10 Easy Ways to Add Vegetables to Your Meals

Did you know that only 9 percent of Americans eat enough vegetables every day? That’s less than one in every 10 people.

148074457_veggies in storeHow many veggies should we be consuming daily? Dr. Kenneth Cooper always refer to the adage, “Five is fine, but nine is divine.” That’s talking about servings (one serving is half a cup) of fruits and veggies we should consume every day. If you’re not getting enough, start with five servings a day and work your way to nine.

Some may believe that getting the recommended amount of vegetables every day is difficult. However, there are many ways you can add vegetables into your eating plan. The following is a list of quick and easy solutions:

1. Prepare “zoodles” by using a spiralizer or buy spiralized zucchini to replace traditional pasta noodles. You can also use squash, asparagus or cucumbers.

2. Purchase premade cauliflower pizza crust and top with extra vegetables including tomatoes, green and orange bell peppers, onions and broccoli.

3. Prepare or purchase riced cauliflower. You can buy it fresh or frozen or make it by grinding up whole cauliflower. Use it in any recipe in place of traditional rice.

4. Try adding carrot puree, grated zucchini, finely chopped broccoli, pureed spinach or chopped mushrooms to ground beef recipes such as meat loaf.

5. Add greens to smoothies by blending:
8 oz. of 1% or fat-free milk
One frozen banana
2-3 handfuls of spinach
1 tbsp. nut butter

6. Add vegetables like spinach, tomatoes, peas and broccoli to macaroni and cheese.                      Tip: Use boiled and blended butternut squash as a substitute for cheese.

7. Turn vegetables into fries or chips:
Slice up zucchini, carrots, green beans or kale
Toss in a small amount of olive oil
Bake in 425 degree oven until crispy

8. Add carrot, sweet potato or butternut squash puree to any chili or stew. Add pureed tomatoes, squash or potatoes to chicken soup.

9. Make or purchase veggie tater tots. They can be made from broccoli, cauliflower or sweet potatoes.

10. Grate zucchini or carrots and add them to your favorite muffin recipe.

Provided by: Steffany Bixby, Oklahoma State University Dietetic Student

Categories: Cooper Updates

How Wellness Day Is Encouraging You To Live A Healthier Life

The 6th anniversary of Global Wellness Day (GWD) will be celebrated on June 10, 2017. A day dedicated to living well, Global Wellness Day aims:

  • To recognize the value of our lives
  • To pause and think, even if for just one day of the year
  • To be free from the stress of everyday city life and bad habits
  • To make peace with ourselves
  • To raise awareness about living well and increase motivation, not just for today, but for the remaining 364 days of the year


GWD was founded by Turkish native, Belgin Aksoy Berkin. Its purpose is to make us ask ourselves “How can I live a healthier and better life?” and to direct our thoughts not only as individuals, but as a society, on how to “live well.”

Berkin, a cancer survivor, has gained support in more than 4,000 locations in 100 countries in 2017 to organize complimentary wellness events. These events are not commercial and are free and open to the public. Berkin strongly believes that wellness is not a luxury, but an inherit right. Wellness Day has gained more than 85 Ambassadors to help spread this movement.

Cooper Aerobics focuses on a well-rounded approach to health, fitness, nutrition and life, working on the whole you. Focusing on the mind, body and soul while enjoying yourself through the process. We want you to participate in GWD and encourage you to follow their manifesto:

1) Walk for an hour

2) Drink more water

3) Don’t use plastic bottles

4) Eat healthy food

5) Do a good deed

6) Have a family dinner with your loved ones

7) Go to sleep at 10 p.m.

Just as we encourage you to follow a Cooperized lifestyle with Dr. Cooper’s eight steps to Get Cooperized, their seven steps can help you with “living well.”

Some wellness activities to participate in could include taking a Pilates, dance or other group exercise class which you can all find here at Cooper Aerobics. Incorporate a healthy lunch on this day at Cedars Café, located inside Cooper Fitness Center or enjoy a relaxing stay-cation at Cooper Hotel. Cooper Spa Dallas can also help you unwind with massage chairs and special treatments.

Use the hashtag #GlobalWellnessDay to search what others are doing around the world to support their healthy lifestyle and don’t forget to share your #GlobalWellnessDay experience with us in the comments.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Why Summer Is Ideal For Young Swimmers

School is out and that means kids across the country will be heading to the pool. Before your children jump in, ask yourself one important question: do your kids really know how to swim?

