Hydrating Foods

Jodie Parus, RD, LD

Staying hydrated during the scorching summer months is vitally important. Doing so will help you avoid exhaustion, dizziness, muscle cramps and headaches, while contributing to a beautiful summer glow for your skin.

You’ve probably heard that you should aim to consume at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day. For example a 150 pound person should consume 75 ounces of water each day. In the warmer summer months, you may need to boost that number to somewhere between 3-5 liters, depending on your activity level and time outdoors.

If you can just not fathom sipping that much water throughout the course of a day, choose some of the following super hydrating foods to help you hit your goal. They are all comprised of over 90 percent water!

• Cucumbers
• Tomatoes
• Zucchini
• Celery
• Cabbage
• Cauliflower
• Broccoli
• Radishes
• Spinach
• Watermelon
• Strawberries
• Cantaloupe
• Grapefruit

Non-Food Rewards For Kids

Jodie Parus, RD, LD

Rewarding children when they do something desirable is a great way to encourage them to repeat the behavior. Unfortunately, the reward is often a sweet treat, such as candy or ice cream. There are plenty of non-food rewards that can be offered to support your child’s positive actions.

When food is offered as a reward, those foods are then thought to be more desirable than others foods. Also, children may not make the connection that food is fuel for their body and may come to expect a sweet treat after every achievement.

You can assist your child in establishing a healthy relationship with food and avoid any negative long-term consequences by opting for some of the following non-food rewards.

• Verbal praise
• Special outing to the movies, park, zoo, etc.
• Play date with friends
• Sleepover with friends
• A new book or toy
• A break from chores

Tips On How To Reduce Cortisol Levels

By: Dana Yarn, RDLD

It has almost become a cliché to be diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency or similar term. Adrenal insufficiency is related to excessive, sporadic, and/or low cortisol production. Some health professionals say that some practitioners use it as a “catch all” diagnosis. Regardless of what labs, or symptoms may reveal we all can be affected by stress and stress hormones and the harmful effects of insufficient cortisol.

Insufficient cortisol production can result in poor sleep, weight gain specifically in the abdominal area, excessive cravings for carbohydrates and sugar, low sex drive and inability to mentally focus. Stress hormone imbalances can increase risk for heart disease, thyroid disease, gastrointestinal stress and nutrient absorption.

By making small changes in your daily life you can offset the negative effects of a cortisol imbalance.

Stress hormone management strategies:

Reduce caffeine consumption. False energy from stimulants will only reduce the body’s ability to naturally produce adrenaline. Stick to 1-2 cups of coffee and/or tea daily, avoid chemically packed energy drinks and fat burning stimulant supplements.

Aim for eight hours of sleep per night. Give up some screen time and hit the sack. The difference between 6 and 8 hours of sleep is incredible. Studies have shown that those who sleep 6 hours or less will have elevated cortisol levels for the next 48 hours. 8 hours is enough time for your body to naturally repair from the days stressors. If you have problems sleeping consider supplementing with melatonin, a sleep hormone that can help the body fall asleep more easily.

Book a monthly massage. Massage helps naturally detoxify the lymphatic system. A massage naturally increases dopamine and serotonin levels, those “good mood” hormones that are also increased when playing and doing something that you truly enjoy.

Sleep naked. Sleeping in the buff has been shown to naturally reduce cortisol levels because it keeps you cooler allowing the body to produce adequate melatonin and growth hormone allowing the body to have proper rest naturally decreasing cortisol.

Cut back on the sweet stuff. Sugar can naturally increase inflammation and cortisol production. Reducing sugar especially from processed sources is one of the best ways to keep stress hormone levels under control.

Fueling Up For A Road Trip

Jodie Parus, RD, LD

When you begin packing for your vacation or road trip this summer, don’t forget to plan for fuel along the way…for your body that is! Traveling can be exhausting, so you will want to take things that will give you energy and keep you alert, especially if you are the driver.

Stopping at a gas station and running in for a restroom break can present you with a myriad of tempting treats to eat. If you are starving you are more likely to grab something you normally wouldn’t. Plan ahead and pack some of the following smart choices for your travel. They will leave you feeling satisfied and you will have more money to spend at your destination.

Apples, grapes
Carrots, cherry tomatoes
Nut butter, Nuts
Trail Mix
Snack bars, muffins
Sandwiches or wraps

Some of the foods will require a cooler, while others do not. Pack some of each, hit the road and enjoy your trip!

Summer Grilling Tips

By Dana Yarn, RDLD

Grilling is a great way to prepare food at home, at a park, camp site or at a bonfire.  Grilling controls the fat content, maintains flavor and is a quick way to prepare a meal on the fly.  The best part of grilling for anyone who is busy is the minimal amount of dishes that need to be washed.

Grilling Tips:

Marinade meats 24 hours prior to placing on the grill to maintain flavor, and moisture while grilling.  Especially boneless skinless chicken breast, these tend to dry out quickly.

Grill vegetables to avoid losing nutrients, over cooking vegetables while steaming on stovetop reduces nutrient content and fiber.  Lightly coat in olive oil and fresh or dried herbs and wrap in foil or grill pan.

Don’t forget about dessert.  The grill is not just for meat, and veggies, dessert like banana boat S’mores, grilled pineapple skewers, and grilled cinnamon apple slices are all healthy sweet treats that can prepared on the grill.

Grilling safety and food safety tips:  It is important to keep safety in mind especially with children around at a campsite or fire pit.  Food preparation and storage are essential in reducing bacteria exposure.  

• Avoid foods that may produce dripping fat. Foods that can create hot, drippy fat as they cook-certain cuts of steak, bacon-may cause flare-ups and should be avoided.  Avoid cooking with oils, this may cause a flame flare up too.  A Dutch oven offers more reliable heat than a frying pan with added protection from splatters.

• Keep it cold or not, nothing in between. Pulling raw meat or poultry out of your fridge for your outing? Make sure you keep the food well packed in ice leading up to grill time: Bacteria can grow dangerously on food that warms to between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, conditions that create a breeding ground for food-borne pathogens. Food should never sit out for more than three hours-or one hour, if the outdoor temperature is very hot.

When grilling, always use a meat thermometer. Food needs to be heated to between 140 degrees Fahrenheit and 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill any food-borne pathogens.

• “If it goes in the campfire it stays in the campfire.” This rule is the most important to establish before the campfire is even lite.  A child may want to fish out the lost marshmallow, but make sure you have plenty extra so it can burn away if something drops in the fire.
• Put out, clean up, and secure your site. Always have a bucket of water or sand on hand to extinguish the fire when you’re done with it. Once the flames have been extinguished and the embers stop hissing, stir the ashes using a metal skewer. Pour on more water or sand. Repeat this process until the ashes are completely cold and wet or smothered.