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From the School Nurse - November 2015

From the School Nurse…

As we move into our homes after being outside and more active for the summer, we also change up our eating styles a bit. During the summer we enjoyed all the wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables, and it was easier to eat healthier. As fall and winter come about, we tend to lean a little more toward heartier fare and comfort food which may mean more processed food.

As we also are beginning to think about and plan our holiday meals, we may begin to shop and fill our pantries. Think carefully about what you are stocking your pantry with, after all, that will be what you are filling your body with.

Filling your pantry with your heart health in mind can make a difference in reducing your risk factors for heart attacks and strokes. Choose foods with little or no:

*trans fats (these clog your arteries) found in fried foods, processed foods, and commercial baked goods

*saturated fats – these are artery clogging fats found mostly in animal products

*cholesterol – found in foods from animal products that can raise your blood cholesterol levels

*added sugars – can raise your blood sugar or worsen your diabetes, which is closely linked to heart disease and excess sugars may be stored as fat

*added salt – may raise your blood pressure and is especially bad for those with heart disease, especially heart failure.

It is tough to limit these ingredients in our busy lives especially during the holidays, so take a little time now to make a plan that will help you down the busy holiday road.

Keep your pantry stocked with better options so that you have great choices to eat at home or take on the road with you (eliminating the deadly fast food drive thru with its sodium laden, fat packed, processed choices). Water, vegetables, fruits, fiber-rich whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, seafood, lean meats and poultry, beans, nuts and seeds are great choices. If you shouldn’t be eating it – get it out of your house. Toss expired items and donate unexpired, nonperishable to a local food bank.

If you find that you cannot live without some less healthy foods, indulge in them less often and cut the portion in half, maybe have that special dessert just one time instead of all the holiday meals, be more rigid about regular and everyday meals, to offset the “treat” or substitute a healthier option in a recipe when it will not be altering the outcome.
Remember, if you over-indulge or get off track, a little tweaking will get you back on the heart healthy track.

Thanksgiving Blessings to you and your family as we think about all the wonderful little things that we encounter and remember each day.

Jayne Dwyer-Reff, RN
School Nurse