Archive for September, 2011

Eat Like a Pro

And the secret sauce that Next Jump personal trainers keep from everyone is … Adhering to a healthy lifestyle is hard work! The Next Jump trainers and I discussed our diets and discovered a few things that we’d like to share.

1. We try to practice what we preach. We tell you to “eat more fiber” and “limit processed foods.”

What we do: we try to eat whole fruits as a snack and add veggies to most of our meals.  But we also enjoy your birthdays at Next Jump and take a piece of cake.

2. We practice portion control. We tell you to measure with your hands and thumbs, cups and spoons.

What we do: we wrap things up for later if our eyes are bigger than our bellies.  We split meals with our friends and YOU.  Do we ever get too full? Of course.  That’s what exercise is for 🙂

3. We try to stay hydrated. We tell you to drink water during exercise and keep your Siggs at your desks.

What we do: we carry water bottles around town.

Bottom line: there is no secret to eating right; it is hard work most of the time.  With practice, it gets easier to make healthy eating as second nature.


Say No To Force-Feeding

Taste the food.  Taste it!  Just a little bite!  You don’t know if you like it unless you try it, right?

How’s Your Appetite?

Force-feeding is counterproductive, says a U.K. study soon to be published in the journal, Appetite.  The researchers found that parents who pressured children to eat–especially if the child was a slow eater or picky– were less likely to succeed at getting their child to eat the food.  Says the study’s author, Claire Farrow, “if parents or caregivers override their children’s signals of hunger and fullness — as in pressuring the child to eat when not hungry– then often children struggle to regulate their appetite appropriately in the future.”  (source)

Let Your Child Decide

Farrow’s study, and others done in this arena, point toward trusting the child’s sense of hunger, as in, the child will eat when hungry and stop when full. According to Dr. Anne Eglash, a clinical professor of family medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Healtharticle, parents should, “… offer a range foods and snacks, and then sit back and let their children take the lead.”

Encourage… Sans Force

My two cents: empower child to try new foods (keep foods you want child to eat in the house at all times; prepare the food in a variety of ways).  Verbal or brute force (think: hitting child’s plate with your own fork) can surely backfire.

New Promising Grocery Store App

If you could scan the bar-code of any food product in the grocery store and get instant information–as it relates to your own health goals– would you?

The Honest App

Honest Label Foods (the Honest Tea brand we offer at Next Jump) created a new Honest Label app, which might be a food shopping game-changer.  The app allows the user to scan any grocery food or drink item, get feedback on the product with a visual label, and customize personal settings (such as weight goals or allergies).

What’s So Great About it?

Very, very customizable features.

Personal goals: The user can set calorie parameters to see how the product might fit into an overall nutrition plan, e.g., if the goal is weight loss and the user has customized his or her profile, the app should tell how the product can fit into overall calories for the day.

Ingredient avoiding function:  Let’s say the user does not want to eat high fructose corn syrup or has an allergy; the app can help highlight products and ingredients to be avoided.  This is a fantastic method of double-checking allergens in products (such as nut, soy or gluten allergies).

Behavior changes: The user has control over specific nutrients he or she would like to minimize such as, sodium or trans-fats.  Products are either given the green or red light to guide the user toward making educated decisions.

The Low-Down

This app is effective for food shoppers who already understand how specific foods fit into an overall diet scheme.  I find it particularly useful for those who have allergies, as it might be hard to detect hidden ingredients in most products without sifting through many unpronounceable ingredients.

On the flip-side, this app might turn an already oblivious food shopper into a mindless-bar-code-scanning lunatic.  I do not think we should be dependent on an app to make real-life choices.  The final low-down: I think the Honest Label app could bolster healthy eating choices when used appropriately by an already savvy food shopper.

Recipe Fridays: Sautéing Junkies

This week I did not cook all that much, but as mentioned, I will periodically provide you with recipes that target one of three areas: evening time (fast and simple meals), weekends (try something new), or breakfasts (supercharge your day).  All recipes share one similar feature: they are simply delicious!

This weekend: Chop veggies, sauté, then refrigerate

This week I give you a sautéing recipe that you can store for a few days in the fridge or up to a month in the freezer– this way, prepping meals during the week can take even less time.

Harvard’s Iteration: Healthy Eating Plate

A few months ago, the USDA revamped the Food Guide Pyramid to look like a plate, entitling it, “choosemyplate.”  The gist of choosmyplate is to look at the picture and try to decipher how many servings of fruits, vegetables, proteins and grains you should eat in one sitting.  Quite confusing if you like following explicit instructions.

The Battle: Choose My Plate vs. The Healthy Eating Plate

According to an article about their version of the plate published in the WSJ Blog on September 14, Harvard decided to create its own iteration of choosemyplate, called “The Healthy Eating Plate.”

Aside from a poor choice in title (um, boring!), and the fact that the plates look almost identical, Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate beats out Choose My Plate by a long shot.

For one, Harvard believes that Choose My Plate is too simplistic.  The general guidelines are to balance calories, reduce certain types of foods and increase others.

Says Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition and chair of HSPH’s department of nutrition, “…you could follow’s advice and still have a horrible diet.”

The Healthy Eating Plate: Winner

The gist of the Healthy Eating Plate is that it focuses on specifics.  For example, potatoes and french fries don’t count as a vegetable according to the Healthy Eating Plate because they consider the carbohydrate source as more “refined.”  Read this post about whole grains to understand the difference between whole and refined sugars.

Additionally, Harvard advocates getting calcium and vitamin D in other forms versus full cups of dairy products.  There are mixed reviews on these studies.  The Healthy Eating Plate reflects Harvard’s view in drinking coffee, water or tea with meals versus a whole cup of milk.  My advice is to stick to drinking and eating calcium-rich and vitamin D rich foods and beverages, and it is better to review your own tolerance to these products.

The Healthy Eating Plate is below in more detail:

Food Safety: Home Food Prep

This post is inspired by Team MV21’s trip this week, as they are preparing home-cooked meals each evening.  According to Sunday’s article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about food safety in the home, public-health officials say that most food-poisoning cases are more likely to happen in our kitchens versus in restaurants due to unsafe food practices.


The article quotes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on food-safety tips for home.  Below are some pointers from our NJU on Food Safety.

Common Mistakes

  • Leaving food out for over 2 hours
  • Not discarding food past expiration date
  • Using same knife and surface to cut raw and ready-to-eat products
  • Toss food if left out for over 2 hours (1 hour if over 90*F)
  • Wash countertop/knife between foods (i.e. eggs and slicing veggies)
  • Store fruits/veggies/cheese above raw eggs in fridge
  • Wash hands before handling food
  • Wash hands after handling raw foods like eggs
  • Cover cuts on hands
  • Do not touch hair, nose, face when handling food
  • Double dipping food
  • Using designated scoop for various products
  • Don’t bring leftovers back to Next Jump if package has been opened

Recipe Fridays: Scallops & Lemon Orzo

Every week, I’ve been trying my hand at a new (30 minutes or less) recipe to cook at home.  This past week, I attempted a Scallops & Lemon Orzo dish in a lemon-butter sauce.  I am sharing my recipe below, since it was delicious!