Monday, September 19, 2011

Whole Grains Month

Are you getting enough whole grains?

September is Whole Grains Month. You may be asking yourself, what is a whole grain and why should I be choosing them?

Whole grains are actually the seeds of various types of cereal grasses. A whole grain contains three parts: bran, endosperm, and germ. Each part of the seed provides different health benefits:
Bran- contains fiber, B vitamins, protein and trace minerals
Endosperm- contains mostly carbohydrate, some protein and small amounts of B vitamins
Germ- contains B vitamins, vitamin E, trace minerals and something called phytonutrients (substance in plants that have health-protective benefits).

When harvested, most seeds are broken down and the endosperm is the only part that is milled, making white flour. Therefore, many nutrients are lost and the milled flour is mainly carbohydrate. Many white flours or “refined” grains, as they are called, are often enriched to restore key nutrients that are lost during the milling process but still lack fiber and some nutrients.

Now that we know what a whole grain is, how can we be sure we are consuming them? There are a few ways to identify whole grain products:
  • Look for the yellow and black Whole Grain Stamp, provided by Whole Grains Council. There are two different stamps; one is the basic stamp, the other 100% stamp. The basic stamp indicates that ½ of the grains in the product are whole and the number on the stamp signifies how many grams of whole grain per serving. The 100% whole grain stamp shows that 100% of the grains used in that product are whole grains and also indicates the number of grams of whole grain per serving.
  • If there is no stamp on the food product, be sure to check the label for words such as, 100% whole (insert name of grain here). Be skeptical of the sayings “whole grain”, “wheat flour” or “multigrain” on a product, as it may only contain very small amounts of the whole grain itself. If the product has words such as “whole wheat flour” or “whole oats” as the first ingredient, it is highly likely but not guaranteed that product is predominantly whole grain.
  • Just a reminder that fiber is not an indicator of whole grain. Although fiber is a benefit of whole grain, fiber can be added to product, without all of the nutrients of whole grain.

Lastly, and most importantly, what are the health benefits of whole grains? Medical research has shown that whole grain intake reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Other benefits include reduced risk of asthma, healthier carotid arteries, reduction of inflammatory disease risk, lower risk of colorectal cancer, healthier blood pressure levels and less gum disease and tooth loss.

To gain these health benefits, try to consume 3-5 servings of whole grains per day or a total of 48g or more of whole grains daily. If you have yet to try a whole grain, be sure to take a step towards a healthier you this month and include whole grains in your daily meal plan!

(Information provided by the Whole Grains Council)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A little "fair" food

After making my way through a few local county fairs, I thought it was time to comment on some of the typical fair foods and calories.

I found that I didn't choose the "typical" foods when I dined, and instead, supported the local pork or cattle producer stands. The ribeye steak sandwich averages between 400-600 calories and about 40g of fat per sandwich, depending on lean vs fat ratio. A pork tenderloin (fried) sandwich is between 500-700 calories and 30 grams of fat. Of course, you could just have a pork or beef burger, which would be more in the 300 calorie range, but that can be a tough sell against the previous two competitors!

Here is a list of some common fair foods and the calories:

Regular Corn Dog- 250 calories, 14g of fat
Greek Gyro- 680 calories, 40g of fat
Hot Dog with Chili and Cheese- 500 calories, 36g of fat
6" Funnel Cake with Powdered Sugar- 285 calories, 14g of fat (this is a small version!)
Cotton Candy per bag- 220 calories, no fat (I guess you could call this the low-fat snack the fair... but it has 56g of sugar to lure you in!)
Nachos- 860 calories, 59g of fat

If you are planning on attending the Iowa State Fair this summer, be sure to take note of a few of their new items, including:
-Fried Butter on a stick
-Chocolate Covered Fried Ice Cream on a stick
-Red Velvet Funnel Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
-PB/J on a stick

I would hate to see the calorie and fat levels for most of these and hopefully you walk enough at the State Fair to offset some of those calories!! But, if you are looking for some healthier options, the State Fair does offer items listed below:
-Various salads
-Salad on a stick
-Pork Chop on a stick
-Fruit kabobs

Hope you enjoyed the summer and made it through your local fair or festival, without adding an extra 2-4 pounds!

