For A Better Us

November 29, 2016

SEEDifferently: Spinach & Sausage Gnocchi

Through our SEEDifferently™ initiative, we hope to inspire communities to grow their own food and see the untapped potential in all spaces. You can use spinach grown at home to prepare this comforting winter meal!

Serves 4 | Prep and cook time: 45 min.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 links hot Italian turkey sausage (about 6 1/2 ounces), casings removed
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 12-ounce bag spinach, stemmed
  • 1 16-ounce package shelf-stable gnocchi
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese

Preparation

  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large broiler-safe skillet over medium heat.
  • Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and very tender, about 10 minutes more.
  • Increase heat to medium and add sausage, garlic and pepper. Cook, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add water and cook, stirring up any browned bits, until the water has evaporated, about 1 minute.
  • Add spinach a handful at a time and cook, stirring, until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler to high.
  • Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir the gnocchi into the spinach mixture. Top with mozzarella. Broil until the cheese starts to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Nutrition
Serving size: About 1 1/4 cups
Calories: 418
Fat: 15g
Carbohydrate: 52g
Protein: 21g
Cholesterol: 46 mg
Added sugar: 0g
Fiber: 3g
Sodium: 792mg

Photo and recipe courtesy: www.eatingwell.com

Learn more about growing your own food through the SEEDifferently initiative. Contact Kristy Cook by email at kcook@firstcoastymca.org.

Through our SEEDifferently™ initiative, we hope to inspire communities to grow their own food and see the untapped potential in all spaces. You can use spinach grown at home to prepare this comforting winter meal! Serves 4 | Prep and cook time: 45 min. Ingredients 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 1 large onion, sliced 2 links hot Italian turkey sausage (about 6 1/2 ounces), casings removed 2 large cloves garlic, minced 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper 4 tsp ground cumin 1/4 tsp salt 2 tablespoons water 1 12-ounce bag spinach, stemmed 1 16-ounce package shelf-stable gnocchi 2 ounces thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese Preparation Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large broiler-safe skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and very tender, about 10 minutes more. Increase heat to medium and add sausage, garlic and pepper….


November 10, 2016

What Is OLD Really Like?

At the Y, a supportive community is a big part of wellness. At every age and every level of activity, you’ll find people just like you looking to live a little bit healthier. Many of our most our active participants are 50 years old and older – or as we call them 50 and better! So we decided to embark on a project to change society’s view of aging. We hosted a Gen-All Video Premier Party in September and debuted this video that provides a glimpse of different perspectives on aging from those ages 8 to 82.

Before watching the video, the audience participated in an electronic survey about aging. Among the results:

  • 60% did not consider any age to be “old”
  • 23% were afraid of getting “old”

Following the video, a panel of those age 17 to 99 shared their personal experiences about again. Both the video, the survey and the panel discussion opened the door for dialogue on how our community can grow from the enrichment of all ages.

At the conclusion of the event, we surveyed everyone again and found their views on aging were positively changed. Among the results:

  • 84% did not consider any age to be “old”
  • 6% were afraid of getting “old”

The Gen ALL video continues to air at all First Coast YMCA locations, Tiger Academy Charter School classrooms, social media platforms, community centers and other various partner locations throughout Northeast Florida. It has also been recognized by the YMCA of the USA.

 

At the Y, a supportive community is a big part of wellness. At every age and every level of activity, you’ll find people just like you looking to live a little bit healthier. Many of our most our active participants are 50 years old and older – or as we call them 50 and better! So we decided to embark on a project to change society’s view of aging. We hosted a Gen-All Video Premier Party in September and debuted this video that provides a glimpse of different perspectives on aging from those ages 8 to 82. Before watching the video, the audience participated in an electronic survey about aging. Among the results: 60% did not consider any age to be “old” 23% were afraid of getting “old” Following the video, a panel of those age 17 to 99 shared their personal experiences about again. Both the video, the survey and the panel discussion opened the door…


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…


November 1, 2016

Type 2 Diabetes: Reduce Your Risk

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month: Are You One of the 86 Million Americans with Prediabetes?

During National Diabetes Awareness Month, the Y wants everyone to learn their risks for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and to take preventive steps to potentially reduce their chances of developing the disease.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that more than one in three Americans (86 million people) have prediabetes, up from 79 million in 2010. Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Only 10 percent of those with prediabetes know they have it but with awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes may prevent the onset of diabetes.

