The warmer-weather months are the ideal time to get outdoors, stay active and focus on your health goals. Staying fit and eating healthy can come easy when you keep a few simple tips in mind.
(BPT) - The warmer-weather months are the ideal time to get outdoors, stay active and focus on your health goals. Staying fit and eating healthy can come easy when you keep a few simple tips in mind.
Explore Mother Nature
If the gym is getting boring or just isn't your style, it's time to find inspiration outdoors. Warmer months are when Mother Nature truly shines and it's the perfect opportunity to get outside and get active. Hike local parks, visit a beach and take a paddleboard class, rent a kayak with a friend and explore a regional river — the opportunities are endless.
"You might find inspiration in your own backyard by enjoying playful stuff you used to do as a kid like jump rope, hopscotch, hula hoop or play on the swing set,” says registered dietitian and nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner. "Kid stuff can burn lots of calories, plus it adds fun and fuels your spirit."
Avoid mid-day heat
During hot weather, be aware of peak heat periods. Typically, this is in the afternoon, generally between noon and 5 p.m. It's wise to spend time outdoors earlier in the morning or later after dinner so that you don't have to worry about heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion.
Eat a wholesome breakfast
Before heading out for a morning adventure, don't forgo the most important meal of the day: breakfast. Give your body the fuel it needs so you can enjoy your activities to the fullest.
Longer days bring more sunshine, and while those rays can be amazing for getting outdoors, it's important to adopt sun-safe practices. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, everyone should use sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays), is SPF 30 or higher and is water resistant. Additionally, consider wearing sunglasses and a hat to protect the face and eyes.
Drink up and snack smart
Your body sweats as a way to keep cool. During warm weather this can happen quickly, especially if you are working out or being active outdoors. Always keep a bottle of water close by and drink up regularly. Some people even set a reminder on their phone.
"And don’t think that plain water is the only way to stay hydrated in the summer," says Blatner. "You can also get hydrated with unsweetened sun tea, water infused with fruit, or by actually eating water-rich fruits such as watermelon and pineapple."
Visit the local farmers market
Want a healthy eating tip from a professional chef? "Seek out fresh fare from your local farmers market and enjoy all the flavors of the season," says Chef Jonathan Poyourow, a registered and licensed dietitian, and assistant professor at Johnson & Wales University’s College of Culinary Arts.
"Choose produce in a multitude of colors so you can enjoy a bounty of flavors and get a variety of vitamins and nutrients. For instance, green broccoli is a good source of fiber and carotenoids while yellow peppers are high in vitamin C."
Next, try some chef-approved recipes to tempt your taste buds. For example, this tasty sheet pan recipe can be customized by using the local fare you just picked up at the market.
While the oven is preheating, chop all of the vegetables into bite-size pieces to ensure they will roast quickly and evenly in the oven.
Arrange the chopped vegetables in a single layer onto the sheet pan in rainbow order: red bell pepper, grape tomatoes, radishes, carrots, orange bell pepper, yellow squash, yellow bell pepper, broccoli, zucchini, radicchio.
Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables and sprinkle the salt, pepper and oregano evenly on top.
Using your hands, lightly toss the vegetables on the sheet pan while keeping the rainbow order intact until they are all evenly coated.
Place the sheet pan in the oven and roast for 15 minutes or until all vegetables are slightly tender.
Remove baking sheet from oven but leave oven on. Create room throughout the sheet pan for six eggs and then crack the eggs over the vegetables.
Return sheet pan to oven and bake until whites are set and yolks are still runny, about 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and scoop vegetables and one egg into bowl or on top of your choice of rice, quinoa or greens.
Between balancing family, friends, work and activities, it can be easy to reach for a pre-packaged snack on-the-go that lacks important vitamins and nutrients. Instead, when looking for portable, grab-and- go foods, think about a multi-purpose treat like watermelon, including recipes like these for Watermelon and Bulgur Wheat Salad, Watermelon Collagen Creamsicles and Watermelon Sandwich Wraps.
