Category: healthy living

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…


February 10, 2016

First Coast Wins Treadmill Tuesday Challenge!

– More than 3,400 Floridians log 7,449 miles in event to encourage healthier lifestyles –

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 9, 2016 – The YMCA of Florida’s First Coast is pleased to announce its win in the Treadmill Tuesday Challenge, a competition with the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA. Nearly 1,750 First Coast residents completed 3,813 miles during the 12-hour event, surpassing the Tampa Bay by 177 miles. For the Tampa Bay area, 1,686 residents logged 3,636 miles. Together, the First Coast YMCA and Tampa YMCA leveraged a friendly competition to inspire community members to become more physically active and adopt healthier lifestyles.

“Treadmill Tuesday is another way for us to promote the importance of getting 30 minutes of activity or exercise each day, it’s about building a healthy community,” said Eric Mann, president and CEO of the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. “This year’s competition with our friends in Tampa made the event even more exciting and it’s been incredible to see these communities come together with a cheerful spirit and determination.”

As part of the friendly wager agreed upon by the two YMCA CEOs prior to the competition, Looby will wear a Jacksonville Jaguars jersey, the jersey of the winning community’s NFL team, this week. Additionally, the Tampa YMCA will send a basket of hometown favorites to the YMCA in the winning community.

“The remarkable turnout of the Treadmill Tuesday Challenge has once again demonstrated the importance of community involvement in improving Florida’s health and well-being,” said Tom Looby, president and CEO of the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA. “While this year’s competition has come to an end, both communities’ Ys remain committed to strengthening the health of our communities.”

In addition to participating at their neighborhood Y, community members were able to join the competition from other locations via social media. Of the 3,435 participants, more than 65 joined by uploading a post-workout photo of treadmill dashboard displaying the total distance, tagging @FirstCoastYMCA or @TampaYMCA, and using #TreadmillTuesday. The total distance and number of participants for the First Coast YMCA, who joined the competition via social media or at a First Coast Y branch, are listed below.

2016 Treadmill Tuesday Results: Jacksonville Participants Mileage
Arlington 80 132.52
Bank of America Tower 49 123.58
Barco-Newton 168 430.36
Brooks 104 225.99
Dye Clay 140 263.50
Flagler 80 190.99
Florida Blue 64 149.22
Johnson 138 381.76
McArthur 186 301.63
Ponte Vedra 170 370.79
UF Health 24 56.95
St. Augustine 128 237.28
Williams 189 389.51
Yates 188 457.14
Social Media 41 101.54
Total 1749 3812.76


– More than 3,400 Floridians log 7,449 miles in event to encourage healthier lifestyles – JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 9, 2016 – The YMCA of Florida’s First Coast is pleased to announce its win in the Treadmill Tuesday Challenge, a competition with the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA. Nearly 1,750 First…


January 29, 2016

Healthy Moms: Sneaking 30 Minutes of Exercise into Your Busy Day

Becoming a mom changes your priorities – suddenly the needs of your children come first, and your exercise routine moves to the bottom of the ever-growing to-do list. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure your personal fitness needs are met, as well as the needs of your family.

Daily exercise is important to promote good health. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, five days per week. In addition to promoting your overall health, a regular workout can provide you with more energy and reduced stress.

Physical activity is also an opportunity to spend time with family. You don’t have to choose between being a mom and being healthy, you can be a healthy mom! Here are a few tips for incorporating exercise into your family’s daily routine.

2012-03-24_KSCY-1896_rgbWorking out doesn’t always mean you have to leave your kids at home. Family bike rides or after-dinner walks are easy ways to gradually establish a family workout routine. Jacksonville offers a number of bike and walking trails for hours of family fun in the great outdoors. If you prefer indoor activities, all Y locations offer a safe and fun environment for the whole family, from teenagers to toddlers.

Enjoy family gymnastics and dance classes at your neighborhood Y for an entertaining and enjoyable experience. Or take advantage of the Y’s KidZone—a place where kids can play while you get your workout. The newly renovated Flagler Y also added an area specifically designed for older kids to play basketball, foosball, Xbox and more.

