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Healthy Eating

Project LIFT Martin County culinary program combats teen mental health

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PALM CITY – Lily Velastegui portioned ¼ cup yogurt, ¼ cup oats, 2 cup milk, 2 teaspoons chia seeds, and honey in a mason jar and filled it with mixed berries before shaking it all up and storing it in the refrigerator.

The 15-year-old prepared oatmeal overnight, a healthy and quick breakfast for the next morning.

“I like the food, yeah, it looks really good,” Lily said as she put the finishing touches to her recipe. “I like food and cooking and baking, and there are a lot of things I didn’t know I was taught now.”

Lily, a sophomore student at Martin County High School, is participating in Project LIFT’s new nutrition and culinary program, which educates youngsters at risk about how healthy, balanced diet can be beneficial for mental health and well-being.

Project LIFT, a Palm City-based nonprofit, provides drug treatment, psychological counseling, and professional training to teenagers ages 14-19.

The nonprofit has partnered with Cleveland Clinic Martin Health to develop the 12-week nutritional program, said CEO and licensed psychotherapist Bob Zaccheo.

The hospital gave Project LIFT a $ 15,000 grant to build an on-site industrial kitchen and provided registered dietitians to lead the classes.

“Health and nutrition go hand in hand with mental health,” said Zacceo. “If you don’t fuel your body properly to make clear decisions, you won’t make any progress.”

Weekly topics include macronutrients and food groups, emotional eating, body positivity, budget planning and more, registered nutritionist Tegan Bissell said. There is “a little bit of everything” throughout the curriculum.

The June 1st Lesson: Reading Labels.

Nutritionists run two afternoon classes every other Tuesday with a 30-minute educational presentation followed by hands-on cooking in the kitchen.

The program started in April and is expected to last through September.

Lily Velastegui, 15, of Stuart, slices strawberries for use during the cooking and nutrition class on Tuesday Jan.

Numbers vary, but Bissell said there are typically three to six teenagers present at each session.

“Students just aren’t taught nutrition and cooking anymore, so we’re seeing more and more kids relying on ready-made meals – take away, fast food,” she said. “If we can teach them some of these skills now, they will be better able to take care of themselves.”

Not only can a balanced diet promote mental health, it is also important to emphasize the importance of diet early on in adolescence to promote their physical and spiritual growth, Bissell said.

Lily has already incorporated her new nutritional knowledge into her diet, she said. After examining the nutritional information, she’s now limiting her intake of goldfish crackers – citing too many bad carbohydrates that she didn’t know were in her favorite snack.

Zaccheo and Bissell agreed that the program got off to a good start and that students are learning new skills and having fun.

When teenagers take something off the program, Bissell hopes it has instilled them with confidence in the kitchen to try new foods and recipes.

“If you’ve only done it once or twice with us, it can open up a whole new world for them to feel good about trying something new,” said Bissell. “Even if you take something away from this course, I am happy.”

LIFT project

  • Phone: 772-221-2244
  • Address: 1330 SW 34th St., Palm City
  • Website: projectlift.org

Catie Wegman is the community reporter for TCPalm. You can contact Catie on Twitter @Catie_Wegman, on Facebook @ catiewegman1 and by email at catie.wegman@tcpalm.com.

Read more about Catie’s stories and support her work with a TCPalm subscription.

Healthy Eating

What Is It, Meal Plans and Recipes – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

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Lots of diet plans have come and gone (cabbage soup diet, anyone?) – but DASH is here to stay. The DASH eating plan (or DASH diet) has been around for decades because it has solid scientific evidence that it works.

The Cleveland Clinic is a not-for-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our website helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. politics

With nutritionist Kate Patton, MEd, RD, CSSD, LD, dive into what the DASH diet is and how you can use it to improve your health.

What is the DASH Diet?

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This nutrition plan is designed to reduce the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure). High blood pressure affects 1 in 3 adults in the US and is a major risk factor for heart disease.

