Ways to Stay Active this Winter

By Kimmi Devaney

In my family, the holidays are a crazy busy time of year. Between trying to see everyone, coordinate travel schedules and shop for gifts, healthy eating and exercise can easily be pushed aside. The good news is that with so many healthy recipes, eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore. More good news: exercise doesn’t have to either! It just comes down to setting aside time for it. Think of it as ‘me time’ or time to relax.

There is no one-size-fits-all plan for exercise. Luckily, there are so many varieties that you won’t get bored! Let’s start at the gym…

  • Most gyms have treadmills, elliptical machines, bikes and more. Getting your cardio in no longer has to be a bore. Don’t forget your music!
  • Want to add some muscle and tone up? Don’t wait until January 1st to start those New Year’s resolutions. Many gyms also have personal trainers on hand to show you how to use a machine, or you can purchase some personal training sessions if you are looking for some more guidance in the weight room.
  • Classes galore! Whether you want to meditate, dance or workout boot-camp style, you are sure to find a class to fit your mood. Remember, it’s supposed to be fun! Who cares if you are new and don’t know all the moves yet, chances are a lot of other people don’t either. Continue reading

Indoor Activities

By Mary Nicholson

It’s cooling off outside, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to sit around inside – au contraire!   Oh sure, there’s still some leaf raking to be done, and when the snow starts to fall, there are a lot of outdoor activities that appeal to many.  But what to do if you don’t like the cold weather or it’s just cold, but there’s no snow to play in?

When I was little, we managed to keep pretty busy inside the house when it wasn’t suitable to go outside, and the television was not an option (it was rarely on until Dad came home from work).  We did things like run up and down the stairs, bowling in the hallway, balloon basketball (which eventually turned into Monkey in the Middle since my older and taller brothers were involved), or roller skating in the basement (unfinished, complete with concrete floors).  Believe it or not, I don’t remember ever getting hurt or even getting yelled at by Mom for making too much noise!  If it were just my sister and me, we sometimes would become ballerinas and dance to the music that was almost always on in our house.  Here’s a website that has some great ideas for indoor activities.

Continue reading

Celebrate Child Health Day

On Child Health Day, the emphasis is to help raise awareness and a commitment to teaching children the benefits of good health and teaching parents how they can help and protect their children with good nutrition, year round fitness and exercise.

The proclamation of Child Health Day was in 1928 by Calvin Coolidge to increase awareness of health issues facing the children in the U.S. including health issues, healthy eating, fitness, child’s development, immunizations, preventing injuries, and more.

Our children's health is vital for our Nation's future!

Our children’s habits are very important for our future’s health. Here are a few tips to get their health off to a great start:

1.)    Encourage healthy eating habits.
There’s no great secret to healthy eating because small changes every day can lead you in the direction of victory of great health.  Help your children develop healthy eating habits:

  • Provide plenty of nutrient rich foods -vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products, low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products. Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils, and beans for protein. Limit foods that do not provide vitamins and minerals and only provide empty calories. (e.g., foods high in sugar and saturated fat like fried foods and candy).
  • Serve reasonably-sized portions to prevent from overeating.
  • Serve milk with meals to get your three servings of dairy in that you need a day and encourage your family to drink lots of water and. Limit sugar-sweetened beverages like soda.

2.)    Lighten up your recipes.
The recipes that you may prepare regularly, with just a few changes, can be healthier and just as satisfying. For new ideas about how to add more vitamins and minerals to your daily diet check out the recipe database from the http://www.nutrientrichfoods.org/recipes. This database enables you to find tasty recipes that fit your nutritional needs.

3.)     Remove low nutrient/calorie rich temptations!
Although everything can be enjoyed in moderation, reducing the calorie-rich temptations of high-fat and high-sugar, or salty snacks can also help your children develop healthy eating habits. Instead only allow your children to eat them sometimes, so that they truly will be treats! Here are examples of easy-to-prepare, low-fat and low-sugar treats that are 100 calories or less:

  • A medium-size apple or banana
  • Cheese stick
  • 1 cup blueberries or 1 cup grapes
  • 1 cup carrots, broccoli, or bell peppers with 2 tbsp. hummus

4.)  Get Moving and Stay Active!

