Tips for Getting Kids to Eat Healthier on the Go

Everyone is busy these days. In the hustle and bustle of daily activity, it is often hard to slow down for a healthy sit-down meal. Many people make a habit of driving through fast food places or eating out. Eating out is no longer saved for a special occasion. If you have children, you can encourage them to eat healthier for those days when the drive through is the only option.

Restaurant food, whether it is fast food or not is traditionally high in fat and calories-and what type of foods do most kids order at these places? Fried foods and those low in nutritional content such as chicken nuggets, French fries and burgers. Here are some tips for helping your child choose foods more carefully when eating out.

Don’t be a member of the “clean your plate” club: Most kids know when they are full. You should not force your kids to clean their plate, no matter what is on it. Instead, encourage your child to eat only until they are comfortably full.

Encourage healthy fast food options: So many restaurants now see that more parents want their children to have healthier menu options when eating out. McDonald’s now offers milk and apples instead of soda and fries. Wendy’s offers baked potatoes, oranges, yogurt and milk instead of the traditional sides. Encourage your child to choose these healthy options. You can also start them off young by introducing these foods to younger children early on.

Set a good example: If you order a plate full of high fat foods, what kind of message are you sending your child? That doesn’t mean you can never have fries again, but balance your meals with side salads and water or other healthy options. When your child sees you doing this, he or she is more likely to follow suit.

Share: Teaching your child to share is nice and healthy too when it comes to eating out. Order French Fries and share or even consider ordering healthier options off of the adult menu and splitting them with your child. Not only is it important to teach what to eat, but portion control is also important.

Teach your child to slow down: When you teach your child to eat slowly, he or she will feel full faster and learn to enjoy the meal. Slowing down means cutting the calorie intake and it’s better for your digestive system, too.

Say no to appetizers: Appetizers are meant to kill your appetite. When you order high fat foods such as fried cheese sticks or butter bread, your child will not want to healthier stuff that comes later. Skip the empty calories.

Say no to soda: Many parents get in the habit of allowing their child to order soda when they go out to eat. Water is the best choice and milk (two percent) is a good option, too. If you child does not like water, try taking along one of those sugar free flavor pouches to add to the water, or letting them add fresh lemon to the water.

Get it to go: If you can, go through the drive through and order only the main entrée such as the burgers. Then take it home and enjoy it with fresh fruit and milk that you already have at home. It saves you money and a few extra calories.

How to Decide If You Should Be Taking a Multivitamin

Millions of people purchase multivitamins every year in the hopes of improving their health. How can you make sure you are getting are quality multivitamin? With hundreds of brands to choose from the task of finding one that is right for you can be a daunting task. Many people will be surprised to learn that not everyone needs to take a multivitamin. Paying extra for megadoses, special formulas and exotic nutrients can be a waste of money and might even be harmful to your health. So who does need to give themselves an extra boost by taking a vitamin? If you have a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low fat dairy products than you probably don’t need to be taking a vitamin supplement. That along with modest amounts of fish poultry and low fat meat will give you all the nutrients your body needs. There are distinct advantages to getting what your body needs from food as nature intended versus a supplement. Eating plenty of good quality food will leave less room for filling yourself up with unhealthy foods. Additional benefits will include all the fiber that you get in food as well as the way in which your body interacts with food to prevent disease.

With that being said it is common knowledge that in the fast paced world in which we live with all the unhealthy choices readily available to us many of us do not get the necessary nutrients our bodies need. If you think that your diet is not the best in the world and is lacking you might want to consider a vitamin as a way to bridge the gap. There are certain other groups of people who especially should consider taking a multivitamin. If you are over 50 and believe you eat right you might still want to consider taking a supplement. As our bodies age our ability to absorb the nutrients we need becomes less efficient and it becomes harder to stay healthy. Women who are trying to conceive or who are pregnant also need extra nutrients. Those individuals dealing with certain diseases such as diabetes might want to consider the extra benefits a vitamin can provide. Research has also shown that people on a strict vegetarian diet might not be getting all the essential ingredients their bodies need to stay healthy. Be aware that some individuals may need an additional supplement as most multivitamins contain much less than the governments recommended daily allowance for calcium. Others, such as older people might need additional vitamin D depending on their diet and the amount of sunlight they receive each day.

