, feel great, and you might even eat less later.


Tip of the week: Instead of eating packaged snacks like chips, or grabbing cookies or baked goods, pack and eat fresh, quick snacks like baby carrots, apple slices, raisins, grapes, low-fat cheese sticks, or a small bag of cereal. These snacks are healthy, low in calories, and filling.


For more information visit: 100 Healthy Snack Ideas


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Healthy Snack Choices


Did you know: Stores are always full of sweet and tasty snacks that you can buy, but they are not the best options for your health? Candy, chips, soda, and fried foods are loaded with sugar, salt, and fat. Healthy Snack Choices When we eat too much of these, they can be bad for our health. Instead, it’s important to choose snacks that keep us healthy. These include fruits, vegetables, low-fat dips, whole grain bars, and small snack cakes.


Eating healthy snacks throughout the day is a good way to stay energized. It can keep you from gaining weight. When you choose a healthy snack between meals, it will provide you with the energy you need until you eat your next meal. Also, it will keep you from eating too much at your next meal.


Tip of the week: Put a bowl of fruit on the kitchen table or counter. Put small pieces of fruit on the TOP shelf of the refrigerator so they are easily seen. Slice fresh fruits and vegetables and store them in small containers or bags in your refrigerator so they are ready to go when you are!


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Healthy Desserts


Did you know: You can make desserts that are both healthy and delicious? Not all tasty desserts have to be high in fat or sugar! With the holidays approaching, now is a great time to make some healthy desserts that are good for you and your family. Fruit is a great dessert because it is naturally sweet and there are endless varieties! You can grill fruit or eat it with low-fat yogurt. When baking cakes or muffins, try substituting a fruit puree like applesauce for the sugar. Instead of making a whole pumpkin or chocolate cream pie, make just the filling. Serve a tablespoon of pie filling on half of a graham cracker for smaller, more controlled servings.


Tip of the Week: Fruit crisps are delicious and can be made with different fruits including apples, pears, peaches or berries.


• 5 cups fruit
• ¾ cup packed brown sugar
• ½ cup wheat flour
• ½ teaspoon cinnamon
• cooking spray
• 2 oz cold unsalted butter
• 1 ½ cups quick-cooking oats


Cut the fruit into small pieces. Combine fruit, ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 TBSP flour and ½ tsp cinnamon. Spray the pan with cooking spray. Cut the butter into small pieces with a knife, then mix butter with the rest of the brown sugar, flour and oats. Sprinkle topping on the fruit in the dish. Cook for 40 minutes at 350°F. Let it cool, or serve warm. Enjoy!


For more information visit: Tested Baking & Dessert Recipes & Videos


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Exercising as a Family


Did you know: You don’t have to go to a gym to exercise?Enjoy simple workouts with your family members. You can try going for a walk together, playing ball in your front yard, swimming, or playing active video games on the Wii.Family ExerciseDo something that all of your family members will enjoy!


Exercise can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. This will help to decrease your risk for disease and cancer. If you or any family member has diabetes, high cholesterol, or heart problems, exercise can improve your health! Exercise may also help you build muscle and keep your bones strong so you can live a longer, healthier life.


Tip of the week:Find at least one day and time of the week where your family can exercise together. Also, set goals to keep you motivated! You can set a goal for how long and how many times you want to exercise each week. When you meet your goal, you can reward your whole family with a day trip or a fun activity. Exercising as a family is a great time for you to improve your health and bond with your family!


For more information visit: Exercising as a Family


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Helping a "Picky Eater"


Did you know: Kids rarely eat foods that they don’t recognize? A child may have to see a food 10-15 times before they are willing to eat it. Don’t give up! Instead of thinking your child is a "picky eater," just think of your child as shy. Helping Picky eater Children have to “get to know” their food before they eat it. Also, it’s important for you to show your children and grandchildren that you eat healthy fruits and vegetables. Your children and grandchildren will want to copy what you eat. The more often you eat healthy foods, the more likely they will eat them.


TIP OF THE WEEK: During a family meal, show your children that you enjoy eating healthy foods like vegetables. Give them a small amount of a new food to try—and if they don’t eat it, just offer it again later in the week. See how many times it takes until they taste it. Remember, they’re just shy and they need to see the food many times.


For more information visit: be a healthy role model for children


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