4 Lifestyle Habits That Worsen Back Pain

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb and Dr. Michael A. Gleiber, MD, FAAOS.

newsThe millions of people who experience some level of back pain – from occasional aches, to chronic discomfort – are encouraged to read the latest article by minimally invasive spine surgeon Dr. Michael A. Gleiber, MD, FAAOS, in which he reveals the four most common lifestyle habits that trigger back pain and destroy spine health.

“Back pain isn’t always the result of an injury,” commented Dr. Gleiber, who is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and a Spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “Often, it’s the things people do – or neglect to do – in their daily lives that is the root cause of their pain and deteriorating spine health. Tragically, many of these people don’t even know the damage that they’re doing until the pain becomes unbearable, and they can no longer carry out their day-to-day tasks at home or at work.”

According to Dr. Gleiber, the four lifestyle habits that are causing the most back pain and spine injury are:

1. A sedentary lifestyle that is virtually devoid of exercise. This causes the muscles that support the spine to become weak, and in turn forces the vertebrae and discs to absorb extra stress.

jumpingrope2. Exercising strenuously only on the weekends, and doing little or no exercise the rest of the week (“Weekend Warriors”). This imposes excessive strain on the back and spine, which is not prepared or strong enough to absorb the shock – ultimately causing back pain and, ironically, greatly increasing the risk of injury.

3. Sitting down for several hours a day at work. Staying for prolonged periods of time in any single position is damaging to spine health. However, to make matters worse, most people who sit for many hours each day have incorrect posture; often because they are hunching forward to see their computer screen.

4. Regularly eating junk food, which often leads to weight gain and therefore puts extra stress on the spine. In addition, people who eat too much junk food are typically not getting the nutrients they need to keep their spine strong and healthy, such as Calcium and Vitamin D.

Added Dr. Gleiber: “The good news is that with commitment and the right guidance, people can create new, better lifestyle habits that not only alleviates and ideally eliminates their back pain, but vastly improves their overall health and wellness. For instance, people can start exercising at least three times a week to strengthen their core muscles, get up from their desk once an hour to stretch and walk around a bit, and muster up all of their willpower to make eating junk food an occasional indulgence rather than a regular occurrence.”

The full version of Dr. Gleiber’s latest article entitled “How Your Lifestyle Can Contribute to Back Pain” is available on his website at http://michaelgleibermd.com/news/lifestyle-can-contribute-back-pain.

Additional articles by Dr. Gleiber on spine health, back pain relief, effective exercising and more are available at http://michaelgleibermd.com/news.

About Dr. Michael A. Gleiber, MD

– Dr. Michael A. Gleiber, MD is a trusted expert in the field of minimally invasive spine surgery. He currently serves as Spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, is a writer for The Huffington Post, and is frequently invited to provide his medical expertise in the media. Dr. Gleiber has been honored with multiple recognitions, including Castle Connolly Top Doctors for Spine Surgery, SuperDoctors of South Florida, Top 10 Spine Surgical Specialists Florida by Vitals.com, and is listed amongst Top 50 Spine Surgeon Leaders.

Learn more at http://michaelgleibermd.com

Acid Reflux On The Rise But Healthy Habits Can Help

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This article is courtesy of the Baylor College of Medicine, please share your comments below…..

doctorThe number of people experiencing acid reflux is increasing, but making lifestyle changes could lessen the symptoms. An expert at Baylor College of Medicine recommends making these lifestyle changes to also avoid health complications down the road.

“The increase of acid reflux symptoms is partly due to the rising obesity rate and continued fast food (high fat and low fiber) consumption, along with inactive lifestyles,” said Dr. Hashem B. El-Serag, section chief of gastroenterology and hepatology at Baylor. “Not smoking, participating in regular physical activity, eating foods that are low fat and high fiber and maintaining a healthy weight are lifestyle changes that can prevent acid reflux symptoms or reduce them for those who have reflux.”