When choosing a supplement be cautious of brands you don’t recognize. Usually buying what you think is a bargain priced vitamin will only save you between $10 to $25 a year. Stick with a name you trust and purchase from a reputable store or Internet site. Avoid vitamins that contain large amounts of certain nutrients. They will only cost you more and in some cases can be harmful to you. Large doses of vitamin C can cause stomach problems, diarrhea, and other troublesome side effects. Be leery of vitamins that promise to help you lose weight or have more energy. These types of claims usually cannot be measured so they are basically worthless. Eating right, drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep and exercise are the best way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If however you find it difficult to do these things on a regular basis a multivitamin might just be what you need to bridge the gap between an imperfect world and perfect health.

Simple Steps to Strengthen Your Immune System

How many times have you gotten sick and after a few days of no improvement in your health, called and made an appointment with your physician? Once you arrive at the doctor’s office and pay your co-payment, you spend a few moments with the doctor only to hear that you have the ever popular “upper respiratory infection” . In other words, you have a cold.

Colds are a fact of life. You will get them at times and have to suffer through a few days of sniffles and coughing. But the amount of time you have a cold is, in part, up to you. The key to getting rid of colds in the least amount of time possible is to be as healthy as possible when they strike. Staying healthy is in your best interest anyway, so why not take a few simple measures to be sure that your immune system is up to par.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is sleep. Yes, something as simple as sleeping can help keep your organs, body and mind in working order. A lack of sleep can do damage to your ability to fight off colds. Be sure that you average six to eight hours a night of sleep. If your schedule does not permit proper sleep allotment time, you need to make some changes in your life.

Drink water. Another easy, common sense thing that most of us do not do is drink enough water. Water is plentiful in this country so there is no excuse. You may not necessarily need eight 64 ounce glasses of water but it is important that you stay hydrated. Dehydration will not only depress your immune system, it will also decrease you productivity both mentally and physically.

Prepare your own foods. If you are going out to lunch everyday or getting dinner or breakfast on the go on a regular basis, there is no way to really no what you are putting in your body. Sure, you can read labels and ask for nutritional information but at the end of the day, you just don’t know what you are eating. Try to prepare as many meals as you can. Be sure to include tons of fruit and vegetables in the meals you make.

Another common sense thing that you can do to improve your immunity is exercise. You need to move. A strong body is important in the quest to stay healthy. Be sure to get in at least three, and ideally five, days of thirty to forty-five minute workouts. If you are pressed for time, break up your workout sessions into shorter sessions.

These are just a few common sense, easy things you can do to help keep your immune system strong.

How to Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease

Heart disease affects many people in the United States and in the world. Often times, heart disease can be found in our hereditary line. This puts us at a greater risk. But also, Heart disease can be caused by certain factors that we can control.

Men are more prone to heart disease then women, especially men over thirty five. Smoking cigarettes will also lead to a bigger risk, as well as high blood pressure. Many professionals also believe that high stress can contribute to your risk of heart disease.

Some of the risks above are outside of our control. We can not control whether we are men or women, or how old we become, but we do have control over factors such as cigarette smoking. The three biggest threats are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cigarette smoking. All three of these are with in our control.

There are many things that we can do to maintain, or acquire a healthy heart. First, there are the obvious. If you are a smoker, then stop smoking. Eating healthier will also improve your heart condition. But possibly the best heart medicine is exercise.

Just like our biceps, pectoral, or abdominal muscles need exercise, so does our heart. After all, the heart is a group of muscles that function much like the rest of our body. Exercise makes our heart stronger, and improves our circulation.

A study was done comparing over 30,000 bus drivers and conductors to see if their was a relation between activity and cardiovascular disease. The study found that that the conductors, who often walked the length of the train, and went up and down stairs, were less likely to suffer from heart disease. The drivers however, who remained seating for hours upon hours, had a very high risk of heart disease. This is because of the lack of movement with the drivers. Some studies even claim that an inactive lifestyle nearly doubles your chance of heart disease.

