Dynamic Work/Life Solutions Blog

Organic Produce that is Worth the Price

Posted by Blog Tipster on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 @ 02:49 PM

Do you find yourself asking, “What food is really worth buying organic?”  If pesticides and other contaminants worry you when shopping for fruits and vegetables, you may consider buying organic.  Many people’s budgets are limited, so you may not be able to afford to buy all organic produce.  Therefore, it’s important to determine the produce that should be bought organically vs. what is safe to buy conventional (non-organic).  Strawberries, for example, top the list of fruits and vegetables contaminated with the most pesticides.  According to the Environmental Working Group there are 300 pounds of pesticides applied to each acre of conventional strawberries! 

We will begin with the most contaminated foods.  The foods listed below are considered the “Dirty Dozen” and should be purchased organically if possible:   

  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Celery
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Pears

Some fruits and vegetables are not as contaminated as others.  Some produce have a natural defense because of an outer layer of skin, such as corn or pineapple. If you are looking to simply avoid pesticides, there are several conventionally-grown produce that have little to no residue. In general, you are going to be safe from pesticide residue by purchasing conventional versions of the following fruits and vegetables, known as the “Clean Fifteen":

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Onion
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Papaya
  • Sweet Potato

All the produce on “The Clean 15” list has little to no traces of pesticides and is quite safe to consume in non-organic form.

Look for the USDA Organic Seal when selecting your organic purchases. The organic seal means the food is grown, harvested, and processed according to government standards that include limits on pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. Natural pesticides are allowed. Organic food cannot be treated with any sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation.  

Look for this seal when purchasing produce on the “dirty dozen” list. 

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eni's Wellness Experts are available to provide our members with information on developing a nutrition plan that works for them!

Tags: Healthy Eating, Corporate Wellness Programs, Wellness, Organic Food

Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

Posted by Blog Tipster on Wed, Oct 21, 2015 @ 04:27 PM

Be proactive this year in avoiding that 5lb to 10lb weight gain that often accompanies the holiday season. 

Eat before holiday parties. Grab a light snack prior to your holiday outing.  A 100 to 200 calorie snack containing carbohydrates, protein, and a little bit of fat—will take the edge off your hunger.  It will also deter you from overeating and mindless grazing at the holiday buffet.

Drink two glasses of water (16 oz) prior to your meals.  This simple task will make you feel less hungry and, in turn, you will consume fewer calories.  A recent study by The American Chemical Society found that "Over the course of 12 weeks, dieters who drank water before meals, three times per day, lost about 5 pounds more than dieters who did not increase their water intake."  This is a simple way to control and facilitate weight management.

Try the one-a-day program.  Limit yourself to one treat or indulgence per day. Don't deprive yourself of all treats for the week so you can pig out at the company holiday party.  Moderation is the key.   One cookie per day or two holiday drinks on Saturday won’t pack on the pounds and won’t leave you feeling deprived.  Be moderate and be mindful of your sugar and alcohol consumption.

Divert Your Attention.  Pay attention to the company around you and not the buffet.  Many people forget that there's more to a holiday party than food and drink.  Focus on something other than “the spread”.  Chatting is a great diversion, whether you're at a small family dinner or a large party.  Focus on conversations and mingling and take your focus off the food and beverages!

Don’t forget your exercise!  Break up your exercise throughout the day to reach 30- 40 minutes per day. Try two 15-minute walks or a 30-minute shopping outing with some extra lifts of those packages you're carrying. 

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The Holiday season is only six weeks long.  Take it one day at a time and maintain a healthy attitude and schedule throughout.  Moderation with your food and drink intake is the key!

eni’s wellness experts are available throughout the holiday season to provide our members with tips to maintain their healthy lifestyle! 

Tags: Healthy Eating, Corporate Wellness Programs, Wellness, holiday weight gain,

Slow Down for your Waistline – Tips from eni’s Wellness Experts

Posted by Melissa Mayfield on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 @ 10:37 AM

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Do you remember growing up? All those times your mother told you to “slow down”, “Chew your food! You’re going to choke!” Did you know that the average American spends just 11 minutes eating a typical meal? It seems our mothers do in fact have cause for concern when it comes to our eating habits.

Outside of the very real threat of choking due to eating too fast there are a lot of issues that can arise from eating too quickly including: overeating, indigestion and weight gain. Each of these issues are all too common and have become an epidemic in our society in recent years.

Here are some of the benefits of slowing down while eating:

Weight Loss

It takes about 20 min after you have eaten enough to make your stomach stretch for your body to produce the hormones that tell your brain that you have had enough to eat. Taking your time might mean you realize that you are satisfied sooner. A recent study was focused on individuals who were given a huge portion of pasta to eat on two separate occasions. On one occasion they were told to eat quickly and most finished eating within 9 minutes, the 2nd time they were told to eat slowly resulting in an average finish time of 22 minutes. Calorie measures were taken afterwards and the slower eating groups generally ate around 100 calories less of their meal, yet reported feeling less hungry afterward.

