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Getting Kids Involved in the Kitchen

September 14, 2017 Leave a comment

91947739[1]_mom and daugther healthyCooking with kids helps them with lifelong, practical skills that go far beyond reading, following directions and measuring. The opportunity to be with loved ones while acting as “sous chef” can help develop a positive, healthy relationship with food as well.

Research shows kids who participate in the kitchen eat more fruits, vegetables and dietary fiber, have a greater willingness to try new foods and have more confidence in the ability to prepare foods.

Below, our Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services team shares eight tips to get kids of all ages in the kitchen.

  1. Food safety first. Remind kids to wash their hands before and after helping in the kitchen.
  2. Be patient and be prepared to get messy. Spills and mistakes happen as part of the learning process. Have fun with it!
  3. Talk about why a food is healthy. Point out each food group in a recipe or explain what a certain food does for their body:
    • Protein helps build strong muscles.
    • Quality carbohydrates provide essential energy for our cells.
    • Healthy fats help absorb certain vitamins.
  4. Encourage tasting along the way. All real chefs sample their creation. When tasting, be mindful of foods that are choking hazards.
  5. Provide age-appropriate tasks:
    • 2-years-olds can tear lettuce, wash fruits, mix and stir easy items.
    • 3-year-olds can knead and shape dough, mix and pour ingredients.
    • 4-year-olds can peel oranges and cut parsley with kid-safe scissors.
    • 5-year-olds can measure ingredients and use an egg beater.
    • 6 years and up can help read recipes and use a knife with adult supervision.
  6. Clean up. It’s part of a chef’s job, so have them help with wiping off tables or returning ingredients to the low shelves.
  7. Ask for a review! What did the kids think of the meal or snack? What could make it different or better next time?
  8. Say thank you. Let them know you appreciated their help and invite them to pick the next snack or meal recipe from a colorful cookbook.

For more information on Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.

Article provided by Patty Kirk, RDN, LD, and Meridan Zerner, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD

Categories: Cooper Updates

Reach For These Healthier TV Dinners

September 8, 2017 Leave a comment

When you think of TV dinners, you likely think of meals packed full of sodium and fat. Today, that doesn’t have to be the case. With so many people choosing to make healthier food choices, many companies offer healthier frozen meal options.

Our Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services team recommends sticking to the following guidelines when choosing a frozen meal:

  • Fiber
    • 3-5 g
  • Protein
    • 15-25 g
  • Saturated Fat
    • 3-4 g or less
  • Sodium
    • 400-600 mg or less

What TV dinners do our registered dietitian nutritionists choose when they’re looking for something quick and convenient? They provide their favorites below.

Patty Kirk, RDN, LD:

  • SmartMade™ by Smart Ones® Mexican Style Chicken Bowl
    • This delicious meal has 21 g protein, 6 g fiber and only 2.5 g saturated fat. You can also add another vegetable or fruit which boosts the fiber even more.
  • Evol Fire Grilled Chicken Poblano
    • This spicy and satisfying meal has 18 g protein, 8 g fiber and only 2 g saturated fat. To boost the protein even more, add a Light BabyBel Cheese. That adds 6 more grams of protein. Throw in some fruit or vegetables for even more fiber and nutrition.

Gillian Gatewood, RDN, LD, CNSC:

  • Luvo™ Chicken Chile Verde
    • I like this meal because it amps up the flavor while only having 490mg of sodium. It also boasts 6 g of dietary fiber, 25 g of protein and only 4 g of less favorable saturated fat. This steam-in-pouch meal always hits the spot and leaves me feeling satisfied. The calories (300 per meal) is a little low to meet my needs at a lunch or dinner, so I round those out by adding a healthy fat, such as 100 calorie pack Wholly Guacamole® or extra veggies.

Elana Paddock, RDN, LD, CDE:

  • Eating Right™ Chicken with Peanut Sauce
    • This meal has lots of Asian flavor and consists of whole wheat linguine and a mix of sugar snap peas and carrots. The meal has 7 g fiber and 19 g protein. The sodium content of 500 mg is also lower than most frozen meals.
  • Healthy Choice® Café Steamers Four Cheese Ravioli and Chicken Marinara
    • This pasta is filled with ricotta and spinach and is high in flavor and low in unhealthy saturated fat (2.5 g). There’s a nice amount of chicken to round out the meal with 19 g of protein. Since there are fewer vegetables in this entrée, you can always pack a bag of raw carrots or sugar snap peas as a side.