“A lot of parents think their kids are fine because they’re backyard swimmers,” says Cooper Fitness Center Swim Pro, Marni Kerner. “But the truth is, they don’t have the strokes and proficiency they need if they were to get into trouble in the water. There’s a difference between splashing all day and being a skilled swimmer.”

Below, Kerner discusses why summer is a perfect time to enroll your kids in swimming lessons even if they’ve been through them before.

Why Now?

Why now? The answer is simple. Kerner says during the summer months the likelihood of your family being around a body of water is much more likely.

“Parents are running their kids to different activities during the summer─such as camps and pool parties─and it’s time to make sure their kids are ready to be around water,” says Kerner.

FF_Final-(1)At Cooper Fitness Center, Kerner says summer is the busiest time for swimming lessons, especially the month of June.

“Parents see the investment and what a good job we do here, so a lot of them will bring their kids in for a week or two to get a solid foundation,” says Kerner.

Ages 5 and Under

The age of 2 is a perfect age to start swimming lessons, according to Kerner.

“A lot of parents think 2 is too young, but it’s really important to be introduced to the water at any early age,” says Kerner. “If they don’t have the exposure by that age,  I find that sensory-wise, it’s harder to get kids to want to put their face in and get wet at an older age.”

In fact, Kerner has given lessons to kids as young as 6 months old. What will the tots learn?

“I start with water safety,” says Kerner. “I remind them that they need to have permission to always get in the water and that they should always have an adult with them.” Kerner also teaches the basics such as bobbing─which helps them get to the side if the water is too deep─treading if they get fatigued and floating if they can’t get to the side.

What about the use of life jackets? Kerner says the flotation devices are great when your child will be in open water, such as a lake. During swim lessons? She recommends parents leave the floaties and life jackets at home.

“It defeats the purpose of what we teach them, which is water security and safety on their own,” says Kerner.

Ages 6-8

Kerner says she mostly teaches lessons to children between the ages of 4-8 years old. During those lessons, she still teaches water safety and basic strokes such as free-style and elementary back stroke, but she also covers the importance of pool depth.

“I teach this age group diving safety,” says Kerner. “Our pool here at Cooper Fitness Center isn’t deep enough to dive, so I’ll teach them alternatives, like seated dives.”

Kerner also gets a lot of returning swimmers in this age range. Even if they’ve taken lessons in the past, she says it’s great for kids to have a refresher course at the beginning of every summer.

“Many of them haven’t been around water for most of the year, so we give them refreshers, sharpen their skills and remind them of water safety,” says Kerner.

The refresher lessons are also important for kids attending sleep-away camps during the summer, as many of those programs include swimming time in a pool or a lake.

“Even those coming in for refreshers for 30 minutes a day will see improvement,” says Kerner. “They just need to be reminded of the little things and within a week, it’s amazing how much they improve.”

Pre-Competitive Swim Team

If your child is 6 years of age or older and is comfortable in the water, a pre-competitive swim team may be the next step. At Cooper Fitness Center, the swim team gives kids the opportunity to train and improve their skills in a group environment, all while preparing them for a competitive swim team.

“It’s a small group, they swim a bunch and they learn a ton,” says Kerner. ”They all love it and it’s 10 hours of instruction, which is a good amount.”

Swim team instruction includes learning competitive strokes, techniques, skill work and conditioning. Swimmers must be able to swim 25 yards unassisted in order to qualify for the swim team at Cooper.

Lessons at Cooper Fitness Center

Swimming lessons at Cooper Fitness Center typically run Monday-Friday for 30 minutes. Kerner recommends doing at least one week, if not two for maximum benefits.

Interested in booking swim lessons? Don’t wait! Sessions are filling up fast and Kerner says it’s a commitment your family won’t regret.

“The kids are happy with the lessons, the parents are happy and I’ve seen them continue to come back throughout the summer,” says Kerner.

For more information on swimming lessons or to book a session, visit cooperswimacademy.com.


Categories: Cooper Updates

Swimming At The Age Of 90

Cooper Fitness Center member Charles Phipps never thought he’d pick up swimming. Now, at the age of 90, he can’t imagine life without it.

Charles ruptured a tendon in his right leg several years ago. The injury healed, but the built-up scar tissue often left Charles with a stiff leg. After walking and exercising on the equipment at Cooper Fitness Center, he decided to head outside and give swimming a try.

“When I first started, it was very hard,” says Charles. “I had never taken swimming lessons and my breathing wasn’t quite right. I’m used to breathing for running and it took a while to learn how to breathe properly for swimming.”


