Tag Archives: Nutrition

The Holiday Eating Season Is Upon Us!

40+329 FoooooodTurkey, ham, pies, cookies, cakes…for many people, the holidays are a time for eating, and not always the healthiest eating.  Celebrations and parties abound; we give gifts of snacks and sweets; we are surrounded by more food than usual, and often this food is high in sugar and fat. Eating more calories than we burn through physical activity eventually leads to weight gain.  During the holidays, it’s easy to end up eating many more calories than usual.  Many American adults will likely gain around a pound over the holiday season.  One pound might not sound like a lot, but researchers find that it sticks around, and over the course of years, these holiday pounds can start to add up to more significant weight gain.

The best way to fight back is to prevent this holiday weight gain in the first place! Lucky for us there is a helpful resource from our friends at Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina.  It’s called the Maintain, don’t gain! Holiday Challenge.  Individuals can sign-up to receive e-mail tips and reminders and get access to great tools to help monitor and maintain their weight between now and the end of the year.  To sign-up, go to http://www.myeatsmartmovemore.com/HolidayChallenge/index.html

Here are just a few tips from Eat Smart Move More North Carolina, and Chatham County Public Health Department staff to help protect against holiday weight gain.

At parties:

A small plate can make a big difference. Start with a smaller, appetizer-sized, plate. You’ll fit fewer rich foods on your plate and keep your calories in check.  Super-size the veggies on your plate – vegetables and fruit are lower in calories and will fill you up, not out.

Keep your hands occupied. Hold your glass of water with one hand and your plate with another. With your hands full balancing food and drink it will take you longer to eat and will cut down on mindless snacking. Standing away from the food table (and, even better, where you can’t see it!) will also help cut down on mindless snacking, and reduce the temptation to continue eating.

In general:

Schedule time for physical activity.  If your schedule is really tight, think about fitting in 10 minute bursts of activity during the day. Three of those sessions and you’re up to your recommended half-hour of daily activity! This recommendation counts when you travel too.  If you’re on a long car trip, take a brisk 10 minute walk or do some jumping jacks and stretches during your stops along the way.  If you’re waiting for a plane, train, or bus, see if you can keep moving as you wait.

Create a new active family tradition.  We all have holiday traditions around food, but why not establish a family tradition around physical activity? Maybe a family walk, hike, or touch football game before the family meal!

Don’t deprive, just downsize. When you deprive yourself of the foods you really crave, you are more likely to go overboard down the road. Go ahead and enjoy the foods you love, but do so in moderation – one cookie instead of two, a bite or two of cheesecake instead of a giant slice. Savor each bite and enjoy every moment.

Set small, achievable goals and take it easy on yourself.  Don’t try to make drastic, sweeping changes.  Instead, try to focus on one small action that is realistic for you to take on during the holidays. It’s a busy time and any new habit is hard to establish. So, try to remember that skipping a workout or indulging in an extra holiday treat does not spell failure. When slip-ups occur, don’t think of it as a catastrophe. Be gentle with yourself, practice self-forgiveness and remember past successes!


Eat a Rainbow Week is Back!

Apples' traffic.This fall, Eat a Rainbow Week will be celebrated during the week of Monday, November 7th. The Chatham County Public Health Department and Chatham County Schools organize Eat a Rainbow Week as a way to encourage kids and their families to eat a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables.  Each day of the week has a theme color and the cafeterias in Chatham County Schools’ elementary and K-8 schools will serve fruits and vegetables that match the color of the day.  For example, Wednesday the 9th is “green day”, and broccoli and green apples are on the menu.  Chef students from the CCCC Natural Chef program will be reading fruit and vegetable stories to Kindergarteners all over the county and schools will also bring attention to the colors and the importance of “eating a rainbow” through lessons and staff wellness activities.

A number of other organizations around Pittsboro will also be helping families celebrate Eat a Rainbow Week this fall. The Pittsboro Famers’ Market, Chatham Mills Farmers’ Market and Fearrington Village Farmers’ Market will all have special activities during their regular market times. Fruit and vegetable artwork from Chatham County students will also be on display at the  Chatham Community Library, Chatham Marketplace and Angelina’s Kitchen. See below for a list of all the different Eat a Rainbow events happening around the county, and be sure to come out and participate!

For more information on including more fruits and vegetables in your meals, take a look at the resources on our Eat a Rainbow webpage, www.chathamnc.org/eatarainbow, and keep an eye on the blog for special Eat a Rainbow features!

Monday, November 7th, 2011 – RED day

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011 – ORANGE & YELLOW day

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 – GREEN day

Thursday, November 10th, 2011 – BLUE & PURPLE day

  • Eat a Rainbow-inspired story time at Goldston Public Library at 10:30 AM
  • Eat a Rainbow activities at the Pittsboro Farmers’ Market
    • Try samples from Angelina’s Kitchen. Kids wearing the colors of the day will get a treat!                                Chatham County Fairgrounds, Pittsboro, 3:30-6:30 PM
  • Discounts on selected blue and purple produce at Chatham Marketplace, Pittsboro

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

  • Eat a Rainbow activities at the Chatham Mills Farmers’ Market
    Eat a Rainbow Farmers Market Scavenger Hunt-first 15 families to complete the hunt will win a coupon to the market! 480 Hillsboro Street, Pittsboro, 8AM-12 noon

All Week:


Last Call for Your MyPlate Pics!

This is the last week to e-mail us a MyPlate pic for a future slideshow promoting healthy meal choices. For a reminder about the new MyPlate logo and our call for photos, see our previous post, here.

Send in a photo