The YMCA of Florida’s First Coast is one of more than 200 Ys across the country helping thousands of people reduce their risk for developing type 2 diabetes with YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. This small-group program helps people with prediabetes eat healthier, increase their physical activity, and lose weight, which can delay or even prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

When James joined the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program at the First Coast YMCA, he did it for his own health. What James didn’t know was how his participation would affect his family.

Free Screenings

Complimentary Biometric Screenings are available at any of our Healthy Living Centers on the First Coast.  You have the opportunity to take a Health Risk Assessment and meet with a Health Coach to review your health goals. Each biometric screening includes a glucose screening, a full lipid panel of your cholesterol, blood pressure, & body composition.

Go to baptistjax.com/ymca or call 904.265.1775 to schedule your appointment.

Learn More: Diabetes Prevention at First Coast YMCA

The New York Times: The Quiet Research That Led to a Resounding Success in Diabetes Prevention

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month: Are You One of the 86 Million Americans with Prediabetes? During National Diabetes Awareness Month, the Y wants everyone to learn their risks for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and to take preventive steps to potentially reduce their chances of developing the disease. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that more than one in three Americans (86 million people) have prediabetes, up from 79 million in 2010. Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Only 10 percent of those with prediabetes know they have it but with awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes may prevent the onset of diabetes. The YMCA of Florida’s First Coast is one of more than 200 Ys across the country helping thousands of people reduce their risk for developing type 2 diabetes with YMCA’s Diabetes…


October 28, 2016

SEEDifferently: Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

Through our  SEEDifferently initiativewe hope to inspire communities to grow their own food and see the untapped potential in all spaces. You can use tomatoes and cilantro grown at home to prepare this healthy fall meal!

Serves 4 | Prep and cook time: 40 min.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp + 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium-large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2-15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed
  • 1-14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 4 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation

  • Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add sweet potato and onion. Cook, stirring often until onion begins to soften; about 4 minutes.
  • Add garlic, chili powder, cumin and salt. Stir constantly for 30 seconds.
  • Add water and bring to a simmer.
  • Cover, reduce heat to maintain a summer and cook until the sweet potato is tender; 10-12 minutes.
  • Add beans, tomatoes and lime juice; increase to high heat and return to a simmer, stirring often.
  • Reduce heat and simmer until slightly reduced; about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

Nutrition
Calories: 307
Fat: 8g
Carbohydrate: 51g
Protein: 12g
Cholesterol: 0g
Added sugar: 0g
Fiber: 14g
Sodium: 494mg

Photo and recipe courtesy: www.eatingwell.com

Tips: Cover and refrigerate up to 3 days; freeze for up to 3 months; Consider using tomatoes and cilantro grown at home to freshen up the meal. Learn more about growing your own food through the SEEDifferently initiative. Contact Sara Glenn by email at sglenn@firstcoastymca.org.

Through our  SEEDifferently™ initiative, we hope to inspire communities to grow their own food and see the untapped potential in all spaces. You can use tomatoes and cilantro grown at home to prepare this healthy fall meal! Serves 4 | Prep and cook time: 40 min. Ingredients 1 tbsp + 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil 1 medium-large sweet potato, peeled and diced 1 large onion, diced 4 garlic cloves, minced 2 tbsp chili powder 4 tsp ground cumin 1/4 tsp salt 2 1/2 cups water 2-15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed 1-14 oz. can diced tomatoes 4 tsp lime juice 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro Preparation Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato and onion. Cook, stirring often until onion begins to soften; about 4 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin and salt. Stir constantly for 30 seconds. Add water and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to maintain a summer and cook until the…


October 20, 2016

NEWS4JAX: Hundreds of children to receive life-saving swim lessons

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Community groups raised funds to provide free swim lessons to more than 250 local students at the new Winston Family YMCA.

Water is everywhere in Jacksonville and it can be unsafe for children who don’t know how to swim. Of the 18 people who drowned in Jacksonville this year 5 were kids under 14.

It is a generational problem where parents themselves can not swim and skills or new training is not passed on to their children. Not having access to lessons or financial restraints are barriers to acquiring water skills.

The Y’s Safety Around Water curriculum teaches children how to swim to the surface and reach a pool edge. The goal is to teach children how to get out safely and respond to unexpected water situations.

