For A Better Us

January 5, 2022

22 Tips for a Healthier YOU in 2022

Each year, we wrestle with setting resolutions for a better New Year. An effective and healthier way to approach New Year’s resolutions is to consider small lifestyle changes that reflect healthy living instead of setting a general resolution such as “eat healthier,” “lose weight,” or “workout more.”

Take your pick of the 22 tips below to set yourself (and your family) up for a successful and healthier you in 2022!

  1. Move More: Commit to 20 minutes of movement a day.
  2. Quality Sleep: Try reading a book, listening to a podcast, or meditating to help get restful sleep.
  3. Drink MORE Water: Generally speaking, men should drink 3.7 liters a day and women, 2.7 liters a day. Of course this will vary based on your size, needs and level of physical activity.
  4. Incorporate Fluids + Fiber: Prevents constipation, helps lower cholesterol, improves blood sugar levels and helps keep you fuller longer.
  5. Don’t “Diet:” Restrictive diets may cause changes in your hunger and satiety hormones, which may also cause stronger cravings for high caloric and sugary foods.
  6. Incorporate Healthier Options: Instead of “dieting,” identify new foods to incorporate into your diet that are healthy, fulfilling, and have added benefits. The MIND diet recommends including whole grains, leafy greens, berries, nuts, beans, colorful vegetables, wine, fish, lean poultry and olive oil in your diet.
  7. Change It Up: Instead of sandwiches for lunch, try making grain or legume bowls like a MexiCali bowl or Mediterranean Bowl, which incorporates fresh veggies, healthy grains and protein.
  8. Try a Seaweed Salad: Seaweed is rich in antioxidants like carotenoids and flavonoids, which are known to combat disease-causing free-radicals.
  9. Try Plant-based Proteins: Protein-rich foods include tofu, tempeh, edamame, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, quinoa, chia seeds, hemp seeds and beans.
  10. Ask About Available Alternatives: Dairy-based sauces can be swapped out for alternatives made with cashews, which are a nutritional powerhouse nut packed with protein, monounsaturated fat, iron and magnesium.
  11. Lessen Alcohol: Eliminating alcohol intake all together has proven to provide better sleep, weight loss, reduced risk of certain cancers and diseases.
  12. Spice It Up: Spices not only add flavor to your food, but many, like ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and sage, offer health benefits too!
  13. Supplement: Collagen is the new supplement to consider adding to your diet if you’re looking for some added protein and joint health benefits. It’s easy to add in to your coffee or smoothies each morning.
  14. Add Oats: Increase your whole grain consumption and fiber intake by adding oats to your smoothies.
  15. Allulose: A new, natural alternative sweetener that tastes like table sugar. Allulose is a monosaccharide absorbed by the body but not metabolized. It is around 1/10 of the calories compared to table sugar and is considered diabetes-friendly.
  16. Mindful Cooking Methods: How you cook your food affects the overall nutrition consumed. Healthy cooking methods include: steaming, stir-frying, roasting, poaching, blanching and grilling.
  17. Make Your Sweets Count: Switch out milk chocolate for dark, which is high in antioxidants. Or try turning to fruit-based desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  18. Get Your Gut Health In Check: There is a direct correlation between our gastrointestinal system and the brain. Foods for better brain function include: nuts and seeds, coconut, fatty fish, dark chocolate and fermented foods.
  19. Focus on the Positive: A positive mindset will help you feel more at ease and appreciate all the good around you.
  20. Mood-Booster Foods: Try “happy brain” snacks to boost serotonin and dopamine. Probiotic-rich yogurt with berries or a trail mix with cashews and dried tart cherries make for great snacks.
  21. Know Your Numbers: Don’t forget to schedule physicals and regular checkups with your healthcare provider to stay informed of your current health.
  22. Join the YMCA! We are here to help you make 2022 your best year yet! We support individuals and families by offering a holistic wellness experience that fits your personal goals, lifestyle, needs and preferences. Whether that means a gym with childcare availability, a variety of group fitness classes, personal training, team sports, access to state-of-the art equipment, pools, tennis courts and more, the Y is here to help. We also offer healthy living programs that cater to specific needs such as weight loss, blood pressure monitoring, diabetes, cancer support and adaptive wellness to name a few. See a list of our healthy living offerings by clicking here. Some are complimentary services and open to the public. Just ask us how we can help!

