Susan Buckley, Branch Director
Barbara Howe, Deputy Branch Director
Donald I. Baird, MD, Health Officer
North Coast Project LEAN
529 I Street
Eureka, CA 95501
TEL: (707) 441-5081
FAX: (707) 268-0415
Decorate Your Dinner,
Add A Vegetable
December 5, 2007 - Add a Little Health to Holiday Meals
Many foods traditionally seen throughout the holiday season seem to abound in fat and extra calories. Some people actually dread this time of the year because they will be accosted by so many tempting foods. There are many little things we can do to help our family and friends maintain their health through the holidays. It isn’t necessary to do all of these suggestions, but each one will add a little more health to your meals and snacks.
For holiday cooking, try some of the following ideas:
- Reduce the added fats in your favorite recipes by one third or one-half. Often it won’t make any difference in flavor or texture.
- Dress up salads with lemon or lime, herbs, flavored balsamic vinegars, dressings made with nonfat yogurt or other nonfat/low fat dressings.
- Incorporate added vegetables into side dishes or casseroles.
- Add moisture and flavor to some sandwiches by using mustard or cranberry sauce instead of or along with only small amounts of reduced fat mayonnaise or butter.
- Combine low fat or nonfat cheeses (cream, ricotta or cottage cheese) with pureed fruit or fruit spreads for a delicious topping for whole grain toast or bagels.
- Use nonstick cooking spray and/or nonstick cookware. It may decrease the amount of oil needed in a recipe by a large amount.
- If you must use oil in your cooking, use olive or canola oil. Remember that there are 120 calories in one tablespoon of ANY vegetable oil.
- Decrease amounts of butter in a recipe by half, but maintain flavor intensity of the butter by melting and lightly browning it before adding to the rest of the ingredients.
- Or, instead of sautéing vegetables in fat, cook them in small amounts of broth or wine (the alcohol will burn off).
- Use more whole grain breads, rice and pastas.
- Read food labels: If fat is listed as one of the first ingredients, limit or avoid this food in your diet.
- Brown meats under the broiler rather than on the stovetop. No additional fat is required, and meat fats will drip away from the meat into the roasting pan.
- Eat turkey throughout the year, not just for Thanksgiving. Eaten without the skin, it's one of the lowest fat meats, and always delicious!
- Watch out for grazing, that is, eating a little bit here and a little bit there throughout the day. It’s amazing how many extra calories it can add. If you want to snack between meals, make healthy snacks available, like vegetable slices or cut up fruit.
- Remember to take frequent walks throughout the weeks ahead.
Here’s an easy, delicious recipe to share with your family and friends during the holidays, or any time. It’s especially tasty with poultry or fish. For more recipes, get on the computer and go to www.northcoastlean.org
. You’ll find a large number of recipes that have been in the Times Standard, as well as those you’ve seen on KVIQ –TV.
Citrusy Couscous Salad with Olives
(adapted from The Eating Well Diabetes Cookbook)
1 ½ c. whole-wheat couscous
¼ c. orange juice concentrate-thawed
2 Tbsp. olive oil or canola oil
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. freshly grated orange zest
½ tsp. salt, or less-to taste
2 c. boiling water
1 c. chopped fresh parsley
½ c. chopped green onions
¼ c. chopped, pitted Kalamata olives (approx. 12 olives)
1 navel orange, peeled, sectioned and diced
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Stir together couscous, orange juice concentrate, oil, mustard, thyme, orange zest and salt in a large bowl. Stir in boiling water, cover and set aside until the liquid has been absorbed, about 5 minutes.
- Fluff the couscous with a fork. Add parsley, green onions, olives, diced orange, and lemon juice; toss to blend and season with pepper.
Serves 6 in 1cup servings, with 206 calories per serving, 7 g. fat, 0 mg. chol., 358 mg. sodium, 5 g. fiber, 32 g. carb., 5 g. protein.
December 12, 2007 - Offer Variety of Choices at the Office
In the last few weeks I’ve mentioned various ways to “healthasize” your holidays by making minor changes in your cooking style or choices so that calories and fat are reduced at least a little. There have also been ideas for making different types of physical activity a regular part of most days. But, many of us spend a lot of our time during the holidays in our work environment, and that is frequently one of the most difficult places to maintain our health.
Employers and employees can do a lot to maintain health during the holidays. For example, encouraging management or staff to offer a variety of fruits and vegetables for meetings or holiday gatherings will help everyone feel good about what they’re eating. That doesn’t mean that some of the special foods associated with the holidays have to be eliminated…this is simply a way to possibly decrease the prevalence for “traditional” items that are especially high in fats and sugars. It is helpful for everyone when healthier food options are always as available and accessible as those that are less healthy. We all appreciate choices.
Fresh fruits and vegetables can be offered in bite-sized form or whole. When they’re easy to pick up and eat, more of them will be consumed. And isn’t it wonderful that many of our local markets will make fresh fruit and vegetable platters for various occasions!
