Eat Smart!

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

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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.


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.
  • 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)
    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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    Tips to Control “Mindless” or “Bored” Eating

    Tips to Control Mindless or “Bored” Eating

    Do you sometimes find yourself in the kitchen right after dinner looking for something to eat? Do you sometimes find yourself mindlessly eating a bag of chips after a tense call from a client?

    Before you put another bite of food in your mouth, ask yourself “why!” Are you bored? Stressed? Tired? Anxious? You may be eating out of habit and not because you are hungry.

    Use your Walkingspree Food Tracker to track what you eat and when. Look for connections between the two and ask yourself honestly, “Am I eating this because I’m hungry or bored/stressed/fill-in-the-blank.”

    If you find you are eating out of habit, then you need to form a different habit that doesn’t involve food.

    • If you sit and eat while watching TV, try knitting or crocheting, or using your treadmill.
    • If you go straight to the kitchen for a snack after work, change your clothes and take a walk.
    • If you go to the fridge mindlessly, get a glass of ice water instead.
    • If you grab a candy bar at work, take a 5-10 minute walk around the building.

    Small changes add up. Do something else every day and soon you will form a healthy new habit!

    Things to do instead of eating

    Here are some more tips for you to try the next time you want to eat, but are not really hungry.

    – Go for a walk
    – Call a friend
    – Brush your teeth
    – Take a drive
    – Read a book
    – Get up and stretch
    – Vacuum or sweep
    – Organize a drawer or shelf
    – Write a note to a friend
    – Weed the garden
    – Journal
    – Organize photos, DVDs, etc.
    – Clean off your computer desktop
    – Play cards or a board game
    – Work on a jigsaw puzzle
    – Work on a hobby
    – Shoot hoops or practice your golf swing
    – Drink a glass of cold water or a cup of hot tea
    – Chew some gum

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    Strawberry Sorbet and Mother’s Day

    Strawberries are one of the first fruits to hit the stands when it warms up and heads into summer months.  Many states are already enjoying these magical tasting fruits and if you are having a family get together in Mom’s honor this weekend, you just might want to bring dessert. See our recipe, straight from the Walkingspree Food Tracker, below.

    Strawberries aren’t just delicious. They also have health benefits similar to the benefits we get from walking. These yummy red berries help protect against heart disease, help regulate blood sugar and decrease risk of type 2 diabetes, plus reduce the risk of certain cancers such as breast, cervical, colon and esophageal.

    So, it’s a heart-shaped gem and a powerhouse of nutrition. A cup of strawberries contains twice as much Vitamin C as an orange, almost 150 percent of the recommended daily requirement. They’re an excellent source of manganese for a healthy heart and bones, fiber to lower blood pressure, curb overeating, and they contain antioxidants known as polyphenols which reduce the risk of heart disease. They contain no sodium, fat or cholesterol and are low in calories – just 50 per cup (about 8 large strawberries.)

    Strawberries are an easy way to keep your healthy eating commitment. Add them to your cereal in the morning, put them in a spinach salad at lunch, or enjoy a bowlful topped with a dollop of plain yogurt for dessert.

    There is nothing in this world like a fresh picked strawberry. Make sure you search out this special summer treat. June is also National Strawberry Month so plan ahead and search out your favorite recipes.  And remember: if you are getting together for a family meal or Sunday afternoon lunch with the mothers in your life, the strawberry sorbet recipe below is sure to please.

    Homemade Strawberry Sorbet

    · 3-3/4 cups strawberries, washed and hulled
    · 1/2 cup sugar
    · 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    · 2 tbsp lemon zest

    1. Puree strawberries in a blender or food processor.
    2. Blend in the remaining ingredients
    3. Pour into a bowl or deep dish, cover, and freeze for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

    Makes 8 servings.

    Calories: 77
    Total Fat: 0.24g
    Sat Fat: 0.013g
    Cholesterol: 0mg
    Sodium: 0.97mg
    Total Carbs: 20g
    Dietary Fiber: 1.8g
    Sugar: 17g
    Protein: 0.59g

    Recipe Source: Walkingspree Food Tracker

    Photo Source for Sorbet:

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