- Whole grains -- Look for cereals that are whole grain. Search for the word "whole" in the ingredient list. If the package says "100% whole grain" then you know you're getting these healthy grains. The label will also tell you how much fiber is in one serving of cereal. Choose cereals that have 3 to 5 grams of fiber. Whole grains and fiber help you feel full for longer.
- Low sugar -- Choose cereals with little or no added sugar. The goals should be a cereal with 8 grams of sugar or less. Make sure to watch out for the cereals on the bottom shelf with colorful packaging and characters because these tend to have more sugar and are more appealing to children.
- Low fat -- Most cereals are low in fat, but you look at the food label to ensure that the cereal that you are choosing is low in fat. Choose a cereal that has less than 3 grams of fat and no trans-fat. The options are endless! Cereals that are low in fat are generally heart healthy too.
- Low calorie -- Try to choose a cereal that has between 100 and 200 calories per serving. Don't forget that having more than one serving increases the calories! Always check to see what the serving size is. Usually the serving size of a bowl of cereal is 3/4 to 1 cup. Measuring your cereal to get the right portion size.
- Store brand -- Instead of buying brand cereal try the generic store brand. You can sometimes find these cereals on the same shelf. These cereals are cheaper and have the same flavors and nutrition.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Monday, March 3, 2014
Eating breakfast at school is a smart way to start the day! Did you know that students who eat a nutritious breakfast:
- Start the day ready to learn
- Miss fewer school days
- Feel less hungry
- Do better in school
Talk with your child about healthy food choices for breakfast. Take time to read the school breakfast menu together. Your child should bring home a copy of the menu from school each month, or you can look for the menu on the school's website. Post the menu where everyone can see it. You might find some foods your child already likes, as well as some new foods to try.
Whole grains, breads and cereals, low-fat or fat free dairy foods like milk and yogurt, fruit and 100% fruit juice are all great choices to start the day off right. Visit www.choosemyplate.gov for more information about MyPlate, choosing healthy foods, and easy recipes. Physical activity ideas and fun online games to learn about making healthy choices are also located on the website.
Monday, February 24, 2014
- Vegetables -- These can be used in soups, stews, or served as sides. The canned versions are still packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Look for "no salt added" or "low sodium" on the label and drain and rinse before using to reduce the sodium even more.
- Fruit -- It can be enjoyed as a snack or added to cereal and oatmeal in the morning. Try creating a fruit and yogurt parfait as a delicious dessert! Look for ones packed in 100% juice or "no sugar added". Avoid ones packed in "heavy syrup" since it has a lot more sugar.
- Beans and legumes -- Beans, peas, and lentils are all great additions to a meal. They are rich in vitamins and minerals as well as an inexpensive source of protein. Try them in chili and stews or use black beans to make vegetarian tacos or burgers. The possibilities are endless!
- Canned meats -- When you think of canned meat, SPAM usually comes to mind. But there are healthier options! Canned fish can go beyond the regular old tuna fish sandwich. Try using canned tuna and salmon to make fun burgers or add to soup to make a fish chowder. They can be less expensive than fresh meats and the fish adds some omega-3 fats for a healthy heart. Canned white meat chicken is also a great option for casseroles or soup recipes. Look for "water packed" when looking at all of these products rather than oil which can add more unwanted fat and calories.
Monday, February 17, 2014
- Fresh fruit is a great snack because it can easily be brought with you in the morning when you leave for work. Good choices that transport well would be apples, bananas, and oranges.
- Don't be afraid to get creative as well. Try cutting up cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, kiwi, mangos and more! Make fruit kabobs with your cut up fruit!
- Raw vegetables are another great option. Celery and baby carrots are good on-the-run and go great with hummus. Another idea is making "Ants-on-a-log" with celery, peanut butter (or another type of nut butter) and raisins on top!
- A small salad tossed with your favorite low-fat dressing can be a very satisfying way to increase your vegetable intake.
- A low-fat yogurt is a great way to get some calcium and protein while you snack. Freeze yogurt for a healthy twist. Just be sure to check the sugar content on the nutrition facts label when you buy because some products contain a lot.
