Tuesday, November 27, 2012

6th Annual Weigh Biggest Loser Contest

Registration is now open for the 6th Annual West Jordan Weigh Biggest Loser Contest. The Contest Kickoff will begin on January 15th, 2012.

Register Online OR fill out an Application and submit it to West Jordan City Administration.

This years' contest has a few exciting changes which include FREE attendance to any class held at Gene Fullmer during 2 special weigh ins during the contest and an optional 6 week at-home-challenge at the end of this years' contest.

Check out the full details and contest rules below:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How Do You Maintain Weight Loss?

Get your head working and the middle will take care of itself!

The key to losing weight and keeping it off is to understand what really motivates you. Once you’ve felt the initial excitement of losing the first few pounds, you must find a way to turn that enthusiasm into the willpower to stick with your eating plan. You will encounter both ups and downs as you learn to maintain your weight. To help you through the downs, you need coping strategies. Think about what you really want to achieve. That desire will help you turn your eating and exercise strategies into a lifestyle that leads to lifelong weight control.

  • Ask Questions. What gives you the strength to resist temptation? Can you form new habits that you can live with forever? What are the rewards of weight loss for you? How much do you want those rewards?
  • Get Real. Losing 1 to 2 pounds a week is a realistic goal. Don’t burden yourself with unrealistic expectations. Talk with your healthcare professional to determine a healthy goal weight.
  • Stay Balanced. To maintain your weight, you must balance your intake of calories with the energy you burn. Just the difference of one 12-ounce soda (150 calories) versus at least 30 minutes of brisk walking on most days can add or subtract about 10 pounds to your weight each year!
  • Step Up to the Challenge. Strap on a pedometer and find out how many steps you take each day. Gradually add just 250 steps per day averaged out over the week. That will give you a good start on a healthy routine of physical activity. Most sedentary adults take only 2,500 to 3,500 steps a day. Aim to add between 4,000 to 6,000 to whatever you are doing now, for a total of 10,000 or more each day. The more steps you take, the better.
  • Shop Smart. Start your food control at the grocery store. Shop on a full stomach, use a list, read the labels on every food you buy, and skip any food that is not part of your chosen eating plan.
  • Take Notes. As you plan your eating and activity strategies, keep records. What types of foods are you eating? How do the calories add up? How much are you moving? As you lose weight, record what works for you and what doesn't. Review your notes so you can change strategies if needed.
  • Weigh Less. Don’t get on the scales every day. Once a week is fine. Try measuring inches lost instead of pounds.
  • Plan Ahead. Plan your meals, plan for ups and downs, plan for holidays and plan to feel great when you’ve made health a daily habit. If you can do what’s right 75 percent of the time, you’re going to succeed in the long run!
Source: American Heart Association

Monday, April 30, 2012

Cucumber Yogurt Dip

Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
Yield: 6 servings

2 large cucumbers
2 cups plain yogurt, low-fat
½ cup sour cream, non-fat
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh dill
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup baby carrots

1. Peel, seed, and grate one cucumber. Slice other cucumber and set aside.
2. Mix grated cucumber, yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice, dill, and garlic in a serving bowl. Chill for 1 hour.
3. Arrange tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, and carrots on a colorful platter.
4. Serve with dip.

Source: SNAP-Ed Connection

Friday, April 27, 2012

Party Time Pasta

Serving Size: 1 cup
Yield: 6 servings
Time: 30 minutes

1/2 pound turkey, lean ground
1 teaspoon paprika
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) tomatoes, crushed
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth, reduced sodium
2 cups pasta, bow-tie, uncooked
3 cups frozen vegetables such as carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, thawed
Tasty Topping:

1/2 cup chopped fresh or dried parsley
1/4 cup bread crumbs, seasoned, dry
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add ground turkey and paprika. Cook and stir until meat is brown and no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
2. Stir in tomatoes, chicken broth and pasta. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until pasta is almost tender, about 10-15 minutes.
3. Remove lid. Place vegetables on top of pasta. Replace lid. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
4. Prepare the Tasty Topping. Mix parsley, bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over vegetables in skillet. Cover and let sit for 3 minutes before serving.

Per Recipe: $ 7.38
Per Serving: $ 1.23

Source: Adapted from: Kids…Get Cooking! California Children’s 5-a-Day Power Play Campaign California Department of Health Services

California Department of Health Services

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Measuring Success - Before and After Measurements

At the beginning of the contest we discussed how measuring inches lost or gained can be another way to measure success during your weight loss journey. Take some time now to measure yourself again and see what areas you have improved in. You might be surprised with the improvements you have made even if you haven't lost the number of lbs. you had hoped you would during the contest.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Healthy Weight Tips Part 4

Be active while sitting.
  • If you spend a lot of time sitting, either watching TV or working at a desk, get more active!
  • Aim for 2½ hours of physical activity each week.
  • Physical activity not only can help you lose weight or stay at a healthy weight, it can:
    • Improve your blood pressure and cholesterol
    • Lower your risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes
    • Relieve stress

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Fiber is best known for helping to keep food moving efficiently through your body. This is only one of the many ways fiber contributes to good health. Fiber helps prevent:
  • Heart disease: Fiber may aid in the prevention of heart disease by lowering your cholesterol.
  • Diabetes: Fiber helps control blood sugar levels for people with diabetes.
  • Digestive Problems: Adequate amounts of fiber from foods can help prevent constipation and hemorrhoids.
  • Weight Gain: A high-fiber eating plan is lower in calories and tends to make you feel full faster.
Consuming enough fiber may be easier than you think. Fiber is found in whole grains, beans and fruits and vegetables. The recommended daily amount of fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. After age 50, your daily fiber needs drops to 21 grams for women and 30 grams for men.

