Eat Smart!

Happy National Nutrition Month!

March is National Nutrition Month. What a great opportunity to revisit eating habits and resolve to make better choices.

Each week this month we’ll feature a MyPyramid food groups which include grains, vegetables, fruits, oils, milk, plus meat and beans. These guidelines, published by the USDA, are a good platform for healthy eating. And by tackling each group individually, you may find it easier to work them into your daily menus. So onto this week’s focus:



Grains are either whole or refined. Whole grains contains the entire kernel and also contain fiber, vitamins, minerals that are removed refining. Grains are found in foods made from wheat, oats, rice, barley – like bread, pasta, tortillas, and breakfast cereals. Whole grains are in foods like whole-wheat flour, bulgur, oatmeal and brown rice.


Six oz. of grain a day (based on a 2,000 calories per day). A serving size is about 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of dry cereal or 1/2 cup cooked rice, pasta or cereal.


Eating whole grains attacks belly fat, the type of fat tied to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. A Tufts University study showed that people who ate three or more servings of whole grain a day and limited refined grains, lost 10 percent more belly fat than those who ate mostly refined grains.

So choose whole wheat bread and oatmeal instead of white bread and white rice. Substituting just three whole grain foods for refined grains can go a long way in reducing your waistline.


  • Watch for deceptive packaging. Foods labeled multi-grain, 100% wheat, cracked wheat, seven-grain, or bran are usually not whole-grain products.
  • Choose foods that contain whole grains, brown rice, bulgur, oatmeal, whole-grain corn, whole oats, whole rye, whole wheat, wild rice.
  • Try whole wheat versions of food you already eat, like pastas, breads and cereals.
  • Read nutrition labels and select products that list a whole grain first.
  • Don’t be fooled by color. Foods like bread can be brown because of molasses or other ingredients.


  • 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal counts at breakfast (1 oz.)
  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread at lunch (2 oz.)
  • 1 cup of cooked pasta at dinner (2 oz.)

A total of 5 oz. of grain. That leaves room for a snack like popcorn, a whole grain.

There you have it. Your six servings of grains and half of them whole wheat. With a little thought and planning, you can stay within your grain limits and feel satisfied. Give it a try this week.

So this week, work on making half of your grains whole grains.

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Five New Year’s Resolution Tips

Keeping this year’s New Year’s resolution is probably the most important thing you can do. It’s more than just slimming down and fitting into those jeans you wore ten years ago. You’ll want to walk because walking has been proven to be better medicine than many high-cost drugs. Wouldn’t you like to save on your medical and drug costs? Keep up with your grandchild? Look great at that reunion and make your old friends envious?

Set a New Year’s Resolution to walk at least 5,000 steps every day and upload your steps once a week. Every week try to increase your average by 20% more than your previous week’s average steps. Stay at a point where you feel you can manage.

1. Be realistic: The surest way to not reach your goal is to make your goal unattainable. Strive for a goal that is attainable, such as avoiding it more often than you do now. For instance, resolving to never eat your favorite food again could be a bad choice. Allow yourself a small sample of a favorite food.

2. Create your plan: Decide how you will deal with the temptation to skip that walk or have one more cigarette. This could include calling on a friend for help, practicing positive thinking and self-talk, or reminding yourself how your bad habit affects your life.

3. Talk about it: Don’t keep your resolution a secret. Tell friends and family members who will be there to support your resolve to change yourself for the better or improve your health. The best case scenario is to find yourself a buddy who shares your New Year’s resolution and motivate each other. Invite this person as a WalkingSpree buddy.

4. Reward yourself: Celebrate your success by treating yourself to something that you enjoy that does not contradict your resolution. If you’ve been sticking to your promise to eat better, for example, perhaps your reward could be going to a movie with a friend.

5. Track your progress: Keep track of each small success you make toward reaching your larger goal. Short-term goals are easier to keep, and small accomplishments will help keep you motivated. If you haven’t already, set a step goal on the WalkingSpree site. Watch your Fitness calendar turn green when goals are hit or burgundy when 10,000 steps are hit.


WalkingSpree delivers an effective, measurable, economical, and fun walking employee wellness program for corporate clients, health insurers, health clubs and the general public. Members step with a 99% accurate USB Omron pedometer in a web 2.0 walking community. To see how WalkingSpree’s corporate wellness program can reduce health care costs, engage employees and provide quantifiable health results for your company, please contact us today.

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