Symptoms

Acid reflux is a condition where the contents of the stomach, which is mostly acid, do not stay in the stomach and instead go up into the esophagus. This occurrence can generate the following symptoms:

* Heartburn

* Acid regurgitation

* Chest pain

* Bitter taste in the mouth

* Belly discomfort

* Unexplained cough

* Sore throat

If these symptoms continue for a prolonged period of time especially among those older than 50 years it can injure the esophagus, resulting in esophagitis or Barrett’s esophagus, said El-Serag, also program leader of the Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences Program at the NCI-designated Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center.

What to do

Food plays a major role in acid reflux and modifying eating habits may alleviate reflux symptoms. Generally, a low-fat and high-fiber diet is best.

“If someone is predisposed to acid reflux, I recommend they avoid high-fat foods, wine, strawberries and chocolate,” he said. “I would also suggest losing weight, a doctor can help determine how much is best.”

After eating, the stomach is full of food and excreting acid, which means lying down will make the symptoms worse.

“Brief walks after meals are a good way to gain more exercise and help the stomach empty its contents while having gravity work against the reflux,” El-Serag said. “Physical activity and an active lifestyle can improve the symptoms.”

If an individual is older than 50 years, has daily symptoms, or has a family history of Barrett’s esophagus or esophageal cancer and has reflux symptoms, El-Serag recommended they see a gastroenterologist. For individuals with less frequent symptoms and of younger age, he recommended trying antacids or over the counter medications.

Complications

The following are warning signs and symptoms that can occur with acid reflux complications:

* Difficulty swallowing

* Choking

* Weight loss

* Bleeding from the mouth or rectum

* Symptoms that do not respond to over the counter medications

People with these symptoms should see a gastroenterologist to rule out other causes for the symptoms, El-Serag said.

Skin Can Reflect Eating Habits

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saladplateA healthy diet does a body good inside and out, and dermatologists at Baylor College of Medicine say there is evidence that links certain foods to flares in acne.

“While there are definitely a number of triggers for acne, the connection between diet and acne is very interesting,” said Dr. Rajani Katta, professor of dermatology at Baylor. “Years back dermatologists thought the two were not linked, but now researchers say there is evidence for a link between sugar and carbohydrates and acne.”

Studies have shown that foods with a high glycemic index can affect breakouts.

“Foods high on the glycemic index, meaning foods high in refined carbohydrates such as sugar, cause fluctuations in blood glucose levels,” said Dr. Ramsey Markus, associate professor of dermatology at Baylor. ”As a result of the high blood sugar levels there is a cascade of hormones released that eventually stimulate the oil gland, leading to worsening of acne”.

High glycemic index foods include:

* White rice

* White bread

* White potatoes

One study placed participants on a low glycemic index diet for 12 weeks and during this time their acne did improve significantly, Katta said.

Other foods and factors can also aggravate acne.

“Dairy products, especially low fat milk, have been linked to acne,” Markus said. “Stress also is a big factor, as stress-related hormones trigger acne flares.”

The hormonal changes of puberty are a well-known trigger. Additionally, certain medications like lithium, medicinal steroids or anabolic steroids can lead to acne, he said.

Skin care products not designed for patients prone to acne may create a flare. Markus advises patients to look for key words such as oil-free or non-comedogenic in selecting suitable skin care products in patients who are acne prone.

5 Habits Of Those Who Are Truly Happy

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By Janet Miller

womantwistingHappiness. Everyone wants it, everyone is seeking it, but few actually have it. Is our quest for success, money, and accomplishment actually limiting our happiness? Having met with many entrepreneurs and C-level executives around the world in my previous job, I took a few notes along the way. Here are the 5 habits I found that distinguish those who are truly happy:

1. They accept their calling. Not everyone knows what their calling is in life. Equally, however, many people might find what they think is their calling, and abandon it out of fear. Instead of shying away from what you’re good at, because you’re afraid of the hard work, notoriety, or anything else associated with it, actively pursue this calling. If you find your purpose, or have a hunch you have, seek it, and don’t look back. Focusing on your true strengths, and what you believe your purpose is, will help unlock true happiness.

