Obesity and Sleep Apnea

27 Apr
More than one-third of Americans are now obese according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  Obesity is a risk factor for many medical conditions, and is considered a major risk factor for the development of sleep apnea. Simply ... Read more »

5 Tips to Sleep Better

27 Apr

Research indicates that lack of proper sleep and poor sleep quality can contribute to weight gain and obesity, and slow weight loss while following a diet.

Try these 5 tips to help you achieve the right amount of sleep.

1. Cut the caffeine!  Stick to 2 cups or less of caffeinated coffee and tea per day.  Even small amounts of caffeine in the afternoon or evening can make it harder to rest when it’s time for bed.

2.  Clear your mind!  Have too much on your mind?  Practice meditation, jot down your thoughts in a notebook next to bed, or listen to calming music to put aside your worries from the day.

3.  Get comfortable!  Make your bedroom an ideal place to fall asleep.  Avoid computers, cell phones, and TVs an hour before bed, and dim any night lights.  Make your bed comfortable, get the room temperature how you like it, and relax.

4.  Stick to a schedule!  Set a time to go to bed and wake up each day, and stick to those scheduled times.  Move your alarm clock across the room if you have trouble passing up the snooze button.  This helps get your body’s internal clock get on a  healthy routine.

5.  Get active!  Exercise daily – but finish up your workout at least a few hours before bedtime.  Research* has found that regular exercise can improve sleep quality.

More Information About Sleep and Obesity Here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632337/

*Source:  http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2010/09/aerobic-exercise-relieves-insomnia.html

Spice Up Your Kitchen

26 Apr

There are many fresh foods that are delicious enough on their own, but when it comes to modifying recipes to lighten them up, it’s important to understand how to retain flavor when reducing fat, sugar or sodium.

Adding spices, herbs or other flavorings such as lemon or lime juice are great ways to accomplish this. Some recipes utilize aromatic vegetables such as garlic, onions or celery while others will add herbs and spices to season up the dish. Here are 3 tips for storing and using your spices.

  1. Dry vs. Fresh: Dried herbs do not always taste like their fresh counterparts, so sometimes they are not always interchangeable in a recipe. Substituting one part dry herb for three parts fresh will work in a pinch.
  2. Shelf Life: Dry herbs and spices have a shelf life, and most should not be kept for more than a few years, especially if they have been opened. Store your dried herbs and spices in airtight containers in a cool, dark place like your cupboard or pantry – not your counter.
  3. Seasoning: It’s much better to under-season and add more spices than over-season. Taste and season your recipe throughout the cooking process.

Pre-made blends can be nice to have on hand, but check the ingredient label, as you will want to avoid the blends that are filled with sodium.  Some recipes may call for specific herbs and spices but the list below is a great place to start outfitting your spice rack.

 Dried Herbs and Spices2

 

 

Pina Colada

26 Apr

The warm weather has set in and summer is so close, we can feel it! Sit back and enjoy a Pina Colada for a taste of summer! 🍹

Servings:
1 Fruit
1 Supplement
Suitable for Fast Track Patients

Ingredients:
1 Vanilla Pudding Shake Supplement
1 serving Fresh Pineapple
1 tsp. Imitation Rum Flavoring
1 cup Ice Cubes
4 oz. Water

Preparation:
Blend all ingredients together.  Enjoy!

5 Ways to Lower Stress Levels

24 Apr

Did you know that depression, anxiety, mood disorders, as a group are ranked number one among the top five national health conditions that contribute to poor health in nearly every state in the US?

Stress can make these chronic conditions worse, but you can manage everyday stress by setting realistic and manageable goals in honor of April, National Stress Month.

  1. A Healthy Diet: Some foods have been shown to lower stress by decreasing blood pressure and boosting mood. Examples include:  blueberries, crisp vegetables (celery, carrots, peppers, etc.), salmon and sweet potatoes.
  2. Good Sleep: According to the National Sleep Foundation, Americans today get 40 percent less sleep than the body needs to function at its best. Adequate rest allows the body and mind to recharge, which both help in the fight against stress. The benefits of adequate rest include: muscle repair, improved memory and heightened focus.
  3. Regular, Moderate Exercise: Physical activity is beneficial in managing stress so it may come as no surprise that the body and mind work together. Releasing endorphins works to boost energy, endorse positive thinking and improve overall cognitive function.
  4. Positive Psychology: Work on spreading positivity in your own life to combat everyday stressors by considering the following writing exercises: Gratitude Journal: Write down three new things you are grateful for each day. • Experience Journal: Spend five minutes journaling about a meaningful experience from the past 24 hours. • Thank You Notes: Dedicate two minutes to write an e-mail or thank a person in your social support network.
  5. Cognitive Restructuring: Train the brain to practice positive by actively replacing stressful thoughts with more positive, “glass half full” thoughts.

