For A Better Us

February 24, 2017

An Apple A Day…

March is National Nutrition Month. With a balanced approach, even the busiest families can discover ways to eat healthier and feel better. Here are some quick and easy recipes to try at home.

Apple Nachos

Total time: 10-15 mins
Serves 1-4

Ingredients:

Mix of apples (Honey Crisp, Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala) – 1 per serving
Sun butter or peanut butter
Coconut Flakes
Raisins

Directions:

Core and slice apples, lay out on plate
Heat nut butter until creamy, drizzle over apples
Let each person choose their own toppings to sprinkle on top

No-Cook Strawberry Applesauce

Total time: 10-15 mins
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

4 apples (suggested: Honey Crisp, Fuji, Gala, Red Delicious, McIntosh)
10 strawberries

Directions:

Core and chop apples
Remove strawberry tops
Blend apples and strawberries together in food processor or blender
Serve cold

Cinnamon Applesauce

Total time: 20-30 mins
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

4 apples (suggested mix: Honey Crisp, Granny Smith)
1 cup of 100% apple juice or 100% apple cider (may substitute water)
1 tablespoon of Cinnamon (or 1 cinnamon stick)

Directions:

Core and chop apples
Add apples, 100% juice and cinnamon to saucepan on medium heat (cover)
Allow apples to simmer and mash softened apples in saucepan or add to blender
Serve warm or cold

March is National Nutrition Month. With a balanced approach, even the busiest families can discover ways to eat healthier and feel better. Here are some quick and easy recipes to try at home. Apple Nachos Total time: 10-15 mins Serves 1-4 Ingredients: Mix of apples (Honey Crisp, Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala) – 1 per serving Sun butter or peanut butter Coconut Flakes Raisins Directions: Core and slice apples, lay out on plate Heat nut butter until creamy, drizzle over apples Let each person choose their own toppings to sprinkle on top No-Cook Strawberry Applesauce Total time: 10-15 mins Serves 4-6 Ingredients: 4 apples (suggested: Honey Crisp, Fuji, Gala, Red Delicious, McIntosh) 10 strawberries Directions: Core and chop apples Remove strawberry tops Blend apples and strawberries together in food processor or blender Serve cold Cinnamon Applesauce Total time: 20-30 mins Serves: 4-6 Ingredients: 4 apples (suggested mix: Honey Crisp, Granny Smith) 1 cup of 100% apple…


November 4, 2016

Stick a Fork In It

End the cycle of boring lunches with these healthy-living solutions.

By the YMCA’s Sara Glenn and Kimberly Lewis for Edible Northeast Florida

Back in the day, lunch was “dinner” and dinner was “supper” because everyone went to bed at sundown. Most ate their biggest meal of the day between noon and 2 p.m., and supper was a light snack, eaten before bedtime. It wasn’t until the 20th century, with work being farther from home, when lunch became something lighter, carried with you to the workplace.

It’s a problem we tackle at the YMCA when creating healthy-living solutions for our members and the entire community. Many of the professionals we work with feel maintaining healthy eating habits at the office adds another project to their workday. However, by debunking common myths about lunch at work, eating healthy can be quick, easy and make you feel happier in the long run.

MYTH #1 – LUNCH EQUALS A SANDWICH

Growing up, your mom may have made you a sandwich in a brown paper bag, but that doesn’t mean you have to continue the tradition. Lunch could be a handful of your favorite snacks and fruits assembled in a bento box. It could be breakfast or even dinner. There is more than one way to eat a healthy lunch. Keep it interesting and pack a meal with creativity.

Today, collaborative workspaces and teams can also mean a collaborative lunch. At the Y, we select a salad day to enjoy the harvest greens from our vertical tower garden created by the SEEDifferently initiative. The team brings in their favorite salad toppings for a potluck style lunch. Lunch by teamwork means that rather than carrying an entire meal, you team up with your colleagues to complete a lunch with ingredients that you may have never tried before—it’s a good way to add variety to your plate or lunch bag.

MYTH #2 – WORK CANNOT WAIT

According to the American Dietetic Association and ConAgra Foods Foundation, 70 percent of Americans eat at their desks several times a week. In reality, you have to take care of yourself first in order to deliver the best work product.

