Monday, September 27, 2010

School Lunch

In the recent years, many professionals, parents, and teachers have started voicing concern about school lunches. I have to say that I am definitely one of the people concerned. Many schools offer pizza, french fries, and chicken nuggets as a daily staple. What is wrong with this picture? There is an exception to every rule, but most children will choose this type of food over the salad bar if they are given a choice. If children go to school to learn, then why aren't we not only teaching them healthy eating, but showing them how to do it? Lunches should be given to children to help nuture their bodies and teach them proper nutrition. We cannot control what children are eating at home, but from a public health standpoint, we should be sure that they are getting healthy meals at school.

Whether or not this issue has bothered you in the past or present, you shouldn't feel helpless. Speak up! Let your voice be heard at your child's school, by the school board, or anyone who will listen. People often think they can't make an impact, but that is just not the case. I have brought up banning smoking in a couple of areas that I frequent, and so far, that has brought on changes. I'm just one person and it didn't take much more than attending a meeting to make these changes. I know that changing school lunches may not be quite as easy, but small changes lead to big results. We have to start somewhere!

Parents magazine recently published an article on this topic and recommended three websites:

The Lunch Box

Food Politics

CSPI School Foods Tool Kit

I'd love to hear your feedback! Please share any thoughts you have or if you are doing anything in your school system to help with change.

Motivational Monday:

I want our children to eat healthy meals because it means that they'll be more focused, do better in school, and live healthier lives.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Avoid Running Injuries

A few ways to make running a little safer:

1. Visit a reputable shoe store that specializes in running. Let them watch you run/walk and give you advice on the best shoe for you. People who work in these stores are runners and have a lot of experience with shoes and their proper fit.

2. Change your shoes every 300-500 miles. Keep track of your mileage on a calendar or with a device such as the Nike+ sensor. After 300-500 miles, you have worn down the cushioning/support and raise your risk for injuries.

3. Only wear your running shoes for running. This will help you to make your shoes last longer. Think of all of the miles that you walk in your shoes, which cause the shoe to wear down quicker. Consider retiring your running shoes to walking shoes every time you buy new running shoes. That way you always have a pair of shoes to walk and to run in.

4. Cross-train. The constant stress of running may lead to overuse injuries. By varying your program, you work muscles in different ways and give your joints a break from impact.

5. Strength train. Overall strength training is important for a number of reasons, but specifically training the lower body can really help with running. Not only will it aid you in performance, but will also help to decrease injuries due to increased muscle mass and strength; and increased bone density.

6. Slowly increase mileage. Increasing mileage too quickly is an easy way to hurt yourself and land a spot on the couch instead of the road.

Motivational Monday:
I run because I know that if a bad guy is every chasing me, I could outrun him :).

Monday, September 13, 2010

Classroom Treats

This fall, the children are back in school. I don’t have a school-aged child yet; however, I know that children are often treated for every birthday, holiday, etc with sugary treats. I am certainly not against the occasional treat, but I do have a problem with kids getting a sugary treat to celebrate every single special occasion. It seems that there is always something to celebrate; and in America, we tend to celebrate with food. So, I wanted to get everyone thinking about fun and healthy treats for school children on these occasions. You may be in charge of providing one this year or may have some influence on what the children are snacking on in the classroom. Let’s make at least some of them a little on the healthier side! Here’s to teaching our children that good food doesn’t have to be pure sugar!

Here are a few ideas I thought of. They are mainly just foods that tend to be accepted by children, but are on the sweeter side. Please respond with your ideas or some good ideas that you have seen!

1. Apple bran muffins and flavored milk.
2. 1 oatmeal cookie and apple slices.
3. Cooked apples with cinnamon and oatmeal on top.
4. Ants on a log: top celery with peanut butter (if allowed in your classroom) and place raisins on top of the peanut butter.
5. Apple slices with cheese.
6. Banana bread.

Motivational Monday:

I want my children to eat healthy now so that they don’t have to struggle with their weight as adults.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fall Into Exercise!

I don't know about you guys, but where I live, its starting to cool off a little bit. What a relief because I could barely look out my window without sweating this summer! I wanted to take this opportunity to encourage anyone who has been shying away from exercise because of the heat to GET TO IT! Particularly in my region, there aren't many months that just feel great outside, so why let them pass you by without taking advantage of great weather!

Try walking in your neighborhood and notice the colorful leaves or fall decorations that people have displayed. Find a nearby park or lake to walk/run around for some variety. Sign up for a 5K in your area as these really go into full swing in the fall.

The moral of the story is, don't find another excuse to miss exercise, just get out and enjoy the fall air! It is a great way to spend time with your children, have some "me time", lower your stress level, and appreciate nature.

Happy Fall! I'd love to hear what kind of physical activity you're going to be getting this fall!

Motivational Monday:

I love to exercise because there is nothing like breathing fresh air after a day stuck in the office!