Cynthanne Duryea, RDN, LD:

  • Luvo Chicken Chorizo Chili
    • This chili includes red and white beans topped with peppers and kale. The hearty soup contains only 260 calories, 1 g saturated fat and 340 mg sodium, which is quite low compared to other frozen meals. It also has a generous 13 g fiber and 18 g protein. To add volume and nutrients to this meal, add Greek yogurt and fruit.

Meridan Zerner, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD:

  • Kashi® Black Bean Mango Bowl
    • This meal is zippy, tasty and has 11 g of fiber! An added bonus? It contains 10 g of protein and 39 g of whole grains in each serving.

For more information about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.

 

Categories: Cooper Updates

Long Flight? Try These Simple, Yet Effective Exercises

September 1, 2017 Leave a comment

Whether you’re flying across the country or across the world, long flights can be tough on your body. Cooper Fitness Center Fitness Director and Professional Fitness Trainer Mary Edwards provides simple, yet effective, exercises you can do while in the air.

Movement Based

  • Walk around – try to obtain 5-10 minutes of standing or moving every hour you’re in flight.
  • Foot pumps – raise your foot up and down and side to side. Repeat on the other foot.
  • Foot circles – extend your leg and make circles with your ankle. Make sure you go both clockwise and counterclockwise.
  • Squats – Once the seatbelt sign goes off, stand up and complete some squats. Make sure to hold onto your seat for support.

Isometric Based

  • Squeeze a blanket or soft pillow between your knees. Complete five reps, 10-15 seconds each.
  • In a standing position, extend your hips, stand tall and squeeze your glutes. Complete five reps and hold 10-15 seconds each.

Mobility Based

  • Neck movement – move your neck side to side and in circles.
  • Chest Stretch – pull your hands behind your back for a deep stretch.
  • Hip Flexor Stretch – in a split-stance, hold onto your seat and bow down, extending through your back hip.
  • Calf Stretch – in a split-stance, drive your back knee forward to induce a stretch on your Achilles and calf.

Following those exercises will help ensure your body feels more refreshed once you arrive at your destination. For help maintaining a healthy diet while you’re gone, follow these tips from Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.

For more fitness tips or to schedule an appointment with a professional fitness trainer, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Back-To-School Lessons From Cooper Sports Pros

September 1, 2017 Leave a comment

If you’re wanting to become the best you can be as an athlete, Cooper Fitness Center has you covered. Our team of five sports pros are here to help you and your kids develop the skills you need to succeed in tennis, basketball, martial arts, boxing and swimming.

While our pros may be at the top of their game now, it wasn’t always that way. In fact, it took hard work to get where they are today.

Our Cooper pros discuss what got them interested in their sport and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. Some were even brave enough to share photos from their early years spent sharpening their skills.

Corey Noel, Tennis Pro

Q: What age did you start playing tennis? corey

A: I actually didn’t start playing tennis until I was 15 years old, which is pretty late compared to most sports pros.

Q: What attracted you to tennis?

A: I loved the athleticism of it, the full-body workout, the strategy and the combination of an individual sport and a team sport wrapped into one.

Q: What are some of the highlights of your career?

A: I  had the highest win percentage on my college team. Later on, I had the privilege of coaching two different high school teams that went on to win the state championship.

Q: What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from playing tennis?

A: No matter how many mistakes you make, understand that it only matters what you do next. Don’t worry about what you’ve done in the past.

Coleman Crawford, Basketball Pro 

Q: What age did you start playing basketball?

A: I started playing basketball in sixth grade.

Q: What attracted you to basketball?

A: I grew up in North Carolina where basketball was an extremely popular sport. I also followed the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) basketball team closely when Lew Alcindor, commonly known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, was on the team.

Q: What are some of the highlights of your career?

A: I was Player of the Year during my time playing for the University of North Alabama. As a coach, I made several NCAA tournament appearances, including my time at Florida State when my team beat Duke, who was ranked number one in the country at the time. I would also say the relationships I had with players and coaches was a big highlight.

Q: What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from playing basketball?

A: Basketball presents life lessons through both victory and defeat. It teaches resilience, perseverance and most of all, character.

Mike Proctor, Martial Arts Pro 

Q: What age did you start practicing martial arts?

A: I began practicing Asian martial arts at age 12. I grew up in a military family so proctorI was surrounded by others practicing the art from about age 5.

Q: What attracted you to martial arts?

A: It’s an art form. It’s about discipline, self-control and attitude. I always say martial arts are 90 percent intellectual and emotional and 10 percent physical.

Q: What are some of the highlights of your career?

A: I would say my students are the highlight of my career. I have 36 black belt students and it’s rewarding to see where they’ve gone in their lives. Many have become police officers and many have gone into the military. I have former students who are now serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Q: What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from martial arts?