Another part of balancing calories is to engage in an appropriate amount of physical activity and avoid too much sedentary time.  Children and teens should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity daily. Remember that children imitate adults. Start adding physical activity to your own daily routine and encourage your child to join you.
Some examples of moderate intensity physical activity include:

  • Brisk walking
  • Playing tag
  • Jumping rope
  • Swimming
  • Dancing

The most important tip of all is to make good health fun!

Idea Swap: Kids, Nutrition, & Exercise

Today is National Swap Ideas Day.  It used to be that idea swapping occurred between neighbors while visiting over the fence.  Oftentimes, recipes were the ideas being swapped.  However, today’s communication technologies make that quaint scene seem a little nostalgic, but it’s not completely gone.  While I don’t even have a fence in my yard, I still get some good ideas from my neighbors, whether it’s about cooking or gardening or any other topic.

To keep this from going all over the place, we’re going to narrow the topic of our “swaps” to how to get children to eat healthier foods and do more physical activity.  September marks National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month; hopefully this holiday doesn’t become a permanent part of our calendars.  First Lady Michelle Obama has taken this cause under her wing, and has brought many folks along with her.  The National Dairy Council and the NFL’s collaborative school wellness program – Fuel Up to Play 60 – is one such player.

Now back to swapping ideas!  I’ll start things off with some of my ideas that I’ve acquired over the years.  One thing about nutrition that I grew up with was always having milk with meals.  There was no other option for my siblings and I – it was just a given.  And it was great!  Eating breakfast was also a must.  Again, it wasn’t something to argue about, it was just known that every morning began with breakfast.  One other blast from the past that can still be incorporated today goes back to treats.  Many moons ago when my parents went out on a Saturday night and our babysitter was there, my sister and I got to share one bottle of Coke™.  That was when it came it 16 oz. glass bottles, and boy, did it taste good!  But half of that bottle was plenty, and knowing that there was no more when it was gone, made it even more special.  How about serving fruit as dessert?  I could go on and on, but let’s hear from you! What are your ideas for kids’ nutrition?

We also need to talk about physical activity for all of us, but especially for kids. For a variety of reasons, kids don’t tend to have access to much physical activity at school on a daily basis.  But, getting kids to be physically active for 60 minutes a day is one of the components of Fuel Up to Play 60.  The “60” doesn’t have to be all at one time.  Getting ten minutes here and fifteen minutes there (of physical activity) can really add up over the course of a day.  Some easy ideas include taking the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator, riding a bike to a friend’s house instead of being driven, or even seeing how many sit-ups you can do during a TV commercial break. Now I know there are more creative minds out there – what are your ideas?  You could win a prize!!

So, share your ideas about how to get kids to eat healthier foods and do more physical activity by adding a comment to this post. Then, on Tuesday (9/14) we’ll have a drawing* and 10 lucky people will win a physical activity prize pack!

 *1 drawing entry per blog comment posted.

Milk the Moment at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum

My name is Anna Armstrong and I am working at the Dairy and Nutrition Council of Indiana for my first rotation as a dietetic intern from Purdue University. I have enjoyed my first couple of days helping out with the Milk the Moment and “got milk?” promotional programs at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. It was so much fun wearing my new, pink “got milk?” shirt while passing out information about the importance of drinking milk. We talked with lots of parents and their children, who stopped by our table to win a football which promoted the “Fuel Up to Play 60” program, get their picture taken with a real milk mustache, and have a free sample of milk with a crazy straw.

The kids loved getting free things and the parents loved the fact that we were encouraging kids to be active and drink milk! My favorite part was seeing how excited some of the kids got when we gave them a crazy straw to use when drinking their milk. Most of the children were young and not yet in school, but they all were excited for milk and their parents were eager for their kids to have milk as a snack. It was a great hook to help people remember to use their new straw to get their three servings of dairy each day. Some parents said their children didn’t like milk so we suggested that they work to include other dairy sources in their diet each day. For example, including yogurt, string cheese, or even ice cream on occasion are all excellent ways to get three of dairy every day.

I enjoyed being part of an event promoting health in a way that was fun and reminded both parents and kids how important it is to build strong bones and muscles over a lifetime. Overall, I would say that the people we talked with were excited to have us there and learn more about milk, plus get delicious free samples. Getting three servings of dairy each day provides both youth and adults with nine essential nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D, to lead a healthy lifestyle. So, remember to get your three of dairy today!

Indianapolis Zoo… Milk the Moment!