You may be surprised by how much exercise you get by chasing your toddler around on the playground. The increased popularity of personal trackers, such as the Fitbit, has made measuring your activity levels easier than ever. Keep in mind, the suggested 30 minutes of exercise does not have to be completed at one time, but rather, can be split into several segments throughout the day.

To help you squeeze workouts into your family schedule and track your fitness goals, you can now sync your Fitbit to My Y On Demand—the Y’s first ever virtual membership that provides you access to workout videos, personalized meal plans, wellness challenges, and group exercise meet-ups.

If you prefer a more traditional method, every Y branch offers personal trainers who can work with you to customize your exercise. From creating a fitness plan for a beginner to more in-depth training for a seasoned veteran, they are dedicated to bringing you one step closer to your goals.

Being a healthy mom is about making exercise work for you and your kids! By incorporating a few or all of the tips above, 2016 can be the year of a healthier, happier family.

Becoming a mom changes your priorities – suddenly the needs of your children come first, and your exercise routine moves to the bottom of the ever-growing to-do list. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure your personal fitness needs are met, as well as the needs of your family. Daily exercise…


January 4, 2016

Fitness Trends for 2016

Did you catch us on WJXT4 The Local Station last week when we discussed Fitness Trends of 2016? From family workouts to exercising outside and new Barre classes, there’s something for everyone at the Y to try in the New Year!

Did you catch us on WJXT4 The Local Station last week when we discussed Fitness Trends of 2016? From family workouts to exercising outside and new Barre classes, there’s something for everyone at the Y to try in the New Year!


December 27, 2015

“I Hated Working Out!”

HOW PERSONAL TRAINING TURNED ONE WOMAN’S LACK OF MOTIVATION INTO A WELLNESS TRANSFORMATION

Tim Burrows | Director of Healthy Living Innovations: Impact & Achievement

We know we could all use a little encouragement, motivation and support to stay focused on our goals. At the Flagler Center YMCA, we know how important a support system can be, and we are here to help you every step of the way. A great way to get started is with 1-on-1 Personal Training (PT)! Working out with a Certified Personal Trainer at any First Coast YMCA is a great way to keep you accountable, healthy and motivated. PT is for everyone regardless of age or fitness level.

For Rebeca Aguilera, a member at the Brooks Family YMCA, teaming up with a personal trainer was transformational, especially since she admits that she hated working out. Her initial goal was to reduce body fat, lower her high blood pressure and lose 20 pounds. But Rebeca’s trainer helped her exceed expectations.

“When I saw the difference of how well I felt and looked…I kept progressing until I got to 35 pounds. I hated going to the gym so I really wasn’t going to push myself at all but he continued to push me because he knew I could do better. So now when I work out by myself I always hear him in the back of my heading saying, ‘You can do it. Go. Go. Go.’ It’s great motivation.”

According to the American Council on Exercise, these are the top five reasons to hire a personal trainer:

  1. Motivation– Personal trainers wear many hats, serving not only as coach, but as an educator, confidant, role model and a major source of motivation and encouragement as well.
  2. Consistency– Scheduling regular appointments with a personal trainer helps eliminate any excuses you might come up with for not exercising.
  3. Safety– A personal trainer will show you how to exercise safely (including which exercises to avoid) and instruct you on the proper and safe use of exercise equipment.
  4. Individualized Instruction– What works for one person, may not work for another when it comes to choosing an exercise program. A personal trainer will develop the most effective program for you based on your fitness evaluation results and personal goals. Beginners in particular benefit from instruction on how to perform specific exercises and program planning.
  5. Effective Workouts– Personal trainers help maximize your time by providing workouts designed to meet your goals quickly and efficiently.

At the Y, we want to support you in your endeavors to achieve both your short and long term goals by connecting you with the resources and tools to do so. Click here to learn more about all of our wellness programs and services. Join the Y in January and save up to $500 with our Better You bonus that includes No Joining Fee, $100 credit for programs and services, 8-Week Weight Loss Support program and more!