If you follow the DASH diet, you will consume more potassium – a heart-healthy mineral. You also consume less sodium, which can help lower your blood pressure and improve heart health.

The benefits of DASH are well documented. Several studies have found that people who follow DASH can lower their blood pressure in just a few weeks, Patton says.

But it’s not just about improving blood pressure. The DASH diet can help you lose excess weight and reduce your risk of certain health problems. Research has shown that following DASH can lower your risk of:

The best thing about the DASH diet? It’s flexible. “It doesn’t require any special foods and you don’t have to go hungry or go without goodies,” notes Patton. Instead, DASH recommends incorporating heart-healthy foods into your everyday life.

Eat on DASH

The DASH diet focuses on heart healthy foods that you can find at your grocery store. These foods are naturally high in fiber, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. They’re also low in sodium.

If you are following the DASH diet, you will be eating a lot of:

  • Fruit.
  • Vegetables.
  • Full grain.
  • Nuts, seeds and legumes.
  • Low fat dairy products.

Food to be minimized on DASH

DASH also encourages you to cut down on foods that can increase your blood pressure. These include:

  • Fatty meats, such as red meat and skin-on poultry.
  • Full fat dairy products like whole milk, cream, and butter.
  • Oils that are solid at room temperature, such as coconut and palm oils.
  • High-sugar foods like sweets, baked goods, and desserts.
  • High sugar drinks like soda, juice, and sweetened coffee or tea.

If you follow DASH, you don’t have to eliminate these foods, Patton says. Instead, take steps towards making healthier choices every day. The plan will be easier to stick to. For example, consider replacing a meat starter with a meatless option once a week.

Most Americans eat more meat than necessary at the expense of their vegetable intake. DASH recommends consuming no more than 6 ounces of meat per day. Instead, eat more fruits and vegetables that contain disease-fighting antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients.

DASH sodium limits

Many Americans eat too much sodium (salt). And a diet high in sodium can increase blood pressure and your risk of heart disease.

The standard DASH diet limits sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams per day. However, if you want stronger results, choose the DASH low-sodium diet. On this plan, you aim for 1,500 milligrams of sodium or less per day.

The DASH combination of nutrient-rich foods and lower sodium intake has a proven effect on blood pressure. Several studies have found that following the DASH diet lowers blood pressure quickly – in just two weeks.

Ways To Reduce Sodium

Most of the sodium that people consume doesn’t come from the salt shaker. “Processed and packaged foods are often high in salt, even if they don’t taste salty,” says Patton. Restaurant and snack foods can also be very high in sodium.

If you follow DASH, read the food labels for sodium levels and keep track of how much you eat. When eating out, try these tips to reduce sodium:

  • Ask about the sodium content of food when it is available. Ask that your food be prepared without the addition of salt, MSG, or salty spices.
  • Limit, skip, or ask about sauces and condiments that tend to be high in salt.
  • Look for words that indicate high sodium content: smoked, cured, pickled, soy sauce, and broth.
  • Choose fruit and vegetables as a side dish instead of salty snacks like chips or fries.

DASH diet for weight loss

If you follow the DASH meal plan, you will likely lose pounds. Combine the DASH diet with calorie restriction if you want to lose more weight. Find out how many calories to eat based on your age and activity level. Keep track of your calorie intake and gradually reduce it.

But don’t go to extremes, warns Patton. “If you try to cut calories quickly and drastically, you will likely feel hungry and tired,” she says.

If you need help creating your weight loss plan, speak to your doctor. Your doctor can help you get started or refer you to a nutritionist or dietitian.

DASH diet meal planning

A DASH diet meal plan can look different for everyone. The key is to highlight healthy foods and set aside less healthy foods, Patton says.

When you go to the grocery store, fill your shopping cart with whole foods and choose low-sodium options in boxes, bags, or canned foods. For example, instant or quick cook oats in the canister contain zero milligrams of sodium, but instant oatmeal packets contain sodium.

Beans are also an important part of the DASH diet. If you don’t have time to prepare dry beans, canned beans are a great alternative. However, look for versions with no added salt and rinse them off.

