Eating Smart and Healthy While on Vacation


Going on vacation is not an excuse to stop eating healthy. With a bit of planning, you can still eat healthy and not feel deprived. Here are some tips to help you out:

  • Plan your food splurges like you plan your souvenir budget.
  • Make your meals part of your itinerary, slow down and enjoy the experience.
  • Vacations are a special one-time deal, so go ahead and sample exotic tastes, but do it in moderation.
  • Save room for local delicacies later in the day and never deprive yourself of a taste.
  • Eat when you are hungry and stop eating when you are comfortable.
  • Pack healthy snacks or keep a list of suggestions to help make better choices (see snack ideas below).
  • Don’t be shy in restaurants, ask how the food is prepared. Most restaurants are more than happy to help you make a healthy selection.
  • Eat breakfast every day. Shop the night before and get a banana, whole grain cereal and milk; store it in your hotel refrigerator for a leisurely meal in the morning.
  • Drink water. Drink water. Drink water. Have a bottle with you at all times and keep it filled. If traveling by car, keep a case in the trunk.
  • Remember to walk – it’s your secret weapon.

For ideas on planning a walking vacation, checkout last Monday’s Move! in the Walkingspree blog.

Here are a few ideas to get you started. Share your travel and snack tips with us in the comment section below or post them on our Facebook page.

- Fruit like bananas, apples, grapes … the list is endless.
- Cut up veggies
- String cheese – look for low-fat
- Unsweetened applesauce packs
- Salsa with sliced cucumbers instead of chips
- Box of raisins
- Nuts in single serving packets
- Fat-free microwave popcorn (for the hotel room)
- Granola bars (check the calories)
- Whole wheat pretzels
- Graham crackers
- Whole grain crackers
- Animal crackers
- Instant oatmeal
- Yogurt

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Little Changes Lead to a Healthier Eating Style

Little Changes Lead to a Healthier Eating Style

Most people aren’t born knowing how to pick the right foods to eat. They usually model the behavior of the adults and people around them. As a rule, we tend to eat in the style and patterns that our families do. If mom made pot roast every Sunday and chicken fried steak on Fridays, you might choose to carry on that tradition.

When we asked around at the Walkingspree headquarters, we learned that there are some eating styles that don’t necessarily have to do with a food tradition but a habit. For example, one of our account managers said that her family would eat in front of the television every night. Most of us have eaten (at some point) in front of the television. Some families even consider it “together time” or “family time.” This can work against your health and nutrition in more than one way. If you are just focusing on the television, mindlessly eating, you may keep eating after you are full; resulting in a pattern of overeating. For some children, a bright screen playing a show in front of them is enough to make them drop everything and not eat their dinner at all. Later that evening, they will tell their parents that they are hungry and ask for a snack which is often something unhealthy.

The marketing manager at Walkingspree reported that growing up, her parents always stopped at the convenience store on the corner to get soft drinks before completing errands, going to visit grandma and they would even stop at the same store for another drink on the way home. As an adult, she found herself doing these things with her children: Stopping for a slush at the local Sonic, grabbing a soft drink out of the coolers in the grocery store and, of course, it was a rule that every time she passed a certain BBQ joint, she needed to stop for sweet tea.

Little Changes Lead to Big Results

What eating patterns or habits are comfortable to you simply because you grew up with them?  We all have them and they don’t just go away unless we identify them. The marketing manager in the paragraph above chose to stop drinking regular sodas and switch to diet sodas. It was tough. All her life, for as long as she could remember, she’d drank several Dr. Peppers or Cokes per day. So, it was a very conscious commitment to be healthier. She decided to go for a walk 3-4 times a week. It was usually not more than 30 minutes and involved playing with her son and their dog. Still, it was being active and that counted in a big way! One year later, she was 35 pounds lighter. No strict diet involved. A year after that, she felt that diet sodas were not good for her health either. So, she dropped the diet sodas to become soft drink free. Does it mean her diet is 100% on track now? No. Getting healthier is about making small changes over time. Her kids still ask for soft drinks and colas in the check out line (but not nearly as often) and they accept it easily when she says “not this time.”  They are making small changes little by little just like their mom.