You can meet your daily fiber needs with 2 cups of fruits and 2 ½ cups of vegetables every day, along with whole grains and beans. Add vegetables to stews and casseroles and add oats to meat loaf, breads and cookies. Add fruit to cereal or eat it as a snack and in salads.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Chicken and Black Bean Tacos

Serves: 6 (2 tacos per serving)
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

12 (6 inch) corn tortillas
1 lb. ground chicken or turkey, ground without skin
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp. bottled minced garlic
15 ounces can low sodium black beans, undrained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes (optional)
1/4 cup shredded lettuce (optional)
1/4 cup sheddred low fat cheddar cheese (optional)
6 Tbsp.  salsa (optional)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Wrap tortilla in foil. Place in oven while preparing chicken mixture.
In a large skillet, cook ground chicken, onion, and garlic over medium high heat about 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Place mixture in a colander and rinse under hot water. Drain well. Wipe skillet with a paper towel. Return mixture to skillet. Stir in beans, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir over medium high heat until heated through, about 5 minutes. Spoon mixture over half of each corn tortilla.; fold over. Add tomatoes, cheese and salsa if desired.

Nutrition Facts: (per serving)
Calories: 287
Protein: 26 g
Carbohydrates: 36 g
Cholesterol: 44 mg
Sodium: 235 mg
Total Fat: 5 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g

Source: American Heart Association - Quick & Easy Cookbook pg. 139

Friday, April 20, 2012

Healthy Weight Tips Part 3

Plan to have healthy snacks.
  • Snacking is not always a bad thing. It just depends on what the snack is.
  • Prepare healthy snacks ahead of time and keep them handy when you’re on the go.
  • Healthy snacks include raw vegetables, fruit, a small handful of nuts, or unbuttered popcorn. Look at snacks as a way to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Understand recent weight gain.
  • Sometimes people gain weight in a short period of time because they are going through hard times (death, divorce, or job changes). They don’t have the time or energy to watch what they eat or to get regular physical activity.
  • Are you gaining weight because you are trying to quit smoking?
Understand how weight loss works.
  • If you have tried losing weight but weren’t able to keep it off, don’t feel bad!
  • Most diets lead to some weight loss, but keeping the weight off is much harder.
  • Think about when you tried to lose weight: what worked and what didn’t work?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

7 Wonders of Water

Stay Slimmer With Water
Trying to lose weight? Water revs up metabolism and helps you feel full.Replace calorie-laden beverages with water, and drink a glass before meals to help you feel fuller. Drinking more water also helps amp up metabolism - especially if your glass is icy cold. Your body must work to warm the water up, burning a few extra calories in the process.

Water Boosts Your Energy
If you’re feeling drained and depleted, get a pick-me-up with water. Dehydration makes you feel fatigued. Water helps the blood transport oxygen and other essential nutrients to your cells. If you’re getting enough water, your heart also doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood throughout your body.

Lower Stress With Water
85% of your brain tissue is water. If you’re dehydrated, both your body and your mind will be stressed. If you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already a little dehydrated. To keep stress levels down, keep a glass of water at your desk or tote a sports bottle and sip regularly.

Build Muscle Tone With Water
Drinking water helps prevent muscle cramping and lubricates joints in the body. When you’re well hydrated, you can exercise longer and stronger without "hitting the wall."

Nourish Your Skin
Fine lines and wrinkles are deeper when you’re dehydrated. Water is nature’s own beauty cream. Drinking water hydrates skin cells and plumps them up, making your face look younger.It also flushes out impurities and improves circulation and blood flow, leaving your face clean, clear, and glowing.

Stay Regular With Water
Along with fiber, water is essential to good digestion.Water helps dissolve waste particles and passes them smoothly through your digestive tract.If you’re dehydrated, your body absorbs all the water, leaving your colon dry and making it more difficult to pass waste.

Water Reduces Kidney Stones
The rate of painful kidney stones is rising because people - including children - aren't drinking enough water. Water dilutes the salts and minerals in your urine that form the solid crystals known as kidney stones. Kidney stones can't form in diluted urine, so reduce your risk with plenty of water!

