Tag Archives: Wellness

Spaghetti for breakfast?! DO we dare?! WE DO!

Waking up to a bowl of WHOLE GRAIN pasta for breakfast may be a deviation from usual your bowl of cereal, but it turns out that you can eat this Italian staple for your morning meal. Just make sure it’s whole grain.

Typically, pasta is not associated with breakfast, but why not? Pasta is filled with tons of carbohydrates which convert to energy and what better way to start your day. Whole grain pasta is a way better way to start your day rather than a bowl of sugary cereal.

With this said, I am saying a “healthy” pasta breakfast is great for the body. Avoid fettuccine alfredo and other sauces made with high-fat cream.

Liz Pearson, leading Canadian dietitian and best-selling author, says that “eating whole grain pasta provides essential nutrients, such as fiber, calcium, selenium, potassium, zinc, magnesium and vitamins K and E.” She points to a Cornell University study which found that more than 80 percent of disease-fighting antioxidants are found in the bran or germ part of the whole grain, which is removed in refined grains. “Whole grains have an antioxidant content that rivals or exceeds that of fruits and vegetables, and contain as much as double the calcium and selenium, four times more fiber, potassium and zinc, six times more magnesium and vitamin K, and 14 times more vitamin E than refined grains,” she explains.

Scientific studies link eating more whole grains to a reduced waistline, she adds, pointing to a recent Penn State study of 50 obese adults on a calorie-reduced diet, half of whom ate only whole grains while the other half ate only refined grains over a 12-week period.

Research also suggests that the regular consumption of whole grains translates into lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and cancer.

One of the recipes I love for morning spaghetti is the ‘Breakfast pasta with bacon and poached egg’ found on joybaker.com.

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Breakfast Pasta with Bacon and Poached Eggs

serves 2 and is easily doubled
8 ounces dried spaghetti
4 slices thick-sliced bacon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
juice of 1 lemon
small handful coarsely chopped parsley
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
salt and crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
2 large eggs, poached

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil and place uncooked bacon on a single layer atop the foil.  Place in the oven and allow to cook until  bacon is crisp, 8 to 12 minutes depending on how crisp you like your bacon.  Remove from the oven and placed the bacon on two paper towel atop a dinner plate.  Allow to rest until cool enough to handle.  When cool, chop coarsely.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add a large pinch of salt to the boiling water and add dry spaghetti.  Cook until al-dente then drain.

While the pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a small saucepan.  Add the sliced garlic and cook over low heat until the oil is fragrant and the garlic is just slightly golden.  Remove from the heat and add butter.  Stir to melt.

In a large bowl, toss together warm drained pasta, garlic oil with butter, lemon juice, parsley, bacon, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Poach eggs, according to your own genius.

Divide between bowls and top with egg.  Sprinkle with a bit more cheese and crushed red pepper flakes.  This breakfast is best served the day it is made.

 

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Can’t get enough of spaghetti for breakfast! Try it with your family and share your thoughts on the comment feed found below!

 

 

Whole Grain Pasta Facts Found here: http://www.sheknows.com/health-and-wellness/articles/816050/pasta-for-breakfast-is-good-for-your-health-1

Breakfast pasta with bacon and poached eggs recipe found here: http://joythebaker.com/2013/09/breakfast-pasta-with-bacon-and-poached-eggs/

MECKids Spring Into March With 30 Day Fitness Challenge!

Calling all fit kids and families! March is here and what better way to jump-start Spring than with a new fitness program that will keep you healthy, happy and moving this year! We’re kick-starting the month with an exciting 30-Day Fitness Challenge that will keep you MOVING with great fun and fitness! Studies have shown it takes 30 days to form a new habit, and our fitness program is designed to help shape healthy habits that will form a healthy, happy and balanced lifestyles. So gather your friends and family, and let’s get MOVING!

How to Win:

1.  “Like” our Facebook page, and “Follow” our Twitter page, where a new exercise challenge will be posted daily.

2. Post your fitness photos and videos to our pages everyday with hashtag #MECKidsChallenge to automatically enter to win!

3. Once you finish each daily exercise and post your photos/videos, log your results and calories burned onto our website at www.meckids.com to track your progress.

4. Keep moving,  tune in and WIN! We will be reposting all fitness photos/video submissions onto our Facebook page to spotlight all participants, and the top three winners of our 30 Day Fitness Challenge will be featured on our website!

