SparkPeople Healthy Eating Expert and Community Director
Tanya Jolliffe stays busy balancing work, family, healthy living and volunteering. Tanya earned her dietetics degree, completed a dietetic internship and served as a clinical dietitian in several Cincinnati hospitals before joining SparkPeople. With more than 20 years of nutrition education experience, she never tires of helping people understand the role nutrition plays in reaching their quest to live a healthy lifestyle. Like many of SparkPeople's members, Tanya copes with the influences of medical conditions on her health. Her personal experiences over the last decade fuel her passion to help and encourage others to live their healthiest lives while dealing with medical issues. In addition to her blogging, she also serves as a Community Director for SparkPeople.com, BabyFit.com and SparkTeens.com. Tanya is a member of the American Association of Diabetes Educators and helped edit the e-book The 8-Week Diabetes Weight Loss Challenge. On the home front, Tanya and her husband enjoy hanging out with their two children, working on home improvement projects and serving in their community through a variety of volunteer activities.
More from Tanya:The 8-Week Diabetes Weight Loss Challenge from SparkPeople
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McDonald’s has begun posting calorie information on restaurant menu boards and highlighting items under 400-calories to help people make healthier choices when eating away from home. Other restaurants are choosing to wait for the FDA to set final guidelines before posting calorie information as mandated by the Affordable Care Act.
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With such a large number of high calorie choices available in restaurants, will any of this really make a difference? If you believe the information produced by a leading market research company that tracks consumer foodservice choices, calorie information availability on menu boards will likely not influence order selection on a long-term basis.
There is now a new way for diners to enjoy food in a correct portion size and limit calories while also helping others. But would you be willing to receive a smaller portion while paying the same price?
Back in the 1980s when I was playing high school and college sports, there weren’t a lot of healthy options when my teams would travel to tournaments or meets. Standard options at concession stands included hot dogs, chips, candy, and soda. Back then, bottled water was nowhere in sight. McDonald’s was the typical bus stop choice on the way home because they were the only fast food chain coaches could count on. Meals were burgers that came with fries and a soda. To substitute milk for the soda would cost you extra and courtesy cups for water were the size of three ounce Dixie bathroom cups. Many times my mother would send me off with a snack of nuts and raisins or orange segments to try and balance things out.
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My college volleyball coach selected Wendy’s as her restaurant of choice when we were on the road each weekend because they were the only fast food option back then with a salad bar. Coach didn’t pay for soda, fries or desserts like a Frosty out of the team budget, which helped a little. However, it was still a choice of a hamburger or the salad bar as our meal option. Today we know that not every salad bar is diet-friendly but back then only the nutrition majors like me knew the strategies for salad bar survival.
Unfortunately not that much has changed today. Busy lives continue to make healthy eating a challenge for a young athlete. Weekday practice schedules cause families to grab Food on the Run on their way to the next event. Parents spend weekends sitting at soccer and football fields or ball diamonds causing children options like “walking tacos,” candy or chips from the concession stand or the after game snack provided by a team parent.
With snack food and hectic schedules continuing to influence young athletes for several decades, it isn’t any surprise that an article published online in April for the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that parents tend to be dissatisfied with the healthfulness of food offerings at youth sport settings. Here are some tips to help keep your young athletes active and healthy at the same time.
Our daughter spent this past summer serving customers at our local McDonald's. She observed many patrons trying to make healthier choices by selecting oatmeal for breakfast or skipping the fries at dinner. During her work, she helped McDonald's highlight lower calories options as she promoted options from their new Favorites Under 400 menu.
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To demonstrate their commitment to improved nutrition, McDonald's has published a nutrition progress report for the first time. Now McDonald's has taken another step in information sharing. Learn about important tidbits of information that can help make nutrient wise selections even easier next time you are selecting Food on the Run.
As you know, earlier this year First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the new National School Lunch Program nutrition standards. Since more students eat school lunch compared to school breakfast, schools first started to implement the new standards with school lunches.
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Perhaps your family has incorporated tips that help you pack a nutrient-rich lunch for your children to take to school. Hopefully you have found a month worth of fun and healthy lunch ideas your children enjoy to help take the hassle out of packing school lunches. However, if you have a teenager like mine who doesn't want anything to do with packed lunches anymore, selecting a school lunch may be part of his or her daily routine.
It seems many school districts did major overhauls of their school lunch menu offerings over the summer to improve the nutritional quality offered to students this school year. I know there are many new changes in our son's school. Here is a sample of the types of new school lunch offerings popping up in school districts around the country.
