Fruit and Veggie Month is Here
September is fruit and veggie month, so now is the perfect time to examine your fruit and veggie intake. Most people are unsure of how many fruits and vegetables they should consume each day or are confused by specific serving sizes. How do you know whether you and your family are getting enough fruits and veggies?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate graphic is designed to help people choose the proper portion sizes for each food group at mealtimes. According to MyPlate guidelines, you should fill up half of your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal. Making fruits and veggies the focal point of your plate will ensure that you and your family are eating healthier and consuming as many fruits and veggies as possible each day.
Understanding Food Expiration Dates
Did you know that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate food expiration dates? And, several different types of expiration dates appear on food products, which can add to the confusion about how long food is safe to eat. Some commonly used food label dates include:
- “Sell By” Date: This date indicates how long a food product should be displayed on store shelves.
- “Use By”/”Best if Used By” Date: Manufacturers use this date to indicate how long a food product will maintain its optimal taste and texture.
- Expiration Date: This date indicates how long a food product is safe to eat.
Storing Food in the Refrigerator
When storing food in the refrigerator, it is important to remember that some foods spoil more quickly than others. Here are some general timelines for how long certain popular foods can safely be stored in the fridge.
Baked Chicken with Veggies
This hearty meal is rich in healthy vegetables and lean protein.
- 4 potatoes, sliced
- 6 carrots, sliced
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 1 chicken, cut into pieces, skin removed
- ½ cup water
- 1 tsp. Thyme
- 1 tsp. pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place potatoes, carrots and onions in a large roasting pan. Place chicken on top of the vegetables.
Mix together the water, thyme and pepper. Pour the mixture over the chicken and vegetable
Bake for one hour or until the chicken is browned and tender. Periodically, while the chicken is cooking, spoon the juices over the chicken.
Yield: 6 servings. Each serving provides 240 calories, 3.5 g of fat, 1 g of saturated fat, 130 mg of sodium, 26 g of protein and 4 g of fiber.
I almost never have a problem falling asleep. But, when I wake up in the middle of the night (which happens more, the older I get), I often have had a hard time falling back to sleep.
I know the reason—too much on my mind. As soon as I start thinking about things, my sleep is sabotaged.
I recently attended a wellness seminar, at work, on sleeping better. Thoughts aren’t the only cause of poor sleep. Behaviors lead to poor sleep as well.
Here is what I learned:
Blood Pressure Readings Demystified
Although most people have their blood pressure measured at the doctor’s office once a year, many people aren’t sure what the numbers mean in relation to their overall health. However, blood pressure readings are easy to understand if you know the blood pressure basics.
A blood pressure reading consists of the measurements of two kinds of blood pressure: systolic pressure, which is the pressure in your arteries when your heart muscle contracts, and diastolic pressure, which is the pressure in your blood when your heart rests between beats. These two types of pressure are measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). A blood pressure measurement has systolic pressure listed first and diastolic pressure listed second.
A blood pressure reading of 120/80 mm Hg is considered normal. But, even if you have normal blood pressure, it is important to take preventive measures in order to decrease your risk of developing problems in the future. Typically, systolic pressure tends to rise once you are over 50. The best course of action at any age is to maintain a healthy weight through a nutritious diet and an active lifestyle.
There may be cause for concern if your systolic measurement is between 120 and 139 mm Hg, or if your diastolic measurement is between 80 and 89 mm Hg. While these levels are not considered high, you may have prehypertension—which is a sign that you may need to adopt healthier habits.
A blood pressure reading of 140/90 mm Hg is considered high. Generally, if you have high blood pressure, you may also be diagnosed with hypertension. Hypertension significantly increases your chances of heart disease and stroke. Depending on which stage of hypertension you are in, your doctor may prescribe medication in addition to asking you to lose weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle.