Serving Sizes: What do they look like?

We are told to read the labels on our packages and encouraged to stick to single servings but what does a serving size look like and how does it differ from a portion?

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute a portion refers to the amount of food you choose to eat. A Serving is used to describe the recommended amount of food you should eat at a given meal.

To give you a clearer picture here are some visual examples of what a serving really looks like:

One Serving: Visual Example:
1 Baked Potato; fist
1 Cup Salad Greens; baseball
1/2 Cup cooked rice of pasta; 1/2 baseball
1 1/2 ounces of cheese; 4 stacked dice
1 Cup cereal flakes; fist
1 Pancake; compact disk
1 Teaspoon margarine; 1 dice
3 Ounces of Meat; deck of cards
2 Tablespoons peanut butter; table tennis ball

Next time you are out eating and wondering how many servings you are consuming picture the visual example. Remember, healthy eating is all about moderation.

How to Navigate through your Supermarkets for healthy food.

Commerical Supermarkets are designed and laid out to get consumers to buy things they may not have opted for when planning their food shopping trip. It’s helpful to know where the dangers lie and where you you can find the healthiest food.

Here are some healthful strategies:
1. Beware of foods placed at eye level. Foods are strategically placed to promote consumers to purchase. “Research – lots of it- shows that what you see is what you buy”, states professor Marion Nestle of University of New York. Beware of these eye level foods.

2. Skip End of Aisle Displays. Most of the time these displays are promoting junk food.

3. Beware of the Bakery and the bulk items in Corrals (chocolate covered nuts, candy, etc). Bakery items are intended to enhance our senses but be sure to read the labels. Often bakery goods are loaded with fat and sugar.

4. Start with the Perimeter. The freshest fruits and vegetables and the least processed foods with be around the perimeter of your market. Start at the perimeter and enter the aisles only for specific items on your food list.

Magnesium is good for bone health and more!!

Magnesium is a vital catalyst in enzyme activity and assists in calcium and potassium uptake. A definciency of magnesium interferes with the transmission of nerve and muscle impluses. This can cause irritability,nervousness, headaches, osteoporsis, and irregular heartbeats. Supplementing your diet with magnesium can help prevent depression, dizziness, muscle weakness, twitching and PMS. It can also help in maintaining the body’s proper pH balance.

The Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board recommended daily allowance is 310-320 mg for women over age 19 and 400-420 mg for men the same age. Good sources of magnesium are found in:
– spinach
– black beans
– peanut butter
– almonds
– baked potato with skin on

Practice good health with those around you.

According to University of Minnesota study, people were more likely to have favorable attitudes toward exercise and health eating when their family and friends exercised and ate healthy foods. Since we are often influenced by the people around us it is important to pay attention to the good examples of incorporating health and wellness into our lives. Here are some great ways to build your support system around health and wellness:

1. Get a workout partner (a family member, a friend, a colleague at work)
2. Join a gym and get involved in classes and activities you enjoy. You will meet others, make friends and stay motivated.
3. Use Technology. Now days you can find many sports clubs, walking clubs and work out groups on the Internet. Pick one and join. A lot of these groups are free. Get involved.
4. If you are over 65 look into the senior center fitness programs and programs through the YMCA such as Silver Sneakers.

Most of all…have fun.

Back again! Spalshing into fitness!

The water is a great way to cross train, recover from an injury, and an excellent pre/ post natal workout. I have been teaching aquatic water fitness for almost 15 years (everything from Aqua cardio kickboxing, aqua step, circuit training in the water, to hydrotone (the ultimate water resistance workout)). Over the years I’ve run marathons, walked half marathons, but I always come back to the water for a great workout. Nine months ago I had my first child, a little baby girl. I continued teaching my water classes until my ninth month. Eight weeks after I delivered I was back in the water working out and losing the 35 pounds I had gained.

So why is water such a great workout?
– Increased muscular strength. The Resistance is ~4-42 times greater in water than air (depending on speed and surface area). Resistance equipment such as webbed gloves and paddles do an excellent job in toning the muscles
-Increased flexibility & range of motion.
-Cardiorespiratory conditioning. Studies have shown convincingly that for decreasing body fat, rhythmic vertical water exercise is comparable to land-based programs.
-Modifications can be easily given for participants with special considerations.

I would suggest that where ever you decide to take a class to make sure the instructor is water certified from an national organization like Mary Sanders, Speedo/Waterfit program, or the Water Fitness- YMCA of the USA.
If you are interested in more information about the water please e-mail me at