Are your children going trick-or-treating this year? 41 million children will go door to door collecting candy this Halloween, according to the US Census Bureau.
Before you step out the door, consider some of these scary stats…
- Consumers spend over $2 billion dollars each year on Halloween candy, according to the National Confectioners Association.
- The average child collects between 3500 calories and 7000 calories worth of candy on Halloween according to Dr. Donna Arnett, chair of the Department of Epidemiology in the University of Alabama at Birmingham's School of Public Health.
- 90% of parents sneak candy from their kids’ trick-or-treating stash.
- Americans consume 24.7 pounds of candy each year.
Whoa! Don't let these frightening facts ruin your family's Halloween fun though. Here are some tips for Halloween moderation for your children:
- After your child goes trick-or-treating, have them sort their stash into two piles – favorites and not-so-favorites. Allow them to choose 1 small piece from the favorites pile each day or two, and toss or donate the other pile.
- Keep the remaining candy somewhere out of sight, and you might be surprised at how many children forget about the remaining candy after a few days.
- Don’t let candy be a substitute for normal, nutritious snacks and meals.
- Consider trading in the candy at a “buy-back” event. Participating dentists will “buy” children’s candy in exchange for cash, prizes, or coupons for goods at local businesses. The dentists then donate the candy to Operation Gratitude to support U.S troops.
- Or be the “Halloween Fairy!” After your kids choose 5 or 10 candies they want to keep, have them put the rest in a bag on their door handle when they go to sleep. At night, exchange the candy for a small gift.
And don’t forget about your own eating patterns! Avoid dipping into the candy stash every day. Just two fun-size treats each day could lead to a one or two pound weight gain over a month. That being said, it’s completely fine to indulge in a few small treats on Halloween night – enjoy them, and then be done with the confectionary craze!
I had planned on sharing photos and stories from the Milton Monster Dash today – a 5K supporting the Milton Foundation for Education
. I would’ve never expected this Halloween themed race to be cancelled due to a snowstorm! Living in Massachusetts, we are used to snowy winters. But a major snowstorm before Halloween?
The storm hit the Northeast yesterday through this morning, leaving some regions with 1 to 2 feet of snow. In Mansfield (shown below), we ended up with several inches – but drive a little further west or north, and they have a solid 10 or 11 inches.
Did you know snow shoveling burns major calories?! A 155 pound person shoveling snow for a half hour burns around 200 calories. While shoveling, remember to use your legs to help power the shoveling. Bending directly from the back can cause pain and injuries – instead, bend your legs in a squat position and avoid stressing your back too much. A good workout and knocking out a chore in one shot? Sounds good to me!
And of course, don’t forget the other fun ways to burn calories in the snow – building a snowman, an old-fashioned snowball fight, and sledding!
How much snow did you get this weekend? Did you burn any calories shoveling or playing?
With Halloween only a few days away, you’ve probably been seeing the stores stocked with candy and baked treats. But why not add a healthy twist to your Halloween activities by cooking with pumpkin?
Pumpkin is low in fat and calories (only 50 calories per half cup) and is an excellent source of Vitamin A, which is essential for healthy eyesight. A half cup of pumpkin also provides about 3 grams of fiber for digestive health.
Most of us are familiar with using canned pumpkin for pumpkin pie, but did you know you can add this to many other foods as well? For example, you can add some canned pumpkin to whole wheat pancake mix for a fall version of your favorite breakfast. Or create an autumn vegetable lasagna with pumpkin, butternut squash, and greens! And of course, pumpkin breads and soups are other delicious options.
I teach some elementary school nutrition classes, and this week we made a healthier version of pumpkin pie with the kids. The students loved making this together. This recipe provides calcium and Vitamin D from the fat free milk and plenty of Vitamin A from the canned pumpkin. Try this sweet treat with your kiddos this weekend!
Power-me-up Pumpkin Treat
1 packages of instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups of fat free milk
½ of a 15 oz. can of pumpkin (just plain canned pumpkin – not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tsp of cinnamon
Pour the pudding mix and milk in a bowl and whisk together for a few minutes. Add the canned pumpkin and cinnamon and continue to mix. Let sit for a minute or two – the pudding mix will get thicker. Spread on a graham cracker and enjoy!
1) If you’re shopping for cereals, breads, pastas, or other grain products, look at the ingredients to ensure it is made from a whole grain. Just because bread is brown doesn’t necessarily mean it is made from whole wheat (if you see “enriched wheat flour” as the first ingredient, this means it is a refined grain, not a whole grain).
2) Look for foods that contain 0 grams of trans fat. Remember to also check the ingredients as well, since a food can contain up to half a gram of trans fat and still list 0 grams on the label. Avoid words like “partially hydrogenated oil.”
3) If you’re a fan of frozen meals, be sure to look at the sodium. Many frozen entrees can easily contain half of the day’s total recommended intake. Try to stick to less than 600 milligrams of sodium per serving.
4) Check out the serving size and the servings per container. A lot of “snack size” containers actually contain multiple servings! If you eat the package in one sitting, you may be consuming a lot more calories than you expected.
5) Love coupons? I know I do! But one downside of couponing is the temptation to purchase unhealthy snack items just because you have a great coupon. Look at the labels of the products before you buy a product, and be sure it fits in with your healthy lifestyle goals.
6) And lastly, many of the healthiest choices won’t even have a label – think about your fresh produce and lean meats located around the perimeter of the grocery store!
When you visit the grocery store, do you look at food labels? A new study
done at the University of Minnesota reveals that people actually don’t look at labels as often as they say they do.