Each year, we wrestle with setting resolutions for a better New Year. An effective and healthier way to approach New Year’s resolutions is to consider small lifestyle changes that reflect healthy living instead of setting a general resolution such as “eat healthier,” “lose weight,” or “workout more.” Take your pick…


December 14, 2021

How to Recover from that “Blah” Feeling

Recently you may have heard the term languishing. It’s that kind of “blah” feeling. Maybe you remember a time when you felt unmotivated, stagnant, not sad, but not-happy-either feeling. That is languishing and more and more people are expressing this feeling.

Languishing, What Is It?

The word languish means to fail to advance or make progress; the failure to be successful.  Think of a project that you put off or something you placed on the self that has just been sitting there. That’s languish. It’s a real valid emotion that may affect how you function in the world.

According to PyschCentral here are some signs:

  • Moods that are not too high or too low (you’re not happy, but you wouldn’t say you’re sad either)
  • Feeling unmotivated more often than usual
  • Feeling unsettled but not highly anxious
  • Difficulty focusing on certain tasks, especially some days more than others
  • Feeling detached from life, tasks, or people but not experiencing negative emotions toward them
  • Apathy toward life and difficulty getting excited about anything
  • Fatigue and burnout
  • Loss of interest in passions and hobbies
  • Feelings of stagnation
  • Feeling disconnected from your purpose in life

It’s extremely important to note that not everyone who is languishing will experience it in the same way or with the same intensity. In general, languishing may affect some of your decisions, behaviors, and emotions toward yourself, others, and the world.

How to Thrive in Languish

Now that we know what languishing is, how can we live to thrive or flourish instead?

In an article written on VeryWellHealth.com researchers Corey Keyes, PhD & Matthew Iasiello, MA look at mental health as multi dimensional.  That life satisfaction – a sense of earning, interactions with society & positive relationships – are all concepts that are tied to our sense of mental well-being.

So what can we do? Here are a few practices to consider:

  • Mindfulness. Mindfulness involves intense focus and awareness of what you’re sensing and feeling, moment by moment, without judgment. It has been shown to help people relax and reduce stress.
  • Physical well-being.  Moving our body for enjoyment, eating nutrient dense food, and allowing our body to have plenty of quality sleep are important for both physical and mental well-being.
  • Journaling. The practice of keeping a journal can help you express your thoughts and see patterns in daily behavior. It can also be a space to focus on what you’re grateful for and what positive moments happened during your day. It may even help you identify signs of languishing early.
  • Be creative. Exploring your creative side can help engage your mind and encourage focus in other areas of your life. Identifying a hobby that brings you joy can help to release your mind when it is feeling stressed. Many studies have shown that art therapy also helps to explore emotions without having to verbalize them.
  • Maintain relationships. Languishing may make you want to shy away from social settings and isolate yourself. Keeping in touch with community, family and friends can be an important part of feeling connected and can help you feel supported.
  • Change of scenery. Sometimes your environment may influence how you feel. A change of scenery could come in the form of time away for vacation, a walk outside, or heading to your favorite quiet spot to read a book. Maybe you need to switch up the environment of your daily routine. If you feel that your home or work environment may be contributing to languishing, try decluttering, changing the color of the walls, adding artwork, rearranging furniture, switching your workspace to a new room, or adding some fresh flowers or plants. As you introduce these small changes, notice how they affect how you feel.
  • Volunteer for community service.  Socialization can be an important part of mental wellness for some people. Providing your community with a service, such as working at a food pantry, may not only help you feel connected to a higher purpose, but also improve the lives of people in your community.
  • Learn new skills. Learning something new affects your brain and also helps you improve focus. It may even help you feel motivated and establish small goals that could build up a sense of accomplishment. This, in turn, could improve how you feel. Try out a new recipe, practice sewing, tend to your garden, pick up an instrument, learn to woodwork, the list goes on and on.
  • Seek professional help. If you feel you’re doing a few things but your mood doesn’t improve, consider reaching out to a mental health professional.

While anyone can use any of the practices above in any setting. Here are a few more to consider at the workplace with your colleagues and managers:

  • Set clear goals and responsibilities for team members that you all agree on.
  • Inquire about flexibility in work schedules.
  • Ask for resources available to you as an employee.
  • Give praise and acknowledgement to others.
  • Be clear on how you like to receive constructive feedback, praise, and acknowledgement.

