Showing posts from March, 2009

At least the house didn't burn down

While I was planning on blogging exclusively on nutrition this month I thought I'd share our little emergency today.The interesting picture is what Laerdal Little Anne mannequin bags look like after they've melted from extreme heat. Yup, we almost set the house on fire today.Not a proud thing for a CPR & First Aid Instructor to admit. While picking up the basement I put the bags on top of my pellet stove so the kids could ride their tricycles in the basement. The stove was off, was cool to the touch and the burn chamber was empty because I had cleaned just a little while beforehand. When the kids started fighting over toys I took my youngest upstairs for snack leaving my 3 year old playing downstairs. I never would have imagined that he would open the little door on the side and turn up the thermostat on the pellet stove. He turned it up high enough that it loaded pellets and ignited. I smelled the burning plastic and found him hiding in the basement. The basement w…

Easy tips to make eating healthier

Today in the mail we received a flyer from our Health Insurance Provider. It had a page on eating well and some tips on making meals healthier that I thought I'd share.

* Substitute veggies for cheeses and meats on pizza or in omelets.
* Switch to nonfat or low fat milk, yogurt and cheese.
* Use nonstick sprays instead of butter, margarine or oil to 'grease' the pan.
* Choose water packed tuna, chicken or other canned meats instead of oil packed.
* Choose sweet fruits instead of candy.
* Pick smaller serving sizes and smaller plates
* Try whole-wheat products instead of white and brown rice.
* Try baking, broiling or grilling intead of frying.
* Substitute applesauce for oil in some recipes when baking.
* Substitute 2 egg whites for a whole egg.
* Make popsicles out of grapes and watermelon wedges.
* Season with lemon and herbs instead of butter and salt.
* Try veggies with salsa instead of chips.
* When eating out asking for dressing and sauces to be on the side and not poured over yo…

Heart Healthy Grocery Shopping from the AHA

When you're shopping and trying to decide what to buy have you every noticed the food products with the red heart and white checkmark on them? Wondered what it meant?

The Heart Checkmark represents that the food item has met the American Heart Association's certification criteria to be low in saturated fat and cholesterol for healthy people over age 2. Their criteria lists looks at the amount of fat, salt, cholesterol, whole grains, fiber and some nutrients. By meeting their criteria list these foods are part of a heart healthy diet.

The full certification criteria chart can be found on the American Heart Associations website at Looking for this symbol can make it easier to make Heart Healthy food shopping choices.

Happy food shopping!

News travels fast on Facebook

Just like I'm new to blogging, I'm new to Facebook as well. I'm not on it all day, just 5 minutes here or there over the course of the day. And I'm not a huge fan of the changes that have just been made. But I wanted to share my observation that Facebook is fast becoming my means to communicate with people really quickly.

The other day I learned some really sad news about a good friend of many of my co-workers. I only work there part-time so I don't see these folks on a regular basis, but when I logged into Facebook there were all these odd status updates, and then within minutes an instant message "Have you heard the news...", and well it goes from there.

Over the course of the evening I received news, instant messages, offered sympathies, emailed and updated others all on Facebook while quietly carrying on my regular evening routine for my kids. I received 1 phone call, but otherwise all the news was relayed on Facebook.

This got me thinking about how I…

The Facts on Fat

I've been looking at the fat content of foods lately. We're trying to eat healthier and I'm trying to lose weight. So I'm taking a bit more time to read nutrition labels on packages when I shop. The challenge I'm finding is that foods that are lower in fat tend to have a lot more trans fats or polyunsaturated fats or hydrogenated fats and I realized I have no idea what all that means. So I turned to the Amerian Heart Association and the FDA websites for some definitions:

Trans Fats are hydrogenated fats. This is made when manufacturers add hydrogen to vegetable oil in a process called hydrogenation. This increases shelf life and flavor to the fat.

Saturated Fats are found mostly in meat, animal products and some plants. This includes milk, butter, cheese and some oils. Saturated fat is the main culprit behind high cholesterol.

Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are referred to as the healthier fats. They are from fish, nuts, seeds and some plant oils. T…

Heart Healthy Nutrition Tips from Heartstrong

Well in my search for Heart Healthy Nutrition Tips I saw this great blog post from the nurses at Heartstrong. Heartstrong is a health care education and consulting business run by two cardiac nurse practitioners. Their goal is to empower and help people live a longer healthier life.

What do they suggest?

A healthy diet includes 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Try eating more whole grains, lowfat dairy products, nuts, fish, and lean meats. Cut back on trans fats and saturated fats also limit your salt/sodium intake, and watch the added sugars. Fiber is very important.

Fill your refrigerator with:Fresh fruits and vegetables (variety is important - eat all the different color fruits and vegetables to improve the nutritional value)Low-fat dairy productsSkinless chicken, turkey, lean beef, fishFrozen vegetables without added sauces to limit the added sodiumStock your pantry with:Olive or canola oil (avoid vegetable oil)Non-fat cooking spraysTry experimenting with differe…

March is National Nutrition Month

I just saw the other day that March is National Nutrition Month. Nutrition and changing up some of our recipes has been a topic in our house lately. My husband has to attend evening trainings for work and at the last training they had a Nutritionist come and discuss healthy eating.

We do try to eat healthy at home, but there is always room for improvement and he brought several handouts home. I'm also doing Weight Watchers so I'm looking for anything to help me out with that as well.

It's funny that although I do try to cook healthy, shop and prepare healthy foods - I really know very little about nutrition. I grew up in a very Irish household so we ate lots of meat and potatoes. For my family I try to have more veggies and less of the meat and starch. I do have to be careful with my low-fat diet as I forget sometimes that my younger children still need natural fats in their diets.

So I'm looking for good nutritional information to include in my blog this month. …

The Safest House on the Block

I recently taught a private First Aid course at my home. The last one at my home for a while actually - you can read those details in a previous blog post. However someone said the most interesting thing during the class. He said "This must be the safest house on the block". My first reaction was to fall over laughing, but he had a good point. Since I teach First Aid, and the best way to prevent illness and injury to children is to practice good child safety, I had to ask myself: Do I really have the safest house on the block?

Most likely I don't. But it is not due to lack of safety knowledge or good intentions. My house is most likely the same as everyone else's. I have outlet covers and cabinet locks. Medications are stored up high in cabinets. We keep pens, markers and any pointy objects out of reach. My older children's toys with small pieces are kept in their rooms and out of common play areas. We have gates and keep doors closed to rooms we do…