Researchers asked 203 people to participate in a computer simulated grocery shopping exercise. The volunteers were shown different food items and asked to indicate whether or not they would normally buy them. For each of the 64 food items, the screen showed a 3 column split – one with a picture of the food, one with a list of the ingredients, and one with the nutrition facts.
After the session, the volunteers were asked to fill out a survey about whether they looked at the Nutrition Facts label and what information they searched for on the label. About 1/3 of people reported almost always looking at the calorie and fat content of the foods they chose.
Here comes the interesting part: the computer system actually had an eye tracking device that tracked the participants’ movements as they looked at the different foods. This device found that only 9% looked at calorie counts for all the items, while only 1% looked at fat content for all the items.
It isn’t completely bad news – most people looked at parts of the labels during some foods of the experiment. But even this might overestimate consumer behavior in the store, when they actually have to pick up and turn the container to view the label (in the computer experiment, the labels were right up front on the screen).
Why is this important? When shopping for foods, there are no doubt tons of choices on the market. Using the food labels can help you make the most nutritious choices for yourself and your family. That being said, many people feel labels can be overwhelming – what do you think? Do you find them useful?
Let me know your thoughts, and I’ll follow up tomorrow with some label reading tips!
Thanks to everyone who has stopped by to take a look at the website and blog over the last few days. The winner of our blog kick-off promotion is….(drumroll please)…..Patti! Congrats to Patti who will be receiving a $10 grocery store gift card. To everyone else, I appreciate all the comments and hope you’ll stick around and continue reading the blog (and don’t worry, I promise there will be more giveaways)!
My first marathon was not in New York, but was actually in Maui! I did it as part of the Train to End Stroke program, which was a fantastic experience. I was able to help fundraise money to support stroke research and education while completing a life-long goal – not to mention being able to see a beautiful new location. The photo below was along the marathon course – 17 miles of which were oceanfront.
Swimming is my strongest discipline in triathlon, and I love it. I’m not the fastest swimmer, but I can keep up with it for a long time. I love going to Walden Pond in the summer – swimming out and back is roughly a mile. And it’s a great workout – if you weigh 150 pounds, you’ll burn approximately 500 to 600 calories per hour swimming freestyle at a moderate pace!
I actually took belly dancing lessons for several years, and performed in a solo performance back in college. It’s a great workout, and I found it to be an exercise that is great at boosting confidence in your body.And I did help run an afterschool running club. It was awesome to see the kids have fun being active and improve over the 10 week program. We were able to get race medals donated from local runners, and gave each child a real race medal at the end of the program – they loved it!
So thank you for being here and getting to know a little more about me. Looking forward to getting to know more about you too – feel free to leave a comment if there is a nutrition question you are dying to ask, an exercise you want to know more about, or anything else that comes to mind!
Kudos to Mayo Clinic for this hilarious and awesome remake of 867-5309/Jenny! Watch for some entertainment and some heart health education.
Are you ready for Food Day? I was just able to write an article over at Examiner
on this topic, and it got me really excited about all the upcoming local events!
After a long hiatus, the country is getting ready to celebrate Food Day on this Monday, October 24. According to the Food Day website, the day was created to “push for healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way.”
Here are a few local events that I wanted to highlight: Best variety of cultures, flavors and a chance at prizes: Dorchester $5 Meal Challenge
On Food Day Eve, the Dorchester Food Co-Op
is holding a $5 meal challenge! If you have a nutritious and delicious meal that you can make for 2 to 4 people on a $5 budget, you can bring it to this event in Dorchester and enter for a chance to win great prizes. Plus, what a great way to get healthy, inexpensive recipes from other talented cooks! Best Boston get-together: Boston Community Sourced Potluck
The Boston Food Day Community Sourced Potluck
invites you to attend a dinner celebrating healthy, sustainable choices on October 24th from 7-10. If you bring a dish to share, you get a discounted admission ticket! Best chance to learn more about the Food Day mission and concepts: Rhode Island Food Council Events
In Providence, the state house will kick off Food Day with the launch of the new Rhode Island Food Council
, a group dedicated to expanding access to healthy, locally-grown food. This even takes place from 10-11am. Later that day, visit URI to hear a review of a comprehensive state food assessment.
Wherever you are located, check out the Food Day
website to search for events by zip code. You should be able to find a variety of events, from supporting policy initiatives to tasting local, healthy foods!
That's me, Chrissy - sure to be your favorite blogging dietitian on the web very soon. I'm excited to have you here, whether you are just checking out the site for the first time, are a client with Inspired Wellness Solutions, or are a friend who is just pumped about the start of this blog.
Each day or two, I'll be here with something new to say. You'll find nutrition information, workout routines, eating tips, recipes, local race highlights, and some of my personal stories along the way (they'll either inspire you or make you laugh hysterically, and hopefully both). And of course, a few contests - who doesn't love free stuff?
So let's kick off the start of this blog right with just that - participate in this contest, and you have a shot at winning a $10 gift card to your choice of Stop and Shop, Shaws, or Whole Foods. And since this post has been a way for you to get to know a little more about me, let's stick with that theme...
Only one of the statements below about me is false, and it's up to you to decide what it is. Leave your answer in the comments before Monday, 10/24/11, and the people who guess correctly will be entered into a random drawing for the gift card. Be sure to check back on Monday to see if your the winner!
- Swimming is my strongest discipline in triathlon.
- I ran my first marathon in New York.
- I have performed a solo in a bellydancing recital.
- I helped run an afterschool running club for inner city children.