The Mediterranean Diet is more than just food—it’s a lifestyle! It also includes being physically active and social. Mediterranean cultures value sharing time with friends and family over meals and activities. Get the full benefits of a Mediterranean Diet by:
Enjoying your meals with family, friends, or roommates. Try to set aside time for eating, so meals are not rushed and allow for conversation.
Planning physical activities together—meet a friend for a morning tennis match, go for a bike ride, or walk to the grocery store.
Today is National Brown-Bag-It Day. Celebrate this occasion by packing your lunch at least 3 days next week. Some of the benefits of packing a lunch rather than eating out include:
It can be less expensive than eating out
According to Bankrate, Inc.’s web site the average price of a packed lunch is $3.00 while the average cost of eating out is $6.50. Simply packing your lunch 3 times per week could save you $546.00 per year.
You have control over the nutrition in a home-prepared lunch
Foods prepared at home are often lower in sodium, calories and saturated fat
Packing lunch may save you time during your workday (e.g. time spent driving to pick up lunch)
On Tuesday teams from several Harmons stores sponsored and built pinewood derby cars to compete in the very first Harmons Dashing Dairy Derby. This event served as the kick-off to June Dairy Month and our annual MS Society fundraising promotion. Each team had to raise $300 to enter a car, and could enter one car in each category – Derby, Pimp Your Ride, and Open Class. The entries were creative, some comical, and all very fast! The Harmons Taylorsville team sped by the competition, wining 2nd place in the Pimp Your Ride class and 1st place in both the Open and Derby classes.
This kick-off event raised $7,800! All the money raised by the teams and vendors will go to the MS Society Utah – Southern Idaho chapter. Throughout the month of June associates, vendors, and customers will have opportunities to participate in fundraising efforts including: purchasing icons in Harmons stores, getting great deals on dairy items (a percentage of sales will be included in the final donation), Harmons brat meal deals on the weekends, a vendor golf tournament at Thanksgiving Point, and Bike MS: Harmons Best Dam Bike Ride on June 23-24.
Join us in June to help bring awareness to this disease that affects at least 1 in 300 Utahans and raise funds for much needed for support and research.
Reading the nutrition facts is a great way to determine the healthfulness of different foods. However, one of the areas I feel is often overlooked is the ingredient list. Here are some hints on what to look for and what to limit when reading an ingredient list:
Whole Grains such as whole wheat, oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, whole grain rye, whole grain barley, etc…
Heart-healthy sources of fat such as nuts, seeds and oils such as olive, canola, sunflower or safflower
Fruits and vegetables
Added sugars including sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, honey, agave, brown rice syrup, sucrose, fructose, dextrose, maltose and fruit juice concentrate
Hydrogenated or Partially Hydrogenated oils (these indicate that there is trans fat in a product, even when it is not listed under the nutrition facts)
Refined grains such as wheat flour, enriched flour, rye flour, degermed cornmeal, and rice
May 13-19 is Women’s Health Week! A balanced diet loaded with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy is a daily prescription for health, but women also face some unique nutrition needs, especially during their reproductive years.
Folate (folic acid)—folic acid plays a role in DNA production and is especially important in the early stages of pregnancy (even before many women know they are pregnant) to decrease the risk of neural tube birth defects. The recommendation for women is 400 micrograms/day and jumps to 600 micrograms/day for pregnant women. Food sources of folate include citrus fruits, like oranges; leafy greens, like spinach and arugula; beans and peas; and foods fortified with folic acid.
Iron—Women may experience low iron levels due to menstruation, difficulty absorbing iron, or diets low in iron-rich foods. The recommended intake for women ages 19-50 years is 18 milligrams/day and increases to 27 milligrams/day during pregnancy. Food sources of iron include meat, chicken, beans, spinach, and fortified foods, like cereals and breads. Iron from animal sources is more easily absorbed by your body.
Calcium and vitamin D—These nutrients are important to maintain healthy bones. Women acquire 85-90% of their bone mass by adolescence and reach peak bone mass by around 18 years. After age 30, women slowly begin to lose bone mass and loss is accelerated after menopause. But it’s never too late to make sure you are keeping your bones as strong as possible. Women 19-50 years old require 1,000 mg of calcium daily and women over 50 years need 1,200 mg. The requirement for vitamin D is 600 IUs and jumps to 800 IUs for women over 70 years.
Do you have any idea how much added sugar you eat each day? The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 100 calories and men 150 calories from added sugar each day. That is about 25 grams (6 teaspoons) for women and 37 grams (9 teaspoons) for men. It can be tricky to determine how much added sugar you are eating because nutrition labels list total sugar (from natural and added sugars.) Milk and fruit are the primary sources of natural sugar, so if your food does not have either of these, the sugar listed on the label is alladded sugar. You can also read the ingredient list to look for sources of added sugar: sugar, cane sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, honey, agave, brown rice syrup, to name a few.
Watch out for high added sugar in the following products where you may not expect it:
Our body is designed to help us maintain a healthy weight through the feelings of hunger, thirst, and fullness. However, in today’s world it is easy to ignore those signals. We eat when we are bored, sad, stressed, or happy. We forget what hunger feels like. We ignore feelings of fullness. We confuse the feeling of thirst with the feeling of hunger. We try fad diets. This week, get in tune with what your body is telling you by eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you are full. Here are some tips:
Before you eat, ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?”
Eat when you are hungry! Don’t ignore hunger pangs.
Avoid handling your emotions with food.
Make sure you drink plenty of water so you aren’t confusing your thirst with hunger.
Eat without distractions—don’t watch TV, read, or drive. Focus on your food.
Eat slowly and enjoy your food.
Sit at a table to eat.
Wait 10-15 minutes before a second helping. Then, if you are still hungry, go for it.
If you want to eat dessert, start with a small portion and stop when your enjoyment of it diminishes. 1 or 2 bites might satisfy you!
Nuts are a very nutritious choice! They are high in heart-healthy fats (unsaturated fats and omega-3s), fiber, and protein. Studies show that eating nuts can be protective against heart disease and weight gain. Be sure to enjoy nuts in moderation—1-2 ounces a day is best. Here are some great ways to enjoy nuts:
Peanut butter, almond butter, and other nut butters. Try Harmons fresh ground nut butters! Eat it with a banana, whole grain crackers, on toast, or in a smoothie.
Mix a 1 ounce (about 22 almonds) of nuts with some dried fruit for a satisfying snack.
Sprinkle nuts on top of a salad, steamed vegetable, stew, or stir fry dish.
Mix into your yogurt.
Make a peanut sauce to put over a stir fry or use as a veggie dip.
May is National Strawberry Month and there are many reasons to enjoy strawberries in addition to their delicious taste. Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C (one cup contains more than 100% of the recommended daily amount). They contain fiber, folate and potassium. In addition strawberries contain many phytochemicals which may reduce the risk for cancer and heart disease.