Halloween is just around the corner and candy has been flying off the shelves for weeks now. However, even though candy is a huge part of Halloween these days, we have some tips on how to create a healthier Halloween for you and your family.
Planning on hosting a Halloween party? Try integrating fruits and veggies into your snack list. People can’t resist eating something that is creative and cute. Use a sharpie and draw faces on clementines’ to make yourself some little Jack o lanterns. Take some pretzel sticks and place them into half a cheese stick. Then pull some of the cheese stick apart at the ends and now you have tiny broomsticks! Dip some strawberries in white chocolate and use tiny chocolate chips to create a face. Now you have ghosts for dessert! There are such easy and creative tricks to have some healthier snacks at your party. See some more creations that will bring a smile to both adults and kids faces here.
Trick or treaters do not just have to walk away with a bag full of candy. Nowadays there are several kids that have severe food allergies so not only will these ideas be food allergy safe but they will also be a healthy alternative to all the other candy they will be getting.
Here are some ideas of non-food items that could make a great alternative to candy on Halloween:
- Sunglasses with animal print on them
- Glow in the dark bracelets
- Bouncy balls
- Temporary tattoos
- Mini containers of play-dough
- Fake teeth
- Check out more ideas here
Make it a challenge to provide at least one healthy option for you trick or treaters this Halloween. Even if the kids may not love it over candy, their parents will sure thank you for it later!
Feature photo by Thad Zajdowicz
It is that time of the year again to break out the tissues and cold and flu medicine. It is the start of cold and flu season! This year, there a few new changes as well as important reminders to keep in mind as we enter into this new season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just came out with a new 2016-2017 recommendations to not get the nasal flu vaccination, which was a very popular method of vaccinating last year. The flu, or influenza virus, has a tendency to change its viral structure. Some people believe that once you have had the flu you become immune from contracting the flu in the future. However, even if this was somewhat true, the viral structure or strain of the flu changes so frequently it is unlikely that anyone is immune from the flu at all. Some of this year’s flu viruses have been assessed and based off the assessments, flu shots (compared to nasal vaccination) will be more accurate and a stronger source of flu prevention this season.
There has been talk in the past about individuals with egg allergies getting the flu shot, since some flu vaccines have eggs within their ingredients. This year the CDC is saying that individuals who have had mild reactions to the flu shot (i.e. hives) should get the recommended flu shot. Individuals who have more serious reactions to the shot (i.e. angioedema, becoming dizzy/lightheaded or the need for an epinephrine) should still receive the flu shot but they should receive it in an inpatient or outpatient (i.e. hospital, clinic, local doctor’s office) medical environment. That way if serious reactions occur, medical professionals can deal with it right then and there. However, whether or not you have mild or serious allergic reactions to eggs, it is important to notify the individual who is giving you your vaccine of your egg allergy. Have an egg allergy? Read more about this change here.
Last year (2015) the flu season started later than usual and did not peak until December. This year we have already entered the flu season and it is the second week of October. It is recommended for everyone to get a flu shot, especially children and the elderly before the end of October. If you need to know where you can get one, check out this link to find a flu vaccine near you.
Besides getting a flu shot, make sure to wash your hands regularly and stay home when you are feeling sick. The common cold is one of the biggest gateways for contracting the flu. The cold may seem like no big deal but colds can suppress your immune system greatly making it easy for other viruses, such as the flu, to enter your body. If you are a supervisor at work encourage employees to stay home when they don’t feel well. Colds can last up to two weeks without proper care. This is two weeks where a cold can spread to other individuals and weaken your immune system for longer. Don’t be afraid to call out of work for the cold, everyone will thank you for it later!
Want to learn more about preventing colds and flu? Check out these links:
CDC – Common Colds
CDC – Flu
Feature photo by Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Most people do not like to work out because it does not fit into their schedule. However, what about working out for 30 minutes at a higher intensity? Thirty minute, high intensity workouts are just as intense as working out for a longer period of time. In fact, they might even be more efficient as you are likely to take more breaks or not work out at such high intensity for a longer period of time. A high intensity interval training (HIIT) routine is the perfect way to fit workout in your schedule as well as help get your fitness level up.
Studies have shown that interval training can help burn more fat and increase your fitness level. HIIT is a combination of short bursts of energy, to get your heart rate going, and periods of rest (10-30 seconds) or low intensity (30 seconds -1 minute). HIIT is perfect for all individuals. It is easy to modify any routine to fit any fitness level. The most important thing to remember when doing a HIIT is to keep moving! If you feel that you won’t last the remaining 30 seconds of your jumping jack set, that’s okay just do a modification of a jumping jack or jog in place. The point of the routine is to keep moving for 30 minutes.
Check out this great article for getting started with making your own HIIT routine. Remember, modifications of exercises are okay! How do you find them? Write modification in front of any exercise name in google or YouTube for videos and articles on a variety of modifications. Don’t forget to change up your routine once in a while. Once you are used to adding a 30 minute HIIT into your schedule, change the routine every other day so you can really reach your full potential!
If you just can’t find 30 minutes in your day, try getting in three 10 minute workouts or walks throughout your day. This will be the perfect way to take your breaks at work as well. Walking after you eat can help your digestion and sugar levels as well as burn some calories. Try and take a walk after breakfast, after lunch and dinner. No one likes working right after they eat so a quick walk will help clear the mind, get your exercise in and help you digest. It is a win-win situation.
Feature photo by Tony Alter
One fall vegetable that people love to eat but hardly ever like to make on their own, because it can be difficult, is Butternut Squash. The skin on the butternut squash can be difficult to peel and the seeds and strings can be stubborn when you try to scoop them out. However, preparing butternut squash by yourself is rewarding in several ways. The meal becomes healthier, you enjoy it more since you put more hard work into making it and it saves you money!
Buying a butternut squash can save you a few dollars. A whole butternut squash can range from 23 cents to $1 per pound while the pre-cut butternut squash can be $3 to $5 per bag (usually 1 to 1.5 pounds in a bag). Sometimes the bags can add extra preservatives to make the squash last longer. Buying a whole, fresh butternut squash can eliminate some of those unwanted ingredients.
To help save you money and encourage you to make a homemade butternut squash meal, we have found a helpful trick! In two steps, the peel becomes easier to remove and the seeds and strong slip right out! All you have to do is stab the squash with a fork and then microwave it! Click here for more instructions.
To get you into the kitchen and working with butternut squash, here are some delicious recipes for you to try out:
- Love chickpeas? Try out this Curry-Roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpeas Recipe.
- Crispy Butternut Squash Spinach Salsa with Bacon-Shallot Vinaigrette can be the perfect side dish or meal!
- Soup tastes even better when it is homemade and not out of a can! Try this Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup.
- Need something a little hardier? Try this Butternut Squash Risotto with Parmesan. It is super easy to make, delicious and quick!
Since the rain is here it is the perfect time to stay in your kitchen and try out some of the recipes! Enjoy!
Feature photo by bea & txema & alan