If taking a full hour seems impossible, at least try to step away from your desk. Ask a co-worker to walk a couple of blocks with you and pick up a veggie burrito or a bowl of pho to break up your work day while getting physical activity. An active lifestyle can lead to healthier eating habits. When you have to stay in for lunch, eat in the break or conference room with others, where you can share conversations, which also encourages us to choose healthier options and eat less.

MYTH #3 – YOU MUST PLAN AHEAD

Planning ahead is a common recommendation for almost any situation, but we know that it simply does not always happen. As working parents or professionals, we often do not have the time to plan and prepare for our own lunches. However, juggling family, friends and work schedules does not mean that we are trapped into eating French fries and a hot dog.

As healthy eating becomes a higher priority in today’s world, many convenience stores now carry more than candies and sodas; fresh fruits, protein bars and healthy options may be only a few steps away from your office. Local delis usually offer specialty items that differ from day to day. Even with your last-minute decisions, healthy choices can be found around the corner.

MYTH #4 – EATING HEALTHY IS BORING

Healthy doesn’t have to mean eliminating your options. In fact, healthy meals feature a variety of food types. Keep a balanced plate in mind. Visualize it—half your plate should be fruits and vegetables, one quarter of the plate should be protein and one quarter should contain starch/grain. Right there you have four opportunities to create an exciting lunch.

Instead of eating a plain chicken sandwich on a whole-wheat bun, add a slice of pineapple. Try to replace the ketchup and mustard with teriyaki sauce and a crunchy piece of lettuce to add texture. One small change can enhance the flavor, interest and overall experience of your meal.

Now that we’ve debunked some popular myths, it’s time to figure out what works for you. Consider what you need in order to plan ahead, think about when it makes sense to grab lunch with a colleague and determine how you can up your lunch game with healthy yet tasty foods that will not only bring you lasting energy, but also a more productive mind.

RECIPE FOR A HAPPIER WORK LUNCH

End the cycle of boring lunches with these healthy-living solutions. By the YMCA’s Sara Glenn and Kimberly Lewis for Edible Northeast Florida Back in the day, lunch was “dinner” and dinner was “supper” because everyone went to bed at sundown. Most ate their biggest meal of the day between noon and 2 p.m., and supper was a light snack, eaten before bedtime. It wasn’t until the 20th century, with work being farther from home, when lunch became something lighter, carried with you to the workplace. It’s a problem we tackle at the YMCA when creating healthy-living solutions for our members and the entire community. Many of the professionals we work with feel maintaining healthy eating habits at the office adds another project to their workday. However, by debunking common myths about lunch at work, eating healthy can be quick, easy and make you feel happier in the long run. MYTH #1 – LUNCH EQUALS A…


May 2, 2016

Farewell to Food Guilt

Stuffing food in an envelope and mailing it oversseas seems an unorthodox form of protest. Unless you’re an 8-year-old who is forced to finish her dinner because “there are starving children in Africa.”

While we would have hoped the protesters of our youth might have gone on to start a revolution, sadly, most have likely joined the eight out of 10 American women who suffer from food guilt. And yes, we mean suffer! Food guilt has many flavors, new ones we’re learning more about each day. It’s about what we eat and what we don’t eat, what we feed our families and having the perfect relationship with food.

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE FROM EDIBLE NORTHEAST FLORIDA

Authors

KimSaraSara Glenn is the Director of Strategic Development of Healthy Living Innovations: Nutrition & Obesity for the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast and leads the Y’s nutritional services, including the vertical garden initiative, SEEDifferently.

Kimberly Lewis is the Annual Campaign & Volunteerism Director for the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast, is passionate about teaching kids to volunteer, and has worked in the nonprofit sector for more than a decade.

Stuffing food in an envelope and mailing it oversseas seems an unorthodox form of protest. Unless you’re an 8-year-old who is forced to finish her dinner because “there are starving children in Africa.” While we would have hoped the protesters of our youth might have gone on to start a revolution, sadly, most have likely joined the eight out of 10 American women who suffer from food guilt. And yes, we mean suffer! Food guilt has many flavors, new ones we’re learning more about each day. It’s about what we eat and what we don’t eat, what we feed our families and having the perfect relationship with food. READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE FROM EDIBLE NORTHEAST FLORIDA Authors Sara Glenn is the Director of Strategic Development of Healthy Living Innovations: Nutrition & Obesity for the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast and leads the Y’s nutritional services, including the vertical garden initiative, SEEDifferently. Kimberly Lewis is the…


February 24, 2016

Too Much Sodium in Your Child’s Diet?