HOW PERSONAL TRAINING TURNED ONE WOMAN’S LACK OF MOTIVATION INTO A WELLNESS TRANSFORMATION Tim Burrows | Director of Healthy Living Innovations: Impact & Achievement We know we could all use a little encouragement, motivation and support to stay focused on our goals. At the Flagler Center YMCA, we know how important…


November 12, 2015

Healthy Holiday Eating

Healthy living can be challenging in our fast-paced world of convenience. Making healthy living decisions during the holidays while having increased (yummy) food choices and visiting with family can be even more so. On average, people gain 5-10 pounds during the holiday season. At the Y, we are committed to helping members and the community achieve and/or maintain their health goals during the holidays.

Maintain Don’t Gain Challenge

All members are invited to join our Maintain Don’t Gain Challenge November 16 – December 20. Prizes will be $10 in Y Bucks for all who maintain and $20 in Y Bucks for those that lose weight. Stop by the Welcome Center at your Y to learn more.

Here are some simple health tips to consider this holiday season:

  • Substitute ingredients for your favorite holiday meals and beverages (Use applesauce instead of butter for baking, drink egg nog with one part low-fat milk).
  • Stay hydrated and drink more water.
  • When purchasing ingredients, compare nutrition labels. Choose lower sodium options.
  • Be mindful at holiday parties by looking at all food options before filling your plate.
  • Remember to stay physically active and think outside the box (all activity counts!).

In addition, the YMCA offers services and programs year round to support you in reaching your health goals. Below are just a few services and programs we offer. 

Nutrition Consultations

YMCA dietitians will work with you to develop healthy habits through nutrition support. Our team will schedule appointments at your neighborhood YMCA and work with you to create individual nutrition plans, discuss how to manage chronic diseases or illnesses, and achieve personal health goals. Members receive a free 20-minute consultation with a Registered Dietitian.

Black Hog Farms Healthy Deliveries

Do you need a turkey for Thanksgiving or a ham for Christmas? With Black Hog Farms customizable deliveries, you are sure to find fresh food that will fit into your family. Order your holiday meal ingredients from and it will be conveniently delivered to your neighborhood YMCA. Members do not pay a delivery fee. Contact: info@blackhogfarm.com or 904.484.6931

ActivTrax

Join the YMCA and have the opportunity to meet with a personal trainer who will set you up with ActivTrax, a customized health and wellness system that provides guidance, tracks progress, and challenges you to meet your health goals.

Healthy Living Centers

The Healthy Living Centers are the first of their kind on the First Coast, bringing medically integrated programs from Baptist Health into the Y and making these programs more accessible to the community.

Visit your neighborhood YMCA to talk to a health professional about what will work for you or contact Sara Glenn for more information: sglenn@firstcoastymca.org or 904.265.1804

Healthy living can be challenging in our fast-paced world of convenience. Making healthy living decisions during the holidays while having increased (yummy) food choices and visiting with family can be even more so. On average, people gain 5-10 pounds during the holiday season. At the Y, we are committed to…


November 5, 2015

Preventing Diabetes

More than 86 million people have prediabetes, a condition that puts them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, yet only 9 million people are aware they have this condition. To sustain a healthy lifestyle, it helps to know your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

At the Y, we support the health and well-being of people of every age and background with programs that help prevent chronic disease. One such program, the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, helps people achieve a healthy weight, increase their physical activity and make healthier food choices to reduce the risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. More than 180 Ys across the country, including the First Coast YMCA, offer the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. Ask your Y’s staff about this and other chronic disease prevention programs so you can lead a healthier, happier life.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month and the Y recommends you and your family follow these healthy living tips from the American Diabetes Association to reduce the risk for chronic disease:

Start a Weight Loss Plan: Losing even a small amount of weight can make a difference. Start by setting realistic goals that work for you. To stay on target, keep a record of everything you eat and all of your physical activity.