Taking the time to put these practices in place can take some time. Have grace and patience for yourself and those you are working with.


The Y is here for you. Talk with us to let us know what you are searching for and what you would like to accomplish as you venture on your well-being journey. And be sure to check out our resource page and programs to see what services we have to offer you. If there is something you are looking for but don’t see, please let us know.

Recently you may have heard the term languishing. It’s that kind of “blah” feeling. Maybe you remember a time when you felt unmotivated, stagnant, not sad, but not-happy-either feeling. That is languishing and more and more people are expressing this feeling. Languishing, What Is It? The word languish means to fail…


December 10, 2021

Resiliency – Overcoming & Growing from Setbacks

We all face setbacks in our life. The term resilience (or resiliency) is our ability to adapt and bounce back when things may not go exactly as we had planned. Some of us may appear as if we handle those situations with more grace than others. We may even find ourselves admiring those who are resilient, wishing we could be too. What is important to know is that resilience isn’t necessarily a personality trait that only some people possess. Rather resiliency involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that anyone can learn and develop. This post is to help you learn more about resiliency and how you too, have the grace of resiliency living in you.

What is Resilience?

Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress—such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. As much as resilience involves “bouncing back” from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth.

Those with high resilience may not spend a lot of time dwelling on the failure or set back; they acknowledge the situation, learn from their mistakes, and move forward. Being resilient doesn’t mean that a person won’t experience difficulty or distress. People who have suffered major adversity or trauma in their lives commonly experience emotional pain and stress. In fact, the road to resilience is likely to involve considerable emotional distress.

According to the research of psychologist, Susan Kobasa, there are three elements that are essential to resilience.  You can find her full quote and descriptions in an article on www.mindtools.com:

  1. View Difficulty as a Challenge – People who are resilient look at their failures and mistakes as lessons to be learned from, and as opportunities for growth, not as a negative reflection on their abilities or self-worth.
  2. Commitment & Purpose – Those who are resilient are committed to their lives and their goals, and feel they have purpose and a compelling reason to get out of bed in the morning. They commit to their relationships, their friendships, the causes they care about, their religious or spiritual beliefs, and to their work.
  3. Personal Control – Resilient people spend their time and energy focusing on situations and events that they have control over. Because they put their efforts where they can have the most impact, they feel empowered and confident.

10 Ways to Build Your Resilience

The good news is you can learn to develop a resilient mindset and attitude.  Here are some ways to incorporate some resilient behaviors into your daily life:

  1. Learn to relax. When you take care of your mind and body, you’re better able to cope effectively with challenges in your life. Develop a good sleep routine, try out a new exercise or use physical relaxation techniques, like deep breathing or meditation.
  2. Practice thought awareness. Resilient people don’t let negative thoughts derail their efforts. Instead, they consistently practice positive thinking. This means listening to how you talk to yourself when something goes wrong – if you find yourself making statements that are permanent, pervasive or personalized, correct these thoughts in your mind.
  3. Edit your outlook. Practice cognitive restructuring to change the way that you think about negative situations and bad events.
  4. Learn from your mistakes and failures. Every mistake has the power to teach you something important, so look for the lesson in every situation. Also, make sure that you understand the idea of “post-traumatic growth” – often people find that crisis situations, such as a job loss or the breakdown of a relationship, allow them to re-evaluate their lives and make positive changes.
  5. Choose your response. Remember, we all experience bad days and we all go through our share of crises. But we have a choice in how we respond: we can choose to react with panic and negativity, or we can choose to remain calm and logical to find a solution. Your reaction is always up to you.
  6. Maintain perspective. Resilient people understand that, although a situation or crisis may seem overwhelming in the moment, it may not make that much of an impact over the long-term. Try to avoid blowing events out of proportion.
  7. Set some goals for yourself. If you don’t already, learn to set SMART, effective personal goals that match your values, and that can help you to learn from your experiences.
  8. Build your self-confidence. Remember, resilient people are confident that they’re going to succeed eventually, despite the setbacks or stresses that they might be facing. This belief in themselves also enables them to take risks: when you develop confidence and a strong sense of self, you have the strength to keep moving forward, and to take the risks you need to get ahead.
  9. Develop strong relationships. People who have strong connections at work are more resistant to stress, and they’re happier in their role. This also goes for your personal life: the more real friendships you develop, the more resilient you’re going to be, because you have a strong support network to fall back on. (Remember that treating people with compassion and empathy is very important here.)
  10. Be flexible. Resilient people understand that things change, and that carefully-made plans may, occasionally, need to be amended or scrapped.

