August is ‘Kids Eat Right’ Month


With childhood obesity on the rise, making sure kids eat right and get plenty of exercise is vital.  Parents and caregivers can play a big role in children’s nutrition and health, teaching kids about healthy foods, being a good role model and making sure physical activity is incorporated into each day.

August, which is Kids Eat Right Month, is a great time for families to focus on the importance of healthful eating and active lifestyles. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is encouraging families to take the following steps:

  • Shop Smart. To encourage a healthy lifestyle, get your children involved in selecting the food that will appear at the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.
  • Cook Healthy. Involve your child in the cutting, mixing and preparation of meals. They will learn about food and may even be enticed to try new foods they helped prepare.
  • Eat Right. Sit down together as a family to enjoy a wonderful meal and the opportunity to share the day’s experiences with one another. Research indicates that those families who eat together have a stronger bond, and children have higher self-confidence and perform better in school.
  • Healthy Habits. You can help kids form great, healthy habits by setting a good example. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, choose lower-sodium options, and make at least half the grains your family eats whole grains. For beverages, choose water over sugary drinks, and opt for fat-free or low-fat milk.
  • Get Moving. Aside from being a great way to spend time together, regular physical activity is vital to strengthen muscle and bones, promote a healthy body weight, support learning, develop social skills and build self-esteem. Kids are encouraged to be active for 60 minutes per day.

Getting kids to eat right can sometimes be a challenge, particularly if they are picky eaters. But experts say that a conversation can help. “Talk to your children. Learn the foods they like. Teach them about the foods they need for their growing bodies. Find ways together to make sure they have the knowledge and ability to eat healthy and tasty foods at every meal,” says Angela Lemond, registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson.

It may help to consult a registered dietitian nutritionist in your area to ensure your family is getting the nutrients it needs with a meal plan tailored to your lifestyle and busy schedule.

For more healthful eating tips, recipes, videos and to learn more about Kids Eat Right Month, visit

This August, reevaluate your family’s eating and exercise habits, and take steps to make positive, healthful changes.

-Reprinted from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics


Twelve Tasty Summer Herbs


Spice up your summer meals with fresh herbs. Herbs are a great way to add flavor without using salt. In addition, many herbs contain disease-fighting antioxidants, vitamins A and C, and fiber. Fresh herbs are abundant this time of year, so now is the perfect time to add them to your favorite recipes.

1. Rosemary has a pine flavor and aroma, and is native to the Mediterranean region. It is often used to flavor roasted meats, such as lamb, pork, chicken, or turkey. Try adding rosemary to your favorite marinade or to roasted potatoes.
2. Fresh mint adds a refreshing splash of flavor to iced tea or to salads. The sweet flavor also pairs well with lamb. Keep your mint fresh for longer by cutting the ends and storing it upright in a glass of water.
3. Basil is a traditional summer favorite and is often added to tomato sauce. It is native to India, but is best known for being featured in Italian cuisine. It’s strong and sweet flavor goes well with tomato, fresh mozzarella, and olive oil to make a refreshing Caprese Salad. It can also be mixed with olive oil, garlic and pine nuts to make fresh pesto.
4. Dill is a member of the celery family. Fresh dill and can be added to grilled fish or chicken, vegetables, potatoes, or salads.
5. Oregano has a spicy, peppery flavor and is full of antioxidants. It is commonly added to pizza and pasta sauces. Try sautéing oregano with vegetables or add it to a fresh salad. It can also be used with roasted meat and fish.
6. Thyme is also high in antioxidants and tastes like a cross between oregano and rosemary. It is one of the components of Herbes de Provence, which is used in southern French cooking. Thyme adds great flavor to fish, grilled chicken, vegetables, and tomato sauce.
7. Fresh cilantro is traditionally used in Mexican, Indian and Thai dishes. Cilantro comes from the leaves of the coriander plant, and is high in antioxidants. Cilantro is a controversial herb, and people tend to either love it or hate it, which may be due to genetic predisposition. If you enjoy the aroma of cilantro, try adding it to your favorite salsa, guacamole, or salad.
8. You may have Bee balm, also known as bergamont, growing in your yard. It has a long history of being used by Native Americans for its medicinal properties. When cooking, it can be substituted for oregano or mint, and can be used as a seasoning for meat. The leaves can be steeped for an herbal tea called Oswego tea, which is used for digestive disorders. To make Oswego tea, add one teaspoon of Oswego tea leaves to 8 ounces of boiling water and allow it to infuse. Add some honey to sweeten.
9. Chives are a species of onion and taste like a mix between onions and garlic. They are rich in vitamins A and C. Try adding them to a potato salad or to grilled fish.
10. Lavender is a member of the mint family and adds a floral and sweet flavor to dishes. It can be added to salads, fruits, or in a marinade for grilled meat. Lavender flowers can also be added to tea.
11. Parsley has a grassy flavor and adds a bright pop of color to any dish. It is native to the Mediterranean region and is high in folic acid and antioxidants. It can be added to potatoes, rice, fish, chicken, lamb, or steak. Make a tabouli salad by combining fresh parsley with bulgur wheat, chopped scallions, cucumbers, tomatoes, mint leaves, lemon juice, and olive oil.
12. Sage is native to the Mediterranean region and has a sweet flavor. It pairs well with grilled chicken or pork.