Read More

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Community groups raised funds to provide free swim lessons to more than 250 local students at the new Winston Family YMCA. Water is everywhere in Jacksonville and it can be unsafe for children who don’t know how to swim. Of the 18 people who drowned in Jacksonville this year 5 were kids under 14. It is a generational problem where parents themselves can not swim and skills or new training is not passed on to their children. Not having access to lessons or financial restraints are barriers to acquiring water skills. The Y’s Safety Around Water curriculum teaches children how to swim to the surface and reach a pool edge. The goal is to teach children how to get out safely and respond to unexpected water situations. Read More


October 13, 2016

How You Can Help with Hurricane Matthew Relief

The United Way of Northeast FloridaSt. Johns County United WayThe Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, and Jewish Federation of Jacksonville have joined forces to help those impacted by Hurricane Matthew and any future natural disasters in Northeast Florida. The Jessie Ball duPont Fund committed $250,000 to seed this effort and is matching donations up to another $250,000. 

Here’s How You Can Help: bit.ly/flfirstcoastrelief.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced the creation of the fund on Monday. Curry said “there are a lot of people in this city that are hurting right now, there are people in this city that struggle to make it every single day and now they have significant financial burden on them. The First Coast Relief Fund will help get those individuals throughout Northeast Florida who need assistance to get back on their feet,” Curry added. “A hundred percent of all gifts will go to relief effort and any unspent funds will be used to seed a permanent disaster relief fund for Northeast Florida.”

The United Way of Northeast Florida has also partnered with the American Red Cross Northeast Florida Chapter and HandsOn Jacksonville to provide information on the most critical volunteer needs. Please visit HandsOn Jacksonville’s website for the most updated information.

Some helpful tips for interested volunteers:

  1. It’s important for your safety and those around you to engage in safe volunteer opportunities and never arrive on a scene without proper training by an official disaster response organization.
  2. Please register your volunteer interest with local agencies.
  3. Please refrain from bringing donations such as clothing, food or supplies unless requested.

The United Way of Northeast Florida, St. Johns County United Way, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, and Jewish Federation of Jacksonville have joined forces to help those impacted by Hurricane Matthew and any future natural disasters in Northeast Florida. The Jessie Ball duPont Fund committed $250,000 to seed this effort and is matching donations up to another $250,000.  Here’s How You Can Help: bit.ly/flfirstcoastrelief. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced the creation of the fund on Monday. Curry said “there are a lot of people in this city that are hurting right now, there are people in this city that struggle to make it every single day and now they have significant financial burden on them. The First Coast Relief Fund will help get those individuals throughout Northeast Florida who need assistance to get back on their feet,” Curry added. “A hundred percent of all gifts will go to relief effort and any unspent funds will be used to seed a permanent disaster relief…


October 3, 2016

Watch this POWERFUL 1-minute look through the eyes of a child

All kids have potential. From one child’s point of view, see the true impact of our words.

The Y nurtures the potential of every child and teen by supporting their unique youth development journey through holistic programming. From cradle to career, the Y provides all youth with the tools and resources they need to succeed in life. Click here to learn more about our Before and Afterschool Care and Early Learning programs.

The Y.™ For a better us.™

All kids have potential. From one child’s point of view, see the true impact of our words. The Y nurtures the potential of every child and teen by supporting their unique youth development journey through holistic programming. From cradle to career, the Y provides all youth with the tools and resources they need to succeed in life. Click here to learn more about our Before and Afterschool Care and Early Learning programs. The Y.™ For a better us.™


September 30, 2016

SEEDifferently: Spinach Berry Salad

We know how difficult it can be to stick to eating healthy, but we want to make things a little easier by giving you this simple, easy-to-prepare recipe for Spinach Berry Salad. It’s a summertime favorite that can be enjoyed year round!

Spinach Berry Salad

Serves 4 | Prep time: 10 min.

Ingredients

  • 4 packed cups torn fresh spinach
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup fresh, or frozen, blueberries
  • 1 small sweet onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Salad dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, or cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (can be omitted)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Preparation

  • In a large salad bowl, toss together spinach, strawberries, blueberries, onion and pecans.
  • In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine dressing ingredients. Shake well. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

 

Nutrition
Calories: 158
Fat: 5g
Carbohydrate: 25g
Protein: 4g

 

For more information on the SEEDifferently initiative, contact Sara Glenn by email at sglenn@firstcoastymca.org.