Building your resilience takes time and practice, like anything else. The Y is here for you on this journey.  Please check out our listing of local resources available as well as give our Y VirtuWell Coaches a call to help you set and establish SMART goals that fit your health priorities.

We all face setbacks in our life. The term resilience (or resiliency) is our ability to adapt and bounce back when things may not go exactly as we had planned. Some of us may appear as if we handle those situations with more grace than others. We may even find ourselves…


December 2, 2021

We’re Better Together – Benefits of Eating Meals Together

Busy lives and schedules are more common than ever these days and finding ways to save time is at the forefront of nearly everyone’s mind. Skipping family mealtimes might sound like the right answer but 30 years of research says differently. Family mealtimes spent together not only have social benefits, but they also have long-term mental and emotional benefits that positively affect children and adults of all ages. Let’s find a seat at the dinner table and start reaping the benefits of sharing a meal with your family!

Benefits of Eating Family Dinners Together

Academic Achievement

  • Studies have shown that preschoolers learned 1,000 more rare words during dinner conversations compared to the 143 words they might be exposed to through reading aloud. And kids who have a larger vocabulary read earlier and more easily.
  • For school-age children, eating together is a more powerful predictor of high achievement scores than time spent at school, doing homework, playing sports, or doing art.
  • Teens who ate family meals 5 to 7 times per week were twice as likely to get A’s in school compared to those who only ate two or fewer meals together.

Lowered High-Risk Behavior

  • Family dinners have been found to be a more powerful deterrent against high-risk teen behaviors than church attendance or good grades. Eating meals together lowers their risk of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and even the likelihood of developing eating disorders.

Mental and Social Health Benefits

  • Eating together is a clear marker of increased mental and social health. It increases self-esteem and resiliency in children and teens and decreases their risk of depression. With anxiety and depression being seen and noted more frequently in children across all age groups, eating meals together is a simple and effective way to curb those risks.
  • In a New Zealand study, the higher frequency of meals was strongly associated with positive moods in adolescents. Other research has shown shared meals can lead to a more positive outlook of the future compared to their peers who do not eat with their parents.

The bottom line?

We understand that mealtime looks different for all families. But sharing a meal together is more than just physically eating together – it provides great opportunities to build and strengthen the relationships between all family members. The power of family mealtime lies in its interpersonal quality – creating a warm, open environment conducive to sharing stories is the key to building stronger, longer-lasting relationships that grow past the dinner table. So, as long as these moments are created within your family, however it fits into your schedule and whatever it looks like for you, the experience can be transformational for everyone involved. So, pull up a chair and get ready to share.

 

Written By: Katie Painter, RDN

kpainter@fcymca.org


References:

https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=why-the-family-meal-is-important-1-701

https://thefamilydinnerproject.org/

https://theconversation.com/science-says-eat-with-your-kids-34573

Busy lives and schedules are more common than ever these days and finding ways to save time is at the forefront of nearly everyone’s mind. Skipping family mealtimes might sound like the right answer but 30 years of research says differently. Family mealtimes spent together not only have social benefits,…


November 22, 2021

Recipe: Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili

Butternut Squash, among other root vegetables are in season this time of year. You can use ground turkey as specified, or add leftover Thanksgiving turkey at the end of the recipe. Try adding some radish as a garnish for an added crunch and a bit more spice.


Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili

Prep/Cook Time:  1 hour          Serves: 6

Nutrition Information:

PER SERVING SIZE
Calories: 310     Protein: 22g     Carbohydrates: 31g  (Fiber: 10g)     Fats:12

Ingredients:

  • 3 teaspoons olive oil 
  • 1 pound 99 percent fat-free ground turkey 
  • 1 medium onion, diced 
  • cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1/4 cup chili powder 
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin 
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander 
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • Kosher salt 
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups) ** 
  • ripe plum tomatoes, chopped 
  • Two 14-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinse
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds 
  • Freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped 
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream 

Instructions:

  1. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven.
  2. Add the turkey and cook, breaking up chunks with the side of a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Push the turkey to the edges of the pan, leaving the middle empty.  
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, then the onion and garlic to the center of the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 3 minutes.  
  4. Add the chili powder, cumin and coriander and stir about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the tomato paste and 1 teaspoon salt and stir until the paste begins to darken in color, about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the squash**, tomatoes and 4 cups water, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any stuck bits.  
  7. Bring to a simmer, adjust the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the chili has thickened and the squash is tender, 35 to 40 minutes.** 
  8. Stir the beans and chia seeds into chili and heat through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Spoon chili into bowls and top with cilantro and a dollop of sour cream. 