Base your meals on foods that you like and that fit into the DASH plan. Don’t like green peppers? Instead, enjoy red peppers, celery, or carrots. Make your favorite pan, but use less salt, add more vegetables, and swap whole brown rice for white rice.

DASH diet recipes

Take recipes you already love and make them DASH friendly by:

  • Lowering salt levels by skipping the salt shaker and cutting back high-sodium sauces.
  • Add more vegetables and fruits to your recipe.
  • Cut down on meat or choose skinned lean meat.
  • Replacing butter or solid oils with unsaturated oils such as olive, canola or avocado oil.
  • Exchange of processed white bread and cereals for whole grain products.

Looking for inspiration? There are plenty of DASH-friendly recipes to discover. These delicious recipes contain higher amounts of fruits and vegetables that are low in saturated fat and sodium.

DASH breakfast recipes

Get the day off to a good start with a nutritious breakfast:

DASH lunch recipes

Skip the afternoon dip by stocking up on nutritious foods on your lunch break:

DASH dinner recipes

These recipes will help keep dinner simple and healthy after a long day:

Pairing exercise with DASH

If you’re looking to increase your weight loss and health benefits, combine the DASH plan with more exercise and activity, Patton says.

This doesn’t mean you have to join a gym or start a hard workout. Instead, try to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Hiking, biking, and swimming are good options. And you don’t have to do it all at once. Divide it into two 15-minute pieces or three 10-minute pieces.

Exercise at moderate intensity for 60 minutes five days a week will improve your health even further. Moderate intensity means that your heart rate is about 50% higher than your resting heart rate. There are endless options for moderately vigorous exercise, from a brisk walk to swimming laps or playing basketball.

Other lifestyle changes to consider

These steps can also improve your heart health:

  • Limit alcohol consumption: If you drink, limit it to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.
  • Do not smoke: If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do, try to quit. Ask your doctor if you need help stopping.
  • Getting enough sleep: Try to get at least seven hours of sleep each night.

Gradual change is powerful

You don’t have to follow DASH perfectly to reap the benefits. “Take small steps towards a healthier diet every day,” says Patton. “Over time, you will feel better and lose weight, which can motivate you to keep going.”

The flexibility of DASH adapts to your taste and lifestyle. And that will help you stick with it in the long term.

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Healthy Eating

Free meals for Meriden youth available through summer

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MERIDEN – School skipped for the summer.

But that doesn’t mean that Susan Maffe’s job of making sure students get at least two meals each day — breakfast and lunch — has been interrupted.

In fact, Maffe, the director of food and nutrition services at Meriden Public Schools, is responsible for overseeing nine food distribution points across town during the summer.

The last day of school was June 10th. Seven of the nine summer meals started on Monday. Maffe said fewer than expected numbers of families have visited these websites so far. She hopes to get the word out on meal availability. All meals are provided free of charge.

Families can visit Barry, Hanover, Pulaski and Israel Putnam Elementary Schools, Washington and Lincoln Middle Schools and Maloney High School, Monday through Friday through August 20, Monday through Friday to pick up breakfast and lunch for their students. Each location will be open for these pickups from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Other locations on Meriden Green and the Splash Pad by City Park on Bunker Avenue will open on Monday, June 21.

The Meriden Green will be open from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM for take away lunch and breakfast. The city park offers lunch, which can be taken on site every day from 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.

At most locations, families can also pick up extra meals on Fridays to carry them through the weekend.

Maffe, reached by phone, emphasized the importance of ensuring that children continue to have access to balanced meals on a daily basis.

“You can’t put a price tag on the value it will have in someone’s education,” Maffe said. Eating a healthy diet can help improve behavior problems and improve students’ focus and physical health.

The urban school district is entering its fourth year and offering free breakfast and lunch to all students. This program and the summer meal program are both financed by the federal government.

“Stealth nutrition”

Maffe said the meals students receive through this program are often more nutritious than the meals they receive outside of school.