Eat Well On-the-Go
Perfectly portable watermelon dishes
(Family Features) A packed schedule often leads to less meals around the table. Between balancing family, friends, work and activities, it can be easy to reach for a pre-packaged snack on-the-go that lacks important vitamins and nutrients.
Instead, when looking for portable, grab-and- go foods, think about a multi-purpose treat like watermelon. Not only can watermelon be diced, sliced, balled or blended, it also provides numerous health benefits. Watermelon contains higher levels of lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable and is a source of vitamins A and C, as well as vitamin B6 and potassium.
Thinking beyond traditional slices, chunks or balls, there are many ways to incorporate watermelon into some of your favorite to-go meals, whether as a side dish or a key ingredient in beverages, salads or wraps. For example, these recipes for Watermelon and Bulgur Wheat Salad and Watermelon Collagen Creamsicle from the National Watermelon Promotion Board can help satisfy your sweet tooth and provide necessary nutrients while tackling the next task on your to-do list.
Find more watermelon recipes perfect for an on-the-go lifestyle at watermelon.org.
Watermelon and Bulgur Wheat Salad
4 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
2 cups cooked bulgur wheat
2 cups arugula
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup chopped mint
shaved pecorino romano cheese, to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon honey
In large serving bowl, combine watermelon, bulgur wheat, arugula, grape tomatoes and chopped mint.
To make dressing: In liquid measuring cup, whisk olive oil, vinegar, garlic, honey, salt and pepper until well combined.
Just before serving, pour dressing over salad and toss to combine. Top with shaved pecorino and season, to taste. Serve immediately.
Watermelon Collagen Creamsicle
2 cups cubed watermelon
2 rounded tablespoons collagen
2 tablespoons heavy cream
In blender, combine watermelon, collagen and heavy cream; blend. Pour into glass to serve.
Wrap It Up
Wraps are a perfect on-the-go snack and are easily customizable. Get started with one of these varieties from the National Watermelon Promotion Board or create your own combination. Start with a spread to help the fillings stick together. Place toppings in the center of a tortilla and a watermelon spear on top. Roll the tortilla over the watermelon spear to tuck in all ingredients. Fasten with a toothpick, if needed.
Watermelon Sandwich Wraps
1 wheat, flour, corn, spinach or sun-dried tomato tortilla
2-4 teaspoons chive cream cheese, hummus, guacamole or Greek yogurt
5-8 slices turkey, ham, chicken breast, roast beef or pepperoni
1 watermelon spear, about 1/2-inch thick, 1-inch wide
2-4 teaspoons barbecue sauce, ranch, pesto, Thai peanut sauce, teriyaki, salsa or sweet chili and ginger
2-4 slices feta, pepper jack, swiss or mozzarella cheese
English Tea Sandwich Wrap: Flour tortilla, chive cream cheese, ham, watermelon, watercress
Staying indoors and wrapping up in a blanket is one way to avoid winter’s frigid weather, but less exposure to the sun can also put you at risk of a vitamin D deficiency. When you need a quick way to warm up on a cold day, try this creamy Pressure Cooker Corn Chowder.
Beat Winter Blues with a Little Help From Vitamin D
Wholesome ingredients can help up your intake during the dark days of winter
(Family Features) Staying indoors and wrapping up in a blanket is one way to avoid winter’s frigid weather, but less exposure to the sun can also put you at risk of a vitamin D deficiency. Milk is the primary source of vitamin D in the American diet, according to research published in the FASEB Journal, making it a great choice on dark winter days.
An 8-ounce glass of milk provides 30 percent of the daily value of vitamin D, so just three cups of milk each day will provide 90 percent of your body’s recommended daily requirements. Milk is also an easy way to get other essential nutrients like B vitamins for energy, high-quality protein for lean muscle and vitamin A for a healthy immune system.
When you need a quick way to warm up on a cold day, try this creamy chicken corn chowder recipe that can be made with a pressure cooker. Cooked with wholesome ingredients like milk, chicken and potatoes and topped with bacon and green onions, it’s an easy and delicious addition to your weekly meal rotation. For more recipes to warm up your winter, visit milklife.com.
