How Families Can Cut Their Grocery Bill In Half

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healthycartStephanie Nelson, founder of Coupon Mom, says using “Strategic Shopping” can lead to hundreds of dollars in savings every month.

“If shoppers learn some simple strategies, they can cut their grocery bill in half this year, and for a family of four that translates into an average savings of $5700,” says leading coupon expert Stephanie Nelson, founder of CouponMom.com. According to the USDA, grocery spending for families of four ranges from $7200 to $15,600 per year, taking a large cut out of their budget.

Stephanie shows shoppers how to save more with high-tech coupon options, including hundreds of free digital coupons that shoppers can load onto their store loyalty cards. She teaches shoppers where to find many free apps that give cash back on grocery and household items. Stephanie says when shoppers use this system, every hour used couponing saves them an average of $100, and that adds up to huge savings.

CouponMom.com is the country’s largest grocery deals website with over 7 million members. The website and blog provide weekly grocery and coupon “deals lists” for over 60 grocery and drugstores chains in all 50 states. Membership is free and the site offers tutorial videos for the beginner with step by step directions to achieve fast and smart savings.

“I’ve been saving at least $100 a week on groceries since my first son was born 21 years ago,” Nelson says, “That’s a total savings of over $110,000, which was enough to pay for him to go to college.”

CouponMom.com has been around for 14 years and they know stocking up on grocery items is one strategy to cutting grocery bills, but it isn’t necessary for a typical family to have extreme stockpiles. Items expire and they also cost money, even when they are a good deal. Nelson says, “Change your shopping mentality: instead of buying items when you run out, watch for bargain prices on products you want and buy them when they are on sale.”

The key is to focus on meal planning and set a spending limit using the CouponMom.com “Strategic Shopping” method. This method combines sale prices with store promotions and coupons, helping any shopper achieve dramatic savings on healthy items their family needs. The website offers a “Grocery Deals by State” section which includes deals at thousands of supermarkets across the country.

Start 2015 the smart way. “The couponing world has tightened up,” says Nelson, “now our members are paying closer attention to stores’ policies, going in as smarter shoppers, and still getting their groceries for less than 50% of the store prices.” Nelson says if a family knows some simple strategies, they can cut their 2015 grocery bill in half, too.

Since 2004, Stephanie has appeared frequently on national television teaching savings tips, including Good Morning America, Oprah Winfrey Show, Today Show, Katie Couric, CBS Early Show, NBC Nightly News, Fox Business, The Doctors, The View, Dr. Oz, and CNN. Her latest book, “The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bill in Half” is a New York Times best seller.

For more information, go to http://www.CouponMom.com

3 Top Disney Travel Tips For Families

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familywalk2One of the best-loved destinations in the world for families is Disneyland, and each and every year thousands flock to the Park and its sister California Adventure for family fun. Jeanette Bunn knows that this year will be no different for the popularity of the park, especially as it begins its 60th anniversary celebrations in May. For those who want to enjoy the Disneyland experience with their families this year, Jeanette Bunn, Travel To Go President, shares some tips for navigating the park and enjoying the trip to the fullest.

1. Give each kid some input: When traveling with a large family, it is important that everyone has a say in what they want to do on the trip. However, families want to avoid arguing during the park day by planning ahead. Jeanette Bunn recommends that families have a list of must visit rides and areas of the park for each family member before entering the park. This will help the family make a plan that will please each member and help everyone have their perfect vacation without disagreeing.

2. Avoid overspending on merchandise: It is always tempting to buy a lot of souvenirs while in the park. However, costs for these items can quickly add up, especially for large families. By buying some new Disney products from stores near home or online before the trip, and then presenting it to kids on the way, families can avoid the high park prices while still getting the kids some Disney merchandise to remember the trip. Parents can also give each kid a budget so that they can pick a fun item that they want to bring home from the park.

3. Dine smart: For those with big families, Jeanette Bunn of Travel To Go knows that it can be inconvenient to deal with crowds during meal times. However, if families are a little flexible and visit the restaurants during irregular meal times, there will be more space for the family to sit together and shorter lines to contend with. However, be sure to pack some snacks for the kids before heading into the park. Granola bars and packs of crackers are good choices that can prevent the family from wanting to spend money on park snacks. Also, never be afraid to leave the park for a couple of hours for a picnic lunch or fast food outside the park to cut down on meal costs.