- Reduced-fat string cheese is a great grab-and-go item! It is super easy to pack with you and is low in calories, but has the protein to help satisfy a food craving.
- Nuts are a great source of healthy fats and a good source of protein. Choose nuts or trail mixes that are no salt added for the healthiest choice. A portion of nuts can help curb hunger. A serving of nuts is a small handful which will help with portion control. Some good examples of healthy nut options are almonds, walnuts, and cashews.
- Granola bars and fruit and nut bars can be healthful snacks that the whole family will enjoy. Just be sure to check the label to make sure the first ingredient is 100% whole grain or a fruit.
Monday, February 10, 2014
Valentine's Day is right around the corner. It's a fun day to show family and friends how much you love them! You don't have to fill the day with unhealthy candy and desserts; you can have a great Valentine's Day with healthy alternatives.
Healthy Valentine's Day snack ideas:
- Yogurt parfaits. Make layers of granola, non-fat yogurt, and some yummy red berries.
- Chocolate covered strawberries. Dip strawberries and/or raspberries in some melted dark chocolate.
- Heart shaped whole wheat sandwiches. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to shape whole wheat read. Fill the heart shapes with peanut butter, red veggies & hummus or turkey and low-fat cheese.
- Trail mix: Mix together pretzels, cheerios, almonds and some pink and red M&M's for a filling afternoon snack.
Giving fruit to your Valentine's can be extra special by adding a little card. Below are some examples:
- Banana -- "I'm bananas about you!"
- Pear -- "You are pear'fect to me!"
- Apple -- "You are the apple of my eye!"
- Grapes -- "I like you bunches!"
- Orange - " 'Orange you great!"
Have a great Valentine's Day filled with healthy treats that you can eat in moderation.
Friday, January 31, 2014
1.25 billion chicken wings will be eaten this Sunday -- enough to fill over 1 million football fields! Each wing has about 100 calories, not including the high-fat bleu cheese or ranch dip.
Try: Baked (skinless) chicken strips with low-fat ranch dressing! Don't forget the celery on the side.
Although pizza is a quick and easy solution, it can be high in fat and calories. Pizza can also cost a lot of money if you are ordering for a party.
Try: Have your own healthy pizza station set up at home and let everyone make their own mini pizza on an English muffin and add lots of veggies.
Potato chips have a lot of sodium and fat, and are not very filling.
Try: Bake sweet potato fries that everyone will love.
Most Americans drink soda and sugary drinks during football games, which contains a lot of "empty" calories.
Try: Unsweetened tea or flavored water. Try making a Homemade Fizzy Fruit Drink. Put 1/4 cup orange juice with 3/4 cup of seltzer water and a few ice cubes and stir!
- Veggies with Dip
Carrots, celery, and broccoli are great, healthy options to include on your game day spread. However, be careful of what you are adding to them -- some dips are very high fat and can be high in cost.
Try: Guacamole, hummus or our MyPlate Salsa are great options.
Monday, January 27, 2014
Here are a few tips to help you save money and calories when eating away from home:
- Make a budget. Decide how much money you will spend on food away from home each week or month. Then stick to this budget!
- At fast food restaurants, order healthy options from the dollar menu, such as salad with low-fat or fat-free dressing, grilled chicken, fruit and yogurt parfait or a baked potato.
- Drink water instead of soda.
- Eat family style. Make the most of large portion sizes and share food with a friend or family member.
- Order a salad! Salads are often the lowest priced menu items and are great for you.
- In a hurry? Buy a rotisserie chicken and prepare your sides at home.
- Do you have pesto, salsa or tapenade in your refrigerator? If so, buy a can of tuna and make a quick and easy tuna salad at home. See recipe below.
Quick and Easy Tuna Salad
1 can chunk light tuna in water (drained)
2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon pesto, salsa or tapenade
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a small bowl, carefully mix the ingredients. Serve on a bed of lettuce and enjoy!
Note: For a chunkier tuna salad, do not over mix the tuna as it tends to break apart very easily.