Are School Lunches Healthy?

While at first glance school lunches seem to be a healthy option that provides children with a hot lunch for a low cost, in reality they may not be as ideal as you may think.  The use of poor ingredients, cheap alternatives, and schools cutting their budgets has led to lunches that may be doing more harm than good.

Schools are mandated to provide certain types of foods in their lunch programs, such as fruits, and vegetables.  In many cases, starches such as corn and potatoes are used to fill these requirements.  To make matters worse nearly forty two percent of schools investigated did not provide any type of fresh fruit or vegetables.  Of the schools that did offer some type of option that was not a starch, the quality of the food was so low, it would not pass inspection by large food corporations.

On top of poor quality foods, school lunches average thirty eight percent of their calories from fat, with fifteen percent coming in the form of saturated fat.  While some schools are taking steps to reduce fat contents, most still contain levels that are considered to be far too high to be healthy.

Finally, school lunch programs tend to be very high in sodium, with the average lunch coming in at nearly sixteen hundred milligrams.  U.S. dietary guidelines recommend no more than twenty three hundred milligrams of sodium daily, so this amount is more than half of that recommendation with just one serving.  The USDA is seeking to mandate that school lunches contain no more than six hundred and forty milligrams for elementary schools, seven hundred and ten for middle schools, and seven hundred and forty for high schools.

 

The Advantages of Powdered Protein in Your Diet

Today, it seems as though more and more people are taking part in low carb, high protein diets.   Many of these people choose to add powdered protein to their diets, but what is the point?  What benefits does powdered protein offer?

The first thing powdered protein does is help muscle to develop.  Protein is a great source of amino acids that help your body to produce much needed hormones and enzymes for healthy muscles.

Protein also directly affects how hungry we feel, and it is recommended that we consume ten to thirty five percent of our daily calories as protein.  Women need less protein than men, but still need a fair amount of protein.  Adding extra protein to your diet can keep you from feeling hungry, which can help you to lose weight by not being tempted to snack.

Extra amounts of protein can help you build muscle mass as well.  When your muscle mass is higher, you metabolic rate increases.  The higher your metabolic rate, the more calories your body is able to burn, without having to increase your need to exercise more.

Finally, adding powdered protein to your diet ensures you are getting a good source of protein, as opposed to less desirable sources.  Protein from animal sources, such as meats, dairy, and eggs are good, but they also contain high amounts of saturated fats.  Other types of protein such as from oily fish and poultry are considered to be better, as is that which comes from vegetables.  That being said, powdered protein makes use of the best types of lean protein so you get only the good results, without the unwanted fat.

 

Where to Take a Healthy Vacation

 

 

 

 

 

With more and more people out of work, the economy being a bit uncertain, and bank accounts being tighter than ever before, the idea of a vacation may seem out of reach.  Many people can no longer book a two week vacation to a far off place, to lounge on the beach and enjoy decadent foods.

This has lead to a new trend that many are finding very worthwhile, both financially and physically:  the healthy vacation.  These vacations allow people to get away, have some fun, take part in great activities, and go home fit and trim.

One popular option for a healthy vacation is the spa vacation.  Many larger hotels and resorts now offer spa packages that are reasonably priced, and offer workouts on the beach, access to fitness rooms and saunas, and even pool side treatments.

If you would like to save a bit more money, a hiking or camping vacation is another healthy option.  Pack up your gear and your family, and hit the trail.  You can easily find many great camp grounds all across the country, many of which offer unique adventures and plenty of family fun.  If you would like even more adventure, and have a bit more money to spend, consider taking a camping and hiking vacation outside of the United States.  No matter the location, you can have great fun exploring different regions, while getting a ton of fresh air and exercise, without spending a ton of money.

As you can see, healthy vacations are possible, and can be done quickly and inexpensively.  Even if you just have a long weekend, that is a perfect time to head out and pamper your body with a fit getaway.

Beating the Heat: Keeping Healthy In High Temperatures

Believe it or not, heat is the number one weather concern that causes the most deaths; even when compared to tornadoes, cold snaps, lightening, hurricanes, and floods.

