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October - Get enough Sleep
Did you know your
brain is very active during sleep?
- Since your brain is very active it is extremely important
to achieve adequate sleep. Not only is adequate sleep important
for our brains at night but it will also help us function
better during the day.
- In a typical night there are five stages of sleep and
we will continually move in and out of these stages. The
last stage which is often referred to as REM sleep occurs
two hours after falling asleep and is the period of deepest
sleep and it’s where our dreams originate from.
- Various foods and medicines can affect our brain and
alter the way we enter in and out of the sleep cycle. Caffeine
in coffee, tea, and soda will keep us awake as well as certain
medications like decongestants, diet pills and antidepressants
– they tend to stimulate our brain preventing certain
cycles of sleep to occur or make them occur too quickly.
- When you lose sleep it affects your everyday well-being.
Sleep loss can make you more irritable and stressed. When
you get a full nights rest, that sleep will help your memory
and learning, help fight infection, make you feel refreshed
||Hours of Sleep
|Birth - 2 months
||10.5 - 18
|2 - 12 Months
||14 - 15
|12 - 18 Months
||13 - 15
|18 Mo - 3 Years
||12 - 14
|3 - 5 Years
||11 - 13
|5 - 12 Years
||9 - 11
||8.5 - 9.5
||7 - 9
Snack on Healthy Foods
Snacking is important in a healthy diet and helps keep our
metabolism steady throughout the day. Choosing nutritious
options between meals can prevent overeating, help us meet
our dietary needs, and improve concentration. However, it
is important to choose healthy snacks, or “everyday
foods”, that will provide these benefits. These items
include fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat milk, cheese
or yogurt, and whole grains. Although all foods can fit into
a balanced diet, keeping the “sometimes foods”
to a minimum will create healthy eating habits. Chips, cookies,
candy, soda, juice, and fast food are under the “sometimes
foods” since they are high in fat, sugar, and calories
and low in nutrients.
Read Labels: Portion size is another aspect
to keep in mind and by reading labels, one serving size can
easily be determined. Keeping to these set amounts will provide
the nutrients needed to fill us up until the next meal while
making sure overeating does not occur.
plates and bowls: By putting food either on a plate
or in a bowl makes it easier to keep track of how much has
been eaten and to stop after one serving. Eating out of a
bag or carton makes it difficult to control how much food
Keep health snacks visible: Having healthy
food visible and easily available will increase the likelihood
it will be chosen as a snack. After the grocery store, cut
up items such as watermelon, pineapple, and cantaloupe to
make it easier to grab later on. Keep a fruit basket full
of bananas, apples, oranges, or any other fruit in the middle
of the table so it is always visible.
Continue offering new foods: Kids are naturally
resistant to foods and it can take
up to 10 times for a child to enjoy it! Make sure to offer
new foods, and continue with the same food since it may take
awhile. Be a good role model and eat these foods yourself.
Also, by allowing children to choose a unique item they have
never eaten before, they will be more willing to try it.
Healthy Snack Ideas
- Fresh fruit and vegetables – add low-fat dips and
peanut butter on occasion
- Whole grain cereals either dry or with low-fat milk
- Smoothies with frozen fruit, low-fat yogurt, and ice
- Trail mix with unsalted nuts, dried fruit, pretzels, and
mini chocolate chips
- Slice up fresh fruit and make fruit kebobs
- Low-fat string cheese
cakes with peanut butter
CHALK. (n.d.). Snack on healthy foods. Retrieved from http://chalkcenter.org/habits-en.html?language=en
University of Florida IFAS Extension. (2010, May). Raising
healthy children: the role of snacking. Retrieved from http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1154.
Why Fruits and Vegetables?
Fruits and vegetables come in different shapes,
sizes, colors, textures and flavors. But one thing they have
in common is that they can help you live a healthier, longer
life! Fruits and vegetables contain:
- Fiber- Good for maintaining a healthy weight, reducing
disease risk and keeping the digestive system regular
- Folate- Especially important for pregnant women (prevents
- Potassium- Helps maintain a healthy blood pressure level
- Vitamin A- Helps eyes and skin, can also prevent certain
- Vitamin C- Good for healing wounds and keeping healthy
teeth and gums (CDC, 2011)
Many fruits and vegetables are low in calories, sodium and
fat. They have no cholesterol, and their sugar is all-natural.
In addition, people who eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables
have a lower risk of many diseases, including stroke, cardiovascular
disease and cancer. Eating fruits and vegetables can help
you feel fuller longer with less calories, and help you reach
or maintain a healthy weight.
How Much is Enough?