So it is clear, that exercise and physical activity are good for the heart, but which exercises are best? The most common and correct answer, is that of cardio interval training. Cardio interval training consists of several high energy segments of exercise. You may consider running for a half a mile, then walking for a block, then running for another half a mile, and walking another block, then repeating. Giving yourself a little breathing time allows your heart to recuperate. If you practice cardio interval training you will start to strengthen your heart immediately.

This will lessen your chance of heart attacks, and strengthen your hearts immunity to disease. You will also improve your lung capacity. When your lungs get stronger, you can work harder, and make your heart stronger too. Cardio interval training can also improve your metabolism.Cardio interval training will help you improve your heart, as well as your body.

Combating Childhood Obesity

Childhood and Adolescent obesity is on the rise. More and more children are falling victim to poor habits which can lead to a lifetime of health issues. Including but not limited to Asthma, hypertension, high cholesterol, blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Children facing obesity also can have issues with Sleep Apnea and liver disease. They also carry a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.

There are many reasons that a child can become obese. Being born heavy or being a chubby baby is not one of them. Many a large baby grows into a slim child. Valid reasons that a child or adolescent may become obese include:

* Lack of physical activity and Sedentary behavior- TV and Video games are rapidly overtaking children’s number one on the two do list. In the past several years as these options have become far more popular, there has been a decline in sports, outdoor activities and active games.

* Eating habits- Children are born grazers. They tend to eat little bits throughout the day. No matter if you enforce an eating schedule or allow grazing what matters most is the quality of the food children are exposed to. Today there are more sugary foods, highly processed foods, and carb loaded foods in the household. Meaning children are less likely to choose a healthy food over a sugary one.

* Environment- With the watching TV comes commercials. Seeing advertisements for sugary foods and sweets encourages children to want them.

* Genetics- Parents who are overweight or obese are more likely to have over weight or obese children as well. Even if they have decent eating habits, children inherit the genes that make it easier for them to become overweight.

* Sleeping habits- Being tired alters levels of appetite regulating hormones, you eat more when you are tired. Often times junk food and sugery snacks to keep you awake.

However there are many ways to combat the rising levels of childhood obesity in your own home. A few of which include:

* Set good examples. Young children learn by what their parents do. If you have shown them from the time they are small that eating junk is fine, then chances are they will do the same. Choose healthy foods and have only those on hands.

* Don’t use food as a reward. Find other ways to reward children for good behavior. A toy or trip out that doesn’t include fast food or candy is a nice alternative.

* Be supportive- Overweight kids are often teased their peers, Be sure that you create a comfortable home life that does not revolve around weight issues. As that can make a person turn to comfort eating. Keep family members from commenting on overweight children etc. Children know when there is something going on such as teasing even if its off handed. They are sensitive and this should always be remembered.

* Plan family outings that require exercise. Zoos, malls, bike rides, parks. Taking the dog for a walk every night after dinner is a fun way to spend time together while getting some exercise.

* Prepare all your meals, Don’t fall into the habit of fast food and easy to make boxed foods. They are often loaded with carbs and sugars that you don’t need. Instead plan and prepare meals yourself. Often this takes very little more time then a boxed meal. Include children in the planning and prepping of meals. They can pick out your nightly vegetable for example. Peel potato’s and veggies. Or older children can help you slice and cook.

* You should always be sure to have an array of healthy snacks on hand. Some examples include fruits and veggies, cheese, yogurt’s and frozen juice bars. Frozen yogurt and sherbet are alternatives to ice cream. Cookies and crackers should be low fat.

* Make gradual changes to eating habits- focus on one change at a time don’t expect a child who has eaten whatever they wanted to to suddenly decide to enjoy more veggies. but gradually they will stop asking for the sweets they love, especially if they are never brought into the house again.

Reward successful changes. When a child successfully looses some weight or meets a specific goal, reward it with a trip or special treat like a movie.

These are but a few ideas that can help encourage healthy eating habits in young children and help combat childhood obesity. While the best method of prevention is never allowing it in the house, sometimes this isn’t as easy as it seems. While having a sugary snack or treat every now and then, the bulk of your choices should be healthy and well rounded.