Better Food Choices

Taking the time to taste your food might start to affect the choices you make. Natural foods and processed foods have a very different consistency after a few chews, noticing this might help you make better choices in the long run.

More Time to Socialize

Using meal time to socialize not only helps slow your eating habits but can allow for some wonderful quality time with those who are important to you. Plan meals to be an event and the highlight of your day instead of something you just have to get through.

Improved Digestion

Digestion begins with chewing and doing this well eases the burden on your stomach leading to less indigestion, bloating and gas.

Solutions:

  • Slowing down takes practice, so give yourself time to make the adjustment.

  • Try setting down your utensils between bites.

  • Make a point of limiting distractions when you eat — watching TV or catching up on facebook can cause you to lose track of how much and how quickly you are eating.

  • Try to set aside 30 min to eat and USE the whole time! Try sharing a meal with someone else whenever possible to slow yourself down, taking time to converse during a meal can really help!

  • ENJOY your food, try to stop looking at eating as another task to get through in a day and instead make it worth savoring! This may lead to making better choices AND eating at a better pace!

eni’s BalanceHealth service is an enhanced Corporate Wellness Program developed with the medical expertise of the world-renowned Harvard School of Public Health to help your employees effectively take control of their health and effectively balance the competing demands of work and life - before personal problems effect professional performance.

Contact eni today to learn how you can develop a happier, healthier, more productive workforce!

 

Sources:

Study: J.Acad.Nutr.Diet 114:393, 2014

Content: Average time to eat: about.com healthy aging

Tags: Healthy Eating, Corporate Wellness Programs, health and wellness, Workplace Wellness

The Health Benefits of Cutting 100 Daily Calories

Posted by Melissa Mayfield on Wed, May 22, 2013 @ 01:38 PM

Want to lose 10 pounds this year?  Cutting just 100 calories per day can help you achieve this goal.  It is always that last 10 pounds that seem to hound us.  Also, losing weight may reduce your risk of certain cancers that are linked to obesity.

Below are some simple trades or ideas that may assist in cutting 100 calories daily:

  • Swap your large bagel for a whole wheat English muffin or for a slice of whole wheat toast

  • Eliminate sugary drinks such as soda and fruit drinks from yP  Marketing Marketing STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY Food Healthy Salad resized 600our daily diet

  • Dip your salad in a side of ranch dressing (2 tsp.) instead of pouring 2 Tbsp of dressing on the salad.

  • Swap salami or roast beef for lean turkey on that deli sandwich

  • Eat only half of your hamburger or sandwich bun

  • Enjoy a healthy 8-oz. baked potato instead of 8 oz. of French fries

  • Forego the sweet creamer in your morning coffee

  • Trade your after dinner sweets for a cup of tea with seasonal fresh fruit

No worries. By making small changes, the only difference you'll notice is a drop in the scale! Keep in mind that cutting calories involves smart substitutions and/or reduction in portion sizes. Just remember, start small and work your way up to a new—and healthier—way of eating.  This will benefit your overall health and keep you smiling!

Contact eni today to learn more about our customized corporate wellness programs!

Tags: Healthy Eating, Calorie Control, Corporate Wellness Programs, health and wellness, Wellness, Workplace Wellness

The Big Fiber Fib

Posted by Melissa Mayfield on Wed, Mar 06, 2013 @ 04:04 PM

C  Users melissa m Pictures healthy shopping bag resized 600We all know that we should get more fiber, but Why? How much is enough? And does it matter where we get it? The answers to these questions used to be simple, when the fiber we got through our diet was from fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Fiber was intact, unprocessed and occurred in natural combinations that met the needs of our bodies. Today, companies have found that fiber “sells”, we know we need it, so they have found a way to put it in everything in an attempt to make processed foods appear healthier for us. So let’s get some answers!

The Institute of Medicine recommends that both children and adults get 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed daily. This is a better measure than generalized age group and gender recommendations as it allows you to tailor your intake as an individual. Unfortunately, Americans tend to fall very short of this target with the majority of us getting only half the fiber we need each day.

A high fiber diet is linked to many health benefits including lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, diverticulitis and obesity and it can also help reduce cholesterol and improve regularity. Traditionally fiber has come in two forms, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is broken down by bacteria in the gut to form a gummy lining in the intestine, this slows the emptying of the stomach and absorption of sugars and leads to the feeling of being full longer as well moderating spikes in blood sugar levels after a meal. Soluble fiber is also responsible for lowering cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber is not able to be broken down by our bodies and therefore passes through intact. Insoluble fiber helps maintain regularity.