When Charles first started his lessons with Cooper Fitness Center Swim Pro Marni Kerner, he couldn’t swim more than 5 yards. After taking lessons two to three times a week for three years, he now swims about 300 yards every lesson.

“I’m super proud of him,” says Marni. “I see the joy his accomplishments bring him.”

“Marni is great,” says Charles. “I like her style and personality a lot and she lets me stop regularly and catch my breath so I don’t strain my heart.”

Since he began swimming, Charles says he’s noticed a big difference in the way he feels.

“I really feel better after swimming regularly,” says Charles. “I have more energy during the day and my body feels better. Now that I’ve gotten over the hurdles of breathing and kicking, I find it energizing and after I’m through, I sleep well at night.”

Marni says swimming is one of the best aerobic exercises for aging bodies because it’s low impact.

“It has minimal injury risk and less chance of resulting joint pain as compared to other exercises,” says Marni. “Swimming is also a safe way to increase flexibility, maintain muscle mass and improve balance, which reduces the risk of falling. It also diminishes risk of heart disease, reduces stress and can elevate your mood.”

Swimming is also an exercise Charles says has changed his life and it’s all thanks to Cooper Fitness Center.

“If it weren’t for Cooper Fitness Center, I probably never would have picked up swimming at all,” says Charles.

For more information on swim lessons at Cooper Fitness Center, visit cooperswimacademy.com.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Lighten Up Your Burger This Summer

Warmer weather is here and that means grilling season is upon us. Whether it is a family cookout or pool party, you’ll probably find yourself grilling hamburgers at some point. Unfortunately, that juicy cheeseburger you love can mean additional calories. Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Cynthanne Duryea compares the nutrition facts of two burgers: one classic burger that’s 80 percent lean and 20 percent fat and a healthier alternative that’s 93 percent lean and 7 percent fat. You can also see the differences in white vs. wheat buns and full-fat cheese vs. thinly sliced cheese.

Classic Burger

Item Measure Protein Carbs (g) Fat (g) Sat Fat (g) Fiber (g) Calories (g)
80/20 Broiled  beef patty 4 oz. 29 0 20 8 0 306
White Bun 1 5 29 2 0 1 150
Full Fat Cheese 1 slice (20g) 5 0 7 4 0 80
Mayo 1 Tbsp 0 0 10 2 0 90
Total 39 29 39 13 1 626


Healthier Alternative

Item Measure Protein Carbs (g) Fat (g) Sat Fat (g) Fiber (g) Calories (g)
93/7 Broiled beef patty 4 oz. 30 0 10 4 0 219
100% Whole Wheat Hamburger Bun 1 3 12 1 0 3 64
Sharp Cheddar with 2% Milk, Thin Sliced 1 slice


5 0 5 3 0 63
Classic Yellow Mustard 1 Tbsp 0 3 0 0 0 0
Total 38 15 16 7 3 346



Both examples above are great alternatives to your basic burger and can save you an additional 280 calories. From the whole wheat bun to the mayo and mustard switch, this burger seems just as delicious as the one with more calories.

If you are looking for an alternative to a beef patty, here are some other options our Cooper Clinic dietitians recommend:

  • Jennie-O 93% lean ground turkey
  • Dr Praeger’s California Veggie Burgers
  • Whole Foods 365 Meatless Burgers
  • Trader Joe’s Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burgers with Black Beans and Roasted Corn
  • Morning Star Farm Grillers Original Burgers

Nutrition doesn’t stop at just the bun, meat and cheese. What you put on top of your burger is important, too. Toppings that add both flavor and nutrition can go beyond just pickles and condiments. Some great nutrient-rich toppings include:

  • Spinach leaves
  • Sliced tomato
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sliced olives
  • Salsa (mango or traditional)
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Red onion
  • Sliced bell pepper
  • Poached egg

Now that you have the entire scoop on how to cut the calories and boost the nutrition in your favorite burger, go out and fire up the grill!

Categories: Cooper Updates

Celebrating Cooper Clinic’s Incredible Laboratory Team

April 23-29 was Medical Laboratory Professionals Week and here at Cooper Clinic, we showcased the incredible work that goes on behind-the-scenes, as well as our super-hero medical laboratory staff.

An open house was held inside the Cooper Clinic Laboratory on Thursday, April 27. Patients, teammates and outside guests toured seven stations inside the lab. At each stop, medical laboratory scientists were on hand to explain the instrumentation and processes, such as phlebotomy, chemistry, hematology and urinalysis.