**To decrease time of cooking- cook butternut squash in a microwave safe bowl with ½ inch of water covered in plastic wrap. Microwave 5-7 minutes until tender. Add squash to chili. You can also chop or pull leftover Thanksgiving turkey and add to finished chili until heated through.

Butternut Squash, among other root vegetables are in season this time of year. You can use ground turkey as specified, or add leftover Thanksgiving turkey at the end of the recipe. Try adding some radish as a garnish for an added crunch and a bit more spice. Butternut Squash and…


November 15, 2021

Good Food = Good Mood

Have you ever thought about how what you eat may affect your daily mood? Our brains are constantly working and demand approximately 20% of our daily energy needs. There is a direct correlation between our gastrointestinal system and the brain. It is important to take a closer look at our diets as what we eat directly affects the structure and function of our brains, and ultimately our mood.

Diet and Mood Disorders


Multiple studies have been done to support the link between what we eat and our risk of depression and ADHD in children. Major depressive disorder is the most common mood disorder in the U.S. The way we nourish our bodies has become such an important part of mental health; it has even inspired an entire new field of medicine called nutrition psychiatry. There are studies that have compared the Western Diet to other diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, and how they affect mood disorders. These studies found that the risk of depression is 25-35% lower in those who eat a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, fish, and moderate amounts of lean meats and dairy. A different study that involved 120 children and adolescents, showed a higher prevalence of ADHD with the Western diet, which consists of fast food, sugar, refined foods, and sugar-sweetened beverages.

Fast Sugar vs. Slow Sugar

Fast-release carbohydrates, or high glycemic index foods (we will call them “fast sugar” foods), release glucose faster into the bloodstream, which causes spike in blood sugar levels. Slow-release carbohydrates, or low glycemic index foods (we will call them “slow sugar” foods), provide a slower and more sustained release of energy. Therefore, fast sugars digest quicker and absorb in the brain faster than slow sugars, which cause overall lower concentration levels. High blood sugar levels cause decline in brain function which lead to learning deficiencies and weak memory/cognitive functions.

Foods for Better Brain Function

Nuts &Seeds

Almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds all provide magnesium, which helps with anxiety. They also provide tryptophan (an amino acid) that helps produce serotonin (happy hormone) in the brain. Reduced serotonin levels ultimately can lead to increased stress, anxiety and depression. *Quick tip: Vitamin B6 (found in chicken, turkey, eggs, spinach, carrots, peanuts, amongst other foods) works with tryptophan to help relax our bodies and helps with memory loss.

Dark Chocolate

Has antioxidants that increase blood flow to the brain and helps improve memory. Look for bars with at least 70% cacao or more, as they will guarantee less additives like sugar and cream.

Coconut

Contains “good fat” that helps enhance focus, eliminate fatigue, and boost mood. Also provides amino acids, which help fuel neurotransmitters in the brain to boost serotonin levels that stabilize mood, promote focus and prevent depression.

Fatty Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids also contain “good fat” that has been linked to lower levels of depression and enhance brain development. Experts recommend most adults get at least 250-500 mg per day. Salmon and albacore tuna are good sources, while a 3.5 ounce of salmon provides 2,260 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.

Fermented Foods

Kimchi, yogurt, kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut are all fermented foods that allow live bacteria to thrive, which create probiotics. Probiotics support the growth of healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal system and may increase serotonin levels. Up to 90% of the body’s serotonin is produced by the gut microbiome, which affects mood, stress response, appetite and sexual drive.