Web MD

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Healthy Weight Tips Part 2

Get rid of guilt.
  • Feeling guilty about eating a “bad” food or eating too much isn’t helpful.
  • Guilt is a type of negative thinking, and you can overcome it!
  • Instead, make a list of the foods that you feel most guilty about eating, and replace them with healthier foods or eat them less often and in smaller amounts.
  • Stop buying the foods that make you feel guilty. You can’t eat them if you don’t have them in the house.
Eat when you are hungry and stop eating when you’re full.
  • Sit at a table to eat.
  • Slow down! Eating slowly lets you enjoy your food and gives your brain a chance to figure out when you’re full.
  • Put your fork down between most bites to help you slow down.
  • Pay attention to portion size.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Smart Fruit and Veggie Snacks

You probably already know fruits and vegetables are good for health. However, you may not know just how good produce is for your kids. Naturally nutrient-rich and mostly fat-free, fruit and veggie snacks help children close critical nutrient gaps without adding extra calories.
Produce helps kids get the potassium, magnesium and fiber most American youth are missing. Fruits and vegetables are also rich sources of the antioxidants that help in the prevention of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. For children and adults alike, eating more fruit and vegetable snacks is one of the smartest food moves you can make.

Place Fresh Produce in Sight

It’s no secret fresh fruit and vegetables provide a nutrition boost for everyone in your family. But, how can you get kids to eat more for snacks?

The answer is in plain sight. That’s right; just keep bright, colorful produce where everyone can easily grab something for a snack-on-the-run. Keep a bowl of fresh, just ripe whole fruit in the center of your kitchen or dining table. Keep small bags of fresh veggie snacks (carrots, celery sticks and broccoli florets) at eye level in the fridge.

Try Dried Variations

Dried fruit is the perfect snack for on-the-go kids. It doesn’t need refrigeration and it never makes a squishy mess in backpacks. Choose dried fruit with little or no added sugar: apples, apricots, blueberries and raisins are often dried with just their own natural sweetness. Add dried fruit to trail mix or to fresh fruit salads for a splash of color and a healthy dose of nutrients. Dried beans and peas count as vegetables, so look for crunchy dried soybean, pea and chickpea snacks.

Stock Your Pantry with Canned Choices

Canned fruits make appealing, quick and inexpensive snacks. Enjoy fruits canned in juice or, like natural applesauce, made without added sugar. Divide larger cans into smaller portions in reusable plastic containers or buy the convenient single-serve containers of canned fruits, such as mandarin oranges, pineapple chunks and applesauce.

Convenient, inexpensive and packed with nutrition, canned beans make zesty snack dips when mixed with other vegetables, such as canned corn and spicy salsa.

Cut Costs with Frozen Options

Frozen fruits are often less expensive but just as nutritious as the fresh varieties. Purchase frozen strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in large bags; then use small handfuls for yogurt toppings or as smoothie ingredients. Kids love frozen bars made from 100 percent fruit and juice (buy commercial or make-your-own) as a sweet and refreshing treat on hot days. Like their canned cousins, frozen vegetables are delicious. Try microwaving quickly and adding to bean and salsa dip combinations.

Top 10 Reasons to Eat MORE Fruits & Vegetables

Why eat MORE fruits and veggies?
  1. Color & Texture. Fruits and veggies add color, texture … and appeal … to your plate.
  2. Convenience. Nutritious in any form - fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice, so they’re ready when you are!
  3. Fiber. Fruits and veggies provide fiber that helps fill you up and keeps your digestive system happy.
  4. Low in Calories. Fruits and veggies are naturally low in calories.
  5. May Reduce Disease Risk. Eating plenty of fruits and veggies may help reduce the risk of many diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and some cancers.
  6. Vitamins & Minerals. Fruits and veggies are rich in vitamins and minerals that help you feel healthy and energized.
  7. Variety. Fruits and veggies are available in an almost infinite variety…there’s always something new to try!
  8. Quick, Natural Snack. Fruits and veggies are nature’s treat and easy to grab for a snack.
  9. Fun to Eat! Some crunch, some squirt, some you peel … some you don’t, and some grow right in your own backyard!
  10. Taste Great!
American Dietetic Association
More Matters

Additional Resources:
American Cancer Society

Monday, April 16, 2012

Italian Broccoli Pasta

Serving Size: 1 1/4 cups
Yield: 4 servings
Time: Preparation time - 10 minutes. Cooking time - 15 minutes.

2 cups fettucini noodles, uncooked
3 Tablespoons chopped green onion (also called scallions)
2 cups broccoli florets
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 can (14.5 ounce) stewed tomatoes
2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook noodles according to package instructions (do not include oil or salt), and drain.
2. Spray a medium skillet with nonstick cooking spray; stir-fry onion and broccoli for 3 minutes over medium heat.
3. Add seasonings (but not the Parmesan cheese) and tomatoes; simmer until heated through.
4. Spoon vegetable mixture over noodles and top with Parmesan cheese.