There will be TONS of awesome prizes in store for all of our winners! We applaud all of our fit kids and families for joining us on this fun fitness journey to reaching your very best health! We can’t wait to see you MOVE!

Ready, set GO MECKids! #YouGottaMOVE!

 

10 Ways to Boost Your Exercise Motivation

 

Like me you may want to know how to keep moving when you don’t want to…so here are my 10 favorites for motivation.

Be realistic

Unfortunately, first-time exercises come up with unrealistic targets that are too ambitious. Gerald Endress, fitness director of the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, N.C. says, “They want to go for maximal goals, but they tend to get overwhelmed.” Instead set more reachable goals that you know you can reach.

 Keep Track of Your Progress

Use a chart progress to keep track of your progress. You could use a high-tech online tracker or a fitness journal. Seeing your own progress boosts your confidence and motivation to work harder.

 Don’t Expect Perfection

Except that you will make faults and mistakes because it only will help you prepare mentally for setbacks. Be ready to know that you will miss a couple of days of exercising but don’t let that be an excuse that you are giving up.

Make it Convenient

Do what is necessary to remove on exercising and make it as convenient as possible. Try doing some at home exercises to DVDs instead of driving all the way to the gym if you are pressed for time or wake up early in the morning to exercise.

 Forget the Past

Don’t let prior bad experiences with exercises stop you. Your target now is to stay healthy and enjoy your life.

Reward Yourself

Reward yourself for efforts made to exercise with something that you enjoy doing, like going to the movies. Think of what would motivate you to keep a mind-body connection. Or plan a trip to anywhere, like a botanical garden. It helps remind you that every time you enjoy yourself it is because of the good things you have done for yourself.

 Don’t compare Yourself to Others

Don’t compare yourself to others because you are not them and they are not you. Don’t let them determine how you will exercise or what your target is.

 Get support

The best thing to have is support. If there are people there for you and support what you are doing, it is the best thing in the world. Their support motivates you to do better for yourself and for them as well.

 Find the Fun of it

Find some exercise you like to do and it will be fun for you. Find different places to exercise if you are not a gym person. If you like to exercise outside, then go walk through the neighborhood or go to a park. Just make sure to do something that appeal to your interest and it will help you stay engaged.

 Break it up

Dividing your exercises in two or three different sessions makes it easier on yourself and said to be much more beneficial than one long workout. For example if you don’t like exercising for an hour split it up into four different workouts.

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/exercise-motivation?page=2

What People Think About Childhood Obesity In America

obesity_epidemic_america
Even though childhood obesity is an epidemic, many people aren’t aware of it.  I found a couple of people today that were willing to let me interview them on the topic at hand and they gave me some really great feedback.  A librarian, when asked about her feelings on the childhood obesity epidemic said, “I think it is sad that the world has come to this, and it is all because of lack of parental involvement.  They just let their kids stay in the house.”  She also added that obese kids not only suffer from being overweight but also because of the teasing and bullying that comes with it.  “Fat kids get teased all the time.” She remarks.  Russell a second librarian had strong feelings toward the epidemic and the tools that can be used to stop it.  He argues that America is obese because “Affordable food is unhealthy and healthy food is expensive.”  When asked why minorities are the largest of the obesity percentile of America he says there is lack of knowledge and inequalities amongst people and neighborhoods.  He mentioned a couple of great programs that reach out to communities in the quest to healthy eating such as Eat Local, Farmers Markets and even Michelle Obama’s Lets Move campaign.  There is a lot of help out there but if people don’t know about them how will the world be a healthier place?  I asked the librarians what could they do to contribute to slimming down America and they both agreed on promotion, education and encouragement.  “Schools should plant gardens and let the children eat the fruits and veggies from them.” And “Kids should get outside and encourage their friends to come out to play.” These are a couple of helpful tips the librarians gave.  I think with the use of the programs available and parents pushing their kids off the couch we can put a stop to childhood obesity.

 

Student Ambassador: Tameka Evans

Do You Want Fries With That?

The Happy Meal; specifically targeted for children is a quick and easy meal that puts a smile on every kids face and a hush to the mid-day tummy growls.  The Happy Meal has been sold at McDonalds since 1979 and continues to sell at a whopping one million per day in the United States alone. Happy Meals, depending on the combination of food and drink can be about 400-600 calories per meal.  “As a result, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled since 1980 — today, 16 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 19 are overweight or obese. An additional 15 percent of kids are at risk of becoming overweight or obese” reports NBC News.  At this rate parents and kids should start finding other alternatives for a quick and easy meal.

