09, May 2016 8:15 AM

women's health is important to everyoneMother's Day kicks off the annual celebration of National Women's Health Week. Sponsored by the Office of Women's Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this week-long event encourages women to take steps to improve their health at every age. 

For a nutrition education organization staffed nearly entirely by women, this week provides a great opportunity to address some of the most pressing health problems for women. As nutrition professionals, moms and daughters, we know how diet and lifestyle choices directly impact women's health. 

Simple changes in eating and activity patterns can have very positive impacts when it comes to chronic diseases of concern for women, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis. Arm yourself with knowledge to reduce your risk of each condition, then see how delicious prevention can be with tailored recipe ideas, too.

Type 2 Diabetes

Prevalent, Pricey and Preventable
Diabetes Prevention, What You Need to Know
Four Action Steps to Reduce Your Diabetes Risk (in English and Spanish)
Sugar in Milk: Should I Be Concerned?
Healthy Eating Meal Ideas Help Beat Diabetes (recipes)

Heart Disease

Heart Health: What Really Matters 
Potassium, A Key Nutrient in Heart Health
Heart Health Controversy: Reducing Sodium
Heart Health Controversy: Reducing Saturated Fats
Keep the Beat with a DASH of Health
DASH Eating Pattern to Lower Blood Pressure
Healthy Eating Meal Ideas With a DASH of Health (recipes)


How to Prevent Osteoporosis and Keep Your Bones Strong
How Much is Enough? Calcium and Vitamin D Requirements
Are Milk and Calcium Good For Your Bones?
What Role Does Protein Play in Building Strong Bones?
Prevent Fractures Through a Commitment to Healthy Bones
Healthy Eating Meal Ideas Bone Up on Health (recipes)

The great news is that simple changes in eating habits and physical activity routines can greatly reduce the risk of developing these chronic diseases, or minimize their severity. We encourage women to invest in themselves and their health starting this week. Start with the Healthy Eating Planner to assess and improve your eating habits. Being active is important in reducing chronic disease risk too, so check out the three reasons to add exercise to your diet

Tags: balanced meals diabetes Healthy eating heart osteoporosis physical activity
Categories: categoryNutrition Education

03, May 2016 8:31 AM

It's Teacher Appreciation Week and we're throwing a virtual party to say thank you for all that you do for students. By taking the time to teach nutrition in your classroom, you are empowering students with knowledge they need to make healthy choices for the rest of their lives. That's quite a superpower!

Since the school year is coming to a close and the celebrations are just beginning, healthy classroom party resources are our gift to you. 

Healthy Classroom Parties 

Healthy Party Printable Includes ideas for using food picture cards and vocabulary words in each Dairy Council of CA lesson.

Focus on the fun! Year-round tips and recommendations for elevating the health of classroom snacks and celebrations, as well as ideas for taking the focus off of food altogether. 

Five Food Group Fairs Four different party ideas to encourage students to try new food group foods. Each theme includes all five food groups.

Party Pins Peruse beautiful and festive ideas for fun snacks and engaging classroom activities on our Pinterest board.

Action Items Non-food rewards and ideas from Action for Healthy Kids to get students moving and keep them motivated.

#ThankATeacher Dollars, Discounts + Deals

No Teacher Appreciation Week post would be complete without mentioning some of the freebies and specials available to teachers this week and beyond. This list is by no means exhaustive. 

Be sure to let cashiers know when you're buying supplies for your school as you shop. Many retailers have the superpower of making spontaneous point of purchase discounts.

Classroom Cash PTA and Go Fund Me are teaming up this week to match classroom fundraising campaigns up to $100. 

Every Superhero Needs a Mascot! Pets In the Classroom offers multiple grants for adding a furry friend or a slithering student aid to your classroom.

Discounts + Deals From clothing to cars, Teach for America offers a list of 50 exclusive offers and discounts for teachers and National Education Association members.

This short list of resources and deals is a tiny token of our appreciation for your efforts all year long. If there's anything we can do to make your lives as teachers easier or healthier, please let us know in the comments. 

Thank you for all that you do!

Tags: classroom parties holiday nutrition lesson plans physical activity
Categories: categoryNutrition Education

02, May 2016 9:00 AM

April showers bring May flowers...and May flowers bring Pilgrims! Actually, when it comes to food celebrations and health observances, May brings a wide variety of flavors, textures and food group foods!

Be sure to visit the Family Meal Planning page for more information, tips and resources. 

May Family Meal Recipes

Make Ahead Mother's Day Delight

Orange Polentina with Mini Fritattas and Mango and Melon Salad with Strawberry Sauce; plus Ham and Cheese Omelet Roll, Artichoke Nibbles, Homemade Yogurt and Homemade Granola.

High Steaks for Beef Month

Chicken-Fried Steak + Gravy with Cheesy Broccoli-Potato Mash and Super Orange Smoothies; plus Grilled Eye Round Steaks with Wasabi Yogurt Cream, Calypso Beef Burgers, Teriyaki Beef Steak Soup and Corn Con Carne.