Per Recipe: $ 3.53
Per Serving: $ 0.88

Adapted from: Discover the Secret to Healthy Living California 5-a-Day—For Better Health! Campaign California Department of Health Services

California Department of Health Services

Friday, April 13, 2012

Liven Up Your Meals with Fruits and Vegetables

10 tips to improve your meals with vegetables and fruits

Discover the many benefits of adding vegetables and fruits to your meals. They are low in fat and calories, while providing fiber and other key nutrients. Most Americans should eat more than 3 cups—and for some, up to 6 cups—of vegetables and fruits each day. Vegetables and fruits don’t just add nutrition to meals. They can also add color, flavor, and texture. Explore these creative ways to bring healthy foods to your table.
  1. Fire up the grill. Use the grill to cook vegetables and fruits. Try grilling mushrooms, carrots, peppers, or potatoes on a kabob skewer. Brush with oil to keep them from drying out. Grilled fruits like peaches, pineapple, or mangos add great flavor to a cookout.
  2. Expand the flavor of your casseroles. Mix vegetables such as sauteed onions, peas, pinto beans, or tomatoes into your favorite dish for that extra flavor.
  3. Planning something Italian? Add extra vegetables to your pasta dish. Slip some peppers, spinach, red beans, onions, or cherry tomatoes into your traditional tomato sauce. Vegetables provide texture and low-calorie bulk that satisfies. 
  4. Get creative with your salad. Toss in shredded carrots, strawberries, spinach, watercress, orange segments, or sweet peas for a flavorful, fun salad. 
  5. Salad bars aren't just for salads. Try eating sliced fruit from the salad bar as your dessert when dining out. This will help you avoid any baked desserts that are high in calories.
  6. Get in on the stir-frying fun. Try something new! Stir-fry your veggies—like broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, or green beans—for a quick-and-easy addition to any meal. 
  7. Add them to your sandwiches. Whether it is a sandwich or wrap, vegetables make great additions to both. Try sliced tomatoes, romaine lettuce, or avocado on your everyday sandwich or wrap for extra flavor.
  8. Be creative with your baked goods. Add apples, bananas, blueberries, or pears to your favorite muffin recipe for a treat. 
  9. Make a tasty fruit smoothie. For dessert, blend strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries with frozen bananas and 100% fruit juice for a delicious frozen fruit smoothie.
  10. Liven up an omelet. Boost the color and flavor of your morning omelet with vegetables. Simply chop, saute, and add them to the egg as it cooks. Try combining different vegetables, such as mushrooms, spinach, onions, or bell peppers.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Salmon Patties

Serving Size: 1/9 of recipe
Yield: 9 servings

1 can (15½ ounces) salmon, drained 1 cup whole-grain, crushed cereal or crackers 2 large eggs, lightly beaten cup 1% milk 1/8 teaspoon black pepper 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1. Use a fork or clean fingers to flake salmon until very fine.
2. Crumble cereal or crackers into crumbs.
3. Add cereal or cracker crumbs, eggs, milk, and pepper to salmon.
4. Mix thoroughly.
5. Shape into 9 patties.
6. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
7. Carefully brown both the sides until patty is thoroughly cooked.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Smart Shopping Tips for Fruits and Vegetables

10 Tips for Affordable Fruits and Vegetables

        It is possible to fit vegetables and fruits into any budget. Making nutritious choices does not have to hurt your wallet. Getting enough of these foods promotes health and can reduce your risk of certain diseases. There are many low-cost ways to meet your fruit and vegetable needs.
        1. Celebrate the season. Use fresh vegetables and fruits that are in season. They are easy to get, have more flavor, and are usually less expensive. Your local farmer’s market is a great source of seasonal produce. 
        2. Why pay full price? Check the local newspaper, online, and at the store for sales, coupons, and specials that will cut food costs. Often, you can get more for less by visiting larger grocery stores (discount grocers if available). 
        3. Stick to your list. Plan out your meals ahead of time and make a grocery list. You will save money by buying only what you need. Don’t shop when you’re hungry. Shopping after eating will make it easier to pass on the tempting snack foods. You’ll have more of your food budget for vegetables and fruits. 
        4. Try canned or frozen. Compare the price and the number of servings from fresh, canned, and frozen forms of the same veggie or fruit. Canned and frozen items may be less expensive than fresh. For canned items, choose fruit canned in 100% fruit juice and vegetables with “low sodium” or “no salt added” on the label. 
        5. Buy small amounts frequently. Some fresh vegetables and fruits don’t last long. Buy small amounts more often to ensure you can eat the foods without throwing any away.
        6. Buy in bulk when items are on sale. For fresh vegetables or fruits you use often, a large size bag is the better buy. Canned or frozen fruits or vegetables can be bought in large quantitites when they are on sale, since they last much longer. 
        7. Store brands = savings. Opt for store brands when possible. You will get the same or similar product for a cheaper price. If your grocery store has a membership card, sign up for even more savings.
        8. Keep it simple. Buy vegetables and fruits in their simplest form. Pre-cut, pre-washed, ready-to-eat, and processed foods are convenient, but often cost much more than when purchased in their basic forms.
        9. Plant your own. Start a garden—in the yard or a pot on the deck—for fresh, inexpensive, flavorful additions to meals. Herbs, cucumbers, peppers, or tomatoes are good options for beginners. Browse through a local library or online for more information on starting a garden.
        10. Plan and cook smart. Prepare and freeze vegetable soups, stews, or other dishes in advance. This saves time and money. Add leftover vegetables to casseroles or blend them to make soup. Overripe fruit is great for smoothies or baking.

