Healthy Disability Bingo and the Need to Exercise

On Saturday I played an incredibly healthy game of Bingo. Yes, I did say Bingo!

You see I have an autistic son and at the weekend we attended a Festival of Inclusion. It was a wonderful opportunity for people with disabilities to have fun, make friends and socialize.

Open to the general public, there were bands, entertainers, crafts, workshops, games, therapies and bingo. However, this bingo had a special twist.

Instead of having numbers, the large laminated cards had pictures of fruit and vegetables on them displayed in two rows, and above each row was a strip of Velcro.

Rather than using pens which some people with disabilities find hard to grip, each player was given a set of laminated cards. On one end of each colourful card there was a smiley face and a small piece of Velcro on the back.

The idea was to ensure the players knew which way the card had to go so the pieces of Velcro would meet. It was ingeneous and enabled those people with limited movement to participate.

The “caller” had a box full of large laminated cards displaying a picture of either a fruit or vegetable together with its name. When she had called out the word, the card was held up for all to see and then pinned onto a board so the players would have a visual clue as well as the spoken one.

It was a brilliant idea and my son won. Guess what we got for a prize?

Yes – a box of fruit and vegetables.

As I said – it was a healthy game of Bingo!

Another healthy aspect to the afternoon was the drinks. Obviously the organizers had made friends with a fruit supplier and everyone was able to make a smoothie with their own choice of ingredients.

This made a pleasant change from the normal canned drinks you find at these functions which contain either huge amounts of processed sugar or dangerous aspartame.

Another thing you will find in popular bubbly drinks is carbonic or phosphoric acid which is required to make the bubbles. However, these change the pH level of your body and leach minerals from your bones.

One of the biggest problems for women these days is osteoporosis. It is particularly worrying for women during and after the menopause but low bone density is becoming an increasing problem for young adults too. This has been blamed on the high consumption of carbonated bubbly drinks.

As I’m menopausal and my son is a young adult I’m really glad the organisers made friends with the fruit and vegetable supplier as there were also jacket potatoes available filled with cheese or tuna and sweet corn.


Yes – it was a lovely healthy day.

In complete contrast, last month I went out for a buffet Indian meal. It was a rare family outing and as I had never eaten anything Indian other than mild chicken korma I tried everything. Everyone did.

However, I was the only one who gained weight – four pounds to be exact and yet I’d eaten far less than anyone else. Also, I’d washed my delicacies down with water as opposed to pints of beer.

So what was the difference?

Muscle, or at least in my case, lack of it.

Now I know after the age of twenty you lose approximately half a pound of muscle per year unless you do specific exercises to retain and build it.

I haven’t.

It’s one thing knowing what to do but doing what you know is something else. You have to take action if you want to see results.

As you get older your metabolism slows down and there is a reduction in growth hormone so you need to do more exercise just to keep the same weight.

Lean strong muscles takes up less space than ugly fat, and as 1lb muscle burns one hundred calories a day compared to the three burned by 1lb fat, it’s something for me to seriously think about.

By my reckoning I need to eat 1600 calories a day less now than when I was twenty years old just to maintain my weight. If I want to lose some then I need to seriously cut back or start exercising.

That’s why I’m eating my fruit, drinking my smoothie and doing muscle building resistance training as I type this article.

More proof we women can multi-task!

Why Chicken Salad Recipes Are Both Delicious and Healthy

What if you had something that could combine healthy and delicious? And what if it was easy to prepare and contained all the proteins, fats, sugars and vitamins you need? There is such a meal. And it’s very easy to prepare. It’s the chicken salad.

Chicken salad recipes can be prepared in under 20 minutes. They are very healthy and no one can say they don’t love the taste of a well cooked chicken salad recipe. There are 2 components to a chicken salad, each with its importance and role. The first is the actual chicken. The chicken is very delicious when cooked right. It provides all the proteins and unsaturated fats you need for a day. Chicken meat is the healthiest meat after fish and sea food.

The second ingredient of a chicken salad recipe are the vegetables. You must add salad and tomatoes. The vegetables provide the vitamins that keep you healthy. The texture combination in chicken salad recipes is provided by the mixture of soft chicken, crunchy salad and juicy tomatoes.
Of course you also have to add olive oil and a bit of vinegar to make the over all salad even more delicious. The oil and vinegar have their own nutritious substance contribution. Besides their helath role they make the chicken and salad fit together.

No matter what you use exactly in your chicken salad recipe, it will surely be very tasty and very healthy. There are lots of chicken salad recipes out there, even on the Internet. Just choose the one you find best for you and for which you have all the ingredients. Just remember that both the chicken and the vegetables have their importance. This way you will acquire all the proteins, fats, sugars and vitamins you need for a healthy day.