There is also a program where employers can purchase fresh fruits or vegetables from local farmers, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program or local vendors by subscription on a weekly or monthly basis. With such a subscription, businesses can have boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables delivered right to the worksite, or to a nearby location, with a schedule that meets everyone’s needs. You can find out more about such a program by contacting Joan Levy, Health Education Specialist and Coordinator of the Worksite Program for Network for a Healthy California, Northcoast Region. She can be reached at 441-5545.
Here’s a recipe to try at your next office gathering. Serve it with whole grain crackers, crostini, or pita chips.
White Bean Spread
(adapted from The Eating Well Diabetes Cookbook)
2 – 15-1/2- oz. cans cannelini or Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Pinch of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1/8 tsp. salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ c. chopped green onions
1 ½ tsp. dried dill weed
1 fresh tomato, halved and thinly sliced, or ½ c. prepared salsa (optional)
- Combine beans, oil, lemon juice, cayenne, salt and pepper in a food processor; process until smooth. Scrape into a bowl; stir in green onions and dill.
- Serve with whole grain crackers, crostini, or pita chips. If desired, top each serving with thinly sliced tomato or a dollop of salsa.
Makes 3 cups of spread. Per tablespoon, contains 25 calories, 1 g. fat, 0 mg. chol., 44 mg. sodium, 1 g. fiber, 3 g. carb., 1 g. protein.
December 19, 2007 - Gift Ideas for Healthier Lifestyles
The holidays can be a good time to encourage your family or friends to get more active and eat more healthfully, especially if those are things they want to emphasize in the upcoming New Year. You can help them by doing something about it now-- with holiday gifts! Put some of the following items on your personal holiday list, or keep them in mind for family or friends when you do your holiday shopping.
For those who express interest in cooking:
- Cookbooks or cooking magazines that concentrate on healthy food preparation; you burn more calories while you cook than while you sit in front of a television or computer screen. Buy or request one that really interests you-maybe it focuses on using a limited number of ingredients, or maybe it is “fast and easy”. A few you might consider include: The New American Plate by the American Institute for Cancer Research; any of the Eating Well cookbooks (they can be ordered at www.eatingwell.com); the American Heart Association’s One-Dish Meals; or the latest edition of the American Cancer Society’s Healthy Eating Cookbook. They all include a variety of simple, delicious recipes!
- Cooking tools or pans, such as a cast iron pan that will enhance the iron content of family meals (check out what’s new in our local stores), and because cast iron pans are heavier than a lot of other pans, they also give their owner some upper-body exercise.
- Herbs, spices and/or seasoning mixes, flavored vinegars, flavored mustards, and other products that can he found in a "health-conscious kitchen";
- A basket of dried fruits, spiced nuts or some type of locally produced food or beverage;
- Homemade spice mixes, fruit vinegars, jams or chutneys
Or, perhaps you want to concentrate on increasing physical activity. In that case, look for gifts that encourage movement:
- A pedometer that will help the ‘giftee’ reach a goal of at least 10,000 steps each day.
- A workout video or DVD that can serve as an on call personal trainer. Be sure to request or buy one that will be fun-maybe it can be a dance video that encourages trying something new such as mambo, salsa, tango, or tap dance. Be sure to get one for the appropriate fitness level. If it’s too difficult, it will discourage action!
- Any music that "makes you move", or at least makes it hard to stand still.
- A coupon for dance, yoga, or other exercise classes,
- Membership at a gym, or something as simple as offering yourself as a walking partner for specified times and places (the beach? Hammond Trail? Arcata to Eureka trail?).
- A gift of elastic exercise bands may be all that's necessary to encourage a special person to start strength-building activities.
- A stability or balance ball makes a great gift, and can be used to strengthen core muscles when someone is sitting on it to watch TV or working on their computer…it’s a balancing act…be sure to get the right size for the height of the person.
- Ever-popular basketballs, volleyballs, soccer balls, baseballs and frisbees.
- An MP3 player. They’re great for enjoying music or a recorded book while you’re taking a walk or cleaning the house…they may motivate you to do more activities!
- You can also encourage movement through gifts such as swimsuits, a leash for a dog, tennis shoes, an umbrella, more exercise videos, a guide book or maps for local hiking trails or snow gear for winter fun. Almost anything that will encourage people to move, no matter what the weather, could be a good holiday gift.
For stocking stuffers, consider:
- A toothbrush, floss and a travel-tube of toothpaste
- Fresh fruits, such as mandarin oranges that are easy and delicious to eat
- A new pair of holiday socks for next year
- Measuring or mixing spoons
- A Jump rope
- Sunscreen and/or lip gloss Art supplies
- Colorful shoelaces
Serve the following recipe with whole wheat toast, for a great breakfast or brunch during the holidays.
Sausage and Potato Frittata
(adapted from One-Dish Meals)
Vegetable cooking spray
8 oz. reduced-fat bulk breakfast sausage
1/3 c. water
1 lb. potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced
2 medium onions, chopped
½ medium red or green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 medium zucchini (optional) thinly sliced
½ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. dried pepper flakes
2 whole eggs plus 3 egg whites
½ c. shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese or Swiss cheese
- Heat a 12-inch skillet (that can go into the oven) over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and lightly spray with vegetable oil cooking spray (be careful not to spray near a gas flame). Cook the sausage for 2 minutes, or until brown on the outside and no longer pink in the center. Stir occasionally to turn and break up the sausage.