Planning a Disneyland vacation is always a thrill. When using tips like these from Jeanette Bunn, Travel To Go President, families can easily navigate the park, save money, and ensure that everyone has the Disney vacation that they dreamed of. For more information on planning a family getaway in 2015 visit http://www.traveltogo.com/.

Partnership To Help Families Make Healthy Eating And Fitness Routine

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Thank you to PRWeb and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation for this article….please share your thoughts below…..

familyjogAlliance for a Healthier Generation and 24 Hour Fitness are joining forces to give families the power to live healthy, active lives. Through a partnership announced today, the Alliance and 24 Hour Fitness will launch Nutrition Revolution 5K, an event series in ten cities across the country that will educate and inspire children and adults to eat healthier and move more in 2015.

Nutrition Revolution 5K is an important part of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s mission to combat childhood obesity. Childhood obesity has almost tripled in children and adolescents in the past 30 years. Today about one out of three children and adolescents (ages 2-19) in the United States is overweight or obese, putting them at risk for serious health problems.

“Educating and inspiring kids and adults to develop lifelong, healthy habits is at the core of what we aim to do at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation,” says Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “We couldn’t think of a better partner than 24 Hour Fitness to join our team and launch this exciting new event series. Together, we will help families start a health revolution.”

For 24 Hour Fitness, Nutrition Revolution 5K provides another opportunity for people to get the most out of the physical activities they enjoy – and get more out of the rest of their busy days. Nutrition Revolution 5K will feature simple steps to make healthy eating and fitness a part of daily life – before, during and after the event series.

“24 Hour Fitness shares a vision with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation for healthy, active living that’s within everyone’s reach,” said John Tovar, Senior Vice President, Club Operations, 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc. “We are proud to sponsor Nutrition Revolution 5K and show our commitment to families and members in the communities we serve.”

Learn more about how your family can join the revolution and make sure the finish line is only the start. Details on dates and locations for Nutrition Revolution 5K events will be posted on http://www.nutritionrevolution5K.org.

About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, empowers kids to develop lifelong, healthy habits. The Alliance works with schools, companies, community organizations, healthcare professionals and families to build healthier environments for millions of children. To learn more and join the movement, visit HealthierGeneration.org.

About 24 Hour Fitness

Headquartered in San Ramon, Calif., 24 Hour Fitness is a leading health club industry pioneer, serving nearly 4 million members in more than 400 clubs across the U.S. For more than 30 years, the company has been dedicated to helping members change their lives and reach their individual fitness goals. With convenient club locations, personal training services, innovative group exercise classes and a variety of strength, cardio and functional training equipment, 24 Hour Fitness offers fitness solutions for everyone.

Please call 1-800-224-0240 or visit 24hourfitness.com for more information and to find the club nearest you.

How Families Can Navigate The Affordable Care Act

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flagfamilyThe Affordable Care Act goes into effect in October and many families are unsure of its provisions. One outcome of its passing, according to Anne Edwards, MD, Chair of Pediatrics at Park Nicollet Health Services in Minneapolis, is that it will allow for better heath for children and their families by covering preventive health.

“Many families have postponed inoculations and other preventive measures that can keep their children from getting sick due to cost concerns. But the Affordable Care Act now covers this, leading to healthier families,” said Dr. Edwards, speaking on the popular online www.radiomd.com talk Show, “Healthy Children,” hosted by Melanie Cole, MS.

Dr. Edwards noted that most families will be able to buy health insurance through each state’s “marketplace,” and any child under 19 cannot be turned down for any reason. She admits that many people will find the new rules confusing, but there are appointed navigators that can help families understand their options, and much information is available online, including the website for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

familyvector“Keep in mind that you can keep your current health plan if you are happy with it. But if you don’t have insurance, the Affordable Care Act will allow you to shop for the coverage you need, matching cost with benefits. Try to find a plan that also covers dental and vision coverage, as well as access to specialists and surgeons,” recommends Dr. Edwards, who added that there are additional provisions for children with special needs.