        Tuesday, April 10, 2012

        Lentil Chili

        Serving Size: 1 cup
        Yield: 6 servings

        ½ pound ground beef (Or extra lean beef to reduce fat) 1½ cups chopped onion 1 clove garlic, crushed 2 cups cooked, drained lentils 1 can (29 ounce) tomatoes, diced or crushed 1 tablespoon chili powder ½ teaspoon ground cumin (optional)

        1. In a large saucepan, brown beef over medium-high heat, breaking it into bite-sized pieces. Drain fat.
        2. Reduce to medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook on medium heat, until softened.
        3. Add lentils, tomatoes, chili powder, and cumin. Cook on low heat for about 1 hour until flavors are blended.
        4. Serve with your favorite chili toppings.

        Source: SNAP-Ed Connection

        Monday, April 9, 2012

        Healthy Eating for Vegetarians

        10 Tips for Vegetarians

        A vegetarian eating pattern can be a healthy option. The key is to consume a variety of foods and the
        right amount of foods to meet your calorie and nutrient needs.
        1. Think about protein. Your protein needs can easily be met by eating a variety of plant foods. Sources of protein for vegetarians include beans and peas, nuts, and soy products (such as tofu, tempeh). Lacto-ovo vegetarians also get protein from eggs and dairy foods. 
        2. Bone up on sources of calcium. Calcium is used for building bones and teeth. Some vegetarians consume dairy products, which are excellent sources of calcium. Other sources of calcium for vegetarians include calcium-fortified soymilk (soy beverage), tofu made with calcium sulfate, calcium-fortified breakfast cereals and orange juice, and some dark-green leafy vegetables (collard, turnip, and mustard greens; and bok choy).
        3. Make simple changes. Many popular main dishes are or can be vegetarian—such as pasta primavera, pasta with marinara or pesto sauce, veggie pizza, vegetable lasagna, tofu-vegetable stir-fry, and bean burritos.
        4. Enjoy a cookout. For barbecues, try veggie or soy burgers, soy hot dogs, marinated tofu or tempeh, and fruit kabobs.Grilled veggies are great, too! 
        5. Include beans and peas. Because of their high nutrient content, consuming beans and peas is recommended for everyone, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Enjoy some vegetarian chili, three bean salad, or split pea soup. Make a hummus filled pita sandwich.
        6. Try different veggie versions. A variety of vegetarian products look—and may taste—like their non-vegetarian counterparts but are usually lower in saturated fat and contain no cholesterol. For breakfast, try soy-based sausage patties or links. For dinner, rather than hamburgers, try bean burgers or falafel (chickpea patties).
        7. Make some small changes at restaurants. Most restaurants can make vegetarian modifications to menu items by substituting meatless sauces or nonmeat items, such as tofu and beans for meat, and adding vegetables or pasta in place of meat. Ask about available vegetarian options.
        8. Nuts make great snacks. Choose unsalted nuts as a snack and use them in salads or main dishes. Add almonds, walnuts, or pecans instead of cheese or meat to a green salad.
        9. Get your vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is naturally found only in animal products. Vegetarians should choose fortified foods such as cereals or soy products, or take a vitamin B12 supplement if they do not consume any animal products. Check the Nutrition Facts label for vitamin B12 in fortified products.
        10. Find a vegetarian pattern for you. Go to www.dietaryguidelines.gov and check appendices 8 and 9 of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 for vegetarian adaptations of the USDA food patterns at 12 calorie levels.

        Friday, April 6, 2012

        20 Minute Chicken Creole

        Serving Size: 1 cup
        Yield: 8 servings

        1 tablespoon vegetable oil 2 whole chicken breasts, skinless, boneless, cut into ½-inch strips
        1 can (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes with juice 1 cup chili sauce, low sodium 1 large green pepper, chopped 2 celery stalks, chopped 1 small onion, chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 teaspoon dried basil 1 teaspoon dried parsley ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
        ¼ teaspoon salt

        1. In a large pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.
        2. Add chicken and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
        3. Reduce heat to medium and add remaining ingredients.
        4. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered for 15 minutes.
        5. Serve over hot, cooked rice or whole-wheat pasta.

        Source: SNAP-Ed Connection

        Wednesday, April 4, 2012

        Caribbean Casserole

        Serving Size: 1 cup
        Yield: 10 servings

        1 medium onion, chopped ½ green pepper, diced 1 tablespoon canola oil 1 can (14.5 ounces) stewed tomatoes 1 teaspoon oregano leaves ½ teaspoon garlic powder 1½ cups instant brown rice, uncooked 1 can (16 ounces) black beans, undrained (or beans of your choice)

        1. In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat.
        2. Add onion and green pepper in canola oil, in a large pan, and cook until tender. Do not brown. 3. Add tomatoes, beans (include liquid from both), oregano, and garlic powder.
        4. Bring to a boil. Stir in rice and cover. 5. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. 6. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

        Source: SNAP-Ed Connection

        Monday, April 2, 2012

        Healthy Weight Tips Part 1

        Avoid emotional eating.
        • Don’t let strong feelings turn into weight gain.
        • Figure out what your eating triggers are.
        • Pay attention to how much and what you are eating.
        Don’t skip meals.
        • Skipping meals does not help you lose weight!
        • Your body needs a certain number of calories every day.
        • If you skip a meal, you will probably snack or eat more later.
        • Try to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day.