Pressure Cooker Corn Chowder
6 slices (6 ounces each) thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, diced
1 bag (16 ounces, about 3 1/3 cups) frozen corn kernels
4 cups chicken broth
1 pound unpeeled or peeled Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/4-1/2-inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional, to taste
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, plus additional, to taste
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
2-3 green onions, sliced (optional)
1 tablespoon heavy cream or half-and-half (optional)
Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped bacon and cook until crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked bacon to paper towel-lined plate and pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat.
Return skillet to stove. Add onion and garlic; saute 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add diced chicken and frozen corn; saute for an additional 3 minutes, stirring often.
Remove skillet from heat and transfer contents to pressure cooker. Add chicken broth, potatoes, salt and pepper. Close and seal pressure cooker, making sure the vent is in the sealed position. Cook on high 8 minutes.
While the chowder cooks, make a slurry by whisking cornstarch (or flour) into milk. Set aside.
When done, remove pressure cooker from heat. Allow pressure to release on its own or carefully quick-release pressure after a few minutes. Stir in the cornstarch-milk slurry. Cover and allow chowder to thicken for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Portion soup into bowls and generously top with bacon. Garnish with green onion and cream or half-and-half, if desired. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
Nutritional information per serving: 190 calories; 5 g fat; 1.5 g saturated fat; 35 mg cholesterol; 14 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 530 mg sodium; 52 mg calcium (6% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on using fat-free milk.
Keeping your heart in good shape starts at mealtime. Try adding a colorful, flavorful twist to a simple salad by combining crunchy kale with fresh pecans, pomegranate seeds and pears for a tasty, heart-healthy meal you can feel good about.
Heart-Smart Eating Can Be Delicious and Nutritious
(Family Features) Keeping your heart in good shape starts at mealtime. Fortunately, there’s no reason to skimp on flavor to spread the love to your heart.
For example, homegrown American Pecans are a naturally sweet, heart-smart ingredient you can add to salads, vegetable side dishes, oatmeal and other whole grains – or enjoy on their own as a snack. Their unique mix of “good” unsaturated fats, fiber, plant sterols and flavonoids add up to make pecans a powerful, heart-healthy food.
Each 1-ounce serving provides 18 grams of unsaturated fat with zero cholesterol or sodium. In fact, American Pecans are certified as a heart-healthy food by the American Heart Association’s® Heart-Check Certification Program. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as pecans, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Try adding a colorful, flavorful twist to a simple salad by combining crunchy kale with fresh pecans, pomegranate seeds and pears for a tasty, heart-healthy meal you can feel good about.
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons, divided
2 small pears, sliced
3/4 cup fresh pecan halves
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons course grain mustard
pinch of kosher salt
pinch of cracked black pepper
Chop or shred kale into small pieces and transfer to large bowl. Drizzle 3 tablespoons olive oil on kale. Massage kale about 3-5 minutes, or until kale becomes glossy, deep green and begins to tenderize.
Add pear slices, pecan halves and pomegranate seeds; toss with kale.
Add remaining olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper to canning jar and secure lid. Shake for several seconds until dressing comes together. Drizzle over salad and toss to coat.
Serve immediately, or allow salad to marinate in dressing up to 30 minutes before serving.
Note: Heart-Check certification does not apply to recipes or information unless expressly stated.
Nutritional information per serving: 230 calories; 21 g fat; 2.5 g saturated fat; 75 mg sodium; 11 g carbohydrates; 3 g fiber; 2 g protein.
Locally sourced foods are becoming increasingly important to families across the country, and many people are surprised to learn that milk is one of the original farm-to-table foods. Whether enjoyed as a beverage or used as an ingredient in a favorite recipe, like this homemade ice cream, milk is a versatile pairing for any meal.
