Category: healthy living

August 26, 2021

Recipe: Garden Vegetable Soup

Want to utilize all those fresh vegetables you got from your recent trip to the farmers market? Garden Vegetable Soup is a great and healthy way to do just that. This easy recipe is full of nutrients and will leave you feeling satisfied. Check it out!


Garden Vegetable Soup

Serves: 8-10      Prep time: 10 minutes    Cook time: 6-8 hours

Ingredients

  •  8 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 (15oz.) can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (24oz.) jar of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1lb lean ground beef (optional)
  • 4 cups fat free, reduced-sodium chicken broth

Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on “low” for 6-8 hours or until beef is cooked and carrots are soft.

Make It Ahead:

  1. Combine all ingredients except the chicken broth in a freezer storage bag. Label and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  2. When ready to cook, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Add thawed mixture and chicken broth to cooker and cook on “low” for 6-8 hours.

Want to utilize all those fresh vegetables you got from your recent trip to the farmers market? Garden Vegetable Soup is a great and healthy way to do just that. This easy recipe is full of nutrients and will leave you feeling satisfied. Check it out! Garden Vegetable Soup Serves:…


August 19, 2021

Why is Hydration Important?

Living in Florida, we know a thing or two about how to stay hydrated, especially during these summer months. But why is it so important to drink water specifically?

According to Harvard School of Public Health, drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition and mood.

Our body is composed of 60% water, and it can go rather quickly. We are constantly losing water and electrolytes throughout the day via breath, sweat, urine and bowel movements, so even mild dehydration can exhaust you and affect many of your body’s daily functions. Dehydration is simply the state where more water is leaving our bodies and cells than is coming in.

Water is the best way to rehydrate and stay hydrated. One major dehydration culprit is sugar, which can be included in many of our favorite beverages including vitamin waters, sports drinks, juices and sodas.

Check out these resources below to learn more about staying hydrated:

Want to learn more about what’s right for your specific body needs? Try out our VirtuWell Coaching or consult with one of our Registered Dietitians.

Living in Florida, we know a thing or two about how to stay hydrated, especially during these summer months. But why is it so important to drink water specifically? According to Harvard School of Public Health, drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep…


February 26, 2021

COVID-19 VACCINES: Accurate Information, Equitable Access

Published February 2021 – YMCA OF THE USA

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the Y has worked diligently to meet the most pressing needs of the 10,000 communities we serve across the United States, especially those that have been hit hardest by the pandemic. By providing child care to essential workers and first responders, feeding families facing food insecurity, connecting with seniors who are isolated, housing people who are homeless and supporting children learning virtually, the Y has worked to make sure everyone in our communities has access to the resources they need.

As the COVID-19 vaccines begin reaching the broader population, now the Y is working to ensure that everyone has equitable access to accurate information about the vaccines and to the vaccines themselves, especially Black and Brown communities, which have been disproportionately affected by the health and economic impacts of the virus.

Ys across the country are committed to providing vaccine education, and many have offered to serve as vaccine distribution sites. YMCA of the USA is supporting these efforts and joining several national health and community-serving organizations in distributing accurate information to our communities and calling for equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines.

VACCINE FINDER
ADDITIONAL VACCINE INFORMATION & RESOURCES

Free Online Event
COVID-19 Vaccine Myth-busting | Co-hosted by First Coast YMCA

March 5
1:00pm

First Coast YMCA Facebook

Join Baptist Health’s Executive Vice President and Chief Physician Executive Elizabeth Ransom, MD, FACS to distinguish fact from fiction when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Ransom will cover:
• Pfizer vs. Moderna
• How does the vaccine work?
• Common side effects
• Vaccine safety
• COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy
• COVID-19 variants and the vaccine

Published February 2021 – YMCA OF THE USA Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the Y has worked diligently to meet the most pressing needs of the 10,000 communities we serve across the United States, especially those that have been hit hardest by the pandemic. By providing child care to essential workers…


February 8, 2020

New Diabetes Prevention Class in St. Johns County

The Diabetes Prevention Program is not an exercise or nutrition lecture series. Instead, it is a year-long program broken down into 16 one-hour weekly sessions followed by bi-weekly and monthly sessions.

New Class
February 27, 2020
Flagler Heath+ Village
5:30p-6:30p

The Diabetes Prevention Program is not an exercise or nutrition lecture series. Instead, it is a year-long program broken down into 16 one-hour weekly sessions followed by bi-weekly and monthly sessions. New Class February 27, 2020 Flagler Heath+ Village 5:30p-6:30p


September 26, 2017

Bringing “Us” Together

For more than 160 years, the Y has been a place that brings communities together. Here on the First Coast, we have been committed to uniting, supporting and celebrating individuals and families for nearly 110 years.