2. They don’t chase money. Contrary to what some supremely successful people may portray, money does not bring happiness. Beyond a certain amount, the amount required to live comfortably and indulge occasionally, more money does not necessarily bring more happiness. In fact, a single-minded quest to pursue money might block out friendships, family, leisure, health, and other things that are critical to long-term happiness. There will always be someone richer, and more money to make. Those who are truly happy stop worrying about money.

3. They sleep. There are those people for whom sleep is a waste of time and work is their only source of achievement and happiness. For most others, however, sleep is important. Everyone knows how a good night of sleep feels. Sleep is a trade off in time with work, relationships etc., but often it is one worth making. Many of the truly happy people I have met are very generous with the sleep time they give themselves.

happyteens4. They laugh. Laughter is often the sign of good relationships between friends, family, coworkers, and even strangers. Laughter releases chemicals in the brain that make you feel momentarily happy. Have enough of those moments, and you have got a pretty good base of happiness. One morning routine that some people use very effectively is to look at themselves in the mirror for 5 minutes and to simply smile from ear to ear. This sets a positive tone for the rest of the day.

5. They give. Giving is related to caring and charity, but is itself something different and worth focusing on. There are plenty of worthy and righteous reasons to give, say, to charity. One of the lesser-mentioned reasons is that giving makes the giver feel good. The notion of “the gift” is complex, and sometimes tied up in a weird “who owes who” psychology. However, if you can avoid this, there are lots of benefits from giving. Giving to friends, family, and charity, all have their virtues. It feels good to help someone in need, and it is a reminder of your own good fortune. You cannot control whether or not you receive help in a time of need, but you can control when you help others.

– Janet Miller is a certified yoga instructor, nutritionist and seasoned work at home mom of four. She worked for more than 10 years at a Fortune 100 corporation before deciding to work at home full time. You can reach her at her blog.

The 8 Worst Skincare Habits

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your thoughts in the comments section below…..

womanskinOn January 8, 2015, Elle Magazine posted an online article titled “The 8 Worst Things You Can Do to Your Skin” that provides readers with a list of actions that are damaging to one’s skin. The list includes smoking, tanning, and tugging at the skin around one’s eyes and simple neglect. The point of the article is to make readers mindful of the habits that can damage the skin rather than nurture it. (see:goo.gl/A2Ym9f)

“I’m glad to see that the list includes tanning and smoking,” says Dr. Simon Ourian, Medical Director of Epione Beverly Hills. “These two items alone cause a vast amount of damage. At this point, one would have to be willfully ignorant not to know how detrimental to one’s overall health these two vices can be.”

According to the Elle Magazine article, tugging at the skin around the eyes should be avoided as it may damage the collagen and elastin fibers in this delicate area leading to fine lines and wrinkles. Over-washing should be avoided because it can alter the natural pH of the skin and strip it of its natural oils. Neglect is the last item on the list and a reminder that beautiful looking skin requires daily maintenance and healthy, disease-free skin requires vigilance.

“There’s almost no limit to the damage sun exposure can do to the skin,” says Dr. Ourian. “From a cosmetic perspective, it prematurely ages the skin, causing discoloration and wrinkles. Repeated UV exposure can lean to skin cancers.”

Dr. Ourian has been a pioneer in laser technology and non-invasive aesthetic procedures including Restylane, Juvéderm, Radiesse, Sculptra, and CoolSculpting. These treatments are used for the correction or reversal of a variety of conditions such as acne, acne scars, skin discoloration, wrinkles, unwanted fat, stretch marks, varicose veins, cellulite, and others. More information about skin care can be found on Epione’s website.