Introduce Freshness to Your Family Table
The original farm-to-table food kids already love – milk
(Family Features) Locally sourced foods are becoming increasingly important to families across the country – and more moms are taking note of where their family’s food comes from. In fact, more than three-quarters of moms are actively looking for locally sourced food options when grocery shopping for themselves and their families, according to a new survey from the National Milk Life Campaign. ¹
From Farm to Glass
Many people are surprised to learn that milk is one of the original farm-to-table foods. Nearly two-thirds of moms think milk takes anywhere from more than two days to more than a week to travel from the farm to grocery stores throughout the country, when it typically arrives on shelves in just 48 hours, on average, after leaving the farm. In fact, milk often originates from many family-owned and operated farms about 300 miles away from your grocery store.²
Part of a Balanced Diet
As a minimally processed and farm-fresh beverage, milk is a wholesome way to help your family get natural protein and balanced nutrition. Whether it’s reduced fat, fat free or organic, dairy milk is remarkably simple, containing just three ingredients: milk, vitamin A and vitamin D.
Whether enjoyed as a beverage or used as an ingredient in your favorite recipe, milk is a versatile pairing for any meal. Even award-winning chefs and restaurateurs like Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli use milk as a foundational farm-to-table ingredient in many of their signature dishes.
For a traditional favorite that kids are sure to enjoy, try Giorgio’s homemade ice cream recipe. The whole family will love making (and eating) this treat, and you can feel good about the wholesome and delicious ingredients like milk.
For more information and delicious recipes, visit milklife.com.
Giorgio’s Homemade Ice Cream
Servings: nine 2/3 cup servings
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
8 egg yolks
1 cup cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and the heavy cream to a simmer, over medium heat.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks until they lighten in color. Temper the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar by gradually adding in small amounts and then return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. Add the vanilla, adjust the seasoning and cook the ice cream base for 3-4 hours.
Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions.
Nutritional information per serving: 390 calories; 30 g fat; 18 g saturated fat; 260 mg cholesterol; 5 g protein; 27 g carbohydrates; 0 g fiber; 115 mg sodium; 113 mg calcium (10% of daily value).
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
¹ Weber Shandwick conducted an online Google survey among 1,010 moms between the ages of 18-54 on behalf of The National Milk Life Campaign between June 22 – June 26.
Live healthier and longer by making the decision to eat healthy as a couple!
A nutritious diet is crucial for overall health and well-being. While it’s OK to indulge from time to time, it’s important to make sure you’re providing your body with appropriate nourishment. There are many ways to help you add more of the essential nutrients you need into everyday meals, including these nutritious ideas and this recipe for a Chocolate-Chai Smoothie.
Focus on Nutrition: 5 ways to add more nutrients to your lifestyle
5 ways to add more nutrients to your lifestyle
(Family Features) A nutritious diet is crucial for overall health and well-being. While it’s OK to indulge from time to time, it’s important to make sure you’re providing your body with appropriate nourishment.
There are many ways to help you add more of the essential nutrients you need into everyday meals, including these nutritious ideas from CocoaVia.
Sneak in More Fruits and Vegetables.
You can bulk up the nutritional value of nearly any meal by incorporating fruits or vegetables directly into your recipes. Pureeing veggies is a good way to disguise textures or flavors you might typically avoid. For example, celery is a natural flavor enhancer for many types of broth soup. Adding finely pureed celery to the stock will add the flavor without the crunchy bits. You can also slip vegetables like spinach or carrots into smoothies, and depending on the base and fruit, you may never even taste them. Fresh, canned or frozen, fruit can give a boost of nutrition to dishes like oatmeal or pudding. You can also use purees (think applesauce) as a low-fat substitute for eggs and oil in baked goods like cake.
Fresh fruits and vegetables provide a wealth of essential vitamins and nutrients, but you may be surprised that their frozen counterparts do the same. Frozen foods are often perceived as less nutritious, but they can contain just as many nutrients as fresh produce. In fact, since freezing often involves picking the food at its peak and then quickly freezing it, freezing can actually help retain vitamins more efficiently than refrigeration or canning; frozen vegetables can actually hold on to nutrients longer than fresh produce and are a great alternative when seasonal fruits and vegetables are unavailable. In many cases, frozen veggies also make it easy to experiment with better-for-you meals because the cleaning and prep work is already done. You can try adding them to soups, stir-fries, casseroles and even pasta dishes.
