Tag Archives: home

Tips to Avoid Mindless Snacking in Your Home Office

While the pandemic has been a mixed bag for people and their relationship with food (some people have cooked more at home while others have relied more heavily on take-out and fast food), one thing is for certain the temptation to snack has been enabled by close access to our own pantries and refrigerators.

Some of us may even be working in our kitchens making all our favorite snacks just steps away.

So, how do we avoid mindless snacking in our home office? Here are a few tips.

Try to start the habit of asking yourself things like, “do I really want this now?” “am I just bored or stressed?” If you honestly want a snack, it is probably OK to have one, but if not you’ve just avoided consuming unneeded calories.

Maybe you really want something else, you might try talking a walk, calling or texting a friend, taking a nap or maybe try doing some light stretching or exercising.

You can also try keep high density, high fiber foods in the house. These foods will fill you up quickly. And if you keep high density, high fiber fruits and vegetables around the calories are better for you than chips and cookies.

The best way to avoid eating something is simply not to bring it home in the first place. Just don’t buy it.

Portion control can also help. Don’t bring the family sized bag of chips to your desk. Make yourself a reasonable portion. You can also pre-portion your snacks or buy the single serving kind. It is also good to schedule your meals. Make sure you eat breakfast and take a break to eat lunch.


Study On How Family Meals Changed During Pandemic Reveals Parent’s Thoughts on Fast Food

Whether it be a positive or negative change, how and what families eat has been affected by the pandemic.

A study from the University of Michigan that surveyed 2,000 parents with at least one child between 3 and 18 years old found that about 50% of parents reported their family ate home-cooked meals more often during the pandemic while 20% said their family at more fast food during the pandemic.

Kids who consumed fast food at least twice weekly were more common in low-income families (less than $50,000 annually). Parents with lower incomes were more likely to have stated they thought their child or children were overweight than those with higher incomes (more than $100,000 yearly).

Many experts believe that the data available demonstrates that consuming fast food on a regular basis predisposes kids to gain unwanted weight.

According to the study, most parents agreed that fast food was more expensive than cooking at home and less healthy for their children. Furthermore, they mostly agreed that fast food was not a good value for the money. Despite this, 72% of parents agree that when time is an issue fast food is a good option for their family. 82% of parents reported that they thought fast food was fine in moderation.

Most parents agreed that fast food is unhealthy for their children, more expensive than making meals at home and not good value for the money spent. Still, 72% of parents thought that when pressed for time, fast food is a good family option, and 84% thought fast food was fine in moderation.

Study authors stated that they message they are receiving from parents via the data that cooking at home is time-consuming and complicated and that heavily processed (fast) food is the solution. Study authors also noted that as humans are creatures of habit, the more often we order take out or fast food the more uncomfortable and difficult to get out a pot to boil water for a simple dish of pasta and veggies.




How to Start Cooking at Home for Health and Fun

Cooking at home is ideal. It gives you complete control of what you eat. The general wisdom is that cooking at home is healthier and that people typically consume less calories than when they eat out or get takeout. And if anyone in the family has special dietary needs it is much easier to build a collection of recipes you make yourself rather than relying on restaurants that will have to modify theirs to (maybe) fit your needs.

Cooking at home allows you to avoid processed food items from the middle of the grocery store and use instead fresh, seasonal ingredients. Many processed foods and restaurant dishes will contain extra sodium, sugar and/or fat.

If starting from scratch, there are several things you’ll need to do to get started. Gathering recipes, getting basic cooking tools, deciding how often during the week you’ll cook are all good ideas. If you don’t cook at all, don’t jump in headfirst. Start out cooking once a week. After a few weeks increase it to two days. You might consider trying to cook on your days off to avoid stress and to decrease the chance you’ll get frustrated and dial out for pizza.

Basic equipment should include: a decent sized cutting board; a good, sharp chef’s knife; a large saucepan with lid; a spatula and cooking spoon; a large nonstick skillet. With these tools you’ll be able to tackle many basic recipes.

You’ll also want some ingredient basics like salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, cooking oil (pay attention to nutrition and smoke temperatures to find the best one for you) olive oil is a good start. Keep some basic canned goods and frozen veggies around.

When picking recipes start simple! As you learn you can try more complex recipes The fewer ingredients typically the easier the recipe. Don’t be embarrassed by starting by pan cooking or baking some chicken breast and preparing a fresh vegetable with a salad. If you’ve never cooked before something simple like this is a good way to get your feet wet.





Salad: Bagged or Bulk?

A new recall in September of 8,000 cases of Hearts of Romaine salad has consumers worried once again about bagged salad. I asked Jody Victor to tell us more about it.

