Category Archives: Healthy Living

4 Ways to Get Fit as a Family

Photo Courtesy: Statepoint

By Statepoint

One of the keys to encouraging children to develop health habits early is to make fitness a priority in the home.

The great news is there are a variety of ways to lead an active lifestyle that are suitable for the whole family, including kids of all ages.

Let these four creative ideas help you turn each day into an opportunity to get fit and have fun as a family. As with any workout, it’s important to have the proper gear, and that starts with footwear. Each exercise is paired with a suggestion of what to consider when it’s time to choose the right shoe.

  1. Visit a playground: Choose your own adventure, taking note of your favorite parks and playgrounds and their features, such as skate parks, swings, slides and climbing walls.

Shoes to try: Vans all have a variety of “updated classic” styles available in men, women and children’s sizing in on-trend colors, such as blush, yellow and white. This ensures that everyone can find a pair that reflects their personalities, while also providing necessary support.

2. Learn a new sport: From tennis to golf to touch football, there are a variety of ways to experience healthy activities as a group.

Shoe to try: The Adidas Lite Racer features a Cloudfoam EVA midsole to guide your foot when enjoying high-impact sports, such as running or tennis.

3. Participate in a charity run: Whether you’re a seasoned runner or have just signed up for your first 5K, many fundraising races are designed to accommodate the whole family. For younger children, search for events that allow baby strollers or that host a separate Fun Run for the kids.

Shoe to try: Nike offers the Flex Experience, which features lightweight synthetic overlays for a great fit and feel in both adult and children’s sizing.

4. Get outdoors: Explore a new hiking trail to make memories and enjoy stunning scenery. Cater to all family members by choosing the length and level of difficulty of the hike.

Shoes to try: Built to go off-roading, ASICS hiking shoes features reversed lugs on the outsole to ensure a dependable grip both uphill and downhill.

New footwear can help each member of the family get motivated to meet fitness goals and try new activities. For a one-stop-shopping experience and shoe trends for families, visit the Athletic Shop at Rack Room Shoes in stores or online at http://www.rackroomshoes.com/athleticshop.

Exercise shouldn’t be a chore. With new gear, a great attitude and a sense of adventure, getting fit as a family will be fun.

3 Ways to Make the Most of Summer Produce

Photo Courtesy: Statepoint
Always clean fruits and vegetables to remove pesticides, wax and soil.

By Statepoint

Summer can be all too fleeting, but one of the best ways to ensure you make the most of the season is by enjoying the generous harvest of fruits and vegetables it brings.

Here are three simple ways to make the most of summer produce:

Get Produce at Its Peak

Produce tastes best when enjoyed during its peak season. Before shopping, check produce guides to see what’s at its peak near you. A few easy ways to be sure you’re getting the cream of the crop are to join a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) group, visit a farmer’s market and to simply look for the local label at your supermarket. In a culinary rut? Because CSA members don’t always have the option of selecting the exact items they receive, a subscription is a particularly good idea for those with adventurous spirits looking to expand their horizons.

Be Safe

In your efforts to feed your family nutritious produce this summer, be mindful that many fruits and vegetables contain contaminants like pesticides, wax and soil on their outer layer. While independent studies show that washing produce with water or bleach solution still leaves behind large traces of pesticides, there is now a better way to protect your family.

With just a spray and rinse, Arm & Hammer’s Fruit & Vegetable Wash safely eliminates more than 90 percent of residue from the commonly used pesticide thiabendazole, when used as directed — four times better than water alone. Made with pure and simple ingredients like Arm & Hammer baking soda, water, salt and lemon oil; and free of harsh chemicals, it’s easy to stock your kitchen with it and make it a part of meal prep. For more information, as well as cleaning tips, visit armandhammercleans.com.

Use it Up

Don’t let any produce go to waste. Here are five fun uses for fruit and vegetables:

• Fruit popsicles: Chop fruit into small chunks and mix with juice and even a bit of honey. Pour the mixture into a popsicle mold and freeze. You’ll have a delicious, healthful snack for later.

• Fruit or veggie kebabs: The grill is not just for burgers and dogs. Make veggie skewers using mushrooms, zucchini, green peppers and onions. For a light dessert, grill pears and peaches to be eaten on their own or topped with a bit of ice cream.

