3 Healthy Food Products Worth Trying

By Rita Larsen, RD; Elite Sports Clubs Dietitian & Nutrition Counselor

Every year we have changes in the rational of what makes for “good health” and what makes for “good food” products to support this health plan. This year we are following many new low cholesterol food selections and also we are looking at foods that are gluten free. You may be interested in taking a look at these items:

  1. Farm Fresh Eggland’s Best All Natural, Vegetarian Fed Hens Eggs:

    Eggland Broccoli Frittata These eggs are low in cholesterol (only 175 mg), but quite high in vitamin D, B12, and E. They are made from real shell eggs, but have no antibiotics, animal by-products, or added hormones. The eggs, I can tell you, are rich and delicious. (Check out this recipe for a Broccoli & Cheddar Frittata using Farm Fresh Egg.land’s Best All natural, Vegetarian Fed Hens Eggs.–I’d suggest also adding 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme, and 1 teaspoon of fresh basil to boost the flavor without adding calories!)

    Just how are these eggs produced? As mentioned, these are real eggs. Hens are fed a special combination of all-natural, vegetarian feed of healthy grains, canola oil, and an all-natural supplement of rice bran, alfalfa, sea kelp and vitamin E. And for our use at home, still comes out a natural egg. They are more expensive; but research has shown that these eggs, even consumed twice daily for a week, will not contribute to a higher cholesterol level. They may be worth a try!

  2. LÄRABAR snack bars:

    LARABARS The “original fruit and nut bar,” according to the company. They are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, vegan and kosher. Each bar is small but contains enough fruit to equal ¼ cup of fresh fruit. They each are 190 calories, so they are equal to any health bar recommended as a snack serving. The fiber and protein is fairly high. As most gluten free users can find it hard to find good food products, these rank high for taste and satisfaction. They are a little more expensive, as are most gluten free products. They would be worth your trying.

  3. Yonanas Banana Ice Cream Maker:

    Recently purchased at Target for $49.00, this machine was demonstrated at our Scamp Kids Nutrition program this summer at Elite Sports Club-Brookfield. Kids enjoyed seeing the bananas become a smooth ice dessert right in front of their eyes. Primarily, the machine works with bananas only, it can also handle additions such as strawberries, pineapple, and kiwi fruits. The object was to demonstrate yet another way of incorporating fruit into the children’s diet, and in a fun way.

    The machine is easy to operate and to clean up. I would still suggest an adult being nearby. Bananas are high in antioxidants and potassium. Children can participate preparing the bananas by peeling the skins off and placing in the freezer for 24 hours before making into the dessert. Overall, this is a fun activity for the entire family.

Staying in touch with new products and new appliances will help to increase the choices that you have to improve the quality of your diet and to keep your selections interesting! What new health foods or kitchen gadgets have become your favorites lately?

For more helpful nutritional tips & recipes, let us know a little bit more about your goals and we’ll get you in touch with our Registered Dietitian, Rita. You are also more than welcome to check out our other health & wellness programs offered at Elite Sports Clubs.

8 Tips for Knife Safety in Your Home

By Rita Larsen, RD; Elite Sports Clubs Nutrition & Diet Counselor

For class presentations at Elite Sports Clubs, we have often spent a fair amount of time talking about knife safety for preparing foods. It is a serious matter, as we often have children helping for food preparations. And keeping them safe, and ourselves, should be a primary goal. Purchase the best possible knives that you can as it is an important part of a wonderful meal. A good idea for a gift!

Knife Safety-Elite Sports Clubs

The safe use of knives is imperative for obvious reasons. There are only a few rules to remember, but they are crucial:

  1. A sharp knife is a safe knife. Using a dull knife is an invitation to disaster. If you try to force a dull knife through the surface of a food product, it’s more likely to slip and cause an injury. Also: if you do happen to cut yourself, a sharp knife will result in an easier wound to attend to.
  2. Never, ever grab a falling knife. The best way to avoid having to think about this rule is to make sure your knife is always completely on your work surface, without the handle sticking out into traffic areas. Inevitably, however, it will happen from time to time that you or someone else will bump a knife handle, resulting in a falling knife. We all have a natural instinct to grab for anything that’s falling. You must overcome this inclination. Remember: a falling knife has no handle. Just get your hands and feet out of the way.
  3. Use the right knife for the right job. Many knife injuries occur when laziness induces us to use the knife at hand rather than the correct knife for a job. Place your knife inventory where it is easily accessible so you won’t be tempted to make this mistake.
  4. Always cut away from – never towards – yourself. Sometimes this is a hard rule to follow. Again, don’t be lazy! If the angle is wrong, turn the product around. Or turn your cutting board around. By the way – if your cutting board doesn’t have rubber feet, you should place it atop a damp kitchen towel to make sure it doesn’t slide while you’re cutting.
  5. When you have a knife in hand, keep your eyes on the blade. This rule stands whether you are cutting something or carrying a knife. The simple fact is: you’re unlikely to cut yourself if you’re watching the blade, especially the tip. Another idea, don’t talk and cut.
  6. Carry a knife properly. If you’re carrying a knife through the kitchen, especially a busy kitchen, there are often people, and better, pets hurrying around. You must get used to the idea that the only way to walk with a knife in hand is to carry it pointed straight down, with the blade turned towards your thigh. Keep your arm rigid. You don’t want a family member going to the emergency room with a puncture wound from your knife.
  7. Never, ever put a knife in a sink full of water. In addition to soaking probably being bad for your knife handle, putting a knife in a sink full of (likely soapy) water is just asking for trouble. Wash your sharp knives by hand (not in a dishwasher!) and put them away immediately.
  8. Always cut on a cutting board. Don’t cut on metal, glass or marble. This will ultimately damage a knife’s edge.