Jody Victor:

A new recall in September of 8,000 cases of Hearts of Romaine salad has consumers worried once again about bagged salad. Listeria was the problem that forced this recall. Other top producers have since pulled their bagged lettuce off the shelves for evaluation. No illnesses have been tied to the voluntary recalls. Food safety experts get asked all the time- which is better, bagged lettuce or bulk?
Doug Powell, a professor of food safety at Kansas State University, says, ?We call it faith-based food safety.? He and other researchers in food science and technology say that while consuming any lettuce is a gamble, they place their bets on the bagged varieties. Even the crisp heads of lettuce from a farmer?s market can be unsafe as you do not know how long they have been sitting in water with soil still on them. They believe that the professionals do the best job of anyone cleaning the product, washing it thoroughly in chlorinated water. They also believe that the professionals have a big stake in safety and a bigger incentive to get it right.
Here are some steps you can take to ensure the safety of your bagged salads:

  1. Buy bagged salad as far away from its expiration date as possible.
  2. Choose bagged salad only from a very cold refrigerator in the grocery store.
  3. Wash your hands and sink before washing the bagged salad again at home.
  4. Place bagged greens in a clean colander and rinse thoroughly.
  5. Shake greens well in colander to drain and dry.
  6. If you are not going to use greens immediately, re-bag into a zippered plastic food bag or bowl with tight-fitting lid.
  7. Keep greens cold until serving.

Thanks Jody

All the Best,

Steve Victor

Whooping Cough Outbreak

The United States is having the worst whooping cough outbreak in modern times. The previous record of 27,550 cases was set in 2010. 2012 is on track to shatter that record as the country has seen 32,131 reported cases already (through September 15). I asked Jody Victor®  to tell us more about it.

Jody Victor®: The top ten states with reported cases are: Wisconsin, Washington, Minnesota, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, Iowa, Colorado, and Utah. Eight of those states allow parents to exempt their children from required immunizations (only New York and Iowa do not). Those eight states account for 56 percent of all the whooping cough cases in the United States.

Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is an upper respiratory infection caused by the Bordetella pertussis or Bordetella parapertussis bacteria. Whooping cough gets its popular name from the whoop sound that the patient makes after a coughing fit as he/she is trying to take a breath. (The whoop noise is rare in patients under 6 months of age and in adults.) Whooping cough can affect people of any age. It is a highly contagious and serious disease that can cause permanent disability in infants, even death.

Initial symptoms are similar to the common cold and develop about a week after exposure to the bacteria. Severe episodes of coughing start about ten days later, long after a common cold should be gone. Coughing spells may lead to vomiting or a short loss of consciousness. Whooping cough should always be considered when vomiting occurs with coughing. With infants choking spells are also common.

If started early enough, antibiotics such as erythromycin can make the symptoms go away more quickly. Unfortunately most patients are diagnosed too late and antibiotics are not very effective, though the medicine can help reduce the patient’s ability to spread the disease.

Pertussis/ whooping cough, is a preventable disease and yet it is still a problem.  In 2005, DTaP replaced the old “whole cell” pertussis vaccine called DTP, which often caused severe side effects. Currently five doses of DTaP (diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus) are given to children before they enter school. The vaccine is administered at 2, 4, and 6 months and again at 15 to 18 months and at 4 to 6 years. It is currently recommended that children get a booster shot at age 11 or 12.

A new study by researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center in Oakland, California, has documented for the first time how quickly DTaP immunity can wear off. Dr. Nicola P. Klein, head of the study, and colleagues showed that even after all five doses of the new a-cellular vaccine were properly administered, protection against pertussis waned during the next 5 years. They also found that the infected children were surprisingly young- 8 to 11- not the teenagers who were historically the most infected during prior outbreaks. “The old vaccine lasted longer,” says Dr. Klein, “Originally we didn’t think this vaccine would be substantially different from the old one.”

The new evidence on whooping cough shows that the booster vaccine should be given earlier, perhaps at 8 or nine years of age, to protect children in their preteens. The same booster is currently recommended as a one-time injection for adults through age 64 in lieu of a 10-year tetanus shot. As researchers study the longevity of DTaP they may soon recommend a booster for adults every ten years instead of a one-time booster.

Babies who are not fully immunized and have not yet built up their own immunities to diseases are especially vulnerable to pertussis. Babies who are not fully immunized may develop pneumonia, severe breathing problems, and terrifying seizures. It is vitally important that anyone who has routine contact with infants should be immunized against pertussis. That would include all day care workers, nannies, babysitters, and grandparents. If pregnant women have not recently had a booster shot, the CDC recommends that it be given late in the second trimester or early in the third.

Dr. Klein has stated, “Although a better vaccine is needed, the current vaccine is safe and effective, and some protection is better than no protection.”

 Thanks, Jody!

All the Best!

Steve Victor