Its not only Happy Meals that have America’s kids becoming obese by the second, sweetened cereals such as Cap’n Crunch and Cinnamon Toast Crunch contain empty calories and food colorings that have been linked to irritability and behavioral problems in children.  Sunny D and Hawaiian Punch only contain 5% juice, one cup is the equivalent of eating a dozen Chips Ahoy cookies; might as well grab an ice cold cup of sugar.  Last but not most definitely not least are Hot Pockets; the pepperoni stuffed frozen sandwiches.  One serving yields 735 calories and a heart stopping 1,352 milligrams of sodium.  The only pros of these food and drinks are the cheap market value and easy preparation however, the easy route isn’t always the best route to take.

As a solution to settling for unhealthy foods, explore new options.  Instead of unnatural, preservative filled breakfast foods try fresh fruit and a lightly sweetened whole grain cereal with a glass of orange juice or 2% milk, and for a midday snack grab some frozen yogurt or pita chips with hummus.  Dinner Time should be a joyful occasion to sit down and enjoy a satisfying meal with family and friends.  Have everyones input in the kitchen for healthy choices.  Make a rainbow colored salad and slice some lemons for a baked salmon and wild rice dish.  Instead of ordering a pizza decorate and bake your own.  Healthy eating should not be a choice, it should be a lifestyle that you follow everyday.  A lifestyle that you feel good about and that can put you on the pathway to a better you.  Now for what its worth, do you really want fries with that?

 

  • “Happy Meal.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 09 May 2013. Web. 09 Sept. 2013.

  • “How Many Happy Meals Are Sold Each Day in the United States?” Questions & Answers. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Sept. 2013.

  • “The 20 Worst Kids’ Foods in America.” Msnbc.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Sept. 2013.

  • “Calorie Counter.” Calories in Hot Pockets Hot Pockets Pepperoni Pizza Stuffed Sandwich Frozen. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Sept. 2013.

 

Student Ambassador: Tameka Evans

 

MECKids at the GetKidsMovin Event

Lets Get MOVIN!!!

By MECKids Blog Ambassador, Student Ambassador Whitney Wasso

Va getkids movin

Three words to describe MECKids at the GetKidsMovin event.  Exciting, engaging and energetic. MECkids had a blast!!! On Saturday, July 20, another GetKidsMovin event took place at the Stonebridge Potomac Town Center. The event was from 1pm to 5pm.  The event started off with two fitness trainers who got the kids warmed up and ready to exercise. Throughout the event, there were ticket raffles after every hour and a participants had the opportunity to win a $25 gift card to Sports Zone. On the main message was an awesome puppet show to educate kids about being safe for example: “Don’t Talk to Strangers”, “Call 911”, “Stop, Drop and Roll”, etc. Chi Chi Monet performed with her sister Zoe her latest songs “No Bully” and “Move”. MECKids went up after one of Chi Chi’s performances.

We did what we do best and kept the kids moving with our stretches, workout,  hula hoop challenges and contest. The kids go so excited over the hula hoops and were engaged in our activity.  Next followed, Ms. Kena Hodges, licensed instructor,  she got the kids moving with her Zumba exercises. She had three different dance routines: the Wobble, All I Do Is Win and an upbeat Spanish song. MECKids participated in the Zumba exercise and we had a blast. We didn’t feel like we were even exercising at all!  The event ended  with the fashion show and the kids were modeling Old Navy clothing and Sport Zone shoes.  Some of the other GetKidsMovin team were Not Your Average Joes, Fruit Joi, Thrive, Sport and Health, Thrive, and Sports Zone.

Not Your Average Joes is a restaurant and they were giving out free samples of the foods they serve and free coupons. Sport and Health and Thrive were there talking to families on how they could assist in keeping their health and fitness lifestyles intact. Fruit Joi is a yogurt shop and they make their own healthy yogurts with the choices of different types of fruits and other yummy toppings. Lastly, I can’t forget Sports Zone who has carried out the entire event from the people there to the venue to their  partnership with of Get KidsMovin.