Build Healthier Meals: Plan out your weekly meals to save time, money and stress. Add more fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains to your shopping list. Keep healthy staples like brown rice and whole grain pastas on hand for healthier meal options. Need more guidance or a grocery store tour? We have nutrition services available at all Ys on the First Coast.

Stay Active: Aim to engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Add in strength training to build muscle and make bones stronger (with more muscle mass you burn more calories, even when you are at rest). You can join a Y fitness class or lift weights at home using weights or elastic resistance bands.

More than 86 million people have prediabetes, a condition that puts them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, yet only 9 million people are aware they have this condition. To sustain a healthy lifestyle, it helps to know your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. At the Y, we…


September 26, 2015

YMCA of Florida’s First Coast Named Duval Health Hero

First Coast YMCA honored for efforts to prevent childhood obesity

Photo courtesy: Healthy Jacksonville Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition

Photo courtesy: Healthy Jacksonville Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept. 21, 2015 – The Healthy Jacksonville Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition (HJCOPC) honored the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast with the 2015 “Heart of the Community” Organizational Leadership Award. The First Coast YMCA joined 14 other local organizations recognized as Duval County Health Heroes at the “Celebrating Healthy Kids and Active Communities Awards Breakfast” hosted by the HJCOPC Friday, Sept. 11. The annual gathering commemorates National Childhood Obesity Prevention Awareness Month and provides a forum to honor 15 local organizations and individuals for their commitment to helping children grow up healthy throughout Duval County.

“Obesity puts our children at risk for heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions that they shouldn’t have to worry about.” said Eric Mann, President and CEO of the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. “In an effort to strengthen our community and help all children achieve and lead healthy lives, the Y is committed to providing direct services, adopting policies and standards, and creating environments that combat and prevent childhood obesity.”

The Y helps to prevent childhood obesity through its before and afterschool programs, which feature the evidence-based program designed to promote healthy eating and increased physical activity, Youth Fit For Life (YFFL). In partnership with Americorps members, the Y provides participants with a 12-week program that includes three weekly nutrition lessons and physical activity to more than 2,700 children ages 5-13 participate each year. In 2014, 66 percent of participants entered the program with a BMI indicating a healthy weight, while 18 percent were overweight and 16 percent of participants were considered obese. By the end of the program, participants considered to be at a healthy weight increased by 7 percent, while the number of overweight or obese participants decreased by 4 percent and 3 percent respectively.

“We are seeing measurable changes that add up to a better quality of life for the children and families in our community, said Jennifer Martin, Vice President of Healthy Living, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. “By integrating programs and standards that help to prevent childhood obesity into Y programs and services, we are effectively working towards our goal of building a healthier, stronger First Coast.”

Each year, more than 6,000 children benefit from Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards implemented in Y summer and after school programs as well as YMCA Kidzones, and Tiger Academy, the YMCA’s charter school. HEPA standards create a healthier environment by targeting areas including healthy eating, physical activity, role modeling and family engagement.

The First Coast YMCA creates an environment supportive of childhood obesity prevention through a variety of programs and events. Y vertical gardens projects, a program that served more than 70 youth at the 21st Century Summer Camp at Jacksonville Heights and continues to grow across Northeast Florida, teaches students about plant biology and nutrition as they build and engineer vertical tower gardens. Each year, thousands of local children participate in Y youth sports – a starting point for developing healthy habits. As the partner of the First Coast Kids Triathlon, the Y trained 255 young athletes at local branches to compete with more than 2,500 at this year’s event. Annual events including Healthy Kids Day, which reaches more than 5,000 local parents and youth, and the Back to School Bash, which provides families with services including sports physicals, nutrition education and other programs, offer resources to improve the health of the entire family.

First Coast YMCA honored for efforts to prevent childhood obesity JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept. 21, 2015 – The Healthy Jacksonville Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition (HJCOPC) honored the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast with the 2015 “Heart of the Community” Organizational Leadership Award. The First Coast YMCA joined 14 other local organizations recognized…