- Pour sausage into a colander to drain. Discard any grease. Rinse the sausage under hot water to remove any excess fat; drain well. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel.
- In the same skillet, bring the water to a boil. Stir in the potatoes, onions, pepper, carrot, zucchini, oregano and red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for approximately 6 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender-crisp. Preheat the broiler, and set the rack about 4-inches from the heat source.
- Stir in the sausage, and pour the egg mixture over all. Tilt the pan to distribute the egg evenly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the bottom is light golden, lifting the edges to allow uncooked egg to flow underneath, 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Place the pan under the broiler and cook until top is set and lightly browned, 1 ½-2 minutes.
Serves 6 with 206 calories, 8.6 g. fat, 69 mg. chol., 350 mg. sodium, 2 g. fiber, 20 g. carb., 14 g. protein.
December 26, 2007 - Muscle Resistance Exercise is Important
Many of us think that because we’re very busy during the holidays, we must be getting plenty of “exercise.” Take a closer look, because it may not be true. Bustling through the house to put up decorations, and cooking special foods for the next guests provides movement, but does not provide enough movement to benefit our hearts, or provide the flexibility and strength-building activities that will benefit our overall health.
We would all benefit by putting any type of physical activity higher on our list of priorities for the new year. It’s sort of like vegetables . . . the more we learn about it, the more benefits we learn about. Strength-building or “muscle-resistance” activities are getting much more integrated into exercise routines, but there are still some people who think that lifting weights will only give them big, bulging muscles. It’s time to end that image! You do not need to be a body-BUILDER to benefit from strength-building, or “muscle resistance,” activities.
Numerous studies have shown that resistance training is the only type
of exercise that can actually decrease...even reverse...losses of muscle mass, bone density, and strength that were once considered a natural part of growing old.”
If you still need convincing that you need to start working those muscles, consider these facts:
- Muscle is important for weight control because increased muscle mass means you burn more calories…even while you’re resting. Muscles are calorie-burning powerhouses!
- Muscle-building activities make you stronger, improve your balance (decreasing danger of falling) and help your coordination for everyday activities.
- Strength training activities increase bone strength, and thereby lower the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
- Strength training has been found to help people sleep better, decrease depression, and decrease pain associated with arthritis.
Although health clubs and recreation centers offer a variety of machines and weights, as well as personnel to assist you when needed, you do not need a membership to enjoy strength training. You can use your own body weight and gravity, with toe raises, arm circles, half sit-ups, push-ups, squats, etc. And it doesn’t take a lot of time every day. In fact, resistance exercises are recommended 2-3 times per week, for 20 -30 minutes each time.
Add variety to your “workouts” by using weights to work your muscles in different ways. Even though purchasing a set of inexpensive weights can be a great investment (or a great last minute holiday gift), canned foods from your kitchen cupboard can make great substitutes. If you want to purchase “official weights”, know that some stores offer them for just a few dollars each, and they can last forever. When using a weight, you should be able to lift it 10-15 times, and the last few lifts should be somewhat difficult. Give that particular muscle area a rest for 1-2 minutes, and then repeat the 10-15 lifts again.
Proper body form and technique are very important while using weights. Learn how to lift weights safely and effectively through a health club, Parks and Recreation programs, senior centers, or through books or videos from the library. Some basic ways to avoid injury include:
- Perform each movement in a slow, controlled manner
- When lifting weights with your arms, keep your knees slightly bent to avoid back strain
- Only lift an amount of weight you can comfortably handle. Remember, you want to be able to do 10-15 lifts (or 8 if you’re just beginning.)
- BREATHE while lifting weights! One way to remember to keep from holding your breath is to breathe out while lifting, and breathe in while lowering the weight.
- Keep your spine in-line at all times. If you’re straining, arching your back, or bending to the side to lift a heavy weight, then either the weight is too heavy or you need to take a rest before continuing.
Have fun! Do physical activities you enjoy so you’ll stick with them for the long term. Remember to see your healthcare provider before starting a new physical activity program, as he/she may have particular recommendations for you.
Try the following delicious and very easy dessert for one of your holiday gatherings.
(adapted from The Essential Eating Well Cookbook)
4 tsp. brown sugar
4 tsp. orange juice
1 lime, cut into wedges
- Preheat broiler. Place one mango on a cutting board with the narrow side facing you. With a sharp knife, slice off one side, sliding the knife along the flat side of the seed. Repeat on the other side of the mango.
- With a paring knife, make crisscross cuts through the flesh, cutting up to but not through the skin. Repeat with the second mango.
- Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of brown sugar over each mango half, then drizzle each one with 1 teaspoon of orange juice. Set mango halves on a broiler pan or baking sheet. Broil until tops are light golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Serve with lime wedges.
Makes 4 servings, with 96 calories per serving, 0 g. fat, 0 mg. chol., 4 mg. sodium, 2 g. fiber, 22 g. carb., 1 g. protein.