Fathers Hand- Nutrition Education for Male Mentors and Boys

Basil Boys!

A visual for the guys to pass around to touch, feel, and smell fresh basil!

A visual for the guys to pass around to touch, feel, and smell fresh basil!

WVU’s Human Nutrition and Foods department spearheaded a lesson within the existing program, “Fathers Hand” at the Shack Neighborhood House. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the Shack Neighborhood House, commonly known as the Shack, it is a non-profit community center for the surrounding communities of Morgantown, WV. The Shack runs programs for children, adolescents, teens, and families all year long. Throughout the school year, most programming is run after school and in the evening. In the summer time, programs are run throughout the day, as well as in the evening.

Fathers Hand is an evening program that is designed for male adult mentors and male children. Normally, Fathers Hand every 1st, 2nd, and 4th Thursday of the month from 6pm-8pm. Since April is “Child and Family Awareness Month”, the Shack thought it would be nice to have Fathers Hand every Thursday this month, instead. Fathers Hand is an open program to increase male bonding and expose these men and young men, to anything and everything new that they normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience without the help from the Shack.

Well, tonight marked our second lesson and had an emphasis on fruits and vegetables, incorporating the use of container gardens. I developed the lesson plans for the 3 weeks of content for the program, as well as creating handouts, recipes, instructions for activities, and purchased the groceries. Within the lesson, a dinner/meal is included so, we try to always make something for the participants that’s easy to make AND healthy as well. WVU Student Dietetic Association (SDA) volunteers to help cook the meals each lesson. This way, participants are encouraged to try to make these meals outside of the Shack, within their home environment.

Tonight, the lesson consisted of information about how many servings of fruits and vegetables that everyone should be eating. The participants learned the concept of “5-A-Day”, which refers to eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. The theme of tonight’s lesson was BASIL! The activity was making container basil gardens out of plastic cups. This will serve as a “starter” garden for all the guys, adults included. Both recipes that the participants were served, contained basil and were made with healthy ingredients, which the participants received recipe handouts on as well.

The participants were educated on the MyPlate, using a poster, and focusing on fruits and vegetables. The lesson focused on fruit and vegetable identification, so fresh basil was passed around as a visual for everyone to touch, feel, and smell. The incorporation of fruits and vegetables that were unfamiliar like heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, avocados, and mangoes was another visual for the participants. The lesson was geared towards green leafy vegetables but, also incorporated “new” and unfamiliar produce which we aim to accomplish overall to teach everyone food identification skills that they could use all year long! 

Shack Neighborhood House

The beginning of the basil, tomato, and zucchini casserole!

The beginning of the basil, tomato, and zucchini casserole!

basil garden1

basil garden

A variety of heirloom tomatoes to show the participants that veggies come in different colors, you wouldn't think of!

A variety of heirloom tomatoes to show the participants that veggies come in different colors, you wouldn’t think of!

heirloom2

heirloom_red

heirloom_lgreenheirloom_yellow

heirloom_green

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March is Frozen Foods Month!

Frozen Food Month

March a big month in the realm of nutrition and dietetics. It’s not only National Nutrition Month but it’s also Frozen Food Month. Yes, frozen food DOES have its own month believe it or not…

Frozen produce is picked at its peak and flash frozen to maintain all the flavor and nutrients. The Frozen Food Foundation says that frozen fruits and vegetables are equally, and possibly more nutritious than fresh. When you buy fresh produce in the grocery store, it may have been harvested days before and may be past its peak by the time arrives. The produce may also not have been ripe when it was picked and may not be ready when it goes on sale.

Frozen foods keep longer, compared to fresh foods because the freezing process suspends enzyme activity that causes the food to spoil. Depending on the type of food, you can normally store food for several months without losing its quality. You can store it indefinitely if you use free-standing freezers kept at 0 degrees F. This alone can save you hundreds of dollars a year on groceries.

How can you freeze your foods safely?

–        All foods can be safely frozen, but some foods should not be frozen for quality reasons (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, cream etc.)

–        Frozen food stored consistently at -18°C or lower will remain safe indefinitely.

–        Most domestic freezers should operate at temperatures -18°C or lower. As a general rule, if your freezer can’t keep ice cream solid, its temperature is above the recommended level.