        Friday, March 30, 2012

        Berry Bread Pudding

        Serving Size: 1 cup
        Yield: 2 servings

        1½ cups unsweetened, frozen berries, thawed, undrained (or fresh)
        (blueberries, sliced strawberries, or raspberries)
        ½ teaspoon sugar (optional)
        ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or almond extract (optional)
        4 or 5 slices whole wheat bread, crusts removed
        Vanilla yogurt (optional)

        1. In a small bowl, combine the thawed berries, sugar and/or vanilla extract.
        2. Spoon ¼ cup of the berry mixture to cover the bottom of a 2 cup deep dish.
        3. Cover the berry mixture with a layer of bread.
        4. Spoon ⅓ of remaining berry mixture on top of the bread.
        5. Cover with another layer of bread.
        6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 twice ending with a layer of bread.
        7. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and place a plate or bowl on top of the berry dish that fits just inside of it.
        Place a heavy object on top to press down on the fruit and bread layers.
        8. Refrigerate overnight. (Check the dish to be sure juice does not run over the top. You may need to replace the heavy object with a lighter one to prevent spills.)
        9. Serve with a dollop of vanilla yogurt.

        Note: In summer fresh berries can be used.

        Source: SNAP-Ed Connection

        Thursday, March 29, 2012

        Building a Healthy Meal Tips

        10 tips for healthy meals

        A healthy meal starts with more vegetables and fruits and smaller portions of protein and grains. Think about how you can adjust the portions on your plate to get more of what you need without too many calories. And don’t forget dairy—make it the beverage with your meal or add fat-free or low-fat dairy products to your plate.
        1. Make half your plate veggies and fruits. Vegetables and fruits are full of nutrients and may help to promote good health. Choose red, orange, and darkgreen vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.
        2. Add lean protein. Choose protein foods, such as lean beef and pork, or chicken, turkey, beans, or tofu. Twice a week, make seafood the protein on your plate.
        3. Include whole grains. Aim to make at least half your grains whole grains. Look for the words “100% whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” on the food label. Whole grains provide more nutrients, like fiber, than refined grains.
        4. Don’t forget the dairy. Pair your meal with a cup of fat-free or low-fat milk. They provide the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and calories. Don’t drink milk? Try soymilk (soy beverage) as your beverage or include fat-free or low-fat yogurt in your meal.
        5. Avoid extra fat. Using heavy gravies or sauces will add fat and calories to otherwise healthy choices. For example, steamed broccoli is great, but avoid topping it with cheese sauce. Try other options, like a sprinkling of low-fat parmesan cheese or a squeeze of lemon.
        6. Take your time. Savor your food. Eat slowly, enjoy the taste and textures, and pay attention to how you feel. Be mindful. Eating very quickly may cause you to eat too much. 
        7. Use a smaller plate. Use a smaller plate at meals to help with portion control. That way you can finish your entire plate and feel satisfied without overeating.
        8. Take control of your food. Eat at home more often so you know exactly what you are eating. If you eat out, check and compare the nutrition information. Choose healthier options such as baked instead of fried.
        9. Try new foods. Keep it interesting by picking out new foods you’ve never tried before, like mango, lentils, or kale. You may find a new favorite! Trade fun and tasty recipes with friends or find them online.
        10. Satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way. Indulge in a naturally sweet dessert dish—fruit! Serve a fresh fruit cocktail or a fruit parfait made with yogurt. For a hot dessert, bake apples and top with cinnamon.

        Wednesday, March 28, 2012

        Healthy Weight – It’s Not a Diet, It’s a Lifestyle!

        When it comes to weight loss, there's no lack of fad diets promising fast results. But such diets limit your nutritional intake, can be unhealthy, and tend to fail in the long run.

        The key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight isn't about short-term dietary changes. It's about a lifestyle that includes healthy eating, regular physical activity, and balancing the number of calories you consume with the number of calories your body uses. Staying in control of your weight contributes to good health now and as you age.

        Losing Weight
        What is healthy weight loss?
        It's natural for anyone trying to lose weight to want to lose it very quickly. But evidence shows that people who lose weight gradually and steadily (about 1 to 2 pounds per week) are more successful at keeping weight off. Healthy weight loss isn't just about a "diet" or "program". It's about an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in daily eating and exercise habits.

        To lose weight, you must use up more calories than you take in. Since one pound equals 3,500 calories, you need to reduce your caloric intake by 500—1000 calories per day to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week.1

        Once you've achieved a healthy weight, by relying on healthful eating and physical activity most days of the week (about 60—90 minutes, moderate intensity), you are more likely to be successful at keeping the weight off over the long term.

        Losing weight is not easy, and it takes commitment. But if you're ready to get started, we've got a step-by-step guide to help get you on the road to weight loss and better health.