How I Lost Some Excess Holiday Weight

Even if I’m careful about what I eat and hit the gym regularly, I tend to pack on the pounds during the holidays? Why? There are a number of reasons. The most obvious reason is the heaviness of the foods I consume during the winter. Living in Minnesota, rich foods such as hash brown casserole, wild rice soup, and hot fudge sundae cake are regularly offered at office and family parties. Fruits and vegetables are more expensive and less abundant and it’s easy to sit inside and not get enough exercise.

We all know that somehow it is easier to lose or maintain your weight during the summer. After all, the warm weather makes us want to do more activities outside and it is easier to obtain fresh fruits and vegetables. After gaining five pounds last winter, I decided to try and trick my body into thinking it was summer. It took me two weeks to lose the weight, so what I did to lose the weight was by no means an easy fix, but it worked and helped me gain more energy.

The first thing I did was get a full spectrum table lamp that mimics the sun’s natural rays. The lamp cost me less than $50 and fit on the table next to the couch. Every morning, I sat under the lamp for around 30 minutes. The light seemed to give me the extra energy I needed to get through the day. These lamps are frequently used by people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD. Even though I don’t suffer from SAD, I think sitting under the light each morning gave me more energy and made me want to exercise.

After sitting under the light, I exercised to a video called “Walk Away the Pounds.” The workout lasts for 60 minutes and includes low intensity aerobics that slightly raises your heartbeat.

In addition to sitting under the full spectrum lamp and exercising, I also tried to eat as if it were summer. What I mean is, although my body was craving heavy foods, I opted for light foods such as turkey sandwiches, chicken caesar salads, and fresh arugula with almonds, sun dried tomatoes, and walnuts with a vinaigrette dressing. I didn’t worry too much about eliminating carbs, but more about eating fresh, whole feeds.

I repeated this routine everyday for two weeks and lost some excess holiday weight. I don’t think it was the light that made me lose weight, but rather, it gave me more energy to work out. Working out contributed to me wanting to eat less and make more healthy choices. By tricking my body into thinking it was summertime, I was able to lose some extra holiday weight and feel great in the process.

Children’s Health News: Single Dose of Chicken Pox Shot Not Enough

Researchers from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and the LA Health Department have studied approximately 350,000 Californians between the year 1995 and 2004. Out of 11,000 who had developed chickenpox virus, nearly 1,100 had received vaccinations. This does not mean that we should stop taking our kids to get these vaccines. It actually means we should be concerned about increasing the number of times the vaccine is received. The vaccine has actually prevented countless Americans from catching this highly contagious disease.

What this study means is that children who were vaccinated at an early age should have a repeat dose of the vaccine in the form of a booster shot. This will greatly decrease the chance of the child being at an elevated risk for catching the chickenpox virus.

The usual recommendation is for kids to vaccinated with the varicella vaccine (the chickenpox vaccine) between 12 and 15 months of age. In 2006, the CDC recommended giving a booster shot to children who were 4 to 6 years of age to further protect them. In a study involving this recommendation, it was found that with the single dose a child got about 85 percent of protection. With the single dose, plus the booster shot, chicken-pox related hospitalizations and deaths have dramatically been reduced.

In this study, it was also found that 8 to 12 year olds who contracted the virus and had received the vaccination at least 5 years previous, but had not received a booster shot, were twice as likely to have moderate to severe cases of the chickenpox virus. This meant that the longer it had been since the vaccination was given, the worse their illness would be if they contracted the virus at a later age.

It is now recommended that all children receive the vaccine at 12 to 15 months of age and then receive a booster shot at the age of 4 to 6 years. Also, if you have older children who either did not receive the vaccine at all or did not receive a booster, you should make sure to get them a booster shot of the varicella vaccine. Even teenagers and adults should have this booster as well. It will better protect them from chickenpox.

This article is not a replacement for advice from a medical professional. It is best to talk to your doctor or physician about any concerns and about getting the booster shot. Your doctor can answer any questions and further determine, if based on any medical conditions, it would not be wise to get the vaccine.

Information on Chickenpox:
Chickenpox is a virus. The medical term is varicella-zoster virus.

Most people experience chickenpox between the ages of 5 to 9, however, it can be contracted at any age. The older a person is during contraction of the disease, the more severe the illness resulting can be.