The nutrition staff is required to serve students a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or skim milk.

While the concept of eating healthy food may not always seem appetizing, Maffe and her staff strive to ensure that students’ food is both nutritious and tasty.

“We call it Stealth Nutrition,” says Maffe, describing how her staff strive to smuggle nutrient-dense vegetables into students’ meals.

Mayor Kevin Scarpati would agree.

“I think we often forget how important our schools are when it comes to providing nutritious meals to our children. And unfortunately they are often the healthiest meals they have all day, ”said Scarpati. “Being able to offer this in summer and during the holidays is not only important for a healthy diet. It makes it affordable for families who may have difficulty caring for their children. “

Scarpati said it was important to note that families who come by to pick up their children’s lunch also pick up the next day’s breakfast.

Maffe and Scarpati’s comments Thursday came hours after local officials, Governor Ned Lamont, and anti-hunger advocates including leaders of Connecticut Food Bank and Hunger Free America convened a round table discussion on food insecurity concentrated.

A Hunger Free America statement described summer meals as “a critical program that will help fill the gap for students who depend on free and discounted school meals.”

Underutilized

However, the organization found that only one in seven children entitled to such meals have access to them due to a combination of obstacles: transportation, parents’ working hours, and a lack of awareness of their availability.

The organization cited national research that analyzed the 2018-2019 school year and the summer that followed. The study found that more than 183,000 school-age children in Connecticut had participated in the National School Lunch Program. However, the following summer fewer than 35,000 children – less than 20% of those eligible – participated in the summer meal programs.

“Failure to participate in the Summer Meals program not only means children are deprived of nutritious food, it also means millions of dollars in federal reimbursements to the states,” said Hunger Free America.

“As low-income households struggling with poverty and hunger before the health crisis continue to struggle to afford nutritious food, summer meals are more important than ever this summer,” said the organization.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture eased rules to allow schools to offer more free meals to students. Proponents like Hunger Free America are calling on lawmakers to pass the new legislation “so schools can continue to offer free meals to all students, reducing administrative burdens on school districts, eliminating school catering debts for families and engaging among children,” the said Organization.

Meriden School Superintendent Mark Benigni described schools as “one of the healthiest places Americans eat. Participation in summer food service programs that provide nutritious, balanced meals is critical to the overall health of our children, obesity prevention, and summer learning loss mitigation. “

mgagne@record-journal.com203-317-2231Twitter: @MikeGagneRJ

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Healthy Eating

Why Am I Tired After Eating?

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Eating a meal is designed to give your body energy to get through the day. That’s why it’s a little confusing when it does exactly the opposite and instead makes you lethargic and sleepy.

Feeling tired after you eat is quite common, and there are a number of reasons why your food can be the opposite of fuel. The first? Digesting a meal is a lot of work.

“If you think about it, our bodies are a well-oiled factory,” says Melissa Perst, DCN, RDN, CSR, nutritionist at the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois. “It works like this: the food comes in and continues on a conveyor belt. Various machines are used to break down food, package it for specific purposes, and move it to places that help your body continue its work. Of course, that costs a lot of energy, which can make someone feel tired. ”

In addition, insulin – a hormone made by your pancreas that controls your blood sugar – has a huge impact on your energy levels after you eat. When you swallow, your insulin levels go up to make sure your blood sugar levels are where they should be, explains Perst. “When this job is done, insulin levels drop, which can make people feel tired. It’s a normal process and drowsiness shouldn’t last that long, ”she says.

To avoid this post-meal slump, Perst suggests including a mix of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lean protein in every meal, and opting for foods that are less saturated fats, high in fiber, and minimally processed. Get your body moving every day, get at least seven hours of sleep every night, and stay hydrated to keep you going until bedtime.

Still feeling tired after eating and wondering why? Ahead, seven reasons you might be ready to hit the hay after lunch.

1. You drank alcohol while you ate.

Your glass of wine may make you feel sleepy after you eat. Alcohol is a sedative, which means it can make you feel quite energetic, according to Harvard Health experts.

