Fueling Your Kids in the Fast Food Lane

September 22, 2015 Leave a comment

The race is on!  School has started, activities are abundant and as a parent you are faced with balancing a very hectic schedule. It can be challenging to plan healthy snacks and figure out sensible choices when the convenience of fast food is inevitable.

Snacks can help bridge the gap between lunch and dinner by acting as fuel to supplement your kids’ diet, but not sabotage their appetite.

Secrets to Snacking Success:

  • Keep snacks around 150-200 calories.
  • Plan snacks to avoid snack “attacks.”
  • Limit high-fat, high-sugar foods in the house.
  • Keep serving sizes in check. For example, a ½ cup serving of Chex Mix has 150 calories, but a child can easily eat one or more cups which can double or triple the calories.
  • Pre-portion snacks in small bags instead of grabbing straight out of the container.
  • Serve snacks at the table, not in front of a screen.
  • Involve your child and give him or her choices.
  • Pair fiber-rich carbs with protein. See examples below.
Instead of This:                                                                     Try This:
1 ½ cups of Chex Mix:  450 calories 100 calorie bag of light microwave popcorn and

Light Babybel Cheese:  150 calories

Sonic chocolate milkshake (mini):  570 calories Fruit smoothie: blend fat free milk, frozen strawberries, ½ frozen banana and vanilla for 20 to 30 seconds:  200 calories
Oreo Mini Chocolate Sandwich Cookies Go Pak, 3.5 oz.: 455 Calories Spread fat free frozen yogurt between 2 sheets of graham crackers and thinly sliced ½ banana or ½ cup strawberries.  Freeze, if desired:  175-200 cal.
2 oz. bag of Cheetos: 340 calories  16 Tostitos Oven Baked Scoops with 4 Tbsp. bean dip mixed with 3 Tbsp. salsa:  200 calories
1 cup of ice cream:  320 calories Sugar cone filled with nonfat Greek yogurt and sliced fruit:  150 calories
Peanut butter sandwich with 2 Tbsp. peanut butter and 1 Tbsp. jelly:  380 calories Mini Pizza:  toasted whole wheat English muffin with pizza sauce sprinkled with 2% shredded cheese:  200 calories
1 cup granola cereal and milk:  500 calories Kashi Chocolate Almond & Sea Salt Chewy Granola Bar with ½ Tbsp. peanut butter:  190 calories

When it’s snack or dinner time and you’re running from soccer practice with one child to flute lessons with another, a grab-and-go fast food meal seems to be the answer.  Try to choose wisely so you don’t get short-changed on nutrition and end up with an excess load of calories and fat.

Tips to Navigate Fast Food:

  • Know before you go! Review menus with your children and have a plan of action for healthy choices.
  • Go for balance. Even fast food restaurants offer salads and fruit.  Substitute them for fries.  If fries are ordered, split them among several people at the table.
  • Downsize portions instead of supersizing! Portion control is the key. The average hamburger in the 1950’s was 1.5 ounces and today is 8 ounces.
  • Skip the liquid candy! Order low-fat milk or water instead of sodas or lemonade.
  • Trim the high fat, high calorie extras, including mayonnaise, dressings, sauces and cheese.
Instead of this: Try this:

6” turkey, ham, or roast beef



21 ounce soda:  930 calories

Subway Fresh Fit for Kids

4” turkey, ham, or roast beef

Apple slices

Low-fat milk:  320 calories

Chick- fil-A

6-count nuggets

Waffle fries

Soda:  770 calories


6-count grilled nuggets

Honey barbeque sauce or Buttermilk Ranch sauce

Fruit cup

Low fat milk:  300-345 calories


Burrito – flour tortilla, chicken, rice, cheese, and lettuce:  800 calories

Chipotle Kids Meal

Kids corn tortilla cheese quesadilla with black beans , low fat milk, and orange:  385 calories

McDonald’s Kids Mighty Meal

McDouble cheeseburger

Small French fries


Fat-free chocolate milk:  800 calories

McDonald’s Kids Meal


Kids’ fries

Apple slices

Low-fat milk:  475 calories

As a parent, the most important point to remember is you are your child’s role model and most influential teacher.  Their little eyes are on you, so practice what you preach. Don’t pig out when you eat out!  Instead, guide your children toward making better choices. Realize occasional indulgences are fine and can be worked into any healthy eating plan.  It’s not what you do on once every so often, it’s what you do every day that counts!

Flavor Up with Herbs and Spices!

September 8, 2015 Leave a comment

Cinnamon with soup? Curry powder with corn? Combining various herbs and spices with meats, vegetables and other dishes can add a kick of flavor without the need for additional salt. Lower your sodium levels and raise your cooking standards based on suggestions from Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services! Download your own handy guide here.


Maintain Healthy Skin, No Matter Your Age

Keeping your skin looking and feeling healthy as you age can seem like a complicated, time-consuming and expensive task. However, maintaining good health as you get older can translate into beautiful skin and a confident appearance.

blog_woman in mirrorCooper Clinic Dermatologist Dr. Helen Kaporis recommends using daily sunblock with SPF higher than 30. Sunblock not only reduces the risk of developing skin cancer, but also decreases premature collagen breakdown. We naturally lose one teaspoon of collagen each year in our face, and sunblock helps prevent additional breakdown.

Dr. Kaporis also notes that daily use of antioxidants can help diminish environmental free radicals that cause oxidative stress on skin. Antioxidants such as Obagi Vitamin C Serum or Skinceuticals Phloretin CF Gel Pump are her top recommendations. In addition, tretinoin or retinol can help reverse photo aging, fine lines and dyspigmentation.