–        Always refer to the on-pack ‘best before’ date. The manufacturer’s ‘best before’ date on frozen foods is a quality indicator and is the date until which the product will remain of peak quality (when stored at -18°C or below). For storage in a 3-star or 4-star freezer manufacturers will normally recommend ‘store until best before date’.

–        After the ‘best before’ date a reduction in eating quality may become evident, whilst the product remains safe to eat.

–        Try to rotate foods; putting newly purchased items at the back of the freezer so older items are used first.

–        Freeze your frozen food in appropriate containers, i.e.:  freezer bags and airtight containers.

–        Most foods obey the rule ‘the colder the better’. Domestic freezers have a star rating indicating the temperature they are designed to operate at.

In honor of the month devoted to frozen food, I thought I would share how frozen food can be used as a healthy alternative!

Frozen Berry-Granola Squares

Ingredients:

–        1 c. whole grain granola

–        2 c. fresh strawberries, raspberries or combination

–        3 c. low-fat Greek yogurt

–        1/3 c. agave nectar

–        1 tsp. real vanilla extract

Directions:

–        Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil.

–        Sprinkle granola evenly on bottom of pan and set aside.

–        In a blender, whirl together berries, yogurt, agave nectar and vanilla until blended. Pour berry mixture over granola, smoothing mixture to the edges of the pan. Cover with foil and freeze until firm, approximately 4 hours. Keep frozen until serving.

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Ingredients:

–        1 lb. strawberries, rinsed and hulled

–        2/3 c. Splenda

–        1 cup skim milk yogurt

–        1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Directions:

–        Slice the strawberries into small pieces.

–        Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours, stirring every so often.

–        Transfer the strawberries and their juice to a blender or food processor.

–        Add the yogurt and fresh lemon juice. Pulse the machine until the mixture is smooth. If you wish, press mixture through a mesh strainer to remove any seeds.

–        Chill for 1 hour, and then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

–        Yield: 1 quart

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Southern Grocery Shopping

Southern Grocery Cart

It’s easy to throw healthy eating habits out the window when you’re away from home and your regular routine. Andrea D’Ambrosio, RD talks about ways to create a healthy winter routine while staying on a budget.

Plan ahead and stick to a list
Being prepared before you grab your grocery cart will help you avoid impulse purchases. It also gives you time to look at flyers, find sales and clip coupons. Try taking advantage of no-name products and avoiding shopping while you’re hungry.

Shop in season and avoid being wasteful
Buy in-season foods from local farmer’s markets, which is cheaper, and be resourceful with leftovers, using up excess food before it goes to waste, she says.

Consider vegetarian alternatives
If you study your grocery bill, meat products are often among the most expensive items. Consider planning meals with vegetarian alternatives like lentils, beans and soy. Check out vegetarian websites for heart- and budget-healthy meal ideas, she suggests.

Here are 5 friendly foods and the reasons you should add them to your grocery list:

  1. Fresh, seasonal fruit: A favorite snack to boost energy levels between meals if you feel a little hungry (power of carbs) and allows you to benefit from vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  1. Low-fat (1 percent) or non-fat milk: In order to maintain our bone density, we need to consume adequate dairy to receive calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and protein, which are all essential for bone growth and development.
  1. Whole grains: According to the Journal of Nutrition (2011), oats, barley, rice and quinoa all lower risk of chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancer, as well contribute to body-weight management and gastrointestinal health. Try buying whole-grain pasta and remember to look for the words “whole grain” on the label.
  1. Almonds: But just a handful a day, and make them unsalted! A portion-controlled (quarter cup) serving of almonds is excellent for lowering cholesterol because of the unsaturated fats, making them a heart-healthy choice. Almonds are high in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, and are naturally high in fiber and a good source of protein!
  1. Edamame: Green soybeans, made popular in Japanese cuisine but available in grocery stores, add a nice nutritional punch. These tasty soybeans can be added as a side dish, steamed in the pod or consumed as a snack or appetizer. Nutritionally speaking, they are another heart-healthy source of protein, fiber and vitamins.

http://www.thestar.com/specialsections/snowbirds/article/1301135–fill-your-southern-grocery-cart-with-healthy-foods

http://www.dieteticdirections.com/

groc shopp

A Very Merry Holiday

A Very Merry Holiday

There are several times throughout the year when people focus on losing weight — just before their birthday, leading up to a wedding or important event, and a few months prior to bathing suit season.