Try this delicious salmon recipe from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which uses fresh thyme.

Napa Valley Glazed Salmonsalmon
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon white pepper
1¼ pounds salmon, cut into 4 pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Combine the honey, thyme, mustard, lemon zest, and pepper in a small bowl. Arrange the salmon in a shallow roasting pan lined with cooking foil. Using the back of a spoon, spread the honey mixture to coat the top of each fillet.
3. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the salmon flakes with a fork.
Serving Size: 3 ounces
Nutrition facts per serving: 270 calories, 11 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 135 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrate, 32 g protein


Rethink Your Drink


With the hot weather upon us, people may be reminding you to drink plenty of fluids, and they have good reason to do so. Two-thirds of our body is made up of water, thus making it important to stay hydrated. However, choosing the right beverages can make a big difference in your overall health.

It may be easy to grab a regular soda or an iced coffee out of convenience, but those calories add up quickly. A 12-ounce can of soda typically has around 150 calories and 17 grams of added sugar, and a large iced coffee from McDonald’s has a whopping 270 calories! An extra 300 calories per day consumed over the course of a month can add up to a 1 pound weight gain. Add that up over the course of a year and you can easily be drinking on 12 pounds in one year. To stay hydrated healthfully, here are some tips:

• Eat plenty of foods that are high in water content. Some fruits and vegetable with greater than 90% water content include: watermelon, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, strawberries, grapefruit, and cantaloupe, with many others right behind.
• Aim for at least 8 eight-ounce glasses of fluid per day to stay hydrated. If you are out on a hot sunny day or doing moderate to vigorous intensity exercise, this need can increase tremendously.
• Water should be your number one choice, however, some zero- or low-calorie options include: Crystal Light, unsweetened tea, regular coffee, or seltzer water if you need a flavored beverage. Drink diet soda sparingly.
• Watch portion sizes of your beverages. The difference between a small and a large beverage could be hundreds of calories! Always aim for the smaller size with drinks containing calories.
• Limit alcohol intake to one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men. A standard drink is considered 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of table wine, 1.5 ounces of brandy or 80-proof liquor, or 8-9 ounces of malt liquor. Alcohol has 7 calories per gram, right behind fat at 9 calories per gram, making it the second densest nutrient.
• Dilute sweetened beverages such as juice with water or seltzer water for a little fizz.
• Milk can be an important source of calcium in your diet, however, the type of milk makes a world of difference. An 8 -ounce glass of whole milk contains approximately 150 calories versus an 8 ounce glass of skim milk with only 90 calories.

Give this calorie-free alternative from the California Department of Public Health a try!

Cucumber Mint Breeze:cucumber mint
• ½ cup sliced cucumbers
• 1-2 sprigs of fresh mint
• Ice

1. Fill a pitcher halfway with ice
2. Add sliced cucumbers and mint
3. Finish filling with water and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before serving
4. Store in the refrigerator and drink within 24 hours.

Eating Mindfully

mindful eating

Why do I eat? When do I eat? What do I eat? How much do I eat? Where do I invest my energy? These are the core questions to ask yourself when learning how to eat mindfully. Mindful eating focuses on being aware of the foods we eat and why we eat them. Many times in our culture we tend to eat quickly and often on the run with little time to focus on and enjoy the foods we eat. Similarly, we tend to eat more “mindlessly” by eating while we watch TV, work on the computer, or do paperwork. It is very easy to sit down with a bag of chips to watch your favorite TV show and by the end of the show look down and realize you ate half the bag. This is where it becomes important to eat mindfully by being aware of what we are eating and why.

The core principles to eating mindfully include being aware of the nourishment available through the process of food preparation and consumption, choosing enjoyable and nutritious foods, acknowledging food preferences non judgmentally, recognizing and honoring physical hunger and satiety cues, and using wisdom to guide eating decisions. Many of us eat for other reasons than physical hunger; which leads to the question why do you eat?

How do you eat mindfully? Start by answering the questions listed at the beginning of the article. Then try the exercises below.

Rate your hunger on a scale of 0 (most hungry) and 10 (least hungry).
1. What does a 0 feel like physically when you are extremely hungry?
2. What does a 10 feel like when you are as full as you can imagine?
3. What do you rate your hunger right now from 0-10? What about your body made you choose that specific number?

Eat a food mindfully, such as a raisin, grape, strawberry, chocolate, or a piece of cheese. First observe the appearance, texture, and aroma. Are there any changes that occur in your body as you observe the item such as salivating, impatience, or anticipation?
1. Place a small amount of the food in your mouth. Wait 30 seconds before chewing (1 minute for chocolate). After you are done chewing, consider the following questions:
a. What did you notice about the flavor or texture of the food before you started chewing? After you started chewing?
b. How does this compare to your typical experience eating this food?

For more information on eating mindfully check out .