Finally, Dr. Kaporis suggests using moisturizers with ceramics, such as Elta MD Lotion or Cerave Cream, on dry skin that develops over time. These products will help lock in moisture and repair damaged skin.

Cooper Spa’s newest esthetician, Andrea Rankin, also shares her own tips that can help you age beautifully:

  • Less is best! Too much product will strip your skin of the acid mantle, the skin’s natural protector, and imbalance your pH levels.
  • Wash your face both morning and night – and after any workout. Even if you don’t have time to fully shower, use a towelette on your face, neck and back to remove toxins and bacteria. And, if you have time, use a toner to moisturize and protect your skin until you have time to shower.
  • Before bed, wash your face properly and use moisturizer for soft and supple skin.
  • To support your diet for healthy skin, take Cooper Complete Dermatologic Health to be sure you’re taking in the proper nutrients.
  • Exfoliate once a week. Men typically exfoliate as they shave every day, but don’t forget to exfoliate your nose and forehead, too!

Andrea’s favorite age-defying skin care products include:

  • SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Interrupter
    • Improves skin creping and thinning
    • Corrects the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and rough texture
    • Restores water and nutrients to improve the appearance of skin elasticity
    • Restores comfort to dry, aging skin
  • SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Cream
    • Helps protect against stress factors and environmental aggressors
    • Combats the appearance of puffiness, sagging skin and dark circles
    • Supports the skin’s natural hydration
    • Suitable for normal, combination and oily aging skin

Focusing on skin care at any age is an important part of keeping your body healthy. Prevention is key – the more you can take care of and protect your skin in your younger years, the less your skin will seem to age in your later years. But remember, it’s never too late to start a skin care routine that will leave you looking and feeling beautiful!

Age is Just a Number

By: Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper

Becoming healthier as you grow older does not have to be a far-fetched goal. Our bodies are built to last, as long as we take care of them properly. At 84 years of age, I continue to exercise, maintain my weight, take supplements and more in order to maintain the healthy and active life I want to continue living.

Taking the proper supplementation keeps your body full of the nutrients it needs, especially if those nutrients are unattainable from your diet. Recent studies show that taking 3 grams of EPA/DHA found in Omega-3 is associated with the reduction of muscle deterioration throughout the aging process. People normally begin losing muscle around age 50, but those taking the aforementioned levels of Omega-3 actually maintain their strength as they grow older. The supplement is also known to reduce the pain and symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Healthy aging might seem like a difficult task, but if you take preventive measures early on, many unfortunate health circumstances can be avoided. As you begin to age and think about your desired quality of life as you get older, imagine how you would like to live. Would you prefer to reach your peak of fitness at an early age and feel your health steadily decline due to unhealthy habits? Or would you prefer to remain active throughout middle age and beyond, with no decline in health and a quick demise? I call this “squaring off the curve,” and it is the lifestyle model that I recommend to all of my patients, and that I fully embrace myself.

As I like to say, “you don’t stop exercising when you grow old; you grow old when you stop exercising.” To benefit the most from exercise as you age, I recommend the following balance between aerobic and strength training:

  • If you’re 40 years old or younger, devote 80 percent of your workout time to aerobic training and 20 percent to strength training.
  • If you’re 41 to 50 years old, shift to 70 percent aerobic and 30 percent strength work.
  • If you’re 51 to 60, do 60 percent aerobic exercise and 40 percent strength training.
  • After you pass 60, divide your workout time more evenly between the two strategies – while still giving an edge to aerobic exercise, which provides the most health benefits: 55 percent aerobic work and 45 percent strength work.

New studies also reveal a direct correlation between exercise and dementia and Alzheimer’s – proving that exercise of the mind can be just as important as physical exercise when it comes to healthy aging.  These studies show that levels of the protein TAU, which causes Alzheimer’s, actually lower following periods of consistent physical activity; even people who already have the disease show improved symptoms following intervals of exercise.

In addition to physical activity, one should follow my eight steps to Get Cooperized in order to thrive throughout the aging process. I also recommend the following steps to exercise your mind in order to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia:

  1. Exercise your mind daily
  2. Exercise
  3. Socialize
  4. Get adequate sleep
  5. Take Omega-3
  6. Take Vitamin D3
  7. Take Vitamin B12

Physical activity has also been shown to reduce neurological psychiatric symptoms such as depression, and those over the age of 70 actually show the most improvement under these circumstances.

Remember – age is just a number. Making the choice to stay healthy and active, no matter your age, can make a great difference in how much of your life you actually get to live, especially as you grow older. You can choose to age fast or age slow…it’s up to you.


Weight Loss Checklist: Part III

Dining out can be a challenge when you’re watching your weight. With so many food and drink options put directly in front of you, it can be tough to turn down the free chips and salsa, a refreshing soda or a slice of cake for dessert. Part III of the Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services Weight Loss Checklist will guide you through difficult dining situations and keep you on track for eating healthy and losing pounds. Download the checklist hereWLChecklist3

Weight Loss Checklist: Part II

Part II of the exclusive Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services Weight Loss Checklist is now available! You can download it here.

Limiting variety and temptation can be a challenge, but with some kitchen reorganization, healthy substitutions and determination, you can make it happen! Share your best tips for limiting food variety and unhealthy temptations in the comments below.

Checklist 2 full

Weight Loss Checklist: Part I

Looking for a way to jump start your weight loss journey and set attainable goals? Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services has created an exclusive weight loss checklist that can fold into your daily life, one step at a time. Start by taking things slow and substituting certain foods for healthier options, as described in our first weight loss checklist. Download the checklist here, and be sure to share your healthy lifestyle changes and experiences in the comments below!Blog_Checklist


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