Monday, July 18, 2011

5K the FCMC Way Finale!

On May 9th, Floyd County Medical Center and 256 community members embarked on an 8-week activity challenge – to get active and train to walk, jog, or run a 5K!  Our mission was three-fold:  To encourage and involve the community around an event that promotes health and well being, to improve the health of our community by increasing awareness and encouraging activity, and to have some fun!

Each week participants were asked to track their activity distance, activity time, water consumption and fruit/veggie servings.  Participants turned their activity sheet in at a different local business each Monday and received an incentive to encourage them along their journey. Along with a weekly incentive participants received a health tip from FCMC.  Our health tips have been on topics such as staying hydrated, injury prevention, and motivation. 
In 8 weeks, the participants logged 8815 miles, over 2500 hours of activity, drank over 30,000 cups of water, and ate over 18,000 servings of fruits and veggies!
Congratulations to our big winners:  Sue Baker for logging 421 miles; Lisa Schwickerath for logging over 73 hours of activity; James Tupy for drinking the most water – 814 cups; and Dan Hugh for consuming 550 servings of fruits and veggies!

We would like to say thank you to all of our wonderful local businesses who participated as work groups, hosted our participants on Mondays, or donated an incentive along the way.  Your generous participation and support is very much appreciated!  Here is a list of our generous sponsors:
Artwear                                                                                    Healthquest
Blush Salon                                                                              HyVee
Boundless Network                                                                 KCHA
Cambrex                                                                                  Kwik Star
Charley Western Firecracker 5K Committee                           Pfizer
Charles City Chamber of Commerce                                       Radio Shack    
Comprehensive Systems                                                         Rivers Edge Salon
Curves                                                                                     Runners Flat/Rocket Science Coaching
First Security Bank & Trust                                                     Slinger Chiropractic
Floyd County Extension Office                                                Subway

And to all who participated in the program – we thank you for your enthusiasm and dedication.  We hope you enjoyed the program, were able to increase your activity level and are on your way to a healthier, happier you!  

Article compliments of Dori Myers

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Strawberry Pie Season

It's berry season!! I LOVE this time of year for many reasons and with one of them being, strawberry pie! Growing up, my family of seven children would go with my Mom to pick berries at a local patch. I think Mom decided against us having our own patch because we couldn't start berry fights in public and we would actually behave ourselves :)

We would spend the morning, picking, cleaning and tipping all of the berries and then spend the afternoon making jams, canning/freezing, and making 4-5 fresh strawberry pies. Life was amazing back then, right?!

Although the pies were delicious, they were far from healthy with the sugar-cookie type crust. Remember, we also lived on a dairy farm and butter was readily available at all times! Below are a few tips on why strawberries are healthy and also an updated version of strawberry pie that is much lower in calories than my Mom's version (sorry Mom!).  ENJOY!

Tip: Just one cup of strawberries has about 3grams of fiber and more than one day's worth of the recommended intake of vitamin C.

Strawberry Pie recipe from Cooking Light

50 reduced-calorie vanilla wafers
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp grated orange rind (optional)

2 cups of ripe strawberries
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
6 cups of small ripe strawberries

Reduced fat whipped topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place wafers in food processor and process until finely ground. Add butter, sugar and orange rind and pulse 10 more times or until wafers are moist. Press into bottom of 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes and cool. (You could also use a pre-made low fat graham cracker crust here).

Mash 2 cups of berries. Combine mashed berries and water in saucepan and bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain and discard pulp- keep liquid. Combine 2/3cup sugar and cornstarch in pan; add strawberry liquid from above; stirring well with whisk. Bring to boil and cook 1 minute; stirring constantly. Reduce heat, cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon juice.

Place whole or sliced berries in crust (6 cups) and add sauce made above, over the top. Chill for at least three hours.