“We wanted to demonstrate the importance of the lab, as 70 percent of all diagnoses are made from lab testing,” said Peggy Blalock, Cooper Clinic Laboratory Manager. “Medical Laboratory Professionals Week was the perfect time to invite people into the lab to see all that we do.”

What sets the Cooper Clinic lab apart from others?

“While we have high-powered, state-of-the-art equipment unlike other labs of our size, what really sets us apart is our high-quality, same-day results and our experienced staff,” says Blalock.

The Cooper Clinic Laboratory processes nearly 300,000 tests a year and provides same-day test results. Because the lab handles samples for only 35-40 patients a day, the lab professionals are able to ensure the results are of the highest quality.

Cooper Clinic’s lab professionals are the heroes behind-the-scenesLabWeek_6636. The open house theme was inspired by Disney’s animated movie, “The Incredibles,”─highlighting all of the incredible work done in the lab. Only 4 percent of all labs in the U.S. receive the Commission on Office Laboratory Accreditation, Laboratory Excellence Award. Cooper Clinic has received this award for six years.

“Our highly qualified medical laboratory scientists are committed to quality,” says Blalock. “They take ownership and responsibility for every detail in the lab. We manage phone calls and vaccines, monitor temperature, run quality control material, perform maintenance on instruments, test specimens, conduct inter-laboratory proficiency testing and to ensure quality results are produced. All of these things they do, because they are committed to Cooper Clinic.”

Watch this entertaining video of our incredible laboratory team and discover what goes on behind-the-scenes in the Cooper Clinic lab.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Becoming a Boxing Legend

He’s attracted attention from major TV networks like Showtime and Sky Sports for the boxers he trains and has been praised by top sporting website Bleacher Report, that named him one of the top boxing coaches. Cooper Fitness Center Boxing Pro Derrick James began boxing at the age of 5 and is just as passionate about the sport today. James discusses what it’s like to train professional fighters and what it takes to become a successful boxer at any age.

 What made you so interested in boxing?

I had an older brother who started boxing and just like all siblings, I admired him. I think it’s the one-on-one competition and the fact that it’s an individual sport. Everything relies upon your hard work and effort or what you did or didn’t do. That’s the great part about it.

 Tell us about your boxing career

I started at the Oak Cliff Boys and Girls Club in Dallas at the age of 5. I had a pretty good amateur career. I won the U.S. Title, the National Junior Olympics and the Under 19 Title Championships in America, which I won twice back-to-back (1989 and 1990). I lost in the Olympic Trials in 1992 and after that, I turned professional. As a pro, I compiled a record of 21 wins, 7 losses. The last 15 years, I have been the Boxing Pro at Cooper Fitness Center, and that’s where I train my fighters now.

                                                                            Who are some of the boxers you train?

    ProZoneBLOGPICI train Errol Spence Jr., who competed in the 2012 Olympics and is currently the number one rated contender in the world. He’ll be challenging for the Welterweight World Title on May 27, in Sheffield, England. I also train Jermell Charlo, the World Boxing Council Super Welterweight World Champion. He won the title for the first time back on April 22, in New York City. I also coach Robert Brant from Minnesota, who’s also fighting for the World Title.


What does it mean to you to train these championship fighters?

I really can’t explain it because I never set out to do this. I’m dedicated to each one of the guys. I train them six days a week and I give them everything they give me. I don’t look at the accolades of it, I just keep working until there’s no more work.

What’s your favorite part about coaching?

My favorite part of coaching is teaching a new technique that the fighter understands and is able to implement the new technique into his game plan. That’s one of the greatest parts about coaching.

 Bleacher Report named you one of the Top 10 boxing coaches of today. How did it feel to receive that honor?

 I think it’s good but you know, I don’t do it for that. I enjoy boxing and it’s my way of life. I come to work seven days a week, that’s my normal routine. So, it makes me feel great, but that’s not why I coach.

 What advice would you give someone who’s interested in boxing?

You just have to be focused, work hard and find someone who can actually help you and get you to the level you want to obtain.

 In your opinion, what sort of skills or mindset makes a championship fighter?

It’s a lot about the mindset. You have to be a very intelligent individual, to be hard-working and have a lot of fortitude, a lot of resilience and the ability to not give up. I think you have to feel that desire to be the best and all of your actions go with the words that you say.

 What do you hope for in your future?

Honestly, I’m already living this dream. My only goal is to be the best I can be, and that means the best trainer, the best friend for the fighters, the best husband, the best father. I’m not worried about the accolades. As long as I’m the best I can be, everything else will fall into place.

Categories: Cooper Updates