7 Simple Habits To Adopt For Better Health

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By Ann Musico

healthillustratedHere are seven habits that you can easily adopt into your daily life that will create more balance and better health as a result. They’re practical, easy-to-do, simple and surprisingly effective.

1. Start your day speaking well of yourself.

How you view yourself and your life first thing in the morning sets the stage for the rest of the day. Create a short list of positive, faith-filled statements about yourself and your life that you can speak out loud, with enthusiasm as you get washed and dressed for the day. It sounds too simple and silly but it is a powerful practice. Some examples to start you off: “I expect great things to happen for me today” “I am calm and confident” “I love people and people love me”

2. Take baby steps.

Don’t try to change everything all at once! Make one change for a week or two and then add in another change once it’s become part of your life.

3. Drink adequate water.

Dehydration is the number one cause of fatigue. Dehydration not only halts weight loss but also hinders effective processing of emotions! Gradually work up to one-half your body-weight in ounces of water daily and try to include ¼ tsp. natural, unprocessed salt (sea, pink or Himalayan crystal) for every 32 oz. You will experience increased energy almost immediately!

4. Spice up your life.

One of the easiest and tastiest ways to boost the nutritional value of your meals without adding calories is to include a variety of spices.

5. Slow down.

Make it a point to slow down and intentionally enjoy your meals. Take a few deep breaths, pay attention to the aromas, textures and tastes. Chew thoroughly. Your digestion will thank you and you will avoid inhaling food without even tasting it – which leads to overeating.

6. Practice periodic movement.

stretchEven if you exercise daily at the gym, sitting for hours at a time has been found to be more destructive to health than smoking! Set an alarm on your phone or a kitchen timer if you need to, but get up and move your body every 30 minutes or so. Stretch, do a few squats or wall push up, take a short walk – just get up and move periodically.

7. Practice an Attitude of Gratitude

No matter what kind of day you’ve had, you can find something to be grateful for. Gratitude is an extremely potent emotion that turns on your parasympathetic, healing, rejuvenating system!

Improving your health doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated! Just make small changes, gradually and before you know it you will see great results!

– Ann Musico is a holistic health coach who helps women, at every age, to exemplify lives of vibrant health and wholeness – spirit, soul and body. Her mission is to show women how to adopt a healthy lifestyle in a way that is simple and achievable, empowering them to take responsibility for their own health in order to be a positive influence on their families. You can visit her website at threedimensionalvitality.com

Five Personal Hygiene Habits Your Kid Must Have

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By Terrie Dawson

washhandsHygiene facilitates good health and prosperity. Every generation passes on some habits to the next generation to promote hygiene. It also increases social acceptance as unhygienic people are regarded as unhealthy for the society. Often parents start off with the education early on with their kids which in itself is a good practice. Though there is a long list of habits that must be inculcated but here we will talk about 5 most vital personal hygiene habits that your kids must have.

Take a look:

Hand wash

The careless attitude is the cause behind majority of infections (gastro and colds). Kids lay their hands on a lot of contaminated places and eat with the same hands without washing them. The first and the foremost hygiene habit that every kid must practice is to wash hands before eating and after coming from outside. It is also important that they follow the right technique. They should use an antibacterial soap or a hand wash, lather and then rinse for about 15 seconds starting from wrists to the nails. This drains off the potential germs.

Bathing

Bathing should be followed like an everyday ritual. Bathing not only checks bad body odor but it also protects them from many diseases. There should be regular bath time. Many kids can shower on their own from the age of five. Parents can supervise so that they clean themselves well. The teenage is the most vulnerable age. With the anatomical changes happening to the life getting active, the teen’s body goes through a lot. Infections thus become commonplace. Athletic teens may encounter some fungal or bacterial infections, it is important that they control the spread by using best anti-bacterial or anti-fungal body soap. Regular hair-wash is also essential to check any dirt and germ build-up.