A condition known as hyperthermia occurs when a person is not able to fully dissipate the heat that is affecting their body.  Symptoms of hyperthermia include:  swelling of the ankles or feet, dizziness, thirstiness, weakness, nausea, headache, a lack of coordination, and cramps of the torso and limbs.

Any time any of these symptoms occur, you should move to a cool place, rest, and consume plenty of liquids.  If you do not feel better in a short time, medical attention should be sought.

Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of hyperthermia is the condition known as heat stroke.  This condition can cause death, and causes the body’s temperature to rise to more than 104 degrees.  The skin becomes flushed, the pulse rate is altered, and sweating may even cease.

In order to beat the heat, and stay healthy in high temperatures, you should consider these tips:

Always drink plenty of liquids such as water and fruit juice.  Try to avoid caffeinated beverages, and those that contain alcohol.

Make sure your home is well ventilated, and has air movement from open windows and fans, or is able to be cooled with air conditioning.

Keep windows that are in direct sunlight covered, especially during the heating of the day.

Always monitor weather forecasts, so that you are aware of dangerous heat approaching.

Make sure you dress appropriately.  Light colors, and light materials are the best choices for keeping your body cool.

 

It’s Not Hard to Eat Right For Summer

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Everybody looks forward to summer, especially those that live in areas that get bombarded with snow every winter. Summertime means barbecues, picnics, pool parties and most of all, vacation! Although everyone wants to look good in their bathing suits, many fail to maintain a healthy diet. Let’s face it! There are always incredibly tempting treats during summer celebrations but it isn’t that hard to make healthy choices that taste good too.

I Can’t Give Up Barbecue

Few things are better on the grill than ribs; however pork and beef ribs have high fat content. Many people have never considered using veal ribs for barbecue. Veal is much more tender than beef or pork and has a significantly less amount of fat. Venison ribs can also be used for grilling. You’ll need to marinade the venison ribs for at least a day or they will dry out on the grill.

Better Burgers That Everyone Will Love

A lot of people have never tried turkey burgers merely because they grew up eating burgers made from beef. They think that turkey burgers are bland but prepared properly, they can be tastier than beef burgers and much healthier too! Try adding some breadcrumbs, an egg and some steak sauce to the turkey before making the patty. Toss the burgers on the grill and you’ll have even the most avid beef eater wanting seconds.

No Stick Fish Dish

We all know that fish is healthier for us than red meat but few people are brave enough to cook fish on the grill. It’s easier than making burgers and you can use any kind of fish fillet. Simply spray a large piece of foil with non-stick cooking spray. Top the fish with fresh garden vegetables like peppers, onions, squash, zucchini or any veggies that you like. Wrap up the foil as a packet and place it on the grill. It’ll be done in half an hour and everyone will love it!

So, you see eating healthy during the summer months doesn’t have to be bland and boring. Be creative and enjoy!

 

Take It Easy On Vacation

Everybody works hard all year long for their couple of weeks off. We all look forward to the spectacular time that we adoringly call “Vacation”!  It’s that wonderful time of year when we don’t have to worry about work, what the boss thinks or waking up to get to work on time. Vacation is the best part of the year!

Just because you can let your hair down and relax doesn’t mean that you can’t eat healthy. Whether you’re going camping or traveling abroad, healthy options are available. That doesn’t mean that you can’t splurge. Just do so responsibly.

Do It in the Woods

If you’re spending your vacation camping in the woods, you’ll be able to keep your regular healthy eating regime. Bring the foods that you normally would eat with you and store them in a cooler. You can also add fresh fish to your diet, if you’re lucky enough to catch some. We all know that eating fish is not only good for your waist but heart healthy too!

Ahoy There Matey

Believe it or not, many cruise lines are now offering healthy food options on their menus. Of course, they still have fare that is high in fat and calories but you at least have the choice to order healthier foods while on your cruise. Don’t be so strict as to not try some other things. Just eat those splurge foods in moderation.

Fresh from the Tropics

Going to the tropics on vacation opens a variety of doors for new and healthy foods to try. Caribbean countries use a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables in their dishes and most revolve around local fish. In the Bahamas, conch salad is a staple in most households. It is a delicious blend of freshly harvested conch (a shellfish), red peppers, green peppers, bird peppers, onions and lime juice. There are less than 300 calories in a huge conch salad and less than 3 grams of fat. Be sure to try some freshly picked fruits as well. Your healthy diet won’t be compromised while vacationing in the tropics.