How To Inspire Your Children To Develop Healthy Eating Habits

You may be aware of the rising obesity epidemic among American adults but did you know that obesity in children is also on the rise? This is an issue that needs to be taken in consideration especially if you have young children in your household.

The KTLA news Health Watch recently reported that 1/3 of children in this country are obese which is a very alarming statistic. If action isn’t taken in regards to their choices of food/drinks and amount of physical activity, these children are likely to face health related issues much earlier in life than expected.

Therefore if you know your family consumes an excess amount of potato chips, soda, cookies, not to mention frequent fast food excursions, it may be time to make a change that will impact not only you and your spouse, but your children also.

If you instill the importance of healthy eating habits along with the benefits it provides the body, your children will grow up with a higher respect towards healthy living. Simply put, the way your children eat and drink in their youth is likely to continue as they become adolescents and adults. Unhealthy habits kids have when they are young will often stay with them as they grow.

Depending on the ages of your children and their current eating habits, getting them to eat in a healthy manner may or may not be difficult to implement. You may even need to show them pictures/videos about the consequences of obesity and what can happen later in life if they are not health conscious in their youth to get them motivated to make a change now. You know your family the best so you may need to get a little creative for this to work for everyone.

One fun way to start developing healthy eating habits at home is to make it a family game.

First, think of the most important changes you want to start changing in your family’s nutrition. What would you consider to be the unhealthiest eating habits your family/children have? Focus on that first.

Set a short term goal such as no soda, chips, or unhealthy fast food choices for one month. If everyone in your family sticks with it then they will all win a reward such as a miniature golf trip or roller/ice skating excursion.

Discuss it as a family and come up with something you all agree on so that everyone is motivated to stick with the healthy eating habits challenge.

If you feel as though a month is too long of an initial time-frame to start with, take it one week at a time. Then on a Sunday afternoon/evening, everyone gets a small treat such as a trip for frozen yogurt or a movie night with popcorn.

You can lengthen the time-frame as everyone gets accustomed to the new healthy eating habits and naturally increase the reward amount accordingly. In other words, after successfully accomplishing a one week challenge, try a two week challenge next, then a three week, etc.

Lastly, come up with a creative name for your family’s challenge such as “The Healthy Harpers” or simply “Our Healthy Eating Habits Goal”. Make a poster or printout you can put in a visible, high traffic area to help serve as a reminder for everyone in your family to stick with it.

You can even use daily stickers or stamps (especially for young children) to keep track when healthy eating habits have been maintained. Another fun way to keep track is by using marbles in a jar. Each member gets to put one marble in the jar at the end of a healthy day of eating. When the jar is filled to a certain point, the prize is won.

Making health a top priority in your family takes planning and a willingness to try something new. There may be some uttered complaints or whining from your children but don’t budge an inch if you are determined to improve your family’s health because it will be well worth it.

You are in charge of your household and you know deep down in your heart that the choices you are making now will help your family further down the road. Remember, your house means your rules – but now your healthy eating rules.

Healthy Breakfast Choices

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Essentially, you are breaking the “fast” from the night before and the fuel that you put into your body can change the way you live the rest of your day. By eating breakfast, you will be letting your metabolism know that you are not starving and that it is okay to begin burning calories. As you jump-start your metabolism, you are essentially setting yourself up for a healthy day with regulated glucose levels and controllable cravings.

An ideal breakfast will couple carbohydrates with protein and fat to help satisfy you and fuel your body and mind right into the afternoon. Here are some delicious examples of perfect breakfast food that will leave almost anyone satiated.


The perfect addition to anyone’s diet, oats provide a steady source of energy while being filled with fiber. You can add almost anything to oatmeal, such as cinnamon which is great at regulating glucose spikes, and cut up apple, which is filled with vitamins, minerals, and loads of fiber. Or try a few spoonfuls of yogurt with peaches. The combinations that you can create are only limited by your imagination and what your taste buds allow.

Egg and Low Fat Cheese Whole Grain Wrap:

When you couple protein, carbohydrates and fat together, you create a powerful meal that will provide you with hours of energy and the satisfaction of having the feeling last. Delicious and nutritious, eggs are the perfect source of protein and are able to be added to your diet more often than you think.

Fruit Smoothie:

Combine luscious, ripe fruits such as bananas or strawberries with skimmed milk powder, juice and ice for a treat that will make you feel like your cheating on your diet. Creamy shakes can actually be a part of your everyday diet. Mix papaya and cantaloupe for a cool and refreshing treat, or vanilla extract and bananas for a divine combination.

Cold Cereals:

If you are a cereal and milk type of morning person, it is possible to continue eating in this way. Choose a cereal that contains less than 5 grams of sugar and under 130 calories per serving. Pick cereals that contain 100% whole grains and contain the Whole Grains Council stamp. Choose skimmed milk instead of 2% or 1% to help reduce further fat and calories.

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