06, March 2015 9:45 AM

enjoy a healthy lifestyle with milkNational Nutrition Month®

Looking to improve your health and wellness in the workplace or home? Here is your monthly Wellness Wake Up Call.

March is National Nutrition Month®, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics wants us to “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle,” by adopting healthy eating and physical activity plans. Take the first step by pouring yourself a glass of milk or reaching for a carton of yogurt. 

Bite into a healthy lifestyle with Creamy Asparagus Pasta and welcome Spring with a seasonal treat.

Tap into your inner superhero with the Move of the Month, and don't forget to catch your ZZZs as Daylight Savings Time begins in many parts of the country.

Read more and share the print-friendly version of the March Workplace Wellness Newsletter with colleagues or friends interested in health topics, delicious recipes and physical activity moves. 

Dairy Council of California offers free monthly Workplace Wellness Newsletters as part of our Workplace Wellness Resources.

Tags: Healthy eating healthy eating patterns workplace wellness
Categories: categoryHealthy Eating

02, March 2015 11:00 AM

March is National Nutrition Month and the beginning of Spring. Celebrate healthy, seasonal eating from all five food groups this month with delicious recipes inspired by March holidays and observances.

March Family Meal Recipes 

Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle

Tuna Melts with Basil Green Beans and Berries with Custard Sauce;  plus Avocado-Orange Salad with Romaine and Lime-Cumin Dressing, Creamy Fettuccini with Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms, Mediterranean Beef and Salad Pitas and Super Good Pudding.

Spring Into Nutrition

Chicken Pasta Primavera, Mixed Fruit Salad and Teamonade; plus Nutty Breakfast Parfait, Spinach Strawberry and Walnut Salad, Caramel Flan with Mangoes and Strawberry Licuado.

Luck o"the Irish

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage, Cornmeal Drop Biscuits and Citrus Salad with Ginger Yogurt; plus ColcannonIrish Yogurt Soda Bread, Shamrock Soup and Low-fat Shamrock Shakes.

Noodle On This

Caramelized Onion Lasagna, Lemon Dill Carrots and Winter Fruit Turnovers; plus Alfredo PastaUdon Noodles with Broccoli and Peppers, Chicken Pasta Salad with Blueberries and Broccoli Rabe, White Bean + Fontina Pasta.

Fast + Fresh

Grilled Lamb Asparagus Pitas, Fresh Vegetable Salad and Banana Raspberry Yogurt; plus Shrimp Pasta PrimaveraCheese and Spinach Stuffed Portabellos, Hurry Curry and Banana-Cinnamon French Toast.

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

26, February 2015 8:26 AM

Free Nutrition Lesson Plans Align to Common Core

Our free nutrition lesson plans align to Common Core State Standards (you can view the alignments for each program on the grade-specific page), but teachers have asked us for more ways to engage their students in learning and activities that develop the 21st century skills that the Common Core State Standards seek to build. 

free common core activities Nutrition is the Perfect Topic to Build Common Core Skills

Whether teachers are using our free nutrition lesson plans in their classrooms or extending the learning with our new Common Core Extension Activities, we believe that nutrition is the perfect topic to build Common Core skills. First, food is an engaging topic! Most people love talking about food, learning about its history and culture and thinking through the health benefits of certain foods. To develop the 21st century skills as defined by the Common Core, we need students to engage, analyze, apply and collaborate while they read, write, research, discuss and present. It is much easier to motivate students with topics that hold their interest. 

The second reason that nutrition makes a great topic for teaching Common Core skills is because students can apply nutrition knowledge quickly and repeatedly. If a student reads informational text about how foods from the five food groups build their bodies, they can put that knowledge to action when they walk into the cafeteria for lunch that day and every day after. Nutrition is a topic with nearly immediate application. 

New Common Core Extension Activities Reinforce the Learning in Free Nutrition Lesson Plans 

Now available on, for Kindergarten through 5th grade, are four complete Common Core State Standards-based activities specific to each grade level. Each activity includes an informational text or literary reading passage, a student worksheet with text-dependent questions, a teacher answer key and a Lexile measure. 

For example, in the Common Core Extension Activities, Kindergartners will recognize types of text, identify relationships and describe details while 5th grade students will draw inferences, identify idioms and detail a point of view. 