Chickenpox is highly contagious. If one family member has contracted it, you can generally assume that all will have it, unless they were vaccinated previously. Transmission occurs through particles in the air, clothing, and bodily secretions, making it very easy to catch.

The symptoms can last up to two weeks. However, a person is contagious from the first five days before a rash occurs and then five days after the rash begins to clear. Generally, once the rash blisters have encrusted, the person is no longer contagious.

Signs and symptoms generally won’t appear until after the person has already had the virus for up to 14 days. They include the rash that looks like a person has insect bites all over their body, weakness, and a mild fever (102 degrees Fahrenheit or less). Some may experience all or none of the symptoms. Some only experience a mild form of the virus. Others will respond more extremely and may even require hospitalization. While rare, death can also occur.

The sores can also become infected with bacteria, so be sure to protect exposed sores with an antibacterial ointment. Other complications, while rare, include brain disorders, dizziness, tremors, encephalitis (brain inflammation), nerve damage, and Reye’s syndrome.

Patients with immune-deficiency diseases such as AIDS, lupus, leukemia, and cancer may experience the most severe complications. Persons taking immune-suppressing drugs also need to protect themselves against varicella-zoster.

Newborns whose mothers experience chickenpox in the third trimester are at a great risk of contracting the virus. If the mother contracts the virus from 5 days before or up to 2 days after the baby’s birth, the infant’s risk of fatality is up to a thirty percent chance.

Sources: by Steven Dowshen, MD

How the Pritkin Diet Compares to Other Weight Loss Programs

The Pritkin diet is not much different from any other healthy weight loss plan. It includes advice to eat healthier, satisfying foods that support your weight loss efforts combined with regular physical activity. It does add in one factor that many diets overlook. That is the power of your mind. The plan was originally developed by Nathan Pritkin in the 1950s. The new Pritkin diet books that you will see were written by his son Robert.

As a fat child and a victim of extremely low-calorie yo-yo diets, as well as a natural health writer, I feel qualified to review this program. After many years of struggling with my weight and uncontrollable cravings, I am finally happy with who I am and how I look. The program that I finally developed for myself is just a little different than the Pritkin diet. I believe that permanent success comes with developing your own program, one that is unique to you.

From the time that I was 14, I was on one diet or another. I convinced myself that the hunger pangs I felt were caused by the fat burning off of my body. As a teenager, I knew very little about the pounds I was losing. Every diet that I tried worked…at least for a little while.

Like most people, when the pounds started to come off, I felt elated and proud for sticking to whatever low-calorie diet I was on. Until I came up with my own program, my greatest success was with the Susan Powter program. You may remember her. She is the author of “Stop the Insanity” and other self-help books.

There is one thing that most diets, whether it is the Pritkin diet, the Zone or anyone of the countless others that are available, have in common. They require you to “think” about what you are eating. You must either count calories, carbs, protein or fat intake. One of the things that they teach people who participate in the complete Pritkin diet is to read labels. They also provide emotional support.

According to some fitness experts, none of these diets works in the long-run. People fall back into their old habits — gain back the weight that they’ve lost, along with a few extra pounds, to make matters worse.

In my opinion, the key to long-term success is to create an eating plan that suits your tastes and your lifestyle. Be sure to get plenty of protein, an element that is missing from the Pritkin diet, as they advise dieters to focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other complex carbohydrates. Protein is filling and it helps your body build muscle, during your work-outs. You may only need to choose lean, less fatty selections, but if you want long-term success, protein is one of the keys.

Source: The Pritkin Weight Loss Breakthrough, by Robert Pritkin

Top 5 New Oral Health Care Products

Your oral health is directly linked to your body’s overall health, having gum diseases can cause your body to get sick and other diseases and in some cases death. Maintaining a good gum and teeth health is important for anyone to stay healthy and prevents you from being sick.