If your teens are like mine, they love to stay up late, are difficult to get up in the morning, and would sleep until noon if you let them. That is what teens do, especially when they are growing. Teens often make difficult choices and trade-offs when trying to allocate time among school, work, extra-curricular activities, friends and family. Many times those choices are at the expense of sleep.
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Studies suggest teens need at least nine hours of sleep each night; however, many are only getting around seven hours a night on average. When sleep is limited on school nights, students can go to school too sleepy to learn. Having trouble staying awake increases the chances of missing important information being taught while also risking the loss of a teacher's respect.
A recent study published online in the journal Child Development reports that teens who stay up late to cram for tests tend to do poorly on the test they studied for because of sleep-related academic problems. Researchers also found that the problem compounds over time as academic rigor increases. Now that teens are back to school, will late-night studying to stay on top of their tough academic schedule sabotage their success? Here are some keys to help your student make the most of their study time and their sleep.
Added salt from the shaker has been a pet peeve of mine since beginning dietitian training in college. I used to go home for a visit and chastise my father as he added salt to his bologna sandwich or lettuce salads before ever tasting them. "Dad, salt is an acquired taste," I would tell him. "Leave the shaker alone for two weeks, and you will be amazed at how your tastes will change related to salty foods." My mother was always grateful for the interventions I attempted. My father would humor me with the nod of his head in agreement while smirking to indicate he did not intend to take my advice.
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Offering the same advice to put away the salt shaker in favor of other flavorful seasoning alternatives while working at the hospital brought some of the same responses. The spouse was glad for the backup while the client would nod in agreement in a way that let me know change was not likely. It was always refreshing to see the occasional client who faced a new change in medical status take the advice to heart.
A few weeks ago, I was excited to read that Boston Market was taking a bold move and removing salt shakers from restaurant tables.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), adult obesity rates have doubled over the past two decades. With more than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) being classified as obese, the nutritional state of our nation is not strong.
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The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has released new information for self –reported obesity rates among states. Colorado (20.7%) wins the prize for the state with the lowest prevalence of obesity while Mississippi (34.9%) has the highest. Overall, adult obesity prevalence across the U.S. in 2011 continues to vary by region. The South has the highest percentage of obesity prevalence (29.5%) while the Western part of the nation has the lowest (24.3%) prevalence. See if your state made the healthiest or the heaviest top 10 list.
Last year the new school lunch guidelines were unveiled including new guidelines for the kind of milk to serve. Since that time, school districts across the country have been putting plans in place for implementation at the start of this school year. We have seen popular restaurants like Domino's get creative to provide cost effective quick serve options that meet the revised USDA guidelines as they seek to expand their business through school lunches.
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Last month, at the School Nutrition Association Conference in Denver, a variety of other companies presented their products in hopes that school districts would include them in their new plans. Jamba Juice was one of those companies and unveiled a new smoothie they developed with the National Dairy Council. The naturally sweetened smoothie contains fruit, fruit juice, and fat-free milk with the goal of providing schools with a nutritious milk option at a reasonable cost-per-serving. Here is how this new smoothie stacks up.
Last month some citizens of New York were a tad overheated for reasons beyond the high temperatures. Public hearings over Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on large size sugary drinks drew an overflow crowd. The mayor is no stranger to ridicule. The New York Times has dubbed him "New York City's nutrition nag." Since taking office the mayor has banned trans fats, required chain restaurants to post calorie information, applied constant pressure to decrease sodium and now wages an ongoing assault on sugary drinks.
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Two recent studies suggest that Bloomberg may be right, that legislation may be necessary for people to improve their health. See if you agree.
Metabolic syndrome has become increasingly common in the United States and paves the way toward obesity and heart disease for millions of people every year. Since these are two of the most common chronic diseases today, making lifestyle modifications are important especially changes in diet and exercise.
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A new study found that stone fruits known as drupes contain compounds that could reduce serious health risks from obesity and inflammation found with metabolic syndrome. Since insulin resistance or diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol abnormalities and abdominal obesity affect millions of people every year, this could be a very important finding. Although lifestyle, genetic predisposition, and diet play an influential role, research findings suggesting diet can be turned into an asset instead of liability provides some hope for those seeking to change their medical condition outcomes.
While it is great that stone fruits can help us reach health goals, they only help if we include them in our diets.
Does the hot and humid weather this summer have you reaching for iced coffee instead of your favorite hot brewed variety? If so, are they having a positive or negative impact on your weight goals? Although an iced coffee can be as simple as brewed coffee over ice (usually around 15 calories as with Starbucks Grande Iced Caffe' Americano), there tend to be many choices and varying degrees of nutritional value when you order them on the run. If you are enjoying frequent iced coffee drinks and having difficulty reaching your weight goals, there could be a connection.
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Typical recommendations when ordering iced coffee drinks and trying to limit calories is to select the smallest size, request skim milk, and hold the whipped or chocolate topping. Sometimes it can be very difficult to remember to keep everything straight when you are trying to order in a hurry. Here is a quick list of nine 16-ounce choices that can help keep you cool while helping to maintain your waistline.
McDonald's has a new online promotion to highlight both its sponsorship of the US Olympic team and its under-400 menu options. Win When USA Wins Gold Olympic promotion. This interactive quiz feature lets you learn more about the healthier options at McDonald's.
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Do you know how many servings of whole grain are contained in the Fruit & Maple Oatmeal? How about how many grams of protein are in the Premium Grilled Chicken Sandwich? You can learn that and more from the new highlighted information. Not everything on the under-400 calorie favorites list are good options -- and most contain a very high amount of sodium. Here are some of the better choices from the new list.
A small study recently published in The Journal of the American Medical Association reviewed the clinical responses of three popular diet regimens in people that had already achieved weight loss. The goal of the study was to not only look at energy expenditure or the amount of calories burned but also evaluating other health markers such as hormone levels, enzymes, blood fats, and insulin sensitivities.
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Study participants were obese or overweight adults between the ages of 18 and 40. Participants all followed the same initial diet for three months then moved to a one-month random rotation through three test diets that each mimicked popular eating plans. The initial three-month diet plan contained 45% of total calories from carbohydrates, 30% from fat, and 25% from protein. This macronutrient composition is consistent with generally accepted ranges that promote adequate intake of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. A month later, each participant began a one-month rotation with one of these popular eating plans.
Disney began focusing on providing healthier kids' meals at their Parks and Resorts beginning back in 2006. Now kids' meals routinely include low-fat milk and carrots unless parents opt out. Disney internal statistics reveal that parents will stick with these healthier side options six out of ten times instead of requesting substitutions. With more than 12 million kids' meals served annually in Disney Parks and Resorts in the U.S. alone, the changes are making a difference in how children are eating. In September of 2010, The Walt Disney Company launched Disney Magic of Healthy Living, a national multimedia initiative to help families raise healthy, happy kids.
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Last month the Walt Disney Company took another step forward in their brand commitment to healthy eating by introducing new food advertising standards. Under Disney's new standards, after 2015 all food and beverage products seeking advertisement, sponsorship, or promotion on any Disney-owned television channels (including Saturday morning programming on Disney owned ABC), radio stations, or Web sites will need to comply with the company's new nutrition criteria for programming targeting children under the age of 12.
By the end of 2012, consumers will also begin seeing the new Mickey Check symbol on Disney-licensed food products. Disney anticipates this tool will help consumers easily identify nutritious choices in stores, online and while visiting Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Disney also updated their nutrition guidelines to reflect current federal standards and recommendations. The new criteria include not only specifics related to calories but also to reducing saturated fat, sodium, and sugar.
Let's take a closer look at the details of the Disney Nutrition Guideline Criteria to see how they stack up nutritionally.
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What do you get when you top vanilla soft serve ice cream with chocolate fudge and caramel sauce? An ice cream sundae of course. Now for a limited time you can top that with hardwood smoked bacon pieces when you visit Burger King and make it a Bacon Sundae!
The bacon and ice cream combination seems to be the new taste sensation of the year. In February, Jack in the Box launched its bacon-flavored milkshake followed by Denny's Maple Bacon Sundae creation. Both were only offered for a limited time and now BK is following suit. It seems that other sweet-salty combinations like Bacon Chocolate Bars, Bacon Maple Cupcakes, and Bacon Lollipops have also become popular.
Burger King didn't just introduce the Bacon Sundae for the summer. They are also featuring other favorites from BBQ pork or chicken sandwiches and sweet potato fries to frozen lemonade for a limited time. Their new It's BBQ Day at Burger King commercial highlights all the best things about summer in America like picnics, lemonade and ice cream to also help get you in the mood. How does the new Burger King Bacon Sundae stack up nutritionally?
Photo by SparkPeople member KALORIE-KILLAH
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