But there’s usually only one occasion when people forget about losing weight and simply concentrate on not gaining any. And that’s the holidays.

Thanksgiving is long gone, so if you had a few too many slices of Grandma’s pumpkin pie, relax and let it go. There’s no reason to feel guilty!

Instead, look ahead to Christmas. It’s the second time in the span of about 1 month that people will gather for absurd amounts of food, and, most importantly, quality family time.

By Dec. 26, everyone regrets that fourth helping of stuffing, fifth buttered roll and sixth biscotti, no matter how enjoyable they were the day before. To avoid feeling overstuffed prepare a plan beforehand. This will also help shed worries of weight gain and hopefully keep you from closing out 2012 with an extra 10 pounds on your hips.

Just say no….

A lot of holiday foods can be tempting, which is why it’s important to remember the phrase “mind over matter.”

Aunt Ginger may make the most delicious mashed potatoes you’ve ever tasted, so you tend not to realize that they’re loaded with fat and dripping with butter. You think you need to scoop up as many as you can before your rambunctious cousins get to them, but the fact is, the dish will be there next year and for many years to come.

This isn’t the last pan of mashed potatoes on the planet. Think of it that way and it’ll be easier to turn them down.

Also keep in mind that just because everyone around you is stuffing themselves doesn’t mean you need to follow suit.

The key is to eat until you’re satisfied, and not full. Pace yourself because you may tend to eat less! The slower you eat sometimes, the more full your stomach gets quicker. And make sure you listen to your stomach when it feels full…

Learn what’s what…

Something may seem healthful on the surface, but that doesn’t mean that’s truly the case. Sure, that green bean casserole has vegetables, but it also has creamy soup with all-too-high fat and sodium levels.

Try to learn exactly what’s in the food you’re eating so you know whether it’s OK to dive in for seconds.

“Ultimately, just a general education of wellness is always very important for everyone”

Pay attention to things like antioxidants and good fats vs. bad fats. A bowl of almonds, pecans and peanuts will make an excellent pre-meal snack and offers healthful fats at the same time.

A tray of sliced fruits and vegetables provides another convenient appetizer with plenty of health benefits.

“Things with lots of colors — they all have tons of antioxidants in them”

Consider volunteering to do the cooking for your family so you’ll have ultimate control over the nutrition on the table come Christmas Day. Plus this gives Nanny a break from all that cooking too!

Tweak tradition…

Holiday classics don’t have to be eliminated. Just look for ways to make them as nutritious as possible. For example, you can continue your family’s tradition of having a 20-pound turkey as the main dish, but don’t get any fancy ideas about deep frying the bird.

“Baking, broiling and grilling are really the best cooking methods”. Take the skin off the turkey before you eat it to make it even better for you.

Stuffing is also found in many holiday feasts, and it’s another dish that can be altered with ease. Making it from scratch and tossing in some dried cranberries will add fiber. Also, using whole wheat bread is also a healthy tweak to an old family tradition.

“When you’re choosing your foods during the holiday season or making recipes, try to continue to add whole grains to your diet”

Think ahead…

In the future, try to keep up with healthy habits before and after the holiday season. If you stick to normal portions and maintain a nutritious diet on a regular basis, it won’t be hard to stay in control on Christmas.

“Truly, it’s what you do all year round so that one day isn’t going to make a huge difference”

http://www.piercecountyherald.com/event/article/id/49987/group/News/

xmas_dinner

The Vegetarian Athlete. Is There Such A Thing?

The Plant-Based Athlete Diet

A vegetarian diet for endurance athletes is really not all that different from a normal and healthy diet, minus the meat of course. If you’re already eating lots of nutritious, whole foods as it is, there really aren’t all that many adjustments you need to make to go vegetarian. You can take it as far as you want, and some vegetarian and vegan athletes tend toward raw and gluten-free diets, citing even greater energy gains. There are different degrees of health in even vegetarian diets.

http://www.nomeatathlete.com/ is a great vegetarian and vegan athlete resource!

The Philosophy: Healthy but Accessible

There are some fantastic books out there that promote what I consider to be an “ideal” diet, from the standpoint of athletic performance. Vegan, high-raw, alkaline eating is great but, it’s tough. Lots of strange ingredients, low-temperature cooking, and very little starchy goodness for the pasta lovers among us, are included. For meat-eaters looking to make a change, the gap between this type of diet and their current one is huge.