Read more tips on reducing stress in the original article: https://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/2017/04/12/tips-to-reduce-stress/

Easy Foods Kids Can Grow in the Garden

22 Apr

March was National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating, and now Earth Day is April 22nd.  Celebrate by growing your own produce with your family.  Enjoy the fruits of your harvest all season long!

Gardening may help your kids eat enough fruits and vegetables because when they lend a hand in the process, research shows they are likely to eat more produce and try different varieties as well. Gardening is a great way to spend time with your family outdoors and can also build self-confidence and provide a sense of responsibility.

Kids Gardening

Make Kids Part of the Planting Process

Allow your kids to choose the fruits and vegetables they enjoy eating and add other reliable plants suitable for your region and climate.

Go Herbal

Herbs are easy to grow and excess can be frozen in ice cube trays to be stored in the freezer or even dried for later use.

Dig What Grows Below Ground

Digging for vegetables like Beets can be a great way to introduce a new colorful vegetable to your child.

Click here to read more tips on gardening with your family.

Link to original article: Easy Foods Kids Can Grow In the Garden

Starting Plants Indoors – April

21 Apr

Did you know that it’s still not too late to start some plants indoors for this year? It’s easy to do and a fun activity you can do with your family.  You can usually find seed starter kits complete with seeds, pots and dirt anywhere gardening supplies are sold.

  1. Basil. Start indoors around April 15th and transplant outdoors around May 20th
  2. Tomatoes. Start indoors around April 15th and transplant outdoors around May 20th
  3. Melon. Start indoors around April 15th and transplant outdoors near June 1st
  4. Corn. Start indoors around April 15th and transplant outdoors near May 15th

Image result for seedlings

Marinated Vegetable Salad

20 Apr

Not sure what to have for lunch tomorrow?  Try prepping our Marinated Vegetable Salad tonight!

Servings:
2 Vegetables

Ingredients:
1/4 cup Broccoli
1/4 cup Cauliflower
1/4 cup Mushrooms
4 Grape Tomatoes, quartered
1/4 medium Onion
1/4 medium Cucumber
2 MWLC Italian Dressing Packets

Preparation:
Chop all vegetables into small pieces. Put them in a strainer and rinse well. Pour all vegetables into a size appropriate bowl and cover with 2 packets of MWLC Italian Dressing. For best results, marinade overnight, otherwise, let stand 2-4 hours in refrigerator, checking occasionally and shaking the bowl to make sure all vegetables are evenly marinated.

Make a Fresh Start with Spring Foods

18 Apr

Spring is here!  It’s the perfect time to hit the reset button and reintroduce fresh foods into your family’s diet.  Involving your children in the snack or meal prep process can also make them more likely to try new foods.

Spinach: This superfood is packed with vitamins A, C and K, essential for eye health, immunity, strong bones and other body processes. Spinach also contains enough folate and iron to help prevent anemia while magnesium and potassium are important for muscle development and growth.

Yogurt: At 8 grams of protein per 6 ounce container, Yogurt is a great source of protein. This calcium-rich food is also important for building strong bones and teeth and is a great source of probiotic bacteria which helps promote digestion.

Strawberries: One cup of this sweet and colorful vitamin C packed seasonal fruit also provides 3 grams of fiber. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

Asparagus: Available in green, purple and white varieties, asparagus spears can accompany all kinds of foods. Asparagus is an excellent source of folate, iron and vitamins A and K.

Easter Deviled Eggs

11 Apr

Looking for a delicious Easter snack?  Try MWLC’s Deviled Eggs Recipe!

Servings:
1 Protein
1 Dairy

Ingredients:
1 serving Hard Boiled Egg
1 serving Plain Non-Fat Yogurt
1-2 servings Mustard
Sweetener to taste
Paprika to taste

Preparation:
Separate the egg yolk and egg whites. Blend egg yolks with the yogurt, mustard and sweetener. Fill egg whites with yolk mixture. Sprinkle tops of eggs with paprika to taste.

Feeling creative?  Place bright food coloring into different bowls and add about 1 cup water to each bowl. Steep egg white halves in each bowl, tinting the egg whites Spring colors.  If color is too pale, add more coloring to bowls.  Drain colored egg whites on paper towels and then fill each egg white with yolk mixture.  Shred carrots and place them beneath deviled eggs before serving, if desired.