We’re here to tell YOU that making small changes works!

Whether its one change at a time in your eating habits or one step at a time in a walking program, don’t get down on yourself and don’t give up.

Below is a short video about a single parent trying to make the best choices for her family. Her thoughts on changing eating patterns and how to do it are real and genuine. It’s something real people living real lives, with crazy, stress filled schedules can appreciate. Check it out by clicking the picture below and if you want to see other helpful, short videos like this one, be sure to visit www.choosemyplate.gov/videos


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Memorial Day Origins

Memorial Day Origins

Memorial Day was originally called “Decoration Day.” In the USA, we know it as a day of remembrance for all the brave men and women who have died serving and protecting our nation

No one is quite sure where, when or whom is responsible for beginning the observance but well over two dozen towns and cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. Although Waterloo N.Y. was formally confirmed the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s problematic to prove exactly how the day was created or conceived.

No matter the exact date or whereabouts of its origins, it’s clear that Memorial Day rose from the ashes of the Civil War and loved ones wanting to honor the sacrifice of our dead soldiers. On May 5 1868, General John Logan, who was the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, stated “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” The date of Decoration Day, as he referred to it, was selected because it was not the anniversary of any other particular battle.

The very first Decoration Day was observed formally at Arlington National Cemetery. 5,000 people gathered to decorate the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. General James Garfield was present and gave a stirring speech.

In 1873, New York became the first state to formally recognize and observe Memorial Day. By 1890, all northern states observed the holiday. Southern states declined to recognize the day, honoring their dead separately  until after World War I . It was also after the Civil War that Memorial Day became a day to honor both those who died fighting in the Civil War and those Americans who gave the ultimate sacrifice during any war.

These days, nearly every state observes Memorial Day on the last Monday in May.

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Memorial Day Red White and Blue Parfait

Strawberry Blueberry Yogurt Parfaits are healthy, budget-friendly,and don’t require any cooking or baking. Use greek yogurt, granola, strawberries, and blueberries for a healthy delicious Memorial Day dessert.
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup your favorite granola

How to Prepare

  • Add 2-4 tablespoons of granola in the bottom of a tall glass or glass bowl.
  • Top with ¼ of yogurt, followed by ¼ of strawberries.
  • Top with ¼ of blueberries.
  • Repeat in layers.
  • Serve
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    Easy Ways to Combat Snack Attacks

    You know the feeling. You find yourself in front of the vending machine or an open refrigerator door looking for something to eat. You need a snack.

    Easy Ways to Combat Snack Attacks

    Actually, snacks can be good for you and are an effective weight management tool. If you are satisfied throughout the day you are less likely to over eat at meals or to binge on a midnight ice cream raid.

    When choosing your snacks, look for ones that contain about 100-200 calories. Also, choose snacks that will fill in food group gaps, like an apple for a fruit serving, a yogurt for dairy. You get the idea.

    Plan your snacks: Make a list and purchase health snacks you enjoy.

    Plan your snack time: If you normally scrounge for something to eat at 3 in the afternoon, set your computer or phone alarm for 2:45 p.m. Take a quick 10 minute walk and then enjoy your pre-planned snack.

    Keep snacks handy: Put them in your drawer at work, in your purse or glove box in your car. One person I know puts pre-planned snacks in labeled lunch bags, one for each day of the week.

    Take your time: Slow down and enjoy your snack. Move away from your desk and never, ever eat while you are watching TV.

    Don’t drink your calories: Beware of high calorie beverages like sport’s drinks, soft drinks, and fruit juices. Pick water instead, and if you need a bit of flavor, add a squirt of lemon or lime juice. Adding a teaspoon of sugar (about 15 calories) is a much better choice than a 12 oz. can of Coke (140 calories, about nine teaspoons of sugar!)