        Step 1: Make a commitment.
        Making the decision to lose weight, change your lifestyle, and become healthier is a big step to take. Start simply by making a commitment to yourself. Many people find it helpful to sign a written contract committing to the process. This contract may include things like the amount of weight you want to lose, the date you'd like to lose the weight by, the dietary changes you'll make to establish healthy eating habits, and a plan for getting regular physical activity.

        Writing down the reasons why you want to lose weight can also help. It might be because you have a family history of heart disease, or because you want to see your kids get married, or simply because you want to feel better in your clothes. Post these reasons where they serve as a daily reminder of why you want to make this change.

        Step 2: Take stock of where you are.
        Consider talking to your health care provider. He or she can evaluate your height, weight, and explore other weight-related risk factors you may have. Ask for a follow-up appointment to monitor changes in your weight or any related health conditions.
        Keep a "food diary" for a few days, in which you write down everything you eat. By doing this, you become more aware of what you are eating and when you are eating. This awareness can help you avoid mindless eating.

        Next, examine your current lifestyle. Identify things that might pose challenges to your weight loss efforts. For example, does your work or travel schedule make it difficult to get enough physical activity? Do you find yourself eating sugary foods because that's what you buy for your kids? Do your coworkers frequently bring high-calorie items, such as doughnuts, to the workplace to share with everyone? Think through things you can do to help overcome these challenges.
        Finally, think about aspects of your lifestyle that can help you lose weight. For example, is there an area near your workplace where you and some coworkers can take a walk at lunchtime? Is there a place in your community, such as a YMCA, with exercise facilities for you and child care for your kids?

        Step 3: Set realistic goals.
        Set some short-term goals and reward your efforts along the way. If your long-term goal is to lose 40 pounds and to control your high blood pressure, some short-term eating and physical activity goals might be to start eating breakfast, taking a 15 minute walk in the evenings, or having a salad or vegetable with supper.
        Focus on two or three goals at a time. Great, effective goals are —

        Forgiving (less than perfect)

        For example, "Exercise More" is not a specific goal. But if you say, "I will walk 15 minutes, 3 days a week for the first week," you are setting a specific and realistic goal for the first week.

        Remember, small changes every day can lead to big results in the long run. Also remember that realistic goals are achievable goals. By achieving your short-term goals day-by-day, you'll feel good about your progress and be motivated to continue. Setting unrealistic goals, such as losing 20 pounds in 2 weeks, can leave you feeling defeated and frustrated.
        Being realistic also means expecting occasional setbacks. Setbacks happen when you get away from your plan for whatever reason – maybe the holidays, longer work hours, or another life change. When setbacks happen, get back on track as quickly as possible. Also take some time to think about what you would do differently if a similar situation happens, to prevent setbacks.
        Keep in mind everyone is different – what works for someone else might not be right for you. Just because your neighbor lost weight by taking up running, doesn't mean running is the best option for you. Try a variety of activities – walking, swimming, tennis, or group exercise classes to see what you enjoy most and can fit into your life. These activities will be easier to stick with over the long term.

        Step 4: Identify resources for information and support.
        Find family members or friends who will support your weight loss efforts. Making lifestyle changes can feel easier when you have others you can talk to and rely on for support. You might have coworkers or neighbors with similar goals, and together you can share healthful recipes and plan group exercise.
        Joining a weight loss group or visiting a health care professional such as a registered dietitian, can help.

        Step 5: Continually "check in" with yourself to monitor your progress.
        Revisit the goals you set for yourself (in Step 3) and evaluate your progress regularly. If you set a goal to walk each morning but are having trouble fitting it in before work, see if you can shift your work hours or if you can get your walk in at lunchtime or after work. Evaluate which parts of your plan are working well and which ones need tweaking. Then rewrite your goals and plan accordingly.
        If you are consistently achieving a particular goal, add a new goal to help you continue on your pathway to success.

        Reward yourself for your successes! Recognize when you're meeting your goals and be proud of your progress. Use non-food rewards, such as a bouquet of freshly picked flowers, a sports outing with friends, or a relaxing bath. Rewards help keep you motivated on the path to better health.

        What is Healthy Weight Loss?
        Getting Started

        Tuesday, March 27, 2012

        Bulgar Chickpea Salad

        Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
        Yield: 6 servings

        1¼ cups water 1 cup coarse bulgur 1 teaspoon dried parsley 1 teaspoon minced onion 1 teaspoon soy sauce ½ cup chopped green onions ½ cup raisins ½ cup chopped carrots ¾ cup canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

        2 tablespoons oil 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 garlic clove, minced Black pepper to taste

        1. In a medium saucepan, bring water to boil. Stir in bulgur, parsley, minced onion, and soy sauce. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer 15-20 minutes (until all water is absorbed and bulgur is not too crunchy). Do not overcook.
        2. Remove from heat and allow to cool; fluff with fork.
        3. Combine dressing ingredients; stir well.
        4. Put bulgur mixture in a large bowl. Pour dressing over bulgur mixture and mix well.
        5. Stir in green onions, raisins, carrots, and chickpeas. Cover and chill for several hours.