We’re excited to share with you a new short film produced by YMCA of the USA that showcases the Y’s work as a vital nonprofit that makes a difference in 10,000 communities across the nation.



At our core, the Y is about helping individuals reach their full potential, and giving them opportunities to connect with their neighbors, all in service of making us better as individuals, communities and as a nation.

We are in this together.

Thank you for helping us make the First Coast stronger.

For more than 160 years, the Y has been a place that brings communities together. Here on the First Coast, we have been committed to uniting, supporting and celebrating individuals and families for nearly 110 years. We’re excited to share with you a new short film produced by YMCA of…


March 24, 2017

You Can’t Afford to Ignore This

In the United States alone, diabetes affects nearly 29 million people; another 86 million Americans have prediabetes, yet only about 10 percent are aware of it.

These statistics are alarming, and the impact on the cost of health care makes preventing the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes more important than ever before. Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed more often in adults, and type 1 diabetes is diagnosed more often in children, but the rates of type 2 diabetes are increasing rapidly for both adults and children.

In 2012 alone, the American Diabetes Association estimates that diabetes cost the health care system $245 billion.

The nation’s struggle with obesity and type 2 diabetes is no surprise but the number of people with prediabetes is a growing issue, especially when so few people realize they have the condition. Prediabetes is a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.

Often preventable, people with prediabetes can reduce their risk for developing type 2 diabetes by adopting behavior changes that include eating healthier and increasing physical activity. People with prediabetes are at risk for not only developing type 2 diabetes, but also cardiovascular disease, stroke and other conditions.

Tuesday, March 28, is American Diabetes Association (ADA) Alert Day®, and it’s important that you know your risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as preventive steps you can take today to reduce the chances of developing the disease.

As the leading community-based network committed to improving the nation’s health the First Coast YMCA encourages all adults to take a diabetes risk test. Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include family history, age, weight and activity level, among others.

“Studies show that people with prediabetes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by making simple lifestyle changes that include eating healthier and increasing physical activity,” said Kristy Cook, Director of Healthy Living Innovations at the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. “Steps taken now to prevent developing diabetes not only makes good health sense; it makes good economic sense.”

The First Coast YMCA is helping people make healthier choices that can help reduce the risk of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes with YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program classes in April and May.

Some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and an increased focus on healthy living can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes. Among these are:

  • Reduce portion sizes of the foods you eat that may be high in fat or calories.
  • Keep a food diary to increase awareness of eating patterns and behaviors.
  • Be moderately active at least 30 minutes per day five days a week.
  • Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.
  • Incorporate more activity in your day, like taking the stairs or parking farther away from your destination.
  • Speak to your doctor about your diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history of the disease or are overweight.

Test Your Knowledge and Earn Y Rewards Points

In the United States alone, diabetes affects nearly 29 million people; another 86 million Americans have prediabetes, yet only about 10 percent are aware of it. These statistics are alarming, and the impact on the cost of health care makes preventing the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes…


February 24, 2017

An Apple A Day…

March is National Nutrition Month. With a balanced approach, even the busiest families can discover ways to eat healthier and feel better. Here are some quick and easy recipes to try at home.

Apple Nachos

Total time: 10-15 mins
Serves 1-4

Ingredients:

Mix of apples (Honey Crisp, Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala) – 1 per serving
Sun butter or peanut butter
Coconut Flakes
Raisins

Directions:

Core and slice apples, lay out on plate
Heat nut butter until creamy, drizzle over apples
Let each person choose their own toppings to sprinkle on top

No-Cook Strawberry Applesauce

Total time: 10-15 mins
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

4 apples (suggested: Honey Crisp, Fuji, Gala, Red Delicious, McIntosh)
10 strawberries

Directions:

Core and chop apples
Remove strawberry tops
Blend apples and strawberries together in food processor or blender
Serve cold

Cinnamon Applesauce

Total time: 20-30 mins
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

4 apples (suggested mix: Honey Crisp, Granny Smith)
1 cup of 100% apple juice or 100% apple cider (may substitute water)
1 tablespoon of Cinnamon (or 1 cinnamon stick)

Directions:

Core and chop apples
Add apples, 100% juice and cinnamon to saucepan on medium heat (cover)
Allow apples to simmer and mash softened apples in saucepan or add to blender
Serve warm or cold

March is National Nutrition Month. With a balanced approach, even the busiest families can discover ways to eat healthier and feel better. Here are some quick and easy recipes to try at home. Apple Nachos Total time: 10-15 mins Serves 1-4 Ingredients: Mix of apples (Honey Crisp, Granny Smith, Fuji,…


January 31, 2017

A Treat for YOUR Heart

Give your own heart a treat in February with two simple ways to prevent heart disease: monitoring your blood pressure and reducing sodium intake.