 

MECKids at the Biggest Loser Run/Walk

The Biggest Loser  Run/Walk

Biggest loser event 

The Biggest Loser is a hit television show started in 2004.  The show features obese people competing to win a cash prize by losing the highest percentage of weight in comparison to their initial weight.  On Sunday July 14th; Dan and Jackie Evans, mother and son duo from season five of The Biggest Loser hosted the 5, 10, 15k run walk event at Stadium Armory in Washington D.C.  There was also a 1 mile race for younger kids that were interested in joining in on the action.  The Biggest Loser Run Walk was a race that challenged America to get fit.  MECKids was given the opportunity to volunteer at the event to motivate runners, pass out medals and get some cool information from the adults and kids on their experience at this event.

            People came from all over the United States to participate in the run walk.  “We came all the way from New Jersey to be in this race and become healthy strong Americans,” said Sal, volunteer and runner for the event.  Jen and Benita, longtime fans of The Biggest Loser came to run with their kids, “We are beginning runners and the kids love staying healthy and fit.  My son was actually allowed to run with me in the 10k.  It’s a really great family opportunity.”  Bridgette from Maryland said, “This was my second 5k, I ran a 5k a couple years back when I worked with a school for kids with autism.  I think being healthy is the greatest thing you can ever give to yourself.” Even though the sun was beaming down, the runners looked accomplished as they crossed the finish line and received their medals.

I was able interview Dan and Jackie Evans, the national spokespeople for the biggest loser run walk and they each had very inspirational stories to tell.  Jackie said, “Other than face book and other social sites like that, gatherings like these are probably the largest social things out there and it’s really all about you.”  She commented that this run walk was an opportunity to better each one’s goals and have the feeling of accomplishment.  When asked about her goals, Jackie emphasized, “One, I WILL cross the start and finish line today and two, I WILL be faster than anyone who stayed in bed today instead of coming here.”  She mentioned the struggle to keep the weight off is great because food is used in all occasions, “I eat food when I’m hungry, when I’m down, when I’m celebrating; there’s no getting away from it.

 The thing is knowing your limit and having will power.”  She added that her son Dan is a great partner to work out and share encouragement with, “He was 310 and lost 136 pounds, but he hated the treadmill, he called it ‘Dread Mill.”  Dan said, “Being on The Biggest Loser was so transformational and life changing.  I went from being a couch potato kid to being able to run half marathons.  It’s an incredible feeling to be such an inspiration to so many people and the journey of weight loss is so powerful you know.  You have to respect the journey.”  Dan joked that moving in with his mom again at the age of 21 for the show was kind of weird but it made their bond tighter because they were able to encourage each other.

The kids that ran the 1 mile race seemed so determined to complete the course, smiles and excitement shown on their faces from start to finish.  Six year old Regan said, “I really liked that we got medals and I really liked the race.”  One little boy remarked, “I really liked jumping in the puddles!”  Ari Morton, a 10 year old from Rockville, Maryland won first place in the 10k on his birthday.  “It was my first race, It felt good,” He said.

Overall, I believe this was a successful event.  Everywhere I looked I saw smiles, laughter and encouragement from everybody.  This event made me feel like I could run the next 5k because there were people of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities.  Also the enthusiasm from the kids made me think, if they could do it I’m sure I can do it.  Along with inspiring me to become more fit and healthy, being at this event allowed me to see that even though it may be tough; with the proper mentality and support fitness can be an enjoyable experience.

Student Ambassador: Tameka Evans

Get Kids Movin Interview with Green Tea & Tosh Patterson

By Whitney Wasso, MECKids Blog Ambassador

The Get Kids Movin Tour featured a variety of fun festivities for kids to get moving, including a wonderful  interview with phenomenal fitness experts such as the amazing soul singer, Green Tea and “Healthanista,” Tosh Patterson. Here’s the wisdom and fitness advice they shared with youth and families to keep them moving!

Green Tea: In the health industry, I’m a certified group exercise instructor. So I teach step aerobics and I teach strength resistance. I also counsel people on how to eat healthy and how to still eat cakes and pies while you’re doing your thing. If you stop once you have that little taste you start binging for it all the time when you aren’t eating the cakes and pies. I teach people how to do that, so that is what I do.

Tosh Patterson: In regards to what I do, I help people with two things. One, how to lose weight if you have been on a diet for a decade or more.  I help people figure out how to keep the scale moving again, so that you have success and I teach people the power of juicing fruits and vegetables. I’m a huge juicer! So I love juicing and that is one of the ways I got healthy. I like to show people the power of juicing.