If you live in a state that opted out of the Affordable Care Act, coverage is still available through the federal government, reminded Dr. Edwards. She also reminds that children 26 and under can still be covered on their parents’ health plan and that the new provisions of the Act does not allow coverage to be dropped if an insured person gets sick.

Listen to the 10-minute show segment on RadioMD.com…..

– Submitted by David Brimm

Martial Arts Is A Healthy Alternative For Families

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By Master Joseph Ash

karateWith the fast pace of the modern day family, there is a constant search for high quality programs that can fill voids and find a balance between school, work, family and exercise. Running from one activity to the next, eats away at not only time, but the overall quality of life for families. Not to mention, those activities often leave mom or dad on the side-lines watching instead of taking advantage of the benefits. Martial arts is a healthy alternative to traditional activities and it is something the entire family can do.

Martial arts education has been around for centuries, but only since the early 70’s did it start to catch on in the United States. Then it was predominately popular amongst the rough and tough adults of the day. Around the mid 80s the kids started to trickle into classes with the explosion of the original Karate Kid. After that it was Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers and numerous others productions attempting to capture the hearts and minds of little ones. Currently, there is a mix-martial arts fad, but there is still an ever growing population of elite schools that receive families. Such high quality martial arts programs provide families with a healthy and safe alternative to the more traditional activities.

For the children, traditional sports and after school activities are more social and less productive in terms of life skills. Combine poorly staffed programs with overcrowded, unmotivated participants and you get a lot of opportunities for unbecoming behaviors.

For the children, traditional sports and after school activities are more social and less productive in terms of life skills. Combine poorly staffed programs with overcrowded, unmotivated participants and you get a lot of opportunities for unbecoming behaviors. I’m all for letting kids be kids, but there seems to be too much free time, not enough structure and little motivation within many programs. Many times with traditional sports politics, cliques and favoritism exist and play a big role in whether or not children get to participate in the activity. Not having the opportunity to participate can greatly affect their feelings of self worth, confidence and self esteem. In the end, sports becomes more of a game about how we can win, instead of providing educational opportunities about life.

For parents themselves, taking part in a martial arts program will allow them to model ideal healthy lifestyle habits as well as, increase their own overall fitness levels, reduce stress and obtain mental clarity. With martial arts, no longer are the parents only allowed to “watch” their children do all the things they use to do, they do it along side them bringing another level of connection, purpose and meaning to each other. In some cases, everyone can participate at the same time, providing a wonderful balance of time, fitness and family.

With the numerous benefits martial arts provides practitioners, for families it brings a whole new meaning to “quality time.”

– Master Joseph Ash, Owner, BAEPLEX Family Martial Arts Center, Inc., Author: Martial Arts Unlocked

Britain’s Obesity Epidemic

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bigpantsFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very good article from the Huffington Post written by Luke Dale-Harris entitled, Britain’s Obesity Epidemic: Are We Addicted to Sugar?. Over the past weeks, I have discussed how I am reading too many headlines that the United States is the ‘fat capital’ of the world. Yes, I know there is a problem with obesity in the states, but you would think it only existed in the US when you read some articles. Recently on this blog, I have posted similar articles that point to other countries having similar concerns – including Mexico, Australia, Britain, Canada, and Malta. Once again, finding this article today about the UK having obesity problems shows this is a world problem. The author of this article does a great job explaining Britain’s obesity problem. He writes, “Not only are we the heaviest drinkers and among the hardest drug users in Europe; we are now, apparently, also the fattest.” Please take the time to read this Huffington Post story (link provided below). I always support and promote their articles, and this one is a good one.”

From the article…..

Britain’s obesity problem is in the news at the moment, again. Not only are we the heaviest drinkers and among the hardest drug users in Europe; we are now, apparently, also the fattest. But today, for the first time, a campaign has been announced which looks to address the latter of these problems in the same context as the other two; overeating is a problem with its roots in social, cultural and economic causes, and its corollary in habit and addiction.