Glitz, Glamour and the Healthy Gourmet

Taking your vacation in the city can be so exciting! There are so many things to see and do from sightseeing to exploring museums and art galleries. You’ll never be bored. However, many visitors to big cities worry that they won’t be able to find healthy foods to eat. This should be the least of your worries. Most cities, both large and small have restaurants that are dedicated to providing their customers with healthy, gourmet fare. You’ll enjoy trying new things while sticking to your healthy diet.

Keeping Kids Healthy During Summer Vacation

It’s really pretty easy to keep your kids eating healthy foods over summer vacation. Naturally, kids always want sweet treats especially when they hear the music from the ice cream man alerting them to his presence. Kids can enjoy healthy snacks and still think that they are sweet and delicious.

Going Bananas

Most kids like bananas but they can get boring as a snack. There are other ways to make them different and tempting to even the most finicky kid. Your child will also enjoy helping you to make these tasty treats. Put a couple of teaspoons of peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl and heat it. You’ll find that it melts into a thick liquid. Put a Popsicle stick in the end of the banana. Dip the whole banana into the peanut butter and then roll it into some granola or trail mix. Wrap the banana in some wax paper, put it into a zipper bag and pop it into the freezer. In two to three hours, your child will have a yummy snack that is healthy too.

Frozen Snacks For On the Go Kids

Blueberries are always great snacks for kids on the run. The heat of summer makes kids crave frozen treats. After washing and drying the blueberries, pop them into a snack bag and put them in the freezer. Once frozen, let your child grab a snack bag and continue playing in the yard. It’s a healthy snack that will keep your child happy.

Homemade Pudding Pops

Let’s face it, every kid likes pudding pops. Heck, a lot of adults love them too! There is a healthy way to make them and it’s inexpensive as well. Pick up a package of sugar-free pudding mix. Follow the directions for making pudding but cut the amount of milk required in half. Use whatever milk you usually buy (soy, low fat, no fat). Once mixed, pour the pudding into Dixie cups and insert a Popsicle stick or spoon into the cup. Pop them into the freezer and in a few hours, your kids (and you) will be enjoying homemade pudding pops!

Juice Pops

Kids love popsicles and ice pops during the summer. You can make a healthier version that your kids will think is awesome. Pour some fruit juice into Dixie cups. You can use any kind of juice. Insert Popsicle sticks or spoons into the cups and freeze them. This is a great and healthy treat that no kid can turn down.

 

Stay Healthy in the Sun

In this day and age, everybody is aware how harmful the sun is for our bodies. Years ago, people basked in the sun and slathered themselves with suntan oil to get a great tan. Nobody knew back then that the sun caused skin cancer. Now that we know, it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones from the sun’s harmful rays.

Make It a Routine

It’s harder to forget something when you perform that task each day at the same time. This is true with applying sunscreen as well. Putting on sunscreen should be part of your daily routine. When you get out of the shower in the morning, towel off and break out the sunscreen. Apply it to all areas that might be exposed to the sun throughout the day.

Decisions, Decisions

There are loads of different sunscreens available on the market. There really is no one particular product that one can say is the best. You’ll need to try a variety of products to see which works best for you and your family. Be sure to get the right protection for your needs.

Start From the Beginning

It’s absolutely essential to teach your children how to protect themselves from the sun’s damaging rays. Make applying sunscreen part of their daily ritual. If they understand that they cannot go outside to play without having their sunscreen on, they will readily accept this process and carry this ritual with them throughout their lives.

The Sun Can’t Be That Dangerous

The sun really is very dangerous! It can cause a variety of health problems. Naturally, skin cancer is a direct result of overexposure to the sun. Many people don’t realize that the sun can harm their eyes. It can cause cataracts and macular degeneration; both can lead to blindness. Sunglasses can protect your eyes from damaging rays. Overexposure to the sun’s UV rays can also suppress your immune system. This makes it harder for your body to fight off illnesses and diseases.

Protect yourself from the sun. Be sure to use sunblock and sunglasses anytime you step outside of your home!