“Alcohol suppresses our central nervous system and makes us feel sleepy,” explains Perst. “This calming effect doesn’t last long, but drinking alcohol just before bed disrupts the sleep cycle, which means you won’t get a very restful sleep.”

So stick to just one drink a day if you’re a woman and a maximum of two if you’re a man – or skip the alcohol altogether if you find it regularly affecting your energy levels.

2. Your meal was high in fat and carbohydrates.

Comfort foods are delicious but can often make you feel sluggish if they’re high in fat and carbohydrates. This is often due to the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK), which is secreted from the small intestine.

“When you eat a piece of cheese pizza, which is usually a higher fat and higher calorie food, CCK is released and helps the body break down the protein and fat in that piece,” says Perst. “Some research has shown that there is a link between the increase in CCK after a high-fat meal and feeling sleepy a few hours later.”

When you eat foods known to increase inflammation, such as red meat or sugary sweets, your body can release cytokines (agents that help your immune cells communicate with each other) such as interleukin-1 (IL-1). “Research has shown that higher post-meal IL-1 levels are linked to post-meal drowsiness,” says Perst.

3. Certain hormones are unbalanced.

“If foods rich in tryptophan are eaten in large quantities with a meal, especially foods rich in carbohydrates, you may feel tired a few hours after eating,” explains Perst. Put on your classic nap after Thanksgiving.

Tryptophan is often found in turkey, chicken, milk, bread, chocolate, canned tuna, cheddar cheese, peanuts, oats, and more. The essential amino acid helps your body make the relaxation hormones serotonin and melatonin, Perst explains. Because of this, it has even been researched to treat sleep disorders such as insomnia.

4. Or you had a pretty big lunch.

Sometimes the feeling of tiredness after you eat has more to do with how much you ate than what you ate. The reason is simple: “The bigger the meal, the more energy your body needs to break it down,” says Perst. If you use up all of that energy, it can lead to fatigue. So try reducing your portion sizes and reaching for a protein-rich snack if you get hungry between meals.

5. A hidden food intolerance could be to blame.

Food intolerances or even full-blown food allergies are often associated with unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach cramps or diarrhea. But occasionally, a food intolerance that you may not be familiar with can make you feel obliterated.

Regardless of whether you have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, “you can feel tired after eating foods that contain gluten, as it can trigger an allergic reaction,” says Perst. This can limit your body’s ability to properly supply itself with the food you have ingested, leading to fatigue.

6. Your caffeine addiction is doing you a disservice.

Your morning cup of joe will add some pep to your step, but not for too long. The stimulatory effects of caffeine usually have a half-life (the time it takes your body to excrete half of the caffeine) of three to five hours after you drink it, which means you will feel your coffee rush by 8 a.m. Come by – you guessed it – at lunchtime. So the feeling of fatigue depends less on what you had for lunch than on the time of your first cup of coffee in the morning.

7. You may have an underlying medical condition.

If you’ve ruled out all other options and are still constantly tired after eating, it may be time to speak to your doctor to see if an underlying medical condition could make your symptoms worse.

Someone can feel tired when they have a problem that can affect the absorption of nutrients from food, like anemia, says Perst. Additionally, hormonal imbalances, insulin sensitivity, or idiopathic postprandial syndrome (IPS) could be worth investigating, she says.

With IPS, symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) appear two to four hours after you eat, but your actual blood sugar is in the normal range of 70 to 120 mg / dL, explains Perst. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include tiredness, tremors, sweating and palpitations, drowsiness, or even panic attacks.

“The symptoms of IPS are similar to hypoglycemia, but are usually less severe. While we don’t know what causes IPS, we do know that certain things, like eating foods with a high glycemic index like sugar, drinking a large amount of alcohol along with normal glucose levels that drop too quickly after eating, do IPS can contribute, ”she says.

There are many other reasons why you can be tired at any point in the day. So if you find yourself feeling tired all the time, make an appointment to make sure all of your health markers are where they should be.

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