Tag - nutrition

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Stealth Health – Tales From the Toddler Dinner Table
2
What Is Your New Years Resolution?
3
The Power of Habit
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Fabulous Fiber!
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Eating Healthy When Time Is Tight
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WIC Offers Fresh Produce From Local Farms
7
10 Tips to Eat Healthy During Summer Travel
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Try Out These Heart-Healthy Recipes
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A Holiday Safety Checklist….
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7 Tips for Healthy Eating During the Holidays

Stealth Health – Tales From the Toddler Dinner Table

By: Julie Swank

If he had his own way, my son would subsist entirely on pancakes. In his words, “with syrup AND jam.” As a garden nutrition educator, I’m embarrassed to admit this, since I work hard to convince kids they love kale and beets over more sugar-laden food options. And here’s my own son double fisting pancakes drenched in syrup. 

I have to remember that I, as the well meaning adult in this picture, am in charge of helping my young one develop his palate to enjoy many different tastes and flavors. But a child’s love for all things carbohydrate and sugar can leave even the most determined parent feeling defeated from time to time at the dinner table. 

This is a good place to introduce the idea of stealth health, from the “if you can’t beat them, join ‘em” category of parenting advice. While it’s still important to introduce foods raw or solo for young kids to get a taste for them, sometimes you need to get creative to get all the nutrition you can into their growing bodies. I’m taking a page from my mom on this one, who had many vegetable pancake variations, most of which were not well received by my younger self. Corn, zucchini, and carrots all made appearances at the breakfast table, met with many a complaint from me to “just have normal pancakes.”

Well, here I am as an adult who loves many different kinds of veggies, so my mom’s persistence paid off. We’re in for the long haul teaching food habits to kids – food preferences are MUCH easier to shape at a young age.  However, this might not always look perfect. For example, my son tasting a bite of spinach and spitting it out onto my plate…but his excited “I tried it!” is a step in the right direction. We’ll work more on manners, but exposure to many different tastes in the toddler years will help our young ones become adventurous eaters as adults. 

Here are some fun ideas from the stealth health kitchen:

  • Pasta and pizza are often easy “wins” with kids – who doesn’t love them? Purée steamed kale or broccoli, roasted beets, or other veggies into the tomato sauce for extra nutrients. This also works for meatloaf or meatballs – add 1 cup of puréed veggies to your regular recipe. 
  • Take it from brussels sprouts, they got a lot more popular once they met bacon. Use small amounts of cheese or bacon to make a previously unpopular vegetables shine. 
  • If you’re desperate, you can always hide veggies! I often slip the kale and spinach under the cheese in a pizza. Also, grated or sliced veggies (raw or cooked) can easily be tucked into sandwiches and wraps without too much of a fuss.
  • Give in a little bit to a toddler’s love of sugar by roasting root vegetables like parsnips, carrots, and beets to bring out their natural sugars. Cut them in wedges and have “rainbow french fries”!

This pancake recipe is popular in our house and a great way to sneak some extra nutrients into breakfast without your picky eaters noticing. Enjoy! 

Carrot Apple Pancakes

  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 1 large apple, grated
  • 1 cup plain yogurt + ½ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • ½  tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ginger (dried or fresh)
  • ½ cup raisins (optional)

Mix flour, baking soda, sugar, raisins, and spices together in a bowl.  Separately, whisk eggs, milk, and yogurt together and then stir in the grated carrot and apple. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients, being careful to not overmix (this makes pancakes tough). Fry on a pancake griddle, or in a little oil on a skillet until crispy and risen a bit. 


Julie Swank is a farmer, a school garden and nutrition educator, and most recently a mom, which has put all of her skills to the test to keep her busy two-year-old healthy and fed. She loves to connect people to their food by sharing advice from the kitchen and getting hands in the soil on the farm.  You can find her in the kitchen cooking meals for her son’s preschool, Four Seasons of Early Learning, and tending gardens in Greensboro, VT.

What Is Your New Years Resolution?

A new year has arrived, presenting the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past and reset. Even if you’re not in need of a completely fresh start, everyone can benefit from embracing a more positive frame of mind and a few new wellness goals.

