World Vegetarian Day

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October 1st is World Vegetarian Day, a day founded by the North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS) to kick off Vegetarian Awareness Month. Whether you follow a vegetarian diet or not, NAVS is hoping you will take a pause on October 1st to think about how a vegetable-based diet benefits your body, our environment and, of course, the animals we eat.

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Butterfly Snacks

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Complete this fun snack with some equally engaging trail mixes. I suggest providing small bowls of each option (and encouraging some snacking along the way as well). I selected the (mostly Guiding Star-earning) ingredients below, which provide a mix of good fat, fiber, fruit and a bit of protein, so that the trail mix will not only be fun to make, but nutritionally balanced too.

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Sugar on the Brain

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There is so much talk about sugar in our diet–especially added sugar. I think that people are unaware of just how much sugar they are consuming. It seems to me that in most cases, all sugar is thought of as “bad” and that individuals neglect to realize that some of our most loved and commonly consumed foods, such as yogurt, fruit and even milk (lactose anyone?) contain sugar. What we are really trying to control is our added sugar.

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Filling Up on Less

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Like it or not, most of us actually need fewer calories than we think we need. This has nothing to do with our appetite or how much we want to eat. Lately, I have been using the daily meal plan tool available at www.myplate.gov to help people understand their daily requirements. From how much to offer children to the true needs for most adults, individuals are generally surprised. If you have never looked into the recommended daily caloric intake for you or your family, I highly suggest doing so. Like any budget, not following your daily caloric budget can result in overdoing it (like “over drafting” your daily food account).

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Healthy Hydration

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I heard that 2012 has been one of the warmest years on record. If you are living in one of the parts of the country that has seen temperatures in the nineties or hundreds, then this seems likely. Young or old, active or sedentary, indoors or out, you need to make hydration a top priority when the mercury rises that high. Of course, where there is a potential problem, there is an industry to try to provide a solution–no doubt the beverage industry has many suggestions when it comes to hydrating. Let’s take a look at them and see how they measure up…

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Barbecuers Beware!

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Ahh… summertime. A time of long days and lazy afternoons spent outside in the warm sun and dragged out meals that take us from the summer sun into the evening. It is also a season of delicious foods that are left out longer than they should be at unsafe temperatures that set the scene for uninvited guests (like bacteria). Luckily, with some simple tips from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service and the right tools, you can keep food safety a top priority without giving up on dining al fresco or cooking up your favorite barbeque foods.

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