At what age did you start including your children in the cooking of meals? When did you let them start using knives in the process? How did you teach them about knife safety?

Coming this Fall: “All in the Family Nutrition” a health and nutrition program offered by Elite Sports Clubs’ Registered Dietitian, Rita Larsen that involves each member of the family. Members work together for family-centered nutrition planning for meals and set goals for improved health and wellness. Each family member also monitors his or her own food intake. Plans are made for meal selections, grocery shopping, eating meals out, and making better snack choices. Offered by appointment to fit your family’s schedule. Contact Rita for pricing options and availability to start your “all in the family nutrition” program today!

Introducing Elite’s Nutrition Educator & Diet Counselor: Rita Larsen

Hello & welcome!

To start off, I have a very simple message:

Part of the reason that we, at Elite, take the time to work with each individual through exercise and diet is because each person is completely different than the next person. In other words, what works for one person, may not work for the next person. You are an individual and need to choose what is going to work best for you! It is in some ways, an awesome responsibility. Many people can get sidetracked with lots of other family & work responsibilities, and never take the time to care for themselves; through fitness and a good diet/nutrition program. As a result, they never really know “what is best for ME?” So, take some time to explore what your very “best” is. Type of exercise, days of the week, indoors or outdoors, a stable eating plan or one that is flexible (but very healthy). There are lots of choices for you!

Your Health & Fitness Journey Begins Today, But Where Should You Start Photo

With lots of choices to explore during your health & fitness journey, trying new programs and so on, you may just be able to LOCK IN your own personal fitness and nutrition plan that will last a LIFETIME. So, my task for you is: from now on, don’t just think about today and tomorrow; think about a lifetime of good health and wellness!

I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you. And please come visit me during my open office hours “Ask the Dietitian” at our Brookfield, Mequon, and North Shore locations. Otherwise I’m always available by appointment!

Best wishes for a good start!

Rita W. Larsen, RD, CD
Nutrition Educator & Diet Counselor
Elite Sports Clubs

Official Guidelines for Physical Activity

Beginning an exercise program has become one of the most important public health issues of today.

United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently met with combined support from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) and released jointly published physical activity recommendations. These separate guidelines collectively and effectively support each other and are all based on the most relevant science available that links physical activity to improved health and wellness.

  • ACSM/AHA guidelines focus on 30 minutes of moderate-intensity daily physical activity five days a week.
  • HHS guidelines call for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, an amount most reasonable on five days a week at a duration of 30 minutes.

The associations note that the core recommendation as it relates to health gains of physical activity are highly consistent.  These recommendations conclude that relatively modest amounts of physical activity will improve the health and cardio-respiratory fitness of inactive persons, while expanded health gains, such as weight loss or weight maintenance, require more than the minimum 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week.

“Guidelines for physical activity have long been based on research demonstrating that even relatively moderate amounts of physical activity will have positive benefits on health,” said William Haskell, Ph.D., FACSM, lead author of the ACSM/AHA guidelines.  “A very important idea, especially for people who are inactive, is that health and physical activity are closely linked.  The more days a week that you can be active or accumulate some activity, the higher the significance for your health and wellness.”

“Numerous studies now suggest that if we can simply move people out of the lowest levels of cardio-respiratory fitness, it can have a profound (and beneficial) impact on public health”, says Barry A. Franklin, PhD, national American Heart Association spokesperson and Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Exercise Laboratories at William Beaumont Hospital.

Health Benefits of Physical Activity for Adults & Older Adults

Strong Evidence:

  • Lower risk of:
    Early death
    Heart disease
    Stroke
    Type 2 diabetes
    High blood pressure
    Adverse blood lipid profile
    Metabolic syndrome
    Colon and breast cancers
  • Prevention of weight gain
  • Weight loss when combined with diet
  • Improved cardio-respiratory and muscular fitness
  • Prevention of falls
  • Reduced depression
  • Better cognitive function (older adults)

Moderate to Strong Evidence:

  • Better functional health older adults
  • Reduced abdominal obesity

Moderate Evidence:

  • Weight maintenance
  • Lower risk of hip fracture
  • Increased bone density
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Lower risk of lung and endometrial cancers

Health Benefits of Physical Activity for Children & Adolescents

Strong Evidence:

  • Improved cardiorespiratory endurance and muscular fitness
  • Favorable body composition
  • Improved bone health
  • Improved cardiovascular and metabolic health biomarkers
  • Moderate Evidence
  • Reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression

In summary, the investment in a daily 30 minute or more exercise regiment betters your quality of life, delays diseases and reduces the medical expenses regardless of your age or your current condition. There is no time sooner than the present to invest your time and energy in a professionally developed and administrated physical fitness program.