We asked Live Well Lamoille bloggers to share the healthy habits they hope to embrace this year. Here is what they said:

Valerie Valcour, Vermont Department of Health: A renewed focus for me in 2019 is work-life balance. The first step will be to incorporate 10 minutes of meditation into each day. The best time will be the transition between work and home each afternoon and mornings on the weekend. A book with 52 meditative focus areas will be my weekly topic guide. I wish you all the best in accomplishing your goals for 2019.

Caleb Magoon, Power Play Sports: A couple of years ago, I was a bit down in the dumps following a very tough year. In an effort to focus on all the positive things I had going in life, I resolved at the New Year to write a bit about those positive aspects of my life. Rather than a traditional journal chronicling all life events, I decided instead to simply write about positive events, moments of beauty I saw daily, or uplifting interactions with people around me. My goal was to write nearly every day, which I did, albeit not for the whole year.

Though my effort was short-lived, it was not without a positive effect. I found that by focusing on the positive rather than complaining about the many negative things (because that is just too easy), had a profound effect on my outlook.

This year, I plan to do something similar. I have some new and slightly more realistic expectations. I’m quite certain that by taking just a few minutes each week to celebrate the positive things in my life, I will see an improved outlook. Deep in the Vermont winter, many of us struggle to keep a positive attitude. Small exercises like this that take little time can do big things for your mental health.

Dan Regan, Northern Vermont University-Johnson: In 2019 I resolve to continue two strategies, which I’ve begun. The first is: Allot extra time for all tasks and commitments. My mom gave me this advice, and she lived past 95. It means leaving early to pick someone up, arriving beforehand for an appointment or meeting, planning on extra time to cook dinner, complete a report, etc. I’m someone who acutely feels the pressure of an upcoming commitment. For me, and maybe others among you, a more unhurried approach reduces stress, helps control blood pressure and contributes to overall health.

In my seventies, time is obviously precious; but I can’t honestly claim that each second is equally indispensable. So I don’t begrudge waiting and “wasting” some of those seconds. Paradoxically, the willingness to waste some time unapologetically has made my “productive” moments feel—well—more productive and meaningful.

The second resolution is: Minimize multitasking. That means, for starters, no peering at screens while I’m exercising or checking phones when I’m actually watching something. I find the more I commit to uni-tasking, the more I get done. I’m better able to focus on the task at hand. And an unforeseen benefit is that, without distraction, my mind is free to move in unexpected and sometimes productive directions. For instance, I “wrote” this short piece in my head while running in a pool.

I hope I can make good on these two, simple commitments and I wish everyone a good (better) and healthy 2019!

What are your health and wellness resolutions? Maybe you’d like to start meal planning, start walking for 20 minutes per day, or just want to stop overscheduling your calendar to cut down on stress. How do you plan to stick to them? Let us know in the comments section below.

The Power of Habit

By: Rorie Dunphey

Have you ever ‘decided’ to make changes to your health (lose weight, quit smoking, start exercising…), only to be disappointed in yourself days or weeks later having ‘failed’? You may feel disappointed in yourself due to a ‘lack of willpower’ or simply feel overwhelmed by how hard it is to change. In fact, change is not a ‘decision’, but rather it is a process that takes time and patience.

Don’t underestimate the power of habit! Habit formation (whether starting or stopping a behavior) is both physical and psychological. Our brain actually creates neural pathways for new behaviors. Our body and mind are in the habit of behaving in a certain way, and it can take time for a new habit to form or an old habit to diminish.

Change is a process, not an event. Here are some tips to help create healthy habits:

  • Practice patience. Research tells us that it takes as much as 180 days to truly let go of an old habit and adopt a new one. So hang in there!
  • Stop beating yourself up! Putting yourself down if you find yourself engaged in the old habit can damage our confidence. Instead, practice positive thinking and be compassionate with yourself.
  • Celebrate catching yourself. Instead of putting yourself down for ‘being weak’, congratulate yourself for being aware. Each time you catch yourself and become aware, you will build confidence and motivation.
  • Use structures to help remind yourself about the new behavior or goal. For example, put sticky notes on the bathroom mirror, set an alarm on your phone, or link the new behavior to something you already do (like walking right after breakfast).
  • Involve others in your goal. Let family, friends or co-workers know you are working to change. Enlist support and feedback to help. Find a partner with a similar goal to help motivate each other!
  • Work with a health coach or healthcare provider. They can provide support and accountability during the process of habit formation.