We know how difficult it can be to stick to eating healthy, but we want to make things a little easier by giving you this simple, easy-to-prepare recipe for Spinach Berry Salad. It’s a summertime favorite that can be enjoyed year round! Spinach Berry Salad Serves 4 | Prep time: 10 min. Ingredients 4 packed cups torn fresh spinach 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries 1 cup fresh, or frozen, blueberries 1 small sweet onion, sliced 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted Salad dressing: 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, or cider vinegar 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons honey 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon curry powder (can be omitted) 1/8 teaspoon pepper Preparation In a large salad bowl, toss together spinach, strawberries, blueberries, onion and pecans. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine dressing ingredients. Shake well. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.   Nutrition Calories: 158 Fat: 5g Carbohydrate: 25g Protein:…


September 16, 2016

Olympic Spirit Strong for Ponte Vedra YMCA Swim Team

Submitted by: Jennifer Ryan / Executive Director, Ponte Vedra YMCA

Members of the Ponte Vedra YMCA’s Flyers Swim Team recently gathered to celebrate a very successful 2015/2016 year with an award ceremony, and kicked off the new season with an Olympic-themed party. More than 40 swimmers enjoyed treats and fun with their teammates. The Flyers team has grown dramatically in the past two years under the coaching of Jennifer Salles-Cunha. So many swimmers wanted to join that an intermediate division was added in the Fall of 2015 under new coach Monique Salles-Cunha.

At the award ceremony, Coach Jen and Coach Monique presented their swimmers with Bronze, Silver and Gold medals. Bronze medals went to swimmers that participated in USA Swimming Competitions, Silver was given to those swimmers who competed in individual events at a championship meet, and Gold medals were awarded to the top two swimmers in each age group:

10 and younger Tristan Lewers and Ryland Zuniga
11-14 Jason Hepfer and Reilly McCabe
15 and older Jesse Hagy and Lilly McCabe

 

The Coaches also welcomed several new swimmers to the team. With the presentation of the medals, the coaches took a moment to acknowledge their accomplishments as well as their potential for the new season.

  • Highlights from the 2015/2016 Season include:
    Jesse Hagy taking 10th place in the 100 yard Breast Stroke and 7th place in the 50 yard Breast Stroke with a time of 28.55 seconds.
  • Jason Hepfer dominated his age group by placing in the top ten in six events, most notably winning first place in the 100 yard Butterfly with a time of 57.31. Jason also took 2nd in the 50 yard Butterfly, 3rd in the 100 yard Individual Medley, and 3rd in the 200 yard Freestyle.
  • Reilly McCabe excelled in the 50 yard Freestyle and 50 yard Back Stroke, taking 7th and 8th places, respectively.
  • Lilly McCabe was also in the top ten in the 100 yard Breast Stroke with a time of 1:09.59.
  • The Sectionals event was attended by Jesse Hagy participating in three events and Lilly McCabe swimming in five.
  • At the Summer Flags Event, Tristan Lewers did great in the Back Stroke, taking 9th place in the 100 yard and 7th place in the 50 yard, with a time of 38.35.
  • Reilly McCabe shined by getting in the top ten in four events, most notably taking 2nd place in the 50 yard Free Style with a time of 28.23, the same event that she won when she was a ten-year-old.

The new season started in September and the coaches and swimmers of the Flyers Swim Team are anticipating a fun and successful season for 2016/2017. Click here to learn more about YMCA Aquatic Programs.

Submitted by: Jennifer Ryan / Executive Director, Ponte Vedra YMCA Members of the Ponte Vedra YMCA’s Flyers Swim Team recently gathered to celebrate a very successful 2015/2016 year with an award ceremony, and kicked off the new season with an Olympic-themed party. More than 40 swimmers enjoyed treats and fun with their teammates. The Flyers team has grown dramatically in the past two years under the coaching of Jennifer Salles-Cunha. So many swimmers wanted to join that an intermediate division was added in the Fall of 2015 under new coach Monique Salles-Cunha. At the award ceremony, Coach Jen and Coach Monique presented their swimmers with Bronze, Silver and Gold medals. Bronze medals went to swimmers that participated in USA Swimming Competitions, Silver was given to those swimmers who competed in individual events at a championship meet, and Gold medals were awarded to the top two swimmers in each age group: 10 and younger Tristan Lewers…


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