HighBloodPressure

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the nation’s number one killer. High blood pressure is most prevalent in minority communities, and is often referred to as “The Silent Killer” because there are typically no warning signs or symptoms.

Research shows that the simple process of checking and recording your blood pressure at least twice a month over a four month period, along with regular physical activity, proper nutrition and reducing sodium intake, may lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.

The YMCA of Florida’s First Coast is now offering a Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring program that helps adults with hypertension lower and manage their blood pressure. The program focuses on regular monitoring of one’s blood pressure at home using proper measuring techniques, individualized support and nutrition education in an effort to reduce blood pressure and improve their quality of life. DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) seminars are also part of the program. These seminars will highlight the importance of practicing healthy eating habits. Participants of the Blood Pressure Self- Monitoring Program to measure their blood pressure with coaching for proper measuring techniques from a trained Healthy Heart Ambassador.

WATCH: News4Jax’s Melanie Lawson Reports on YMCA Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program

For more information on the program, call 904-265-1810 or email prevention@firstcoastymca.org.
Besides monitoring your blood pressure, reducing sodium intake is a great way to keep your heart healthy. According to the American Heart Association, too much sodium in your system puts an extra burden on your heart and blood vessels. In some people, this may lead to or raise high blood pressure. Everyone, including kids, should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt). Having less sodium in your diet may help you lower or avoid high blood pressure.

“There are many factors in keeping your heart healthy and having a handle on your blood pressure is an effective tool in the preventing heart disease,” says Lisa Peacock, Director of Healthy Living Innovations: Chronic Disease Prevention, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. “Whether you have high blood pressure or are at risk for heart disease, the Y has many options available that can help.”

In addition to programs and services offered in Northeast Florida, the Y offers the following tips from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help reduce sodium in your diet.

  1. Think fresh: Most of the sodium Americans eat is found in processed foods. Eat highly processed foods less often and in smaller portions—especially cheesy foods, such as pizza; cured meats, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and deli/luncheon meats; and ready-to-eat foods, like canned chili, ravioli and soups. Fresh foods are generally lower in sodium.
  2. Enjoy home-prepared foods: Cook more often at home—where you are in control of what’s in your food. Preparing your own foods allows you to limit the amount of salt in them.
  3. Fill up on veggies and fruits—they are naturally low in sodium: Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits—fresh or frozen. Eat a vegetable or fruit at every meal.
  4. Adjust your taste buds: Cut back on salt little by little—and pay attention to the natural tastes of various foods. Your taste for salt will lessen over time. Additionally, keep salt off the kitchen counter and the dinner table and substitute spices, herbs, garlic, vinegar or lemon juice to season foods.
  5. Boost your potassium intake: Choose foods with potassium, which may help to lower your blood pressure. Potassium is found in vegetables and fruits, such as potatoes, beet greens, tomato juice and sauce, sweet potatoes, beans (white, lima, kidney), and bananas. Other sources of potassium include yogurt, clams, halibut, orange juice and milk.

Give your own heart a treat in February with two simple ways to prevent heart disease: monitoring your blood pressure and reducing sodium intake. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the nation’s number one killer. High blood pressure is most prevalent in minority communities,…


November 4, 2016

Stick a Fork In It

End the cycle of boring lunches with these healthy-living solutions.

By the YMCA’s Sara Glenn and Kimberly Lewis for Edible Northeast Florida

Back in the day, lunch was “dinner” and dinner was “supper” because everyone went to bed at sundown. Most ate their biggest meal of the day between noon and 2 p.m., and supper was a light snack, eaten before bedtime. It wasn’t until the 20th century, with work being farther from home, when lunch became something lighter, carried with you to the workplace.

It’s a problem we tackle at the YMCA when creating healthy-living solutions for our members and the entire community. Many of the professionals we work with feel maintaining healthy eating habits at the office adds another project to their workday. However, by debunking common myths about lunch at work, eating healthy can be quick, easy and make you feel happier in the long run.