Unlike the previous, scattershot attempts by the health sector to approach the issue of obesity, this time we have a manifesto, an ultimatum and a series of terrifying statistics to help kick us into action. Already a quarter of British women and a third of under nine’s are clinically obese and by 2050 this figure is predicted to have risen to accommodate over half of all British citizens, a reality our NHS could not support. This must be the time when this epidemic starts to be tackled pragmatically; when policy replaces the empty rhetoric and class based condescension that has characterized the debate up until now.

The report released by the Academy of Medical Royal Collages (AMRC) calls for a series of measures to be put into place, “starting right now”, that will break the cycle of “generation after generation falling victim to obesity related illnesses and death”. These include mandatory food-based standards to be introduced in all UK hospitals, a limit on the number of fast food outlets situated near schools, colleges and other places children gather, and traffic light food labeling to show calorie counts.

It also proposes a series of measures that are familiar from past policies designed to quell our appetite for other harmful substances, notably alcohol and tobacco. A nine o’clock watershed for advertising of foods high in saturated fat, sugar and salt, a tax hike on sugary soft drinks that will increase their price by at least 20%, and increased intervention and advice from GPs to educate people on the dangers of over-eating.

To read the full article…..Click here

Diet Plan Helps Obese Moms

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pregbellyFrom Your Health Journal…..”MedPage Today is such an excellent online resource with quality articles, so I am always happy to promote their site. Today’s article is called Diet Plan Helps Obese Moms written by Crystal Phend. Obesity before and during pregnancy has always been an issue for many women. Some woman look at pregnancy as a green light to eat more, while others try to maintain their figures for as long as they can. Diet programs with light or moderate exercise helped obese women avoid gaining excessive weight during pregnancy. In a study, obese women attending weekly weight management sessions gained 7 pounds less over the course of their pregnancy versus controls and actually dropped below their pre-pregnancy weight by 3 weeks after delivery. Of course, pregnant women should always get approval from their doctor before starting any exercise program during pregnancy, but I found this article to be interesting, and encouraging for many woman. Please visit the MedPage Today web site (link provided below) to learn more about this study.”

From the article…..

Diet programs with light exercise helped obese women avoid gaining too much weight during pregnancy, two trials showed.

Obese women attending weekly weight management sessions gained 7 pounds less over the course of their pregnancy versus controls and actually dropped below their pre-pregnancy weight by 3 weeks after delivery, Kimberly Vesco, MD, MPH, of Kaiser Permanente and colleagues found in the Healthy Moms trial.

Gestational weight gain in a separate Italian trial fell within Institute of Medicine (IOM) guidelines for 78% of obese women in a calorie-restricted diet and exercise program compared with 30% of obese controls (P=0.003).

The interventions also cut down on pregnancy complications and kept babies in a healthy weight range, the groups reported here at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine meeting.

These findings show that the same kinds of weight-management strategies used to help overweight adults generally work in pregnancy too, Vesco told MedPage Today.

The 2009 IOM guidelines for obese women suggest a weight gain of no more than 11 to 20 pounds during pregnancy, but Vesco noted that over half of such women in her region exceed that gestational weight gain.

The problem is growing along with obesity in the general population, Elisabetta Petrella, MD, of Italy’s University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, pointed out in her presentation of the Italian trial.

That prospective open-label trial included 63 women with a pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) of 25 kg/m2 or more who were randomized in their first trimester to either a restricted calorie diet (1,700 to 1,800 calories per day) and 30 minutes of walking at least 3 days a week or usual care plus a simple nutritional booklet.

The overweight group with BMIs in the 25 to 29 kg/m2 range showed no impact on weight gain by the end of their pregnancy, at 11.3 kg (24.9 pounds) in both groups, or in the proportion who stayed within the IOM guidelines.

But the obese group gained an average of 6.7 kg during pregnancy with the intervention compared with 10.1 kg among controls (14.8 versus 22.3 pounds, P=0.047) along with the more than doubling in proportion who kept weight gain in the recommended boundaries.