(You must login to view and download these resources.Registration is free.)


LeAnne R. Ruzzamenti
Director of Marketing Communications, Dairy Council of California

Tags: common core state standards Kindergarten nutrition education nutrition lesson plans
Categories: categoryNutrition Education

23, February 2015 9:19 AM

The most highly tuned race car won't get far without gasoline, and the highest octane fuel won't improve the performance of a dilapidated jalopy. The human body also runs on fuel and even though food is fun, social and delicious, at its very core, food is fuel. Therefore, in order to have a truly healthy lifestyle and keep your body tuned up properly, your food choices must be balanced with regular physical activity. 

In our latest article, we explore three reasons to add physical activity to your diet. A healthy eating pattern is great, but it's even better for your heart health and more when coupled with a regular physical activity plan. And just like any other new habit, start small and set realistic measurable goals that you can build on over time. You won't go from couch to a 5K over night, but, but you might make it from couch to the street corner, and that's a start. 

Health and wellness professionals, if you're looking for tools to help your clients improve both ends of the equation, check out our Activity + Eating nutrition education booklet.

How do you include physical activity in your healthy lifestyle?  

Categories: categoryHealthy Eating

12, February 2015 3:28 PM

Heart Health Exercise Plan

Like most people, my husband and I usually come up with New Year's resolutions. Just like everyone else, we usually have "get more exercise" on the list. And just like everyone else, we usually only follow through on this resolution for a short time -- maybe only one or two days!

This year we decided to try something different. Since my work schedule was changing and I now work from home most days, I expressed a desire to get outside and go for a walk before I start working at 7:30 a.m. We decided to get up together and go for an early morning walk before work, setting the alarm for 6:00 a.m.

The weekend before we started our plan, a friend mentioned that her office had given out star stickers for exercising as a part of a company wellness program. So I decided to try this idea and went to our local office supply store to buy sheets of star stickers. I printed out a blank calendar from Google and put it on the refrigerator.

Best Heart Health Exercise Plans

Research on motivation and behavior change shows these elements increase the odds of making a successful behavior change:

  1. Get specific (30 minute walk meets that criteria)
  2. The change needs to be relatively simple (we weren't committing to a marathon)
  3. A trigger is needed to remind you to do the desired action (UGH, the alarm)
  4. Build in a reward (stars!!)1, 2

‚ÄčThe American Heart Association recommends regular physical activity to prevent heart attacks or stroke3, so we knew that these daily walks would benefit our heart health. The best heart health exercise plan is one that gets you moving, burns calories and is something you can stick with. Turns out our heart health exercise plan did even more than that!

Friendly Competition to Reach Fitness Goals

heart healthy physical activity journal

When the dreaded alarm went off the first day, we both bolted out of bed and really did enjoy our early-morning walk. A few days later, I needed to go in to the office so my husband and I didn't walk in the morning. During the day I got a message from my husband that he had walked 30 minutes AND climbed up and down six flights of stairs twice (he was afraid his co-workers were avoiding him because he was stinky!) What motivation! When I got home I rushed to get dinner in the oven so I could take a quick walk. There was no way I was going to let him earn a star without me. 

About a week after we started our walking program, I talked to a co-worker who was also enjoying some healthy competition with her husband regarding fitness. They both received "wearable" fitness devices for Christmas which include a cool option to upload activity records like the number of steps taken on a given day to a social media platform. Their devices also have a group reporting function so you can see how all your friends are doing. She said her husband became a fanatic. If by the end of the day anyone in their group had logged more steps, he would walk up and down their stairs or go for a run. She felt less driven, however, but said that the competition prompted them to walk the dog more often and they are enjoying their fitness time together. 

So, whether you want to go high tech with a wearable fitness device, low tech with old fashioned stars, or someplace in-between with our Physical Activity Journal, why not recommit to your fitness plan during February (Heart Health month). Be sure to include your Valentine so you can have some fun achieving your fitness and heart health goals together.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Maureen Bligh, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

1. BJ Fogg, Three Steps to Changing Behavior. Stanford University, accessed on 2/11/2015.

2. C Duhigg. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and in Business, Random House, Reprint edition, February 28, 2012. 

3. Accessed on 2/12/15.



Tags: Healthy eating heart health Maureen Bligh physical activity
Categories: categoryHealthy Eating

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