• Pesto: Go beyond the classic basil recipe to get creative with your pesto sauces. From cilantro to spinach to mint, many of summer’s richest green herbs and vegetables make great stand-ins.

• Cold soups: The weather may be hot, but that doesn’t mean you need to put soup on the back burner — or any burner at all. From gazpacho to borscht served chilled, you can cool down with soup this summer.

• Preserves: Certain fruits — such as strawberries — can technically be found any time of year, but are absolutely unparalleled in summer. Capture that magic for the months ahead by turning your favorite fruits into jams.

5 Delicious Low-Carb Recipes Perfect for a Cookout

Photo Courtesy: (c) georgerudy / stock.Adobe.com

By Statepoint

Food on the grill, carb-loaded side dishes and high-sugar desserts are at the center of most seasonal cookouts. But this doesn’t mean you need to avoid those countless neighborhood barbecues to ensure you stay on track with your healthy lifestyle.

Courtney McCormick, manager of Clinical Research & Nutrition for South Beach Diet, recommends these five lower-carb recipes that are great to bring along to any cookout.

• Shredded Chicken Chili: Just toss some chicken, beans, tomatoes and a combination of chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and oregano in your slow cooker and let that magic machine do all the work. Six hours later, you’ll have perfectly cooked chicken and plenty of flavorful fixings for fewer calories than a chicken prepared in a sugary or cheesy sauce.

• Avocado Tuna Sandwiches: Mix lemon juice, avocado, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl and add canned tuna fish. Scoop onto a slice of whole grain bread with arugula, sliced cucumbers and red onions and you’ve got yourself a delicious sandwich to eat in place of that hamburger.

• Skinny Shrimp Fajitas: You won’t miss the tortilla with this recipe! Combine shrimp, onion, bell pepper, olive oil and dry fajita spices such as chili powder, garlic, onion, cumin and paprika in a large bowl. Pour into a veggie basket or place on skewers and let the grill do the work for you.

• Pesto Cilantro Dip: Bake walnuts at 275 degrees until golden brown, then chop cilantro, garlic, and walnuts in a food processor for about 25 seconds. With the machine running, pour olive oil in a steady stream. Add sour cream, lemon juice and salt. Pulse a few times to combine and you’re done! Serve with fresh veggies.

“This recipe is quick and simple,” says McCormick. “It contains minimal ingredients and it is packed with healthy fats. Plus, it keeps five days in the refrigerator and freezes for up to a month.”

• South Beach Coleslaw: Coleslaw is a BBQ staple and this recipe for a lighter version of it is easy as 1-2-3! Whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, celery seed and a sugar substitute. Add cabbage and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For more details on these recipes and other great tips and tricks to lose weight and live healthier, visit South Beach Diet’s website The Palm at palm.southbeachdiet.com/cookout-low-carb-recipes.

Remember, cookouts don’t need to wreak havoc on your healthy diet. By making some simple swaps and choosing healthier options, you’ll stay on track while still enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

5 Warm Weather Weight Loss Blunders to Avoid

Photo Courtesy: Statepoint
Make favorite drinks healthier with simple ingredient swaps, says Julie Chrisley.

By Statepoint

Along with warm weather comes picnics, cookouts and other parties that can take a toll on your healthy lifestyle.

To help you stay on track while you’re enjoying the sunshine and good times, Courtney McCormick, manager, Clinical Research and Nutrition at Nutrisystem, is sharing the top five weight loss blunders people tend to make this time of year and simple tips for avoiding them.

• Blunder 1: Crash dieting: The thought of putting on a swimsuit may entice you to crash diet. Crash diets are not only unhealthy, they tend to slow metabolism, making it difficult for you to drop more than just a few pounds. Also, any weight you lose short-term will be regained as soon as you resume eating normally. It’s best to stick with your healthy lifestyle year-round. Have a bad day? That’s okay. Vow to get back on track the next day.

• Blunder 2: Ordering smoothies and frapps: When the weather turns hot, a blended drink can seem like an ideal morning or afternoon pick-me-up. However, those from coffee shops and convenience stores tend to be loaded with sugar and fat. A 16-ounce serving may have more than 200 calories and 50 grams of sugar. Quench cravings by ordering unsweetened or lightly sweetened iced coffee or tea or opt for a protein shake.

“Being from the south, I love my sweet tea. To be sure I don’t overdo it on the sugar, I will use a little bit of honey as a sweetener instead,” said Julie Chrisley, Nutrisystem ambassador.