        Source: SNAP-Ed Connection

        Monday, March 26, 2012

        Salt and Sodium Tips

        10 tips to help you cut back on the Salt/Sodium

        It’s clear that Americans have a taste for salt, but salt plays a role in high blood pressure. Everyone, including kids, should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt). Adults age 51 and older, African Americans of any age, and individuals with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease should further reduce their sodium intake to 1,500 mg a day.
        1. Think fresh. Most of the sodium Americans eat is found in processed foods. Eat highly processed foods less often and in smaller portions—especially cheesy foods, such as pizza; cured meats, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and deli/ luncheon meats; and ready-to-eat foods, like canned chili, ravioli, and soups. Fresh foods are generally lower in sodium. 
        2. Enjoy home-prepared foods. Cook more often at home—where you are in control of what’s in your food. Preparing your own foods allows you to limit the amount of salt in them. 
        3. Fill up on veggies and fruits—they are naturally low in sodium. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits—fresh or frozen. Eat a vegetable or fruit at every meal.
        4. Choose dairy and protein foods that are lower in sodium. Choose more fat-free or low-fat milk and yogurt in place of cheese, which is higher in sodium. Choose fresh beef, pork, poultry, and seafood, rather than those with salt added. Deli or luncheon meats, sausages, and canned products like corned beef are higher in sodium. Choose unsalted nuts and seeds.
        5. Adjust your taste buds. Cut back on salt little by little—and pay attention to the natural tastes of various foods. Your taste for salt will lessen over time.
        6. Skip the salt. Skip adding salt when cooking. Keep salt off the kitchen counter and the dinner table. Use spices, herbs, garlic, vinegar, or lemon juice to season foods or use no-salt seasoning mixes. Try black or red pepper, basil, curry, ginger, or rosemary.
        7. Read the label. Read the Nutrition Facts label and the ingredients statement to find packaged and canned foods lower in sodium. Look for foods labeled “low sodium,” “reduced sodium,” or “no salt added.”
        8. Ask for low-sodium foods when you eat out. Restaurants may prepare lower sodium foods at your request and will serve sauces and salad dressings on the side so you can use less. 
        9. Pay attention to condiments. Foods like soy sauce, ketchup, pickles, olives, salad dressings, and seasoning packets are high in sodium. Choose low-sodium soy sauce and ketchup. Have a carrot or celery stick instead of olives or pickles. Use only a sprinkling of flavoring packets instead of the entire packet.
        10. Boost your potassium intake. Choose foods with potassium, which may help to lower your blood pressure. Potassium is found in vegetables and fruits, such as potatoes, beet greens, tomato juice and sauce, sweet potatoes, beans (white, lima, kidney), and bananas. Other sources of potassium include yogurt, clams, halibut, orange juice, and milk.

        Friday, March 23, 2012

        Back to the Basics of Healthy Weight Loss

        While there are plenty of ways to lose weight, maintaining your weight loss over the long term is often unsuccessful. If you've lost and found the same pounds several times before, it's probably time to go back to the basics of a healthy weight:
        • Prevention of weight gain or stopping recent weight gain can improve your health.
        • Health can improve with relatively minor weight reduction (5 percent to 10 percent of body weight).
        • Adopting a healthy lifestyle – eating smarter and moving more – can improve your health status even if you don't lose any weight at all.
        • If you want to maintain a healthy weight for the rest of your life, it's all about energy balance. Here are three basic steps for success:
        Make Smart Choices from Every Food Group

        Your body needs the right fuel for your hectic, stress-filled schedule. The best way to get what you need is to enjoy a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods that are packed with energy, protein, vitamins and minerals from all the MyPyramid food groups.

        Where can you find these smart choices? When you go shopping, look to the four corners of your supermarket:
        • Fruits and vegetables from the produce aisles
        • Whole grains from the bakery
        • Low-fat milk products from the dairy case
        • Lean proteins from the meat/fish/poultry department.

        Here's an easy way to eat more produce: Enjoy one fruit and one vegetable as a snack each day. It's quick, easy, tasty and very nutrient-rich.

        Get the Most Nutrition from Your Calories

        The biggest nutrition problem for most Americans is posed by high-fat, high-sugar foods and drinks, such as snack foods, candies and soft drinks. Eating smarter does not mean you have to immediately go sugar-free and fat-free. You can make a big difference in your calorie intake by just eating and drinking smaller portions and by making empty calorie choices less often.

        The key is to moderate, not eliminate. Watching portion sizes is an easy way to cut back without cutting out. If you want to consume less sugar, limit your soft drink intake to one can a day and switch to sparkling water the rest of the time.

        Balance Food and Physical Activity

        What you eat is just one part of the energy balance equation. The other is your physical activity. Most of us take in more calories than we spend on our daily activities.

        Finding a healthier balance means fitting more activity into your day. The minimum for good health is 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day. To reach a healthy weight, you may need to be physically active longer (60 minutes a day) or participate in more intense activities. How much activity do you usually get now? If it's only 15 minutes, try adding a 15- or 20-minute walk during your lunch break.

        American Dietetic Association