Break Free From Osteoporosis

Skillet Tuna Noodle Casserole with Balsamic Vinegar Tomatoes and Warm Fruit Compote Over Vanilla Frozen Yogurt; plus Gingery Salmon with Cucumber and Radish Salad, Endive and Mushroom Soup, Chocorazz Smoothies and Cream of Broccoli Soup.

There's a Month for That?

Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes with Spicy Corn Salad with Chiles and Cilantro and Strawberry Licuados; plus Huevos Rancheros, Asparagus With Cheese, Honey BBQ Meatloaf and Strawberry Blue Cheese Salad.

Memorial Day Meals

Tuscan Tomato Turkey Burgers with Balsamic Yogurt Grilled Vegetables and Banana Pudding Pops; plus Chicken with Avocado and Oranges, Three Cheese Black Bean Chili with Cheddar Crust, Mediterranean Pasta Salad with California Ricotta and Feta and Carrot Salad.

Tags: balanced meals food group foods Healthy eating healthy eating patterns holidays
Categories: categoryHealthy Eating

13, April 2016 8:00 AM

sustainability comes in many forms In honor of Earth Day on April 22, many people start looking for ways to “go green” and become more sustainable. To shrink your carbon footprint and care for the environment, your first step should be to reduce food waste. 

According to USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist, nearly half (30-40%) of our food supply goes to waste. “Not Really Expired," a short film by The Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) highlights how arbitrary laws around “sell-by” dates contribute to our food waste problem at the retail level. As a Dairy Council of CA dietitian and mom, I feel sad that this amount of nutritious food is wasted when so many children go hungry in this country every day.

Hopefully now, with education efforts like Not Really Expired, more consumers know that most food, including milk, is safe well after the sell-by date. Understanding these dates and learning how to properly store or refrigerate perishable foods like milk and cheese are simple strategies to reduce food waste at home that may even save you money.  

store food properly to reduce food waste Additionally, planning balanced meals with food from all five food groups, using a grocery list and keeping in mind recipes that use up leftovers are all cost-neutral, sustainable steps that help reduce food waste and stretch your food budget.

Here are some of my favorite tips to reduce food waste:
  • When cleaning up after supper, I put leftover foods into individual food storage containers for family members to pack for lunch the following day
  • Use leftover meats and vegetables by adding them into stir fry, salads or burritos
  • Freeze vegetable scraps (potato peels, onion skins, broccoli stems) and make homemade stock
  • Blend soft, nearly overripe fruit with yogurt and ice in a smoothie
  • Turn stale (but not moldy) bread, tortillas or crackers into breadcrumbs
Check out these additional tips on making sustainable food choices to reduce food waste at home this Earth Day. 

One caution: don't fall into the trap of eating food that you are not hungry for just to prevent food waste. If you can't eat food before it goes bad, compost it rather than adding it to the landfill or overeating.

What are your favorite ways to reduce food waste? Share your tips in the comments.

Maureen Bligh, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist


Tags: Healthy eating milk reduce food waste sustainability
Categories: categoryHealthy Eating

01, April 2016 9:00 AM

No fooling, April is chock-a-block full with great opportunities to plan healthy family meals around health observances and food celebrations. Kick off the month with a carbohydrate- conscious balanced meal in honor of World Health Day's mission to "Beat Diabetes." Then celebrate the stinking rose, since April is National Garlic Month (too bad April isn't also Dental Health Month...don't forget to brush!) Dig into strategies to reduce food waste while celebrating Earth Day on April 22. Finally, wind down April with family meals that celebrate Every Kid Healthy Week around the dinner table to augment celebrations at school. 

Be sure to visit the Family Meal Planning page for more information, tips and resources. 

April Family Meal Recipes

Beat Diabetes

Spinach Pie with Fresh Vegetable Salad and Blueberry Blackberry Gratin; plus Baked Halibut Italian Style, Chicken with Yogurt-Cilantro Sauce, Brown Rice with Broccoli and Berry Pancakes.

Garlic Month

Creamy Garlic Pasta with Shrimp and Vegetables with Garlic Roasted Bell Peppers and Baked Custard; plus Broiled Eggplant with Garlic Sauce, Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic, Garlic Cheese Grits and White Chili.

Dig in to Earth Day

Creamy Crookneck Squash with Arugula Wraps with Chicken-Pasta Salad with Blueberries and Green Tea Smoothie; plus Fiesta Turkey Soup, Strawberry Vanilla Yogurt Waffles, Fresh Tomato Soup Au Gratin and Garden Potato Salad.

Every Kid Healthy

Inside Out Lasagna with Tangy Jalapeno Chicken and Strawberries and Cream; plus Baked Spinach Artichoke Yogurt Dip, Mini Maui Pizza Pies, Refrigerator Oatmeal and Warm Chocolate Pudding.

Tags: balanced meals family meals Healthy eating recipes
Categories: categoryHealthy Eating

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