    Check out the list below, choose the ones you like and spread them out over the next week. Be creative and share your ideas with us on our Facebook page.

    Snack Suggestions

    Box of raisins
    Fruits such as bananas, grapes, or an apple
    Cut-up veggies like broccoli, carrots
    Dried fruit
    Apple sauce
    Nuts like almonds, peanuts, walnuts
    Fat-Free Microwave Popcorn
    Dark chocolate
    Peanut butter
    Canned soup
    Granola bars (check the calories)
    Pretzels
    Graham crackers
    Baked tortilla chips and salsa
    Wheat crackers
    Animal crackers
    Light yogurt
    String cheese
    Low fat cottage cheese
    Instant oatmeal
    Cereal and milk
    Frozen fruit bars
    Chocolate milk (low fat)

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    May is National Stroke Awareness Month

    May is National Stroke Awareness Month and we’re taking the time to remind everyone that there are steps you can take to help prevent and reduce your risk of stroke.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and is a major cause of adult disability1,2. About 800,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year.2 One American dies from a stroke every 4 minutes, on average.2

    While the following information is helpful for stroke prevention, it’s also important to recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke. The Centers for Disease Control and the American Heart Association both share informative tips and education on quickly identifying stroke warning signs as well as how to what to do if you suspect someone is having a stroke.

    How to Help Prevent Stroke

    The CDC focuses on two key areas when it comes to preventing stroke.  These areas involve making healthy lifestyle choices and being aware of medical conditions.

    Healthy lifestyle choices include:

    • Getting enough exercise.
    • Not smoking.
    • Eating a healthy diet.
    • Limiting alcohol use.
    • Maintaining a healthy weight.

    Medical Conditions include: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and previous history of stroke.

    Getting Enough Exercise

    Being active daily can help you sustain a healthy weight and decrease cholesterol and blood pressure levels.  The Surgeon General advises that adults get 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking, each week. It’s recommended that children and teens get at least 1 hour of physical activity every day. For more information, see CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Web site.

    Stop Smoking

    Cigarette smoking significantly raises your risk for stroke. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you are a smoker, it’s been proven that quitting the habit will reduce your risk for stroke. See your doctor or medical provider for ways to help you quit.

    For more information about tobacco use and quitting, see CDC’s Smoking & Tobacco Use Web site.

    Eat Smart

    Selecting healthy meal and snack alternatives can help you prevent stroke and its complications. Remember to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.Consuming foods low in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol  but also high in fiber can help you avoid high cholesterol. Another way to help lower and maintain blood pressure is by limiting the salt (sodium) in your diet.To get more details on healthy diet and nutrition, see CDC’s Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Program Web site.

    Monitor or Decrease Alcohol Intake

    Drinking can increase your blood pressure. A good rule of thumb to remember: Men should not have more than 2 drinks per day, and women only 1. For more information, visit CDC’s Alcohol and Public Health Web site.

    Maintain a Healthy Weight

    Research shows that being overweight or obese raises your risk for stroke. If you are unsure whether or not your weight is in a healthy range, take a look at how doctors often calculate your body mass index (BMI). If you know your weight and height, you can determine your BMI at CDC’s Assessing Your Weight Web site. Medical professionals will also often use waist and hip measurements to measure excess body fat.

    Medical Conditions

    If you already have certain health conditions like high cholesterol, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure or other medical concerns requiring medication, it’s critical that you have these things monitored and checked on a regular basis. Be sure to keep all appointments with your doctor so that you can be your healthiest. You view tips on how to keep updated on your current health conditions on the CDC’s website dedicated to preventing stroke.

    *References provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    1. Kochanek KD, Xu JQ, Murphy SL, Arias E. Mortality in the United States, 2013. NCHS Data Brief, No. 178. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept. of Health and Human Services; 2014.
    2. Mozzafarian D, Benjamin EJ, Go AS, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2015 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2015:e29–322.
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