Snacks For Your Bike Ride


Southwestern Wisconsin has some of the most scenic bicycling routes in the country. If you are planning a bike ride with your family this summer, be sure to fuel your body with healthy snacks so that you have enough energy to enjoy your ride. The carbohydrate (or glycogen) stores in your liver become depleted after exercising for about two hours. After that, your body starts to break down muscle for energy. If you are planning on a long bike ride, it is important to have a small snack every 20 to 30 minutes to replete your glycogen stores. Here are some healthy and portable snack ideas to bring along on your next bike ride:

1. Fresh fruit, such as bananas, are packed with potassium and carbohydrates. They are portable and won’t melt. Other options include: pears, apples, grapes, or dried fruit.

2. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are easy to make and are a good source of carbohydrate, protein and fat. If you don’t like peanut butter, you can substitute it with almond butter or sunflower butter. Another option is a whole-grain tortilla topped with cheese.

3. Trail mix with dried fruits and nuts provide carbohydrates, potassium, protein and healthy fats. Alternatively, you could bring granola bars, whole grain crackers, pretzels, or popcorn.

4. Many people like energy bars, chews or gels. They are convenient, but can also be expensive. Look for energy bars made with whole grains, dried fruits and nuts.

5. Tuna pouches are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats. Because they are vacuum sealed, they do not require refrigeration before opening. Turkey or beef jerky is another great protein source.

6. Make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Drink at least 4 cups of water before your bike ride so that you’ll start out well hydrated. If your bike ride will last longer than one hour, you should bring a sports drink to replace the electrolytes lost through sweat. A good rule of thumb is to drink 2 cups of fluid for every hour of biking.

After your bike ride, you should have a snack within 30-60 minutes of exercise to refuel. This is important to repair muscle tissue and to replete glycogen stores. Your snack should contain a mix of carbohydrates, protein and fat. Some good option include: low fat yogurt topped with fresh fruit and nuts, peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole grain bread, hummus on whole-wheat pita bread, or string cheese and apple slices.

Decoding Food Labels

Have you ever picked up your favorite item at the store only to look at the Nutrition Facts label and wonder what all those numbers and terms mean? The Nutrition Facts label has also been making headlines on the news recently for proposed changes. If you are wondering what these terms mean and how to use them to eat healthfully, we have information on how to decode your favorite foods using the Nutrition Facts label.


• Serving Size: Always start by looking at the serving size under the Nutrition Facts heading. For example, it could be 5-6 crackers, 2 Tablespoons of dried fruit, or one-half cup of cereal. If your portion size (the amount you actually eat) is greater than the serving size listed, you will be eating more calories, fat, protein, etc. than is listed on the label. For instance, if the serving size listed is 1 cup but you consume 2 cups, you are consuming twice the calories, fat, carbohydrates and all other nutrients listed on the label. The Servings Per Container can also tell you how many servings are in the package you are holding.

• Calories: This will tell you how many calories are in a single serving of the item you are consuming. Again the serving listed may be different than the portion you consume and eating too many calories overall for the day can lead to weight gain.

• Total Fat: This will tell you how much total fat is in 1 serving of the item you intend to eat. Some labels will also have the fats broken down into categories which are included in the total fat count. The four different types of fat include: saturated, trans, mono-, and polyunsaturated fats. Remember to limit your saturated and trans fats as much as possible to promote heart health. For a 2,000 calorie diet, total fat should average 55-75 grams total for the day with the majority coming from poly- and monounsaturated fats.

• Percent Daily Value: These are based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. Remember everyone’s calorie needs are different depending on goals, gender, and physical activity and the best way to figure out your needs is to meet with a Registered Dietitian. Percent daily values are for the entire day, not just one meal or snack. For example, an item with 15% of your daily value for carbohydrates, means you are consuming 15% of the total carbohydrate needed for a 2,000 calorie diet based on current recommendations. A 5% or less daily value is considered a low source of the item whereas 20% or more is considered a high source.

• Total Carbohydrate: Persons with diabetes or pre-diabetes will want to focus on this number. Our bodies need carbohydrates to function but just as with calories, excess amounts can lead to weight gain and increased triglyceride levels. This number includes both the dietary fiber and sugars that are listed underneath it. Try to limit added sugar content and aim for high fiber foods with whole grains or fruits/vegetables with greater than 5 grams per serving.

• Protein: Most Americans eat more protein than needed so a percent daily value is not required on the label. Try to include lean protein sources in your diet including beans, peanut butter, tofu, fish, eggs, lean beef, poultry, low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese, and nuts. Most people need about 5-6 ounces per day but this can vary based on individual needs.

• Vitamins and Minerals: These are listed by percent daily value and include Vitamin A and C and calcium and iron. There are many other vitamins and minerals in the foods we eat but these are the ones required to be on the food label by the Food and Drug Administration who oversee the labels. Eat foods with a variety of vitamins and minerals to promote overall health.

• Ingredient List: Foods with more than one ingredient must have a list on the label. They are listed in descending order by weight. In other words, the ones that appear in the highest quantity in the product are listed first.