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Kids' Nutrition

"Eat your fruits and veggies"

Written by Dr. Lee Mancini on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Sports Nutrition, Kids' Nutrition, Healthy Nutrition

You've likely heard this statement since childhood. Research shows why it is good advice:
  • Healthy diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.
  • Fruits and vegetables also provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health.
  • Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling.
Want a guideline on how much fruits and veggies are right for you to eat every day? Check out this Fruits & Veggies Calculator:
http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/fruitsvegetables/howmany.html

Simple ways to cut calories

Written by Dr. Lee Mancini on Tuesday, 29 January 2013. Posted in Sports Nutrition, Kids' Nutrition, Healthy Nutrition

Tips for adding more fruits and veggies

Breakfast: Start the Day Right
  • Substitute some spinach, onions, or mushrooms for one of the eggs or half of the cheese in your morning omelet. The vegetables will add volume and flavor to the dish with fewer calories than the egg or cheese.
  • Cut back on the amount of cereal in your bowl to make room for some cut-up bananas, peaches, or strawberries. You can still eat a full bowl, but with fewer calories.
Lighten Up Your Lunch
  • Substitute vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, or onions for 2 ounces of the cheese and 2 ounces of the meat in your sandwich, wrap, or burrito. The new version will fill you up with fewer calories than the original.
  • Add a cup of chopped vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, beans, or red peppers, in place of 2 ounces of the meat or 1 cup of noodles in your favorite broth-based soup.
Dinner
  • Add in 1 cup of chopped vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, squash, onions, or peppers, while removing 1 cup of the rice or pasta in your favorite dish. The dish with the vegetables will be just as satisfying but have fewer calories than the same amount of the original version.
  • Take a good look at your dinner plate. Vegetables, fruit, and whole grains should take up the largest portion of your plate.

How to Use Fruits and Vegetables to Help Manage Your Weight

Written by Dr. Lee Mancini on Tuesday, 22 January 2013. Posted in Kids' Nutrition, Healthy Nutrition

How to Use Fruits and Vegetables to Help Manage Your Weight
Fruits and vegetables are part of a well-balanced and healthy eating plan. There are many different ways to lose or maintain a healthy weight. Using more fruits and vegetables along with whole grains and lean meats, nuts, and beans is a safe and healthy one. Helping control your weight is not the only benefit of eating more fruits and vegetables. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables also provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health.
 
To lose weight, you must eat fewer calories than your body uses.
 
This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to eat less food. You can create lower-calorie versions of some of your favorite dishes by substituting low-calorie fruits and vegetables in place of higher-calorie ingredients. The water and fiber in fruits and vegetables will add volume to your dishes, so you can eat the same amount of food with fewer calories. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling.
 
Next week, we’ll have tips on how to creatively use fruits and veggies to help you manage your weight, WITHOUT GOING HUNGRY!

Kids Health

on Tuesday, 25 September 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness, Kids' Nutrition, Fitness

We all want our kids to be healthy –as evidenced by the countless magazines, TV reports and online posts dedicated to the subject. However, today’s parents, at least as a whole, aren’t doing the best job of protecting our kids’ health. Recent studies show that this current generation of children may be the first one to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, which sounds crazy in an era when medical science is making incredible strides fighting disease and prolong life.

The culprit, as you might have guessed, is childhood obesity. Between our culture’s growing reliance on fast and convenience foods and a playtime culture that has moved from the backyard and the local park to the TV and the computer, our kids are gaining weight, and contracting diseases once reserved for adults like Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

But there is still good news. As a parent, you have a lot of control over your kid’s health. From the food you keep in the house to the weekend activities you enjoy, every choice you make can contribute to your kids’ long, healthy and happy lives. And you don’t have to drive yourself (or them) crazy to do it. Because the easiest way to raise healthy kids is to start by creating a healthy you.