 

Written By: Jessica Ortiz, RD, LDN
jortiz@fcymca.org


References:

https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0719p10.shtml
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626

https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-gut-brain-connection

https://www.drfuhrman.com/library/what_does_sugar_do_to_the_brain.aspx

Have you ever thought about how what you eat may affect your daily mood? Our brains are constantly working and demand approximately 20% of our daily energy needs. There is a direct correlation between our gastrointestinal system and the brain. It is important to take a closer look at our…


November 1, 2021

Fall Weather Fun for Families

Evidence shows that time spent outdoors in green spaces reduces stress and allows kids to connect to nature and build social skills. To help you take advantage of beautiful fall days, here are some of the Y’s favorite activity ideas for school-age kids:

  1. Create a Nature Journal
  2. Build piles of leaves…and jump into them!
  3. Try the Principles of Flight Challenge
  4. Create a nature collage (remember to only pick things from the ground!)
  5. Try Alphabet Yoga
  6. Draw fall scenes with sidewalk chalk
  7. Take a field trip to the local park, farm or zoo
  8. Try Site Word Island Hopping
  9. Create a leaf (or all-things nature) scavenger hunt
  10. Create a Pine Cone Bird Feeder
  11. Have a group picnic
  12. Enjoy outside reading time
  13. Create Autumn Leaf Sun Catchers
  14. Play Eye Spy
  15. Host a Parachute Challenge
  16. Plan, write and perform an outdoor play
  17. Any of these Simple Outdoor STEM Activities (only if the weather permits!)

Don’t forget to slather on the sunscreen, too!

Evidence shows that time spent outdoors in green spaces reduces stress and allows kids to connect to nature and build social skills. To help you take advantage of beautiful fall days, here are some of the Y’s favorite activity ideas for school-age kids: Create a Nature Journal Build piles of…


October 14, 2021

Recipe: Pumpkin Mousse

When fall hits in Florida, you may start to feel a cool breeze and change in the air. You may also start feeling the urge to visit those picturesque pumpkin patches. Pumpkins are a symbol that fall is here, not to mention they are in season August through October, so there is no better time to enjoy your favorite pumpkin treat.

If you are craving that pumpkin flavor, check out this easy crowd-pleasing pumpkin mousse recipe.


Pumpkin Mousse

Serves: 8          Prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 small packages of instant sugar-free vanilla pudding
  • 2 cups of no-fat (skim) milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 15 ounce can of pumpkin
  • 8 ounces of fat-free Cool Whip

Preparation

  1. Prepare instant pudding according to package directions.
  2. Stir in pumpkin spice.
  3. Fold in cool whip and pumpkin.
  4. Serve chilled and garnish with an extra dash of pumpkin spice!

When fall hits in Florida, you may start to feel a cool breeze and change in the air. You may also start feeling the urge to visit those picturesque pumpkin patches. Pumpkins are a symbol that fall is here, not to mention they are in season August through October, so there…


October 7, 2021

Hispanic Heritage Month – Spice up your plate!

National Hispanic Heritage month is observed every year from September 15th to October 15th to acknowledge the contributions of those American citizens of Central and South American, Mexican, Caribbean and Spanish descent.

During these 4 weeks, we celebrate Hispanic history, culture and community in many different ways. One way to learn more and celebrate the Hispanic culture is through food!


Typical Hispanic Foods

The Hispanic community includes Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Tropical and exotic spices, herbs and condiments designate a lot of our foods by giving them their unique taste that varies from country to country. Some of the most popular Hispanic foods include tacos, fajitas, ceviche, paella, tamales, empanadas, and arroz con pollo (rice and beans). While these dishes are best known in North America, Hispanic countries offer a plethora of flavorful meals that are not only delicious to the palate but provide several beneficial nutrients to our bodies.

Healthy Hispanic Ingredients

There are several ingredients featured in Hispanic dishes that offer health benefits, while others consumed in moderation allow us to enjoy and celebrate the Hispanic culture through food.

  • Avocados

    Avocados are a good source of vitamins C, E, K and B6, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium and potassium. They also provide antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Their high levels of healthy fat can help you feel fuller between meals and in moderation can be used to maintain appropriate cholesterol levels.

  • Beans

    Beans are a vegetarian protein source packed with fiber, iron, folate and antioxidants. With many varieties: black beans, red beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, navy beans, and black-eyed peas, this powerhouse food aids in protecting the body from free radicals that can cause cancer, can prevent neural tube defects in the fetus during pregnancy, and lower blood glucose levels or even prevent diabetes.

  • Papayas

    Papaya is a fruit that contains potassium, folic acid, antioxidants and more vitamin C than an orange. This orange fruit boosts immune system and helps fight off inflammation, as well as improves digestion and helps prevent heart disease.