To read the full article…..Click here

In Minutes A day, Low-Income Families Can Improve Their Kids’ Health

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From Your Health Journal…..”I always love article from the Science Codex, and I encourage all of your to visit their site (link provided below) to read some great articles. Today’s article is about In Minutes A day, Low-Income Families Can Improve Their Kids’ Health. Children whose families engaged with one another over a 20-minute meal four times a week weighed significantly less than kids who left the table after 15 to 17 minutes. Over time, those extra minutes per meal add up and become really powerful. Quality of interaction also mattered. Families who said that shared mealtimes are an important part of family life and have special meaning for them were less likely to have an obese child. And families who talked more together and interacted more positively during the meal were more likely to have healthy-weight children. Please visit the Science Codex site to read more, you won’t be disappointed.”

From the article……

When low-income families devote three to four extra minutes to regular family mealtimes, their children’s ability to achieve and maintain a normal weight improves measurably, according to a new University of Illinois study.

“Children whose families engaged with each other over a 20-minute meal four times a week weighed significantly less than kids who left the table after 15 to 17 minutes. Over time, those extra minutes per meal add up and become really powerful,” said Barbara H. Fiese, director of the U of I’s Family Resiliency Program.

Childhood obesity in low-income families is a complex problem with many contributing factors, which may include being part of a single-parent family, having a mother who has little education, and living in a poor neighborhood without easy access to healthy foods, she said.

But, even as these risk factors accumulated, the study found, low-income children’s participation in regular high-quality family mealtimes made a difference in their weight status.

“Three to four extra minutes per meal made a healthy weight more likely,” she said.

In the study, researchers observed 200 family mealtimes, testing the cumulative effects of socioeconomic factors and mealtime behaviors of families with children in elementary school. They noted the importance families placed on sharing a meal, efforts made to schedule family meals, and whether the family attached special meaning to this practice.

Socioeconomic circumstances mattered. Children raised in single-parent households were more likely to be overweight or obese than kids raised in two-parent families, she said.

And, at the neighborhood level, high concentrations of children living in poverty were associated with greater risks for childhood overweight or obesity in the home, she added.

To read the full article…..Click here

Blending Families: Stepparent Dos and Don’ts

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By by Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC, MEd, LPC

familysoccerMore than fifty percent of all children are raised in single parent families in the United States. But, many of these later become blended families. This is never easy. In fact, the joining of two distinct families is often a major cause of divorce among second marriages.

Blending families doesn’t have to be a nightmare; it can be an opportunity to show a child that love extends beyond problems between their mom and dad. Stepparents or loving partners that a child may encounter after a divorce, separation or death of a parent, can play an integral part in a child’s life and can provide insight into the depth of a healthy, loving relationship.

If you are a stepparent or entering a relationship where blending with the kids is important, there are many important things to remember.

The following suggestions may guide you to help the children you love establish a bridge of peace in your home:

1. Whoever has the children only occasionally should, as much as possible, follow the daily routines the child has from the home they live in most of the time. Kids draw stability from routines, and when their routine is not followed this may lead to increased anxiety and acting out.

2. Never force your stepchild or your partner’s child to bond with you. Bonding takes a long time, and it requires time, not money or gifts. You cannot buy a child’s love.

3. Never talk badly about your child’s biological parent or the stepparent’s ex.

familytv4. Don’t try to discipline your stepchild; this is the biological parent’s job. It is wise to talk to the child’s parent in privacy and come up with a plan together while the child is with you that will work for both of you. As a family, you should talk directly with your child the next day.

5. When you talk with your stepchild, be sure to listen to them, and encourage open, honest communication. Lecturing never works with biological or stepchildren.

6. Gift giving around holidays or birthdays should be discussed prior to the child joining your family. This is not a time to “win the child over.” This is a time to show grace and love, and demonstrate that small things matter most. Trying to outdo the other parent usually backfires and hurts the child.

In lots of little ways, you can create special memories that will last forever with any child.

In lots of little ways, you can create special memories that will last forever with any child. If you are a stepparent, your stepchild will love you most if they feel that you understand and accept where they came from. You establish this by listening, rather than trying to change them. Help bridge the gap of emotion they may feel, but be unable to express.

All children need is to feel loved unconditionally. That can happen in many different family arrangements.

Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC, is a licensed psychotherapist and co-author with Janine J. Sherman, of Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom About Health, Sex or Whatever.