Don’t wait until New Years to make healthy changes in your life. Habits can be changed or created any time of year!


Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.

 

Fabulous Fiber!

By: Rorie Dunphey

Health Benefits of Fiber_Whole Grains

Why is FIBER important?

A fiber rich diet has many benefits to a healthy lifestyle. It can reduce your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as several kinds of cancer. It also can improve cholesterol, lower blood pressure, regulate digestion and help with weight loss. With farmers markets and CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) in full swing now, eating locally produced, fiber-rich foods is both easy and delicious!

What is FIBER?

There are 2 kinds: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber can help control blood sugar and cholesterol, while insoluble fiber adds bulk to our colon and can act like a brush, helping food pass through the digestive tract more efficiently. Fiber can be found in fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts and beans.

What is a WHOLE GRAIN?

A whole grain has 3 layers: the fiber-rich bran or outer layer, the endosperm or middle layer, and the germ or inner layer. Whole grains are not only rich in fiber, but also are loaded with nutrients. Some examples include whole grain breads, oats, corn meal, bulgur, quinoa, brown rice, farro and popcorn. A refined grain is processed leaving only the middle or endosperm layer is left, thus removing much of the beneficial fiber and nutrients.

How much is ENOUGH?  It is generally recommended that people consume 25 to 38 grams of fiber each day. Add fiber to your diet slowly, over a few weeks. Too much too fast can cause bloating or gas.

How can I add more FIBER to my diet?

  • Eat 5-10 servings of vegetables and fruits per day, ½ cup of whole grains (brown rice, whole grain bread), ¼ cup nuts, ½ cooked veggies, 1 cup of fruit
  • Read labels! Choose breads, cereals, pasta and crackers that list ‘Whole Grain’ as the first ingredient. Look for the ‘Whole Grain’ stamp on the package and beware of deceptive marketing. ‘Multi Grain’, ‘wheat’ and ‘enriched flour’ do NOT mean whole grain. Products with at least 10% of the ‘percent daily value’ are generally fiber-rich foods.
  • Eat more recipes with beans, barley, lentils, quinoa, bulgur or brown rice
  • Eat oatmeal or whole grain cereal for breakfast
  • Buy unprocessed foods, as processing often removes the fiber.

How do you sneak more fiber into your diet?


Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.

Eating Healthy When Time Is Tight

By: Leah Hollenberger

Earlier this year, I attended a meeting that discussed food security in our community. Access to good, nutritious food is important because eating lots of fruits and vegetables can help prevent chronic conditions and diseases. Lots of numbers and statistics were shared at the meeting but one that jumped out was that 70% of Lamoille County residents don’t eat the recommended daily 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables.

Think about that. Out of 10 people, 7 of us do not eat the recommended daily 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables. I say us because I admit I have had to work at getting 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables into my meals every day.

Lamoille County has outstanding resources to increase access to food, so perhaps access is not the only issue preventing so many from eating the recommended servings. Perhaps it is a combination of access, budget, time, and awareness. In other words, sometimes it is a lack of time to cook, other times it is a lack of planning meals in advance (which helps save money), sometimes it is because we’re eating out and not making good choices, and sometimes we’re just trying to make a meal out of what is left in the refrigerator or pantry.

How can we change that statistic? It’ll take a variety of approaches, but individually we can each start by cooking at home more and being more mindful of eating more fruits and vegetables.