Interviewer: Many people think that healthy eating is more expensive, they think it’s nasty what do you ladies have to say about that? Tosh Patterson: Because I buy so many vegetables to juice them and eat them, it’s actually not expensive. As you buy more fruits and vegetables, you are probably buying less cookies and less chips and that money is going towards fruits and vegetables instead.

Green Tea: I would say that I have a group of seven: 3 kids, a husband, 2 cats, and 1 dog. So it can get expensive when you’re trying to eat healthier because you’ll notice that certain things cost a bit more if it is healthy. So if you go to Starbucks, the smallest size of cups they have is a short and nobody knows that. People think the smallest cup is a tall. The short is not even on the menu and sometimes the smallest size which is a regular 8 ounce cup cost the most because it’s a regular portion size for a cup; it sometimes costs more than a tall but it’s a healthier choice. So just an input from me, I always ask my clients how much they spend in the grocery store and if they say $200, I can relate to that because when I go grocery shopping every two weeks, I always get fresh produce. I don’t do anything boxed or any frozen veggies. I do everything fresh and I still get all of my stuff for $200. So, I teach my clients that with that $200 budget that you have when you’re buying hot pockets, pizza and steak and all that stuff you can still get fruits and veggies.

Interviewer: So what are some of your favorite meals and what are some snacks kids could make for themselves?

Green Tea: For snacks, I would say always keep live fruits or veggies in the house.  I have a drawer in my house filled with tangerines, apples, kiwis and bananas something that is a go-to and always have that on you when you’re hungry. And here is what parents and  kids could make for themselves, an english muffin pizza! What you do is get a light english muffin. The english muffin has two pieces, you add a little tomato sauce, sprinkle some reduced mozzarella cheese and put any size of turkey pepperoni. Let your parents help you put it in a toaster oven or regular oven for a couple of minutes so the cheese can melt. And as a result, the kids are happy because they have two pizzas when it’s really only one english muffin.

Interviewer: What would you suggest to some parents on meals that are affordable for children on a weekly basis?

Green Tea: I would say that I would keep in mind when I make dinner that I have protein, starch, and veggies. I try to keep that in mind all the time. So I can take some chicken breast, put it in the oven, season it a little bit, some cabbage and then have a veggie with it. So different things like that. So I try to think like that. Or if I want to do quesadillas I would do it  with chicken and a little bit of cheese and then I’ll have a vegetable or a salad. So I always try to keep those things in mind: a whole bunch of vegetables, you have different options for your sides. You could have brown rice, you could have yellow rice if you want. You could have cabbage or cauliflower. All these different things so I try to keep them on the side. So I plan ahead of time. If you keep that in mind that you have a meat, you have a starch, and you have a veggie. If you have a whole bunch of veggies, a whole bunch of meats, sometimes kids get a little tired of chicken but you can do so much with chicken. Or one thing that I do that is very easy, you know how to cook cabbage, you can get some sweet Italian sausage and add it to the cabbage, so that is something really easy to do.

Other female: You guys won’t like this answer but I stopped eating fast food for the most part, a couple years ago, just as it has been for the effort to save money and it turned into a part of my lifestyle, so I really don’t eat fast food. But one of the things I stumbled on, I was cleaning my car and I found an old french fry from the Golden Arches and the french fry did not look a day old, at all. So, it really got my attention and I wondered why didn’t it have green mold on it? And why didn’t it look weird? And so I decided to do an experiment and if anybody in the audience wants to see it after this panel. But on Sunday March 31st, I bought a four piece chicken nugget meal from the Arches and it is still sitting on my counter untouched, unchanged. It does not smell and it’s sitting next to a cucumber that has completely shriveled up. It’s got nasty. It’s like mold and everything and it leads me to the conclusion that the fast food is not real food and it does not nourish us and it’s not worth spending our money on. If you want to see my project. I have pictures with me and so I would encourage people to move away from fast food  because I don’t think it’s real food. Because if it’s like that on my counter, it hasn’t changed, its not green, its not moldy, it doesn’t smell, then what is it doing in my body. And do we want to put those thing in our bodies? I don’t think so! We want to nourish ourselves, we want to nourish our bodies and we want to be well, not just to look good and be a certain size but so we can live a healthy life and have a good internal body as well, and we only get one body!

Green Tea and Tosh Patterson