  • Cilantro

    Cilantro is an herb that often gets confused with parsley, but has a distinct flavor that enhances a variety of dishes. It is a great source of antioxidants, reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

  • Plantains

    A plantain is a fruit that looks like a big banana. It can be consumed in any stage of ripeness, and is rich in carbohydrates and a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamins A, C and B6. The resistant starch supports gut health. Disadvantages: Many times, this delicious fruit is cooked in ways that can come with unnecessary amounts of sodium or fat.

  • Chiles

    Better known as chili peppers, chiles help reduce inflammation in the body through an active component called capsaicin. In addition, they are a good source of vitamins C, B6, K, A, potassium, and a powerful antioxidant that has been used for wound healing and immune function.


Celebrate Hispanic Heritage by trying out this healthy recipe!

https://www.eatrightlahidan.org/lahidan/recipes/avocado-white-bean-dip

References

National Hispanic Heritage month is observed every year from September 15th to October 15th to acknowledge the contributions of those American citizens of Central and South American, Mexican, Caribbean and Spanish descent. During these 4 weeks, we celebrate Hispanic history, culture and community in many different ways. One way to…


September 30, 2021

What’s Really In Your Pumpkin Spice Latte

“I’ll have a pumpkin spice latte, please.”
If you frequent coffee shops, you’ll probably hear this phrase more than a few times over the next several months. The infamous “PSL” is the most popular seasonal drink around, but do you know what is really in it?

According to How Stuff Works, your favorite caffeinated beverage could be loaded with calories. If you drink black coffee or coffee with low-fat milk only, you don’t need to worry much about calorie intake. But, if you regularly consume some of the “fancier” coffee beverages, you may want to take a closer look at the calorie count. Any beverages with whole milk, whipped cream or flavored syrups will add lot of calories. Here are some examples:

  • A McDonald’s large mocha has 400 calories.
  • The Venti White Chocolate Mocha at Starbucks contains 580 calories.
  • A Dunkin’ Donuts frozen cappuccino with whole milk has a whopping 610 calories.

Serving Size Matters

Let’s take a closer look at our beloved pumpkin spice latte. First thing to decide on is the size of our drink. The size will affect calories, sugar and caffeine consumed. At Starbucks, did you know you can order a 8oz (called a ‘Short’), 12oz (called a ‘Tall’), 16oz (called a ‘Grande’), and a 20oz (called a ‘Venti’)?

Now, let’s compare Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte to a regular flavored latte from your local coffee house. For this we will go straight to the source, Starbucks. For comparisons sake, we will choose the Short Pumpkin Spice Latte, which is 8oz, contains 210 calories, 27 grams of sugar and 75 mg of caffeine. This is in comparison to other flavored lattes that have an average of 134 calories and 63 mg of caffeine.

If you are concerned about calories or sugar content, you may want to treat those specialty drinks as an occasional indulgence. For your daily cup of joe, opt for skim milk and “just say no” to whipped cream and flavored sugary syrups.

Coffee Characteristics

Not all coffees are created equal. The caffeine content of coffee can vary depending on several characteristics. If you are drinking your favorite flavored beverage for the jolt of caffeine you may want to check out these factors:

  • Type of coffee beans: There are many varieties of coffee beans available, which may naturally contain different amounts of caffeine.
  • Roasting: Lighter roasts have more caffeine than darker roasts, although the darker roasts have a deeper flavor.
  • Type of coffee: The caffeine content can vary significantly between regularly brewed coffee, espresso, instant coffee and decaf coffee.
  • Serving size: “One cup of coffee” can range anywhere from 30–700 ml (1–24 oz), greatly affecting the total caffeine content.

Regardless of your choice when you step up to the counter to order, we most importantly want you to be aware of what you are consuming. And if all this talk about pumpkin spice lattes has created the urge to have one, check out this article from Health and learn how to create your very own PSL at home.


Want to learn more?

Check out How Many Calories Are In Coffee? and How Much Caffeine in a Cup of Coffee? A Detailed Guide from Healthline to see the breakdown of both caffeine and calorie content in your favorite flavored specialty coffee drinks.

“I’ll have a pumpkin spice latte, please.” If you frequent coffee shops, you’ll probably hear this phrase more than a few times over the next several months. The infamous “PSL” is the most popular seasonal drink around, but do you know what is really in it? According to How Stuff…