That means getting up from in front of the TV and getting outside for some exercise – whether it’s a bike ride, a walk around the block or a game of pick-up basketball. It means skipping the drive through window and chopping up some vegetables for a salad. It means stocking your pantry and fridge with foods and drinks that are good for your family – and for you.

Follow those few steps, and you won’t just get to see your kids grow up healthy. You might look and feel a lot better too.

Grandparents Day

on Tuesday, 04 September 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness, Kids' Nutrition

Did you know Grandparents Day is this weekend? The bond between grandparents and grandchildren is so special. Not only do grandparents get to watch their grandchildren grow up, they get to spoil them, too. Still, sometimes the gap between generations can feel wider than it should – especially with today’s grandkids consumed by Facebook, texting and whatever gadgets are currently dominating their lives. So to help strengthen those bonds and bring grandchildren and grandparents together, here are seven activities both generations can enjoy together.

1. Go outside! There are limitless things to do outside, depending only on your interests and Grandma and/or Grandpa’s level of fitness. Options include a walk to a local point of interest, a hike in a natural spot like a beach or park, even a game of softball or basketball.

2. Make Something Sweet! Grandmas are notorious for their baking prowess – but even if you’re not, or if you’re a grandpa, anyone can follow a simple cookie recipe. Plus, you get to eat the results.

3. Join the 21st Century! If you can’t see your grandkids/grandparents as often as you’d like, you can start a blog together, trade photos and videos, even communicate on Facebook.

4. Put it Together! Perfect for a rainy weekend – get the biggest puzzle you can find and spend an afternoon…or, depending on your skills, a weekend…putting it together. As a bonus, this combines well with Activity #2.

5. Get some Culture! Whether your idea of culture is a movie, a visit to a museum or an afternoon at a baseball game, anything you all enjoy going out and doing is something you should enjoy together.

6. Swap Stories! Gather together in a comfortable spot – in the garden or by the fire – and share stories on a specific topic. For example, “My most embarrassing moment was…” or, “the thing I wanted most in life was...”

7. Have a Movie Night! Rent a movie or two, pop some popcorn and dim the lights.

Focus on choosing activities everyone will enjoy, and you’ll create inter-generational memories that last a lifetime.

Kid Snacks

on Tuesday, 07 August 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness, Kids' Nutrition

If it seems like your kids are always hungry, it’s definitely not your imagination. Kids need a lot of calories to keep up with their needs – after all, running around playing all day takes a lot of energy! At the same time, children’s’ stomachs are still relatively small, making it so kids usually can’t consume all of the calories they need over the course of three square meals a day.

Which is why snacks were invented.

A lot of people think “snack” is a dirty word, thanks in part to the constant stream of bad news about things like trans-fats, sugar and the growing obesity epidemic. But just because a food is eaten at a time other than traditional mealtimes doesn’t mean it’s automatically unhealthy. Snack foods can be just as nutritious as those fabled three square meals a day – all it takes is a little pre-planning and a little imagination.

So when you shop for snack time, skip the chips and cookies and other pre-prepared “quick fixes” in favor of foods you already know your kids like and enjoy that will also give them the nutrients they need to grow and be healthy. Anything that gets the thumbs up from both of you is fair game, from whole wheat pasta sprinkled with parmesan cheese to breakfast cereal eaten with their fingers out of a bowl. You can keep cut-up fruit and cheese bites on hand for those moments when hunger strikes, or if you have the time and energy, make special snack treats using wholesome ingredients like whole grain crackers or small pieces of bread topped with nutrient-rich foods like peanut butter, cheddar cheese, slices of apple, banana and even cucumber -- whatever your child likes.

The best part is, when you serve your child healthy snacks like these, you don’t need to worry about your kids “spoiling their dinner” with snack foods. In fact, there’s no need to stress about dinner at all, because you know that – whenever they choose to eat -- your kids are getting all the nutrients they need.

And isn’t that what mealtime is supposed to be all about?