Menu planning_Eating Healthy When Time is Tight_Copley Hospital_Live Well Lamoille

After making note of what I ate every day for a couple of days, I realized that I typically ate 2 vegetables at dinner if it was cooked at home and a fruit at lunch or as a snack. As empty nesters, my husband and I were definitely cooking dinner less often and eating out more which was also affecting our budget. What I ate for lunch sometimes got me up to 5-6 servings, but not consistently. So I decided to set three goals. The first goal was to eat at least one fruit at breakfast and one fruit and one vegetable at lunch. My second goal was to try to eat more meals prepared at home and if we ate dinner out, to include at least two vegetables. My other goal was to keep it simple: simple ingredients, simple prep. Who wants to spend a lot of time cooking or cleaning up?

That means breakfast is a cup of Greek yogurt with fresh berries or a cut-up peach, or two scrambled eggs followed by an apple, or peanut butter on wheat toast with a banana. For my husband, it means a whole grain cereal with fruit on top. Using fruit that is in season saves money, but you can also compare the cost of using frozen or canned fruit (packed in its own juice), or applesauce to stretch your budget.

For lunch, Copley Hospital’s Café offers a vegetarian entrée – often using locally-sourced, farm fresh vegetables – as well as a well-stocked salad bar. To encourage its employees to make healthy choices, they give employees one free fruit each work day. That helps me with my goal of keeping it simple. If I pack my lunch, it is usually leftovers from last night’s dinner, along with carrots or half a red pepper cut into strips. My husband usually eats beans and rice for lunch. (Yes, he eats the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day. He makes a big pot of beans and rice every weekend and eats from it all week.)

For dinner, I discovered that pre-planning really helped us cook more at home. I tend to be the planner of the family, so I’ll make a large meal like pulled chicken or vegetarian chili in the crock pot on the weekend and plan several meals out of it. For example, we’ll have chili with cornbread one night; the second night, chili over baked potatoes; and the third night scrambled eggs with chili or chili with grilled cheese sandwiches. Stir-frys are fast and easy and, with so many different sauces one can make, along with using different vegetables, it is hard to get bored with them. Omelets with spinach, tomato, and mushrooms; tuna salad with red pepper and onion served on fresh spinach leaves; Mexican restaurant style black beans with ground turkey tacos are just a few of the quick meals we routinely cook. Since I’m not one to eat the same thing day after day for dinner and our schedules change constantly, I try to plan 3-4 dinners for the week at a time, using the supermarket sale flier, and try not to repeat any from the week before so we’re not eating the same few meals. Purchasing fruits and vegetables that are in season keeps costs reasonable but we also use frozen vegetables like corn, green beans, peas, carrots and broccoli and canned beans because they are easy and you can buy extra when they are on sale.

We have a couple of go-to resources we use for recipes. These include EatingWell.com, Skinnytaste.com, and Mark Bittman’s cookbook “How to Cook Everything.”  I also check out cookbooks from my local library and Copley Hospital’s Medical Sciences Library, which is open to the public. If we find one we really love, I’ll write it down and file it in our 3-ring binder for recipes.

Other resources to help you reach the recommended 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables include:

  • Healthyinasnapvt.org: A great website from the health department with tons of tips for everyone on stretching the food dollar.
  • 3SquaresVT:  Call 1-800-479-6151.  You can get 3SquaresVT benefits even if you do not get any other benefits from the state. If you get 3SquaresVT benefits, you will not be taking them away from others. 3SquaresVT is an entitlement program which means everyone who is eligible for 3SquaresVT benefits has a legal right to get them.
  • Johnson/Lamoille Valley CommUNITY Meal: United Church of Johnson, 100 Main Street, Johnson. 802-635-143.
  • Lamoille Community Center Community Meal:  24 Main Street, Morrisville, VT.  802-888-4302.
  • Meals on Wheels of Lamoille County:  24 Upper Main Street, Morrisville, VT. 802-888-5011.
  • (Free) Breakfast On Us: M-F, 7am-9am, First Congregational Church,  84 Upper Main St, Morrisville, VT. 802-888-2225.
  • Lamoille Community Food Share: M-F, 9am-11:30am; Sat 9:30am-11am. 197 Harrel St, Morristown, VT. 802-888-6550.
  • Johnson Food Shelf: Tues. & Fri, 9am-12noon. 780 Railroad St. 802-635-9003.
  • Call 2-1-1 and ask about food and nutrition resources available to you or check out the link for a list. The list includes WIC, summer meals programs, emergency food shelves and community meal sites, the Learning Kitchen and UVM Extension’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program.

Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Her free time is spent volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.

WIC Offers Fresh Produce From Local Farms

By: Nancy Segreto, WIC Nutritionist, Vermont Department of Health

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)  provides wholesome food, nutrition education and community support for income-eligible women who are pregnant or post-partum (including fathers and caregivers), infants, and children up to 5 years old. Our community now has three clinic locations, located in Johnson, Hardwick, and Morrisville.

In addition to the standard food offered by WIC, each summer the Morrisville WIC office distributes coupons worth $30 – $60 to families. These “Farm to Family” coupons can be used as money to buy produce from participating farmers at Vermont Farmer’s Markets, from July through the end of October. Families can meet the farmer who grew their food, tasting new foods while developing an appreciation for fresh, local whole foods. This program also supports Vermont farmers who receive 100% of the coupon value.

WIC recently partnered with Lamoille Valley Gleaning to offer monthly “WIC Gleaning Taste Tests” under our tent in the Morrisville WIC office parking lot. For those who may not know, “gleaning” is the gathering of extra crops from the fields after the harvest. Gleaning helps keep fresh, wholesome food in our community and supports a healthy food system. Past events have offered freshly harvested green beans, zucchini, lettuce, baby kale, arugula and more. Taste-tests and recipes are provided with themes such as pasta salads, soups, baby foods, and holiday inspirations.

The next WIC Gleaning Taste Tests will take place August 2, September 13, October 11, and November 8, from 2- 3:00pm at the WIC office (63 Processional Dr, Morrisville).

Families with Medicaid or Dr. Dynasaur insurance are income eligible for WIC. Know a family who might qualify for WIC? Tell them about us!

To connect with WIC today, visit: healthvermont.gov/wic or call 800-649-4357 or 802-888-7447 (Morrisville). WIC is an equal opportunity provider. For more information about WIC, visit the Health Department website at http://www.healthvermont.gov/local-health-offices/morrisville/wic-services.

10 Tips to Eat Healthy During Summer Travel

By: Rorie Dunphey

The weather is finally improving and it is finally beginning to feel like summer. For many of us, summer means adventures and traveling. Is it possible to eat healthy when we are on the road having fun? Yes! Here are 10 simple tips to eating healthy when away from home;

  • Consider your drink – Choose water, unsweetened tea or drinks with no added sugars. Avoid drinking calories.
  • Savor a salad – Start your meal with a salad packed with vegetables to help you feel satisfied sooner. Ask for dressing on the side and use a small amount.
  • Share a meal or dish – Divide a main entrée between family and friends. Ask for small plates for everyone at the table.
  • Select from the sides – Order a side dish or appetizer as a meal. It is usually more than enough food!
  • Pack your snacks – Pack a cooler with ready-to-eat fruit, vegetables or unsalted nuts to eat on road trips. It can help you avoid stopping for junk food when you need to stop to fill the gas tank.
  • Fill your plate with vegetables and fruits – Stir-fries, kabobs or vegetarian options can be healthy and delicious. Order meals without gravy or sauces. Select fruits for dessert.
  • Compare calories, fat and sodium – Many menus now have nutritional information. Look for items that are lower in calories, saturated fat and sodium. You can also ask your server about for healthier options.
  • Pass on the buffet – Order individual items from the menu and avoid ‘all you can eat’ buffets. Steamed, grilled or broiled dishes usually have fewer calories than fried or sautéed foods.
  • Get your whole grains – Ask for 100% whole grain bread, rolls and pasta when eating sandwiches, burgers or entrees.
  • Quit the ‘clean plate club’ – Be mindful of how full you feel and stop eating when you have had enough. Slow down and savor each bite. Pack leftovers away immediately to avoid nibbling and refrigerate them for tomorrow’s meal.

It can be often be challenging to eat balanced and nutritious foods when away from home, but with a little effort and planning, you can still have fun and be healthy. Enjoy and safe traveling!


Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.