My name is Sarah Mosier and I am a Dietetic Intern with Purdue University at the Dairy and Nutrition Council in Indianapolis! On my first day of interning, I was sent to the Indianapolis Zoo to help promote milk with the Milk Mobile! There, I was able to promote the 3 Every Day of milk and the “Fuel Up to Play 60” program sponsored by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League. Dean’s Dairy was able to sponsor the event and provide children and parents with free samples of their white or chocolate milk!  The milk mobile also had a station for children and parents to get their milk mustache picture taken as well as the chance to enter a contest to win a trip to dine with the Food Network Star Tyler Florence in San Francisco by describing their family’s “Milk Moment”!

We had a table set up to promote our “Fuel Up to Play 60” program where we provided children with fun activities which included showing kids fun and easy ways to get 60 minutes of exercise in a day. They were able to jump rope and lift hand weights. Also, we showed the children that eating a balanced diet, including three servings of dairy every day, can help them build strong bones and muscles! In addition, we gave them tips on how to use materials they had at home to exercise. For example, if they fill an empty gallon milk jug with water it equals about eight pounds and can be used as a weight to exercise with while playing in the backyard. Moreover, we shared with them that playing outside after school instead of watching TV is a great way to get your 60 minutes of physical activity in for the day!

The children loved coming up and showing us how milk has helped them build strong bones and muscles, and they loved winning prizes for their efforts! The “Fuel Up to Play 60” program also gave children a chance to win a free mini football. The parents enjoyed learning the importance of milk for their children as well as themselves. We provided them with information on refueling with chocolate milk after exercising as well as some healthy recipes that incorporate milk. It was a great experience being able to teach children, and parents, that Winners Drink Milk!!!

Back to Football Friday “Show Your Pride” Photo Contest

Ever worn your favorite NFL jersey to the barn? Have a unique idea for your cows to show your NFL spirit? Here’s an opportunity to combine your dairy and NFL enthusiasm and creativity on camera!  The NFL is asking sponsors and partners such as America’s dairy producers to help kick off its “Back to Football Friday” school campaign and build excitement for the upcoming season. Through your dairy checkoff investment, your partnership with the National Football League introduced the Fuel Up to Play 60 program to America’s youth. FUTP60 encourages kids to “fuel up” on nutrient-rich foods, including low-fat and fat-free dairy, and get 60 minutes of physical activity each day.

So, as a dairy producer, you and your family are invited to participate in the “Back to Football Friday” photo contest by demonstrating your love for your favorite NFL team, the dairy industry and Fuel Up to Play 60 in fun and creative ways. For the contest, we’re asking you, checkoff staff and others who work with us to take high‐energy, creative photos displaying that pride, so we can submit as many as possible to the NFL.  It’s that easy! And if you’re the lucky winner, you will have a special visitor to your dairy farm – an NFL player!

Here are some suggestions on your photo(s) to get you started:

  • BE CREATIVE! Use NFL jerseys, t‐shirts, flags, caps, blankets, posters, anything NFL or team‐related to dress up the scene, yourselves, your family, your friends, your cows – go hog (cow?) wild!
  • BE ENERGETIC! Show action and passion for our NFL partnership and Fuel Up to Play 60!
  • BE APPROPRIATE! Don’t put on film anything that you wouldn’t want to get out in public, because we may use some of the photos at dairy shows and meetings to help celebrate our partnership. Let’s not have anything we need to apologize for!

There are three ways to send us your photo(s) demonstrating your pride, and be sure to include your contact information when you submit your entries.

  1. Upload your photo(s) to www.backtofootballcelebration.com
  2. E‐mail your photo(s) to backtofootballcelebration@rosedmi.com
  3. Mail your photo(s) to: Dairy Management, Inc. (Attn: Nevenka Tomic, 10255 West Higgins Road, Suite 900, Rosemont, IL 60018)

If you have any questions, please contact Nevenka Tomic at (800) 85‐DAIRY (853‐2479) or nevenka.tomic@rosedmi.com. You can start submitting photos now.* The deadline to enter is Sept. 14. Good luck, have fun and let’s show the NFL that dairy people are winners!

*Full photo contest disclaimer (rules & regulations) can be found at BacktoFootballCelebration.com. Participants must agree to conditions in disclaimer in order to participate in the contest. We will mail the disclaimer to you upon request.