Nutrition info: 8 servings: Each serving contains 285 calories, 8.5g fat, 52.2g carbohydrate.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dessert Talk

In the summer, we often indulge on an increased amount of desserts due to fresh-fruit availability for pies/crumbles, weddings and anniversaries, graduations and many other social events.

Here are a few ways to decrease calories when preparing (or consuming) dessert:

· Make your dessert "a la mode" with a cookie scoop (1/4 cup) of light or low-fat ice cream instead of a 1/2-cup scoop of full-fat ice cream. You'll save 130 calories, 10.5 grams fat, 6.6 grams saturated fat, 59 milligrams cholesterol and 8 grams carbohydrate.

· Add a small dollop (1/8 cup) of light whipped cream instead of a big plop of heavy whipping cream (1/2 cup). You'll save 162 calories, 17.5 grams fat, 11 grams saturated fat, and 65 milligrams cholesterol.

· Serve your fresh fruit atop a slice of angel food cake (weighing 50 grams per slice) instead of buttery pound cake (85 grams per slice). You'll save 95 calories, 14 grams fat, 3.5 grams saturated fat, 80 milligrams cholesterol, and 16 grams carbohydrate.

· When your pie recipe calls for dotting butter or margarine on top of the filling or on top of the crust, just skip this step. You'll save 100 calories, 11.5 grams fat, 7 grams saturated fat, and 30 milligrams cholesterol for every tablespoon of butter you leave out.

· Reduce the sugar called for in any fruit dessert recipe by 25%. Sometimes you can cut the sugar even further, by 1/3 or half, depending on the recipe. You'll save 49 calories and 12.5 grams carbohydrate for every tablespoon of sugar you cut.

· Don't add oil or melted butter to cake mixes. There's already about 4 grams of fat per serving of dry mix. Add something liquid but low in calories instead, like fat-free sour cream, applesauce, strong coffee, or light yogurt. You'll save 54 calories, 6 grams fat, 0.5 grams saturated fat per serving (if the cake mix calls for 1/3 cup of oil and makes 12 servings).

· Instead of a two-crust pie, opt for a fruit crisp topped with an oatmeal crumb mixture.  (For even more calorie savings, use a healthier crumb topping recipe with more fiber and less sugar.) You'll save 100 calories, 10 grams fat, 2.5 grams saturated fat
Information Provided by WebMD

Friday, June 10, 2011

The “new pyramid” is no longer a pyramid?

On June 2, 2011, USDA recently released their new take on the infamous Food Guide Pyramid. Since 1916, USDA has released multiple charts, graphs, wheels, pyramids, and other images to encourage and educate on healthy food choices. The new icon is to be used to prompt consumers to think about building a healthy plate which includes fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy, the same food groups used on the previous pyramid. The icon comes out in conjunction with the recently revised and released 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and incorporates some of the new points of interest from that document.

The new image is called, MyPlate, and illustrates a colorful plate that is sectioned into four colors to indicate the food groups for fruits, vegetables, grains and protein. Along side the plate is a round circle representing the dairy group. The sections of the plate vary in size depending on the recommended portion of each food a person should eat.

The new icon is also paired with its own website , which gives consumers another resource to use to learn about nutrition and how to use this new method to make healthy choices on a daily basis.  Over the next year, USDA will unveil another tool online that helps consumers to track and mange their personal dietary and activity goals.

Overall, the hope for the MyPlate image, is to give Americans tools that empower them to make healthy food choices for themselves and their families.

(Image above courtesey of )

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Summer Snacks!

School is finally out for summer! With that, comes very active and very hungry children! Here is a healthy snack that will be great (and fun) for your kids to make and enjoy.

To-Go Yogurt Parfaits

You will need:
Small ice cream cones
Fruit– berries, bananas, etc
Granola or nuts

1. Take ice cream cone and fill one third with yogurt.
2. Place one Tbsp of fruit on top of the yogurt.
3. Fill the rest of the cone with yogurt.
4. Top with more fruit and granola.

Take with you and enjoy!