A: I learned pretty much everything through martial arts, including how to speak properly and stand properly. It’s not just about self-defense, it’s about how you should  live.

Derrick James, Boxing Pro 

Q: What age did you start boxing?

A: I started boxing when I was 5 years old.

Derrick James_boxing 3Q: What attracted you to boxing?

A: My older brother started boxing and like most young brothers, I wanted to be just like him.

Q: What are some of the highlights of your career?

A: My greatest highlight was when I won the National Junior Olympics and the Western Olympic Trials in 1992, which qualified me for the Olympic Trials. As a professional trainer, it’s when my client, Jermell Charlo, won the World Boxing Council World Light Middleweight Championship title. He was my first champion. Of course, Erroll Spence Jr. being crowned the International Boxing Federation Welterweight Champion a few months ago was also monumental.

Q: What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from boxing?

A: Boxing has taught me how to be focused and very disciplined. It’s also taught me to be humble enough to always keep learning.

Marni Kerner, Swimming Pro 

Q: What age did you start swimming?

A: I believe I started swimming as a toddler. I fondly remember many summer days swimming at our community pool as a family. I often swam many laps with my father for workouts when I was growing up. When I graduated from college, I continued to incorporate swimming into my personal training, swim instruction and my own family activity.

Q: What are some of the highlights of your career?

A: I have highlights every day as a swim instructor. It’s everything from a toddler laughing and splashing, to instructing swimmers who have special needs, to bringing comfort to those who have fear of water and challenging those who want to use swimming to improve their fitness level.

Q: What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from swimming?

A: The best lesson I’ve learned from swimming is to respect the water. Swimming is a very challenging cardiovascular exercise and is different from running, biking, etc. The cardio in swimming is vertical activity vs. horizontal, plus there’s the added challenge of breathing in water. It’s a challenge that should be respected at all skill levels.

For more information about our sports pros or to schedule a session with them, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com.

Categories: Cooper Updates

How To Create Healthier Fajitas

From beef to chicken to veggie and shrimp, fajitas are not only delicious, but are a healthier way to enjoy Mexican food.

How can you ensure the fajita you order is the healthiest it can be? Consider the advice below from Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.

How Can Fajitas Be Healthy?

  • Protein boost from lean meats such as chicken and shrimp helps your body repair cells, make new ones and keeps you full.
  • Vegetables provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants to help keep the body healthy and functioning properly. Did you know that one cup of chopped red bell pepper contains almost three times more vitamin C than an orange?
  • Healthy monounsaturated fat from avocados in guacamole helps promote heart health.
  • Fiber from whole grains in corn tortillas helps keep your digestive tract healthy and can add to satiety.

How to Build Your Own

You will need:

  • Tortillas – corn or whole wheat
  • Protein – beef (skirt and flank steak are both lean cuts), chicken, shrimp or beans
  • Veggies – onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and jalapeños (if you like a kick!)
  • Toppings – reduced-fat shredded cheese, light sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, shredded lettuce and chopped tomato
  • Sides – beans (black or pinto), sautéed veggies, brown rice or Spanish-style rice

How to Order Healthier Fajitas When Dining Out

  • Order leaner proteins such as chicken and shrimp; request light oil or no oil or butter when prepared
  • Load up on the veggies; request light oil or no oil when prepared
  • Skip the cheese and sour cream in favor of sliced avocado or guacamole
  • Request corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas
  • Opt for black or pinto beans instead of refried bean

Whether enjoyed at home or in a restaurant, nutrient-rich fajitas can be a healthier Mexican food option. Have fun mixing and matching different ingredients and vegetables to make your own tasty creation.

For more information about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.

Article provided by: Cara Curtis, Texas Women’s University Dietetic Student and Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services. 

Categories: Cooper Updates

Making the “B”asketball Team

Whether your child is looking to play on the school team or a recreational team, it’s important to make sure he or she is equipped with the skills necessary to make the team.

“The game of basketball today is becoming more competitive,” says Coleman Crawford, Cooper Fitness Center Basketball Pro. “There’s a great emphasis on skill development such as passing, shooting and dribbling.”

How can you make sure your child is ready in time for tryouts? With 40 years of coaching experience, including time at four NCAA schools, Coleman offers his advice on how you can make sure your child is prepared for the game both mentally and physically.

Start Early

Practice makes perfect. Coleman says exposing your child to the game early on and continuing that training will help them develop their technique.

“The key is to understand that skills are developed over time,” says Coleman. “If your child is going to try out for the team, have them start practicing the season before.”

Coleman says that includes working on skills such as passing and dribbling, as well as footwork. He also encourages scrimmaging with friends.