My Plate tells us that half of our plate at meals should
be fruits and vegetables:
The idea of filling up half your plate with
fruits and vegetables at meals is a great visual. You can
also remember “strive for five”. The recommended
number of servings of fruits and vegetables in a day is 5-9
servings. A serving can be:
- 1 medium sized piece of fruit
- 1 cup of chopped fruit
- 2 cups leafy greens (such as spinach)
- 1 cup cooked vegetables
- 1 cup raw vegetables
- 6 ounces vegetable juice
- 4 ounces fruit juice
Fresh, cooked, frozen, dried and canned varieties are all
different options towards your total, as well as juice. Look
for frozen fruit and vegetables that does not come with a
sauce high in fat, sugar, or sodium. Canned vegetables can
be high in sodium, so it is a good idea to drain the liquid
and rinse them if possible. With canned fruit, the fruit may
be packed in a sugary syrup or juice, so draining the liquid
is a good idea as well. Dried fruit (such as raisins) may
be coated in sugar- make sure to read the labels. Finally,
try to choose the actual fruit or vegetable instead of the
juice, as the juices can be high in sugar or salt.
Adding More to Your Day
If you are falling short of the guidelines for fruits and
vegetables, there are tips you can try to increase the amount
- Keep fresh fruit and vegetables cut up as a grab and
go snack, or pieces of whole fruit (bananas, apples, oranges)
in a bowl on the counter where you can see it
- Keep a checklist of how many servings of fruits and vegetables
you eat in a day
- When baking, add dried fruit (such as cranberries or
raisins) to sneak some extra flavor and fruit
- Use a new or different vegetable in place of another
in a favorite recipe. For example, some people will add
steamed cauliflower to mashed potatoes.
- When shopping for groceries, pick up an unfamiliar piece
of fruit or vegetable to try.
- Exchange recipes that contain fruits and vegetables with
friends- or have a fruit and vegetable potluck dinner
- Add pieces of fruit or vegetables to your salads. They
make a flavorful topping without adding extra calories
- Keep frozen vegetables in your freezer that you can toss
into soup, casseroles or salads.
- Add fruit to your morning meal- cut up pieces to put
into oatmeal, cereal, or pancakes
- If you have room, start a small vegetable or herb garden
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2011).
Fruits and Veggies Matter. Retrieved from http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/index.html
Drink Water Instead of Soda or Juice
Why More Water and Less Soda and Juice?
Fruit juice can be beneficial in a balanced diet, but it
is important to limit the amount consumed. Although this drink
has vitamins and minerals, it has extra sugar and does not
contain fiber that is found in whole fruit. Fiber is the nutrient
that causes our bodies to feel full for a longer period of
time, which decreases the overall amount we eat during the
day. Since we do not become full from drinking juice or soda,
it can many times lead to weight gain. If you drink lots of
fruit juice, you may get too many calories and store the excess
energy as extra pounds. In general, choose whole fruit over
fruit juice since it will provide vitamins, minerals, and
fiber without the extra sugar.
Why Does My Body Need Water?
- Water makes up about 60% of your body weight!
- Water is needed for every system in your body.
- Toxins are flushed out of our organs with water.
- Helps to lubricate joints.
- Water regulates body temperature.
- Constipation is helped though adequate hydration.
- Water carries important nutrients and oxygen to the cells
in our bodies.
How Much Do I Need?
The amount of fluids needed everyday varies on the individual,
but the general recommendation is 13 cups for men and 9 cups
for women. It is important to keep in mind this includes all
sources of fluid such as milk, tea, and other beverages as
well as the foods we eat, especially fruits such as watermelon
and tomatoes. Everyday, our bodies lose fluid through breathing,
perspiration, and excretions so it is necessary to replenish
what we lose to keep our bodies functioning. If we do not
replace the water that is lost, dehydration may occur. Many
times this can lead to headaches and a decrease in energy.
Rethink Your Drink!
- Carry a water bottle and refill it during the day.
- Serve water with all meals.
- Spice it up! Add lemon, lime, cucumber, or watermelon
slices to plain water for extra flavor.
- Choose water, diet, or low-calorie beverages instead of
- If you do drink juice make sure it is 100% fruit juice,
not a fruit drink or cocktail.
- If you choose to drink a soda, go for a small cup at a
restaurant or purchase 8-oz. cans at the store for easy
- Moderate exercise does not require sports drinks to restore
electrolytes. Instead, try diluting the beverage to get
the flavor without the added calories.
- Be a role model for friends and family by drinking your
Mayo Clinic Staff. (n.d.). Water: how much should you drink
everyday? Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/water/NU00283
Dorchester Department of Health. (n.d.). The health benefits
of water. Retrieved from http://www.dorchesterhealth.org/water.htm
Why be physically active everyday?
- Strengthening activities like pushups, sit-ups, lifting
weights, and yoga helps build strong muscles.
- Activities that use body weight like running, walking,
lifting, pushups, or playing sports helps keep bones strong.
- Aerobic activity like walking, running, swimming, biking,
dancing, or playing fast-paced sports helps strengthen your
heart and lungs.
- Group activities like playing sports, dancing, and working
out at a gym or community center strengthen social bonds.
Benefits of Physical activity:
- Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Being outdoors in the sun and fresh air may increase
- Physical activity helps burn extra calories and will
help you maintain a healthy weight.
- Being active produces endorphins that help relieve stress.
- Activity during the day can help you relax and sleep
better at night.