If you’ve historically shied away from cooked vegetables, you may find that proper preparation is the secret ingredient. Not only does overcooking veggies deplete their flavor, in most cases it also diminishes their nutritional value. Cook veggies lightly and quickly using methods like stir-frying or steaming to help retain water-soluble nutrients like vitamins B and C.
You may think of dishes covered in rich gravy or sauce as unhealthy, and in some cases, you would be right. However, it’s actually quite possible to create saucy dishes that taste terrific. Both tomato sauce and pesto add nutrients and can top pretty much anything, from pastas to grilled chicken. Tomato sauce contains lycopene, a bright plant pigment known as a carotenoid that has been linked to a range of health benefits. Pesto is traditionally made with healthy pine nuts and basil, but you can also get creative and prepare this light sauce alternative with options such as arugula, spinach and heart-healthy walnuts or pecans.
Consider Cocoa Flavanols.
Another option to consider adding to your diet is cocoa flavanols. These plant-based phytonutrients are found naturally in cocoa, and research supports that these flavanols work within your body to help maintain healthy blood flow. While chocolate, including dark chocolate and natural (non-alkalized) cocoa powder, can be sources of cocoa flavanols, they are often not a reliable source of cocoa flavanols. The way cocoa is handled matters in the retention of these phytonutrients. However, one easy way to add cocoa flavanols to your routine is by incorporating a daily cocoa extract supplement, such as CocoaVia, which contains the highest concentration available in a cocoa extract supplement today. The supplement can be added to the food or beverage of your choice, like a Chocolate-Chai Smoothie or coffee. Visit CocoaVia.com for more information about cocoa flavanols and ideas for adding them to your diet.
The Truth About Chocolate
While there are many misconceptions about chocolate, especially when it comes to its health benefits, these facts from the experts at CocoaVia set the record straight on some of the most common chocolate myths.
1. Chocolate contains powerful antioxidants.
Chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, does contain cocoa flavanols, phytonutrients which numerous scientific studies have demonstrated have a positive impact on health. However, cocoa flavanols are not antioxidants. While not antioxidants, cocoa flavanols have been shown to have positive effects on health that are linked to their ability to support the health and function of your blood vessels.
2. Chocolate is good for your heart.
Chocolate can be part of a healthy diet, but it is not a health food. Even if chocolate is high in cocoa flavanols, the calories, fat and sugar leave it best-suited as an occasional indulgence.
3. Chocolate containing 70 percent cacao or greater is good for you.
The percentage of cacao is not a reliable indicator of a product's cocoa flavanol content. Unfortunately, there is also no way of knowing exactly how many cocoa flavanols are in a conventional chocolate product because traditional cocoa processing, which includes fermenting, drying and roasting of beans, destroys many of the flavanols naturally present in the cocoa bean.
4. Chocolate is high in caffeine.
Chocolate does contain caffeine, but an average 1-ounce serving of dark chocolate contains less than half the amount of caffeine found in an average cup of black tea. The amount of caffeine in chocolate is in proportion to the percentage of cacao in the product, meaning milk chocolate contains less caffeine than semi-sweet or dark chocolate.
Makes: 1 smoothie
1/2 cup boiling water
1 chai-flavored tea bag
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 tablespoon honey
1 packet CocoaVia Unsweetened Dark Chocolate (or Sweetened Dark Chocolate) supplement
In measuring cup with pour spout, pour boiling water over tea bag. Let steep 5 minutes; remove tea bag.
Pour milk and tea into blender; add honey, a handful of ice and cocoa extract supplement. Cover and blend until smooth.
Nutritional information per serving: 130 calories; 1 g total fat; 50 mg sodium; 27 g carbohydrates; 1 g dietary fiber; 24 g sugar; 5 g protein; 375 mg cocoa flavanols.
Content courtesy of CocoaVia
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (man and woman in kitchen)