• Blunder 3: Not watching alcohol intake: Alcoholic beverages can be very refreshing in warm weather, but even a light beer or white wine is more than 100 calories, and today’s popular sweet drinks like hard cider and wine coolers have as many 180 calories each. To avoid over-indulging, alternate one or two drinks with fizzy seltzer over ice and a lime wedge.

• Blunder 4: Perspiring to lose: When you exercise in the heat, you may think you can feel the pounds melting off with each bead of sweat. And if you weigh yourself right before and after a workout, you may see a difference. The problem is as soon as you replace the fluids you’ve sweated out, you’ll see on the scale that you’ve lost little, if any, weight. Your best bet is to maintain a steady activity level every day so that you get at least 150 minutes of movement a week. Regular activity keeps your metabolism burning continually, even if you’re just walking inside an air-conditioned mall.

• Blunder 5: Loading plates with BBQ favorites: Backyard barbecues bring out many favorite classics, like potato salad and coleslaw. While those dishes start with healthful vegetables, they get weighed down with excessive saturated fats from mayonnaise and sour cream. What’s more, the loads of sugar in popular barbecue sauces can heap calories on a lean chicken breast. To manage intake, avoid creamy salads and dip chicken in BBQ sauce instead of slathering it on before grilling.

For more tips and tricks for staying on track with weight loss and healthy lifestyle goals, visit leaf.nutrisystem.com.

To overcome the most common warm weather weight loss blunders, it’s best to know what they are, as well has have go-to strategies to avoid them.

5 Reasons Kids Should Play Outside More

Photo Courtesy: (c) FatCamera – iStock.com

By Statepoint

Whether it’s dance lessons, computer projects, art class or yoga, kids these days are busy bees. And while such activities are enriching and fun, experts say that many kids aren’t spending enough time doing something much simpler and every bit as important as structured programming: playing outdoors.

“Finding time for the kids to play outside can be such a challenge for parents,” says Keri Wilmot, a pediatric occupational therapist and an expert contributor to TheGeniusofPlay.org. “As a parent I worry about ‘stranger danger’ or whether my kids will be able to navigate social issues on their own. Without spontaneity, playtime has lost some of it’s fun.”

Outdoor play is necessary for healthy child development, according to The Genius of Play. The initiative, whose mission is to raise awareness about the importance of play and help parents make play a critical part of raising their kids, is sharing five benefits of unstructured outdoor playtime:

• Physical Development: Research has shown that physically active kids tend to be leaner and healthier, while an inactive childhood can lead to a sedentary (and likely unhealthy) lifestyle in adulthood. Furthermore, physical play builds gross and fine motor skills necessary for success in school and beyond. Hanging from the monkey bars, for instance, helps kids develop the hand muscles needed to grip a pencil.

• Risk-Taking: Through outdoor play, children are given the opportunity to step outside their comfort zones and try new things. While taking risks won’t always lead to success on the first try, moments like a first bike ride without training wheels, or the first trip down the big slide in the playground, are critical for building the confidence and resilience needed to pursue a future career, start a business, or handle life’s many challenges.

• Social Skills: Childhood games played outdoors can help build social skills and teach kids to follow directions. From games as simple as tag, to those with more complicated rules, like “Kick the Can,” “Capture the Flag,” and sports like soccer and basketball, communication, teamwork and other important social skills are developed during outdoor play.

• Problem Solving: Children’s imaginations are often stimulated by the world around them. Being outside widens their horizons and can encourage kids to tap into their creativity in order to come up with solutions to challenges, such as learning how to build a sandcastle or figuring out how to climb up a jungle gym.

• Reducing Stress: So much outdoor play involves physical activity, thrilling moments and a sense of freedom, all of which can boost endorphins, helping to lower stress levels and reduce anxiety and depression. Interestingly, simply touching dirt when creating mud pies or digging for worms can be beneficial. According to a Bristol University study, certain types of “friendly” bacteria in soil have been found to activate the group of neurons that produce serotonin, which contributes to a feeling of well-being and happiness. So, don’t be afraid to let your kids get a bit dirty out there!

For play ideas, expert advice and other play resources, visit TheGeniusOfPlay.org.

Playtime is essential for children. To promote health, happiness and confidence, be sure some of it is spent outdoors.