In whole foods, these types of fiber are usually found together in varying amounts but in the past few years producers have begun isolating fibers and adding them to typically non-fiber-containing foods.  You may notice that your favorite granola bar or yogurt is suddenly full of fiber! This would be wonderful, however, these isolated fibers are not proven to have the same health benefits of intact fiber. Isolated fibers may be listed under the “ingredients” list as inulin, maltodextrin, polydextrose, chicory root extract, or even the wholesome sounding “oat fiber”. These items can be considered fiber because our bodies are not able to digest them, yet, apart from potentially aiding in regularity, they do not perform like intact fiber in our bodies and therefore do not impart the many other health benefits we expect from a fiber rich food. 

Added fibers are typically safe and are fine in moderation as long as they do not preclude us from eating foods rich in naturally occurring fiber. It should be noted that some individuals are sensitive to isolated fibers such as Inulin and Polydextrose as they may cause bloating, gas and/or a laxative effect especially in larger doses. In the end, not all fiber is created equal, there is still no substitute for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. If you don’t want to include them for the fiber, then do it for the vitamins, minerals, antioxidents and lignans that come with it!

For more information on nutrition, fitness, or any other wellness concern, contact eni to learn more about our Corporate Wellness Program.

Tags: Healthy Eating, Fiber, Corporate Wellness Programs, health and wellness

Portion Control Tips from eni’s Wellness Experts

Posted by Melissa Mayfield on Wed, Oct 24, 2012 @ 02:28 PM

Most individuals consume far more calories than they realize.  What is the cause?  We typically have a skewed sense of portion size.

According to a survey conducted by the American Institute for Cancer Research, many Americans believe that the kind of food they eat is more important in managing their weight than the amount of food they eat.  Studies reveal that Americans are eating more and have a narrow focus on cutting fat or relying on fad diets that restrict carbohydrates, sugars or other nutrients.  These strategies fail to address the issue of total calories consumed, as well as overall good nutrition.

An understanding of standard serving sizes is essential for good nutrition.  Standardized serving sizes help consumers, health professionals, and food manufactures find a common language for the sake of communication.  Although, serving sizes are “standardized”, individual portion sizes will vary due to different caloric requirements.  Portion size also depends on a person’s specific weight management goals and needs.

Portion sizes and overall dietary requirements depend on several factors, including activity level.  An inactive person may only need three-quarters to one cup of cereal in the morning, where someone engaging in aerobic exercise may need two or three.

What is portion size?  According to the American Dietetic Association, you may use the following “models” to approximate portion size.

  • A deck of playing cards = one serving (3oz) ofC  Users melissa m Pictures food portions healthy resized 600 meat, poultry or fish

  • A baseball = 1 serving (1 cup) ready to eat cereal

  • 4 stacked dice = 1 serving (1 1/2 oz) of cheese

  • A tennis ball = 1 small apple or orange

When at Home:

  • Take time to measure out single servings and remember what they look like.

  • Avoid serving food “family style”.  Serve up plates with appropriate portions in the kitchen and do not go back for seconds.

  • Never eat out of a bag or carton.

 When in Restaurants:

  • Ask for half or smaller portions.

  • Eyeball your appropriate portion and set the rest aside.  Ask for a “doggie bag” right away.

  • If you order dessert, share it or choose a healthier option.

If you are unsure about personal nutrition requirements go to www.choosemyplate.org to get eating recommendations based on factors like your age, gender and activity level.

For more information on portion control or any other wellness needs contact eni’s wellness experts today!

Tags: Healthy Eating, Calorie Control, Portion Control, Wellness

Healthy School Lunch Tips from eni’s Wellness Experts

Posted by Melissa Mayfield on Wed, Aug 22, 2012 @ 01:54 PM

describe the imageWe are approaching that time of year where the kids will be headed back to school and the chore of a school lunch will be upon us.  Packing a lunch is one way to ensure that your child will have a nutritious mid-day meal and here are some healthy suggestions to get you started.

First be sure to have the right bag and accessories that will allow you to pack a variety of foods.  Brown paper bags are inexpensive and convenient, but they do not keep cold foods cold or hot foods hot.  Insulated lunch bags can be the best choice and some have freezer packs with them to help keep foods cold.

Sandwiches are always a popular choice.  Each sandwich should have a protein source with a healthy topping.  Some suggestions are:

  • Sliced turkey, chicken or lean beef with light mayonnaise, mustard and a slice of low-fat cheese

  • Peanut butter with 100% fruit spread or fresh, sliced fruit on whole grain bread

  • Ham and cheese on a whole wheat pita

What else should you send along with the sandwich?  In a separate container you could pack:

  • A small salad with dressing on the sideC  Users melissa m Pictures snack resized 600

  • Fruit and nuts with a yogurt dip

  • Cheese stick

  • ½ c of yogurt with fruit mixed in

  • Dried fruit such as raisins, dried cranberries or banana chips

  • Raw vegetables with low-fat dip

You may also try some items beyond a sandwich.  With insulated food jars, you can heat up these items to 140 degrees before packing them in the jar:

  • Lean beef stew with vegetables

  • Chicken casserole

  • Chili

  • Leftover stir-fry

  • Vegetable, tomato or chicken noodle soup

Just be sure to also include a whole grain such as bread or crackers and some veggies or fruit on the side for a complete nutritious meal.