Try Out These Heart-Healthy Recipes

By: Alexandra Duquette

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among American adults of all backgrounds. Many of these deaths are largely preventable through lifestyle modification. Along with exercise, diet can play a role in maintaining your heart health. Following a diet that is low in saturated fats and sodium, and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help keep your ticker ticking for many years to come.

To celebrate American Heart Month, here are a couple great recipes that your heart will appreciate!

 

Hearty Vegetable and Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced
  • 1 small bell pepper, the color of your choice, chopped
  • ¼ cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup tomato paste

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients except tomato paste. Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1.5 hours or until lentils and rice are tender.
  3. Add the tomato paste and still until blended. Cook for 10-15 minutes more. Discard bay leaf.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information per serving:

Calories: 206, Fat: 1.4 grams, Saturated Fat: 0 grams, Cholesterol: 0 grams, Carbohydrate: 36 grams, Dietary Fiber: 12.6 grams, Protein 12.9 grams

 

Salmon Burger with Bok Choy, Ginger, and Lemongrass

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Salmon Filet or Canned Salmon (packed in water)
  • 3 cups Bok Choy (or any dark leafy green) chopped finely
  • 3 Scallions, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Ginger, finely grated
  • 1 Large Egg White
  • 1 Tbsp. Dried Lemongrass
  • 1 Tbsp. Low-Sodium Soy Sauce

Directions:

  1. Cut salmon into ¼ inch dice (or use canned salmon), stir into mixture of bok choy, scallions, ginger, and lemongrass until combined.
  2. Beat together egg white and soy sauce in a small bowl and stir into salmon mixture.
  3. Form into four patties that are ½ inch thick.
  4. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp. of olive oil to cover bottom of skillet. Add salmon patties, cooking for approximately 3-4 minutes per side.
  5. Serve hot. These burgers can be served over a bed of salad greens for a low carb option!

Nutritional Information per serving

Calories: 399(285 without burger bun), Fat: 21.9 grams, Saturated Fat: 3.1 grams, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Carbohydrate 39.9g (19 grams without bun), Dietary Fiber: 4.1 grams, Protein: 12.1 grams

 


Alexandra Duquette is the Clinical Dietician for Copley Hospital, where she sees inpatients and outpatients daily. As a former pastry chef, she has realigned her career to aid people in enjoy food while keeping their bodies healthy and strong.

A Holiday Safety Checklist….

By: Jessica Bickford

 

It’s that time of year when we create lists to make sure that we don’t forget the important details of our celebrations. Today we’d like to provide you with a list for keeping yourself, your family, and your guests safe and healthy this holiday season.

Prescription Drug Safety – More information is available at https://www.healthylamoillevalley.org/prescription-drugs.

____ Lock or safely secure prescription drugs and other medicines.  Talk to those you may be visiting to share this information with them as well.

____ Talk to younger children about NOT eating any “candy” without checking in with an adult first.  Many medicines look like candy to young children.

____ Talk to children and teens about the importance of not taking medicines prescribed to someone else.

___ Remove unwanted or expired prescription drugs from the home by bringing to one of the three year-round prescription take-back sites in our region: Hardwick Police Department, Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department, and Morristown Police Department.

___ If you have young children, sit on the floor or crawl around the places where they will be playing. It is not uncommon for a dropped pill to be unnoticed.

Alcohol

____ Offer fun, non-alcoholic drink options for guests. This helps youth to see that they don’t have to have alcohol to have fun and provides a nice choice for those who choose not to drink alcohol.

____ Monitor your alcohol. Serving or providing alcohol to minors is illegal and not good for them.  Assign an adult to ensure that youth do not have access to alcohol. Lock up open bottles of alcohol such as rum or brandy. Did you know that youth who use a drug, like alcohol, before the age of 15 are 5 times more likely to struggle with substance use at some time in their life? Not a pleasant holiday gift…

____ Monitor your guests. If you choose to serve alcohol, you are responsible to make sure that your guests are in a safe “state of being” to drive. Even “buzzed” drivers create fatalities.