I’d like to offer an alternative, a diet that is vegetarian, that’s substantial enough to support endurance training, and that’s delicious and accessible to new vegetarians. I’ll be the first to admit you can do better nutritionally, but I believe that it’s more important to have a diet you’ll stick to first. Once you’re used to eating vegetarian or vegan, that’s when it’s time to consider taking it to the next level.

Where to Get Protein?

Protein is in all types of different foods besides meat, but generally in lower quantities. It takes some effort to make sure you get some protein in every meal, but it’s not that hard. While it is possible to eat a high-protein vegetarian diet, if your goal is to get the amount of protein recommended by many traditional diets for athletes, you’ll have a tough time doing it.

Having heard that many endurance athletes thrive on diets with lower amounts of protein, than is traditionally recommended, many people take a chance on it, and have never felt better in their lives. If your vegetarian diet is pizza and potato chips, then you won’t get enough protein. But if you eat a wide variety of foods and make smart choices to include some protein at every meal and ensure that you’re getting a balanced amino acid profile, chances are you’ll feel better than ever.

Staple Foods

This list represents some common foods that will help you meet the needs of the vegetarian diet for endurance athletes. Certainly there are many more foods one could include; the idea here is to list those that can be found in common grocery stores and whose tastes aren’t too foreign. The key here is to have an open mind to new foods.

–          All kinds of veggies, cooked and raw

–          Vegetable sprouts

–          All kinds of fruits, usually raw

–          Beans and other legumes: lentils, chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, adzuki beans

–          Starchy vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes

–          Brown rice

–          Pasta (whole wheat)

–          Whole wheat bread, pitas, and bagels

–          Other grains and seeds: bulgur wheat, buckwheat, faro, millet, quinoa, flaxseed, hempseed, chia seeds

–          Hummus (now who doesn’t LOVE hummus? Seriously…)

–          Nuts, nut milks, nut butters: almonds, cashews, walnuts, almond milk, hazelnut milk, peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter (make sure you watch the fat content in some of these nut products)

–          Oils: grapeseed, olive, canola, coconut, flaxseed (unheated), hemp (unheated)

–           Agave nectar (as workout fuel, not an all-purpose sweetener)

–          Protein powder (hemp protein is a minimally-processed type)

–          Soy products (limited): tofu, tempeh

–          Tea and coffee (limited)

–          Cheese (limited, non-vegan)

–          Eggs (limited, non-vegan)

Who knew that an athlete could be healthy vegetarian too!

Caloric Breakdown

Take your favorite endurance diet numbers and adjust without meat. Endurance diets tend to be high in carbohydrate anyway, making a vegetarian or vegan approach especially well-suited. The book Food for Fitness, written by Lance Armstrong’s former coach Chris Carmichael, has recommendations that most vegetarian athletes adhere to:

–          65% carbohydrate

–          13% protein

–          22% fat

If you aim to hit these numbers with a vegetarian diet, you should do well. And you’ll find that it’s not all that hard to do.

How Much Should You Eat

About as much as it takes to feel comfortably full, but not stuffed. As endurance athletes, we have the luxury of eating more calories than more sedentary people. We need more calories, in fact. If your goal is weight loss, or if you train more or less than most people so, your needs will be different than most. Depending on your workout regimen, figure out what size meals work for you.

The Vegan Food Guide pyramid. Most vegetarian/vegan athletes will have higher energy needs compared to this. But, this shows the foundation for the lifestyle.

Eating Around Workouts

How you eat before, during, and after your workouts is especially important on any diet. Guidelines and recipes for unprocessed, vegetarians’ workout foods especially come in handy at this point.

Try and avoid these foods before a workout:

–          Spicy foods

–          High-fat foods

–          High-protein foods

Here are some smart post-workout snacks:

–          Protein shake with a banana

–          Peanut butter and banana on rice cakes

–          Hummus and pita

–          Yogurt and fresh berries

No more than 25% of your post-workout snack should come from protein, make sure you avoid too much fiber and high-fat foods as well.

So there you have it: A practical vegetarian diet for endurance athletes. Not that much to it, is there?