Brushing teeth

brushteethBrushing facilitates a fresh breath, checks gum diseases and is good for your pocket as well, I mean no dentist required. Sometimes it’s difficult to make kids brush their teeth. Parents must tell them how bad breath can make their friends shoo off. This will motivate them. Flossing for a minimum of three minutes and swishing with clean water will furnish a healthy smile. Brushing at night will check the bacterial growth by night which may be caused due to the food particles remaining in the mouth, if kept unclean.

Cover sneeze and cough

Sneezing and coughing in an appropriate manner is a good practice as doing the same at somebody’s face may annoy him. Therefore, it is important that the kids learn to block the passage with the elbow if there is no tissue available. It would be even better if they wash their hands using an antibiotic soap.

Hygiene of the genital parts

Both the girls and boys must keep their genital parts clean. This becomes even more important when the hormonal changes kick off during the puberty stage. Even before they enter this stage, they must know the importance of changing their inner garments regularly and keeping the parts clean and dry. Keeping them wet for long can cause fungal infections. Though using anti-fungal body soap may help, but prevention is better than cure. Hence personal hygiene habits are recommended.

Remember, kids learn from their elders. Therefore lead by example. Parents must practice these personal hygiene habits by themselves so that the kids learn and follow them.

– Terrie Dawson is a freelance writer by profession and fitness enthusiast at heart. Her passion is to encourage others to rediscover their lifestyle and get inspired for organic living. She is a contributor at Defense antifungal body soap which advocates curing skin problems. Besides this she contributes for various online health publications that mainly cover health guides, fitness and yoga.

10 Bad Habits To Break In 2014 To Boost Fertility

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Dr. Edward Marut of Fertility Centers of Illinois shares tips to help couples conceive.

babyIf you’re hoping to have a baby in 2014, there a few bad habits that you’ll want to break. These changes will not only improve your health, but also give you a fertility boost.

“For couples trying to conceive, making some changes for the New Year can have a huge impact,” explains Dr. Edward Marut, Medical Director with Fertility Centers of Illinois. “Quitting smoking or cutting down on coffee, and getting more sleep can be the difference between trying to have a baby and becoming pregnant.”

Break these 10 bad habits in 2014 to supercharge conception efforts:

1. Stressing About Timing

Temperature charts and home ovulation kits add nothing if you are having intercourse two to four times per week. If you have regular periods, your fertile zone is Days 12-16. If your cycles are irregular, see a reproductive endocrinologist and relieve yourself of the stress and confusion that comes with home testing.

2. Ignoring your BMI Number

Body Mass Index is a number that is calculated using a person’s height and weight, and is used as an indicator of obesity and weight issues. Extra weight causes hormonal shifts that can affect ovulation and semen production, and can also make achieving a pregnancy more difficult. Conversely, being underweight can cause irregular or absent periods. The ideal Body Mass Index (BMI) falls in the 20-25 range. The CDC provides a BMI calculator to help assess your BMI number. The positive news: losing as little as 5-10 percent of body weight can significantly improve fertility potential in overweight patients. Also, being a little overweight is better than being underweight.

3. Eating Junk Food

If you’re putting junk in your body, you aren’t getting the nutrition you need. Limit or cut out processed foods, sweets, and saturated fats. Make meals that include fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, and don’t overdo carbohydrates. Too many carbohydrates can lead to the production of ovarian hormones, which can interfere with ovulation and cause harm to women with PCOS. At the same time, don’t punish yourself if you have a craving. A little bit of fun food never hurts, and may relieve the urge to feast on guilty pleasures.

4. Avoiding a Doctor Appointment

If you’ve been trying for a year and you’re under 35, or if you’ve been trying for six months and you’re over 35 and have not yet achieved a pregnancy, it’s time to talk to a specialist. Knowledge is power, and there may be simple changes you can make to help achieve conception. A consultation and basic fertility evaluation is an affordable way to get a snapshot of fertility potential. If you are under 35, having basic testing done which returns normal results may allow for a few more cycles of trying without pursuing treatment.

nosmoking5. Lighting Up That Cigarette

We all know smoking is unhealthy, but there are numbers to prove it. A report by the British Medical Association showed that smokers may have up to a 10-40% lower monthly fecundity (fertility) rate. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has estimated that up to 13% of infertility may be caused by tobacco use. Smoking as few as five cigarettes per day has been associated with lower fertility rates in males and females. Smoking, whether tobacco or marijuana, is also associated with miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, pregnancy complications and stillborn births – even if it’s the male partner doing the smoking.