____ Talk to your kids and teens about your expectations and the importance of waiting to consume alcohol until they are of age. Parentupvt.org has some great resources to help with these conversations! 

Tobacco

____ Talk to your children and teens about the dangers of tobacco products. Tobacco products come in many forms (e-cigarettes, chew and smokeless products, etc), but none are safe. The tobacco industry targets youth with use of flavors. You can find more at http://www.counterbalancevt.com.

____ If you have guests who smoke, prepare a designated outdoor smoking area out of the way of passersby where others will not be exposed to secondhand smoke. Or consider asking them to not smoke while at your home.

____ If you have guests who use smokeless tobacco products and e-cigarettes ask them to refrain from using in your presence, especially around youth.

____ If you or someone you know is ready to quit or thinking about it… share with them our local Vermont quit smoking resource, http://802quits.org.

General

____ Create a family check-in system. Family and friends’ gatherings can be wonderful or stressful. For our kids, they can be a time of connecting or a time to be challenged to try risky behaviors. Develop a plan with your children and teens to check in periodically throughout the gathering and help them to have a plan to get out of tricky situations without creating an awkward situation. Sample ideas include a keyword or phrase; asking if they can help; an invitation to join in a game…

____ Bring age-appropriate games or activities for your kids with you. You can help bring the fun… creating a joyous and safe environment!

____ Check out tips for safe food storage ahead of time! http://www.healthvermont.gov/environment/food-lodging/food-safety-consumers

____ Plan to have some healthy food options. Even a simple plate of raw vegetables is a pleasant break between the abundance of sweets and heavy holiday foods.

____ If you have a live tree, water two times a day. Consider adding a teaspoon of sugar every three days to feed the tree and keep it fresher longer.

____ Check your holiday lights. If there are any exposed wires or broken cords, discard and replace.

____ Depending on the length of your gathering, consider planning some opportunities for physical activity such as sledding, skating, a snowshoe, or a simple hike.

____ Don’t forget to check on your vacation days from work.  If you can take them, do! It’s healthy to take breaks from our work environments.


Jessica Bickford has worked as Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley for a little over two years, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.

 

7 Tips for Healthy Eating During the Holidays

By: Rorie Dunphey

Traditionally, the holiday season is often full of rich, buttery comfort food shared with family and friends. Although it is important to celebrate and treat ourselves to the array of delicious food, it does not mean that binging on holiday favorites is the best idea. Holiday weight gain is common, but it can be minimized or avoided if you consider a few tips during the season.

Limit your indulgences, but don’t eliminate them all together: Sweet and savory treats during the holidays are abundant and inevitable. You don’t have to completely omit desserts and treats during the holidays, rather try to be selective and limit your portion size. You’ll find that even a small bite can satisfy your sweet tooth and may help stop a binge later on.

Enjoy the party fare, but don’t graze. Fill your plate with lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Once you have served yourself, move away from the buffet and enjoy the conversation! If you are the host, serve healthy options like whole grain crackers and salsa instead of chips, or fresh fruit and vegetables.

Be mindful of what you eat. Research shows we feel fuller with less food when we eat mindfully. Little unconscious nibbles throughout the day, like a piece of candy from a co-worker, a few ‘tastes’ of the cookies you baked, or those tempting food samples in the grocery store, can add up fast and prevent you from enjoying meal time. Here are tips to help you eat mindfully.

Pace yourself: When eating a meal with your family or enjoying appetizers at a party, slow down and eat consciously. Try not to race through the food on your plate. Instead, chew slowly – you’ll also be more aware when you’re feeling full.

Drink more water: Water is essential for healthy body functions, including metabolism. Dehydration negatively affects your muscle tone, slows the fat-burning process as well as inhibit digestion. Also, try to stay away from liquid calories.

Get enough sleep: Studies show that lack of sleep can cause hormonal changes, which can then lead to craving more calories per day. Although the holiday season is busy, don’t compromise your nighttime rest.

Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day: If you can’t possibly fit a longer exercise into your routine, try to split it up into shorter chunks of time. Also, mix aerobic activity with strength training and flexibility for a complete exercise routine.

Have a happy and healthy holiday season!


Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.