MYTH #1 – LUNCH EQUALS A SANDWICH

Growing up, your mom may have made you a sandwich in a brown paper bag, but that doesn’t mean you have to continue the tradition. Lunch could be a handful of your favorite snacks and fruits assembled in a bento box. It could be breakfast or even dinner. There is more than one way to eat a healthy lunch. Keep it interesting and pack a meal with creativity.

Today, collaborative workspaces and teams can also mean a collaborative lunch. At the Y, we select a salad day to enjoy the harvest greens from our vertical tower garden created by the SEEDifferently initiative. The team brings in their favorite salad toppings for a potluck style lunch. Lunch by teamwork means that rather than carrying an entire meal, you team up with your colleagues to complete a lunch with ingredients that you may have never tried before—it’s a good way to add variety to your plate or lunch bag.

MYTH #2 – WORK CANNOT WAIT

According to the American Dietetic Association and ConAgra Foods Foundation, 70 percent of Americans eat at their desks several times a week. In reality, you have to take care of yourself first in order to deliver the best work product.

If taking a full hour seems impossible, at least try to step away from your desk. Ask a co-worker to walk a couple of blocks with you and pick up a veggie burrito or a bowl of pho to break up your work day while getting physical activity. An active lifestyle can lead to healthier eating habits. When you have to stay in for lunch, eat in the break or conference room with others, where you can share conversations, which also encourages us to choose healthier options and eat less.

MYTH #3 – YOU MUST PLAN AHEAD

Planning ahead is a common recommendation for almost any situation, but we know that it simply does not always happen. As working parents or professionals, we often do not have the time to plan and prepare for our own lunches. However, juggling family, friends and work schedules does not mean that we are trapped into eating French fries and a hot dog.

As healthy eating becomes a higher priority in today’s world, many convenience stores now carry more than candies and sodas; fresh fruits, protein bars and healthy options may be only a few steps away from your office. Local delis usually offer specialty items that differ from day to day. Even with your last-minute decisions, healthy choices can be found around the corner.

MYTH #4 – EATING HEALTHY IS BORING

Healthy doesn’t have to mean eliminating your options. In fact, healthy meals feature a variety of food types. Keep a balanced plate in mind. Visualize it—half your plate should be fruits and vegetables, one quarter of the plate should be protein and one quarter should contain starch/grain. Right there you have four opportunities to create an exciting lunch.

Instead of eating a plain chicken sandwich on a whole-wheat bun, add a slice of pineapple. Try to replace the ketchup and mustard with teriyaki sauce and a crunchy piece of lettuce to add texture. One small change can enhance the flavor, interest and overall experience of your meal.

Now that we’ve debunked some popular myths, it’s time to figure out what works for you. Consider what you need in order to plan ahead, think about when it makes sense to grab lunch with a colleague and determine how you can up your lunch game with healthy yet tasty foods that will not only bring you lasting energy, but also a more productive mind.

RECIPE FOR A HAPPIER WORK LUNCH

End the cycle of boring lunches with these healthy-living solutions. By the YMCA’s Sara Glenn and Kimberly Lewis for Edible Northeast Florida Back in the day, lunch was “dinner” and dinner was “supper” because everyone went to bed at sundown. Most ate their biggest meal of the day between noon…


May 2, 2016

Farewell to Food Guilt

Stuffing food in an envelope and mailing it oversseas seems an unorthodox form of protest. Unless you’re an 8-year-old who is forced to finish her dinner because “there are starving children in Africa.”

While we would have hoped the protesters of our youth might have gone on to start a revolution, sadly, most have likely joined the eight out of 10 American women who suffer from food guilt. And yes, we mean suffer! Food guilt has many flavors, new ones we’re learning more about each day. It’s about what we eat and what we don’t eat, what we feed our families and having the perfect relationship with food.

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE FROM EDIBLE NORTHEAST FLORIDA

Authors

KimSaraSara Glenn is the Director of Strategic Development of Healthy Living Innovations: Nutrition & Obesity for the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast and leads the Y’s nutritional services, including the vertical garden initiative, SEEDifferently.

Kimberly Lewis is the Annual Campaign & Volunteerism Director for the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast, is passionate about teaching kids to volunteer, and has worked in the nonprofit sector for more than a decade.

Stuffing food in an envelope and mailing it oversseas seems an unorthodox form of protest. Unless you’re an 8-year-old who is forced to finish her dinner because “there are starving children in Africa.” While we would have hoped the protesters of our youth might have gone on to start a…