“Working on skills is not enough by itself,” says Coleman. “They have to be able to incorporate those skills in game situations. If they’ve never played in games before, they’ll quickly see it’s a totally different experience from practice.”

Looking for something more than a neighborhood scrimmage game? Try registering for a more structured approach, such as Cooper Fitness Center’s Basketball Academies. With a maximum of 10 players per session, it allows your student to receive the individualized training they need.

Mental Preparation

Once your child has the fundamentals down, Coleman says it’s important to start preparing mentally. That includes understanding the game and what it takes to play with a team.

“Being able to play with other people and interact with teammates is important,” says Coleman. “Your child can be skilled, but if they can’t play with others, that limits their ability.” After all, it takes an entire team to win a game.

Coleman says during practice, your child is not experiencing the same pressure he or she might face during a game. Being mentally prepared for that will teach your child to manage their emotions during a high-pressure situation. It will also allow them to still enjoy the game even if they are under pressure.

 Attitude Matters

Above all else, Coleman says if your child’s attitude goes south, so will their progress.

“One of my favorite quotes is, ‘Your attitude determines your altitude,’” says Coleman. “It means that how they look at things determines their growth. Approaching the game with a positive attitude will give them the opportunity to reach heights they didn’t think they could reach.”

On the other hand, Coleman explains, having a poor attitude can limit your child’s ability to soar.

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try Again

If your child doesn’t make the team, it’s important to continue to encourage his or her growth.

“If your child doesn’t make the team the first time, two things can happen,” says Coleman. “They can give up or they can continue to improve their skills to become better than they were the year before.”

Don’t believe him? Just look at Michael Jordan.

“Michael Jordan was cut from his junior varsity team,” says Coleman. “That fueled him to be better. He used that experience and became more determined and is now considered one of the best players of all time. Remember, he failed in his first attempt. Kids can’t let one situation determine whether they’ll ever play the game again.”

Coleman says it’s important to remember the real reason your child started playing in the first place.

“Basketball is fun,” he says. “Have a great time and make sure they give it their best effort. When they do that, they’ll be successful.”

Interested in registering for basketball lessons with Coleman? Visit cooperfitnesscenter.com or call 972.233.4832.

 

Categories: Cooper Updates

Avocado Tips and Tricks

Are you seeking out a superfood that tastes great and boosts the quality of your diet? Look no further than the avocado. Its rich, creamy taste is mild enough to bake with, yet flavorful enough to be used as a dip or an accent to a salad or sandwich.

Avocado Nutrition Facts and Figures

Though technically a fruit (the seed makes it so), avocados are classified as a fat, and a healthy fat at that! They are rich in calories (one medium Hass avocado has 320 calories and 29 grams of total fat), but the fat composition is primarily monounsaturated, which can be linked to a lower risk of heart disease and cancer. A whole avocado provides 11 percent of the daily value of fiber and almost 20 vitamins and minerals, including folate and potassium.

Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services recommends cutting the avocado into quarters and either sharing the rest or saving some for later. One-fourth of an avocado has a more reasonable 80 calories, 1 gram of saturated fat, 4 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber and zero grams of sugar.

How to Pick Out the Perfect Avocado

If you’re buying avocados and using them right away, they should be firm but lightly soft. If you buy unripe avocados that are hard to the touch, it can take 4-5 days to ripen on the counter. To speed up the ripening time, place avocados in a brown paper bag. Once ripe and cut, refrigerate and eat within a day. Sprinkle lemon or lime juice on the cut part of the avocado to prevent browning and place in an air-tight container or tightly covered clear plastic wrap to keep for a day.

How to Spread Avocado Goodness Into Your Meal Plan

  • Add slices to your salad or toast.
  • Spread smashed avocado on sandwiches to replace high-saturated fat mayonnaise and cheese
  • Make a guacamole dip for snacking or a as a “side kick” to Mexican meals
  • “Sneak” mashed avocados into baked recipes to replace some of the fat; this can work in such foods as cookies, brownies and chocolate cake

Fast and Ready-to-eat

You can take a few shortcuts and purchase ready-made, single-serving cups or pouches of guacamole. Look for the brands Wholly Guacamole® and GOODFOODS™. Some products are mixtures of avocado and salsa, which can help reduce the calories from 100 to between 50-80 calories per serving.

Buy in Season

The next time you go shopping, add some avocados to your cart. Peak season is late-spring through summer. Try to buy what you plan to eat that week to avoid waste. Find easy ways to incorporate avocado into your meals and, most importantly, enjoy!

Blog: written by Elana Paddock, RDN, LD, CDE

Categories: Cooper Updates