Sara Glenn
Director of Strategic Development of Healthy Living Innovations: Nutrition & Obesity for the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast

If you think heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure are only present in adults, think again. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), about one in six children ages 8 to17 years has raised blood pressure.

American Heart Month Kids Sodium Intake Infographic

American Heart Month Kids Sodium Intake Infographic

The Dietary Guideline recommends children eat less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. However, studies show that kids in America ages 2 to 19 eat more than 3,100 milligrams of sodium every day. Eating too much sodium can result in high blood pressure in children and teens, and the effect is greater if they’re overweight or obese.

As a mom, I am always looking for new ways to encourage my kids to eat healthy and stay active. Even with a career in health and wellness, I still have to stop my daughter from emptying the saltshaker. As a partner in the health of our community, we are dedicated to supporting families in the overall health of their children. In celebration of American Heart Month, below are some steps you can take to help reduce sodium in your family’s diet.

Enjoy Home-Prepared Meals

Outsourcing family meals to restaurants may be convenient, but preparing you own foods allows you to control the amount of salt in them. The Nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest analyzed a range of processed foods and found, for instance, ready-made roasted carved turkey contains up to 5,410 milligrams of sodium per serving.

When cooking and preparing meals at home, involve your children. Research shows that the more we include our children in food choice and the process of cooking, the more likely they are to eat a healthy diet. From toddlers to teens, there’s a job for everyone when it comes to preparing meals.

American Heart Month Kids and Sodium Infographic

American Heart Month Kids and Sodium Infographic

Adjust Your Kid’s Taste Buds

Cut back on salt little by little—and pay attention to the natural tastes of various foods. Your kid’s taste for salt will lessen over time. Additionally, keep salt off the kitchen counter and the dinner table and substitute spices, herbs, garlic, vinegar or lemon juice to season foods. Lastly, be aware of the “hidden” sodium in your kid’s everyday foods such as pizza, soups and sandwiches.

Model Healthy Eating

Children are great imitators. Just when we think they aren’t watching or listening, they surprise us with what they know. We can use this to their benefit when it comes to eating healthy. If we, as parents, model low-sodium intake using alternatives to add flavor to our food, then our children will follow suit.

 Look at the Label

 Packaged foods and beverages can contain high levels of sodium, whether or not they taste salty. That’s why it’s important to use the Nutrition Facts Label to check the sodium content.

The percent daily value (%DV) tells you how much of a nutrient is in one serving of a food. The %DV is based on 100 percent of the Daily Value for sodium (less than 2,300 milligrams per day). When comparing and choosing foods, pick the ones with a lower %DV of sodium. As a general rule:

  • 5% DV or less of sodium per serving is low
  • 20% DV or more of sodium per serving is high

The First Coast YMCA offers a community of diverse individuals who can help families to meet their health and well-being goals. The new Healthy Living Centers in Mandarin and Ponte Vedra brings medically integrated programs from Baptist Health into the Y and making these programs more accessible to the surrounding community. Whether you want to talk to a doctor about your child’s heart condition or need advice for adopting a healthier lifestyle, the Y is here to help!

About the Author 

Sara Glenn and DaughterSara Glenn, MEd., is the Director of Strategic Development of Healthy Living Innovations: Nutrition & Obesity for the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast and leads the Y’s nutritional services, including the Y’s vertical garden initiative, SEEDifferently. Sara lives in Jacksonville with her husband and two-and-a-half year-old daughter, Charley, who she is determined to raise as a healthy foodie!

 

Sara Glenn Director of Strategic Development of Healthy Living Innovations: Nutrition & Obesity for the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast If you think heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure are only present in adults, think again. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), about one in six children ages 8 to17 years has raised blood pressure. The Dietary Guideline recommends children eat less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. However, studies show that kids in America ages 2 to 19 eat more than 3,100 milligrams of sodium every day. Eating too much sodium can result in high blood pressure in children and teens, and the effect is greater if they’re overweight or obese. As a mom, I am always looking for new ways to encourage my kids to eat healthy and stay active. Even with a career in health and wellness, I still have to stop my daughter from emptying the saltshaker….


Mission Statement: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.