The balance of mind and body starts with the balance of diet.
Wise Choices and Family Meals
The American Cancer Society attributes one out of every three deaths from cancer to poor diet, obesity, and lack of physical activity. To help prevent cancer, the Society recommends eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 further defines these as 2 cups of fruits and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day for a 2,000-calorie diet. And the Produce for Better Health Foundation goes even further in their fruits & veggies More Matters campaign stating that “According to nutrition experts, eating 8 or more and as many as 13 fruits and vegetables a day can help reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes and birth defects.” Most kids count fruits as their number one snack choice these days, but what about those vegetables? Getting kids started on building lifetime habits that include eating lots of fruits and vegetables is the best risk preventative of all.
Now, let’s talk serving sizes. One-half cup fresh fruit; 1 medium piece of fruit; 1/4 cup dried fruit, e.g., California raisins, etc.; 3/4 cup (6 ounces) 100% juice – fruit or vegetable; 1 cup of leafy vegetables; or 1/2 cup cooked or raw vegetables will count up pretty fast. So, see what happens when we combine California Raisins with some of those good-for-you vegetables.
For a healthy combination with vegetables, Moroccan Vegetable Ragout with California Raisins is hard to beat. Serve it with roast beef or oven-baked chicken to get the full benefit of all the vitamins and minerals, especially the iron that helps kids be active and happy.
Children learn to eat fruits and vegetables over time — a little bit now, a little bit more, the next time — and soon they are enjoying every bite and asking for more. As fitness guru, Valerie Waters, points out, the key is to “Make a Plan. Summer is fun and carefree, but with the first day of the new school year, structure returns. You child’s day quickly fills up with school, homework, and after-school activities. Now more than ever, it is important that exercise and meals are planned. Schedule meals so that your family eats together, at the table, at least once every day. This is a good opportunity to slow down and eat mindfully. Sitting together allows you to stay involved in your child’s life.” And, we might add, make sure that he gets a good nutritious meal and an opportunity to try some really good fruit and vegetable dishes.
Good nutrition and planned family meals are just one part of the picture when it comes to building good health habits and teaching children to make wise choices. Almost every child should log some good, old-fashioned fun and exercise outdoors, every day. And moms need time to exercise, too! Valerie Waters’ Time Crunch Workout video has helped many fit a few minutes of physical fitness into their busy days. Try it! You just might find that it is the answer for you, too.
Raisin Fun All Month Long
National Cookie Month
Waiting for Halloween? Start the fun now with National Cookie Month. Gather the kids and make some easy, fun snacks for the entire family to enjoy. With a wide variety of cookies, everyone has his favorite, but one all-time favorite is the classic oatmeal-raisin cookie. Here are a couple of ways to make this old favorite all new.
As Summer turns to Fall and September turns to October, that crisp snap in the air reminds us that National Popcorn Poppin’ Month is here. So, start popping! An in-between-meal snack, a party favorite, Halloween treats, or simply something to munch during the Friday night movie or football game, pop enough for everyone!
On October 12, 1492, Columbus arrived in the Americas, but officially this year, October 13 is designated as the day we will celebrate Columbus Day. It is also celebrated as Dia de la Raza (Day of the Race) in many countries in Latin America, Dia de las Culturas (Day of Cultures) in Costa Rica, Discovery Day in The Bahamas and Columbia, Discoverer’s Day in Hawaii, and Native American Day in South Dakota, among others.
Remember that chant you learned in grade school — “In fourteen ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue”? Days and days at seas as they crossed the Atlantic Ocean in those tiny boats, Columbus and his crew must have had to rely on the sea for much of their food. Make a wise choice and include one of those deep-sea fishes as you celebrate the anniversary of our beginnings.
Attention baseball fans! The 104th edition of Major League Baseball’s Championship Series begins October 22 and will run to the end of the month. For some great baseball fun, gather family and friends for a blowout World Series party where you serve great food and fun sprinkled generously with California raisins!
An old Irish celebration to mark the end of the harvest season has evolved into our modern day Halloween that includes dressing up in fun or scary costumes, trick-or-treating, parties and festivities with candies and treats. If your thoughts immediately turn to teeth and cavities, it is possible to have great tasting treats without this worry.
California raisins may actually be good for teeth — yours and your children’s. Research has shown that phytochemicals in raisins may benefit oral health by fighting bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. Actually, a routine chemical analysis identifies five compounds in Natural seedless raisins that are known phytochemicals and antioxidants, including some compounds that inhibit the growth of bacteria in the mouth.
To feel good about the treats you give trick-or-treaters this year, individual snack packs of California raisins are great for those scary hobgoblins in your neighborhood. The new crop of raisins should be in and, not only will they be affordable, but they are so good, and good for you, too.