6. Going Big at Starbucks

Even though up to two cups of coffee have been shown to be safe in pregnancy, exceeding that when trying to conceive may be counterproductive. One study showed that “women who consumed more than the equivalent of one cup of coffee per day were half as likely to become pregnant, per cycle, as women who drank less.” Better to use decaffeinated or half-caffeinated coffee, and remember there is caffeine in tea, cola and chocolate.

7. Using Water-Based Lubricant

If you’re trying to conceive, water-based lubricant may be working against your efforts. Water-based lubricants such as Astroglide and KY Jelly may inhibit sperm movement by 60-100 percent within 60 minutes of intercourse. The swimmers can’t win the race and reach the prize if they can’t move. Opt for natural oils, oil-based lubricants or even cooking oil, but be sure to keep any potential allergies in mind. If you’re allergic to peanuts, then peanut oil may not be for you. Pre-Seed lubricant is a commercial product that may even enhance motility (movement) of sperm.

8. “Catching Up” On Sleep

If you aren’t getting the sleep you need per night, no amount of “catch up” can make up for lost rest. Research shows that the hormone leptin, which has a critical role in female fertility, is reduced when the body is deprived of sleep. Rest for at least seven hours per night, and be aware of your body’s needs.

9. Not Seeking Support

A study concluded that women with infertility felt as anxious and depressed as those diagnosed with cancer, hypertension, or recovering from a heart attack. If you’re concerned about your fertility, don’t walk the path alone. Talk to your partner, see a counselor (with your partner or alone), and find a support group or forum where you can speak with others who can relate. One in six couples experiences difficulty when trying to conceive – the odds are that someone you know is feeling the same way you are.

10. “Saving Up” for Ovulation

There is no need to “save up” sperm for sex during ovulation, or have intercourse multiple times per day leading up to ovulation. Don’t let trying to conceive interfere with a pleasurable sex life. Aim to have sex two to four times per week when it feels right.

To read the complete article…..Click here

– Courtesy of PRWeb

Simple Steps To Curb Bad Health Habits

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By Dr. Mario Pary

obeseboyvectorbellyChildhood obesity is verging on an epidemic in the United States. According to the American Heart Association (AMA), one in three children or teens is considered obese or overweight. When compared to numbers from the early 1960s, the rate has nearly tripled. If your child is on the wrong side of these statistics, they could be at risk for some serious health problems – both now and later on in life. High blood pressure, increased levels of cholesterol, and type two diabetes are all heavily correlated with this condition, according to the AMA. Depression, low self-esteem, and a negative body image are not as tangible, but still very serious factors that can arise from being obese.

To avert these potential issues and get back on the right track, there are several things your children can do to move towards a healthier lifestyle. However, this process isn’t just about them. As the parental figure your actions and guidance helped cause this situation. Those same factors can just as easily change the standards and the environment, creating a healthy and sustainable future for your children.

Limit Access to Unhealthy Offerings

Proximity to unhealthy foods plays a big role in the process. If your house is loaded with sweets, fried foods, and other high-calorie offerings, it is unrealistic to assume that your child has the willpower and foresight to police their own eating habits. As the parent, you can negate this issue at its source. When grocery shopping, avoid purchasing these items and place an emphasis on fresh foods and healthy snacks. Doing so can avert bad decision-making and allow your child to develop better eating habits. If you want to have treats for special occasions, that is also fine. Just make sure to keep them separated and designated as such.