Your child can enjoy a delicious and healthy lunch each day and don’t forget to add a small cookie or piece of candy for dessert along with juice, milk or water for a healthy, fun meal.

For more information on helping your employees keep their families healthy, contact eni today to learn about our wellness programs.

Tags: Healthy Eating, Back to School, Corporate Wellness Programs, health and wellness, School Lunches

Live Healthy On Vacation This Summer

Posted by Melissa Mayfield on Wed, May 30, 2012 @ 04:17 PM

P  Marketing Marketing STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY man running in water ocean beach summer vacation resized 600For many of us, the summer months are vacation time.  This is a time to relax by the pool or at the beach, sitting around, eating calorie laden foods, sipping cocktails and getting away from it all.  Unfortunately, this relaxation method can cause vacation weight gain, but here are a few tips to still let you enjoy yourself without ruining the summer figure you had worked into shape during the winter months.

Take Some Time To Exercise

You will feel better if you spend some time exercising on vacation.  Take a walk on the beach or boardwalk, rent a bike or swim in the pool.  Just 20 minutes of exercise will boost your energy levels and also take away guilt from some of the indulgences on vacation.

Rent a House, Condo or Efficiency Suite

Studies show that individuals who eat out are more likely to have weight gain.  Restaurants load you up with larger portions and hidden calories.  Control your calorie intake by eating breakfast, lunch and dinner in.  It may cost you a little more to have accommodations with a kitchen, but you will save money and inches on your waistline by cooking in.

Plan Ahead

Make a list of healthy foods to purchase and prepare.  Lean deli meats, whole grain breads, cereals, fruits and vegetables are a great way to get started.  If you are at the beach, this is a perfect time to stop by the fish market and pick up some pieces of fish that you normally can’t get at home.  Nuts, low-fat yogurt and pretzels make for good snacks too.

Be Smart About Food Choices

You can still treat yourself by going out to eat here and there just be sure to make smart choices when you do.  Egg white omelets or protein smoothies are a good way to start the day.  Be careful with high calorie drinks and buffets.  Green tea, which helps rev your metabolism is a good choice.  Control your portions at the buffet by using the salad or dessert plate.

Be mindful of the choices you make on vacation.  Vacation is a time to take a break and relax.  Enjoy some special foods and drinks, but don’t overdo it.  Splurge responsibly and your waistline will thank you when you return home.

For more healthy tips from our wellness experts contact eni today!

Tags: Vacation Planning, Healthy Eating, Wellness

How to Start Eating Healthy Everyday - Tips from eni

Posted by Melissa Mayfield on Wed, Mar 21, 2012 @ 03:07 PM

March is National Nutrition month and in honor of that eni’s wellness experts are here to offer some tips to help you make small changes in your eating plan to improve your overall health.

First you will need to focus on balancing your calories with physical activity.  This step will help you to achieve a healthy weight and reduce the risk of chronic disease.  You will need to look at your eating patterns and work towards eating more nutrient dense foods.

The Dietary Guidelines encourage Americans to eat more:

  • describe the imageWhole Grains-Choose whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice and whole wheat pasta.  Make at least half your grain servings whole grains.

  • Vegetables-Eat a variety of colors.  Most adults need 2 ½ cups per day.

  • Fruits-Add fruit to meals and snacks.  Strive for at least 2 cups each day.

  • Low-fat or fat free milk, yogurt and cheese- Include 3 cups per day for calcium, vitamin D, protein and potassium.

 

More than one-third of all calories consumed by Americans are solid fats and sugars.

The Dietary Guidelines recommend eating less:

  • Added sugars

  • Solid fats, including trans fats-Solid fats are found in fatty animal-based foods such as well-marbled meat, poultry skin, bacon, sausage, butter and whole milk products.  Trans fat is found in foods made with vegetable oil that have been partially hydrogenated such as cookies, donuts, pastries and crackers.

  • Refined grains

  • Sodium-A reduction of 1,500 mg is recommended for people over age 51.

Be sure to start with a plan and set healthy realistic goals.  You are more likely to reach your goals with one or two smaller steps that lead up to a large, overall change.  Reaching and maintaining a healthier weight will contribute to your overall health and well being.

For more wellness information contact eni today!

Tags: Healthy Eating, Corporate Wellness Programs, work/life balance, Wellness