Thursday, October 15, 2009

Healthy Eating

There is a strong connection between a person's mental and physical health. Lifestyle choices such as healthy eating and exercise make a big impact on our overall wellness. NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania and Nutrition Systems presented a demo on healthy eating last night at REI in the SouthSide Works. Presenter Meridith Paterson, MS, RD, LDN, gave us great ideas on healthy eating and snacking.

One of Meridith's tips was to eat something every four hours to maintain blood glucose and energy levels throughout the day. However, portion control -- or Portion Distortion, as Meridith calls it -- is the key. Below is a healthy snack recipe. The key is only consuming one half-cup serving at a time.

The cereal, pretzels and fruit provide carbohydrates for energy and fiber to help slow down the release of sugar into our bloodstream. The chocolate M&Ms provide energy and are okay to have once in awhile in moderation. Nuts provide protein and fat that work with the carbohydrate to give us staying power. This combination of carbohydrate, protein and fat make trail mix a great choice for athletic activities and snacking.

Trail Mix

In a large bowl, mix together:

2 cups cereal (Crispix, Cheerios, Shreddies, Corn Bran, or any cereal that stays crunchy. Use a mixture for variety.)

1 cup pretzels

1 cup dried fruit (raisins or mixed dried fruit)

1/2 cup nuts and seeds

1/4 cups M&Ms or Smarties plain chocolates

The mixture makes five cups and can be stored in a sealed container for up to one month. Don't forget an appropriate snack size is half a cup!