Make Exercise Fun

kidsexercisevectorAnother major problem facing children is the fact that exercise isn’t always as fun as playing with toys, video games, or watching TV. Unfortunately, most parents simply concede defeat and allow these sources of entertainment to rule their kid’s free time. If you want to switch up this standard, incorporate fun and healthy activities into a daily routine. Playing sports, like soccer and basketball, with other children, as well as taking trips to the beach or a nature trail, can be a great way to exercise while also keeping your child interested. Evaluate their interests and try to build some outdoor activities around these subjects to keep them excited and engaged.

A Healthy Family

Perhaps the most important change in your child’s health starts with helping yourself. If you are overweight or obese, think of the example you have set. If you are not satisfied with this standard, shifting your priorities and getting healthy by following many of the same concepts listed above can create a shift across the entire family. Eating healthy and exercising together is a great way to stay motivated and active. This process can also promote strengthened bonds and relationships among members of your family, leading to better emotional health as well.

– Dr. Mario Pary is a dentist in Shreveport, LA who focuses on providing patients with the best possible dental care. In his free time, he writes dentistry related articles and publications to educate people on how to maintain a healthier mouth.

It’s What’s For Dinner: Healthy Eating Habits for Children

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By Rachel Thomas

kidseatinghealthyYour role as a parent is more than protecting your children from immediate harm and laying down some ground rules. You are the personification of what children aspire to be. It is up to you to set a good example as children will emulate you more often than you may think. Proper eating habits fall into that category of protecting your children while providing them with a positive role model.

Unhealthy eating habits now can be extremely detrimental to the development of your child. Even with all of their energy, your young one could still become obese quite easily. With obesity comes a slew of physical complications that could become deadly over time. Your first act of a parent shouldn’t be to condemn your children to heart disease, diabetes and the mental damage from peer ridicule. How can you make sure that your children maintain a healthy diet during dinner?

1. Fast Food Blues – Although it’s incredibly convenient, you should stay away from the processed foods provided by drive through windows. While some of these are developing innovative ways to make the food healthier, it can still be damaging to the health of the family. Don’t let convenience decide what’s for dinner.

2. Portion Sizes – The portions of the meal are essential when developing a healthy diet. You can still eat your mashed potatoes as long as you don’t cover half of your plate with them. You can fill the bellies of your family up without excessive amounts of a single item. By mixing additional sides to your dinner, you get variety as well as additional nutrition. For example, you can make a meal out of:

• Three to five ounce of pork
• One cup of potatoes
• Two cups of salad
• An orange
• Glass of Milk

Depending on where you do your shopping for groceries, the above dinner could cost you far less than any drive through window, and it wouldn’t take much time to prepare. The nutritional value is superior as well. If you provide proper portion sizes, even the most elaborate of meals can be inexpensive for the family.

3. Less Sugar – Instead of providing chocolate and other sweets for desert, why not look closer at the power of berries and other sweet fruits? A cup of pineapple can easily sooth the “sugar beast” within you while provide a vitamin loaded snack. Oranges, cherries, strawberries and more are far superior to junk foods in terms of health appeal as well as cost.

4. Earlier Dinners – Eating several hours before bedtime allows time for your body to digest foods. This can help quell heartburn and indigestion problems of all kinds. A proper routine of eating needs to be focused on as later dinners could make one not hungry in the morning, which could cause him or her to skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast could alter how the day proceeds in the form of energy levels and even cognitive thought.

Of course you want to make sure that every meal is a healthy one. However, that may be more difficult during the school year as you may not be able to monitor what your child is eating when away from the home. By making sure he or she is getting plenty of exercise and eating a healthy meal at least once per day, you can help combat future complications and help your child have a happy and healthy lifestyle later on.

– Rachel is an ex-babysitting pro as well as a professional writer and blogger. She is a graduate from Iowa State University and currently writes for www.babysitting.net. She welcomes questions/comments which can be sent to rachelthomas.author @ gmail.com.