One new product that has revolutionized the market in oral health care products is called Dentiva and is a gum. The great thing about Dentiva is that for an hour it keeps releasing essential oils that you need to fight bacteria build up, whereas ordinary mouthwashes, other gums and mints dissolve too fast to have any effect on killing bacteria. Consuming Dentiva results in healthier gums and teeth, it is designed to be an alternative to mouthwash and should be taken in between your two brushings. Dentiva retails for $6


Biotene PBF Mouthwash with Calcium

Biotene PBF Mouthwash is the first mouthwash to dissolve plague biofilm. If Plague is not dissolved it can lead to bacteria build up, tooth decay and other gum diseases. Biotene PBF mouthwash is alcohol free and it contains a proven saliva enzyme that strengthens your own antibacterial system found in saliva. Biotene PBF Mouthwash with calcium retails for $13

Rota-Dent Electrical Toothbrush

The Rota-Dent Electrical Toothbrush is the only toothbrush designed to reach underneath the gum line and in between the teeth with its patented microfilament brush tips. The Rota-Dent is proven to save teeth and brushes with 90,000 filament sweeps per second; it is clinically proven to be as effective as brushing and flossing. It comes with a manufacturers warranty and retails for $120

Tooth Tunes Junior

Tooth Tunes Junior is a toothbrush designed for kids that encourages them to brush their teeth. The toothbrush actually talks, and plays music in their mouth while they are brushing their teeth, they will hear encouraging fraises such as “keep going” or “good job”. The toothbrush comes with a soft brush head that is not replaceable and it includes 3 AAA batteries. Tooth Tunes Junior retails for $10

Squigle Enamel Saver Toothpaste

Squigle Enamel Saver Toothpaste is the perfect toothpaste for the consumer who suffers from canker sores and other gum diseases such as bleeding gums, mouth ulcers, Plaque, tartar and bad breath. The Squigle toothpaste does not contain SLS, which is what dentist and specialist have linked directly to canker sores. Squigle Enamel Saver Toothpaste retails for $8

‘Healthy Pizza’ on Its Way

If you, like many people around the world, love pizza but try not to eat to much because is not healthy, there is good news today.

At the University of Maryland, a study has been conducted by the university’s food chemists on one our favourite foods, pizza. The pizza being used is made from whole-grain wheat pizza dough, a much healthier option. The main focus of the study is to try and increase the presence of antioxidants already found in the whole-grain pizza dough. The researchers attempted to achieve this by allowing the dough more time to rise and baking the pizza in a hotter temperature for longer periods of time.

Antioxidants play an important role in our health. There have been a number of findings recently released that support the need to consume antioxidants, as they help to fight against cancers and other diseases. Antioxidants help protect our bodies from free radicals which can damage our cells and trigger cancer.

When Jeffrey Moore, a researcher on the pizza project spoke to Reuters he said, ” The reason that we chose pizza is just because it is a very popular product, not only in the U.S. but worldwide.” “So we thought if we could find ways to improve (its antioxidant) properties, doing this for such a product could have a larger impact on public health.”

However, Moore did point out, that even if they produce a healthier pizza, consumers would need to be weary of cancelling out the good effects with over doing the toppings, such as, loading the pizza with extra cheese, sausage and pepperoni. Moore said, ” It you’re adding back all these other things that have potential negative health consequences, then you’re negating anything that you’re adding in terms of (health) value.”

The British Dietetic Association is also concerned that this new form of pizza will not be fully understood and people will see it as an excuse to include more unhealthy toppings and neglect trying to consume the daily-recommended portions of fruit and vegetables. Jaciqui Lowdon, of the British Dietetic Association said, “I would rather people ate their five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, than ate more pizza.” “This isn’t teaching people about healthy eating.”

The new study findings regarding a healthy pizza were presented at the recent meeting of the American Chemical Society in Chicago.

During the research variables such a baking time, baking temperature and rising time were adjusted in order to discover the best combination for increasing antioxidants in the dough. The best combination was discovered to be longer baking time along with a higher temperature after letting the dough ferment for a long period of time. The research found that by baking the pizza for longer the level of antioxidants rose by 60 percent and that a hotter temperature resulted in an 82 percent rise in antioxidant levels.

The same results would not be possible if standard refined flour is used. This is because the majority of antioxidants are found in whole wheat’s bran and endosperm components. These components are removed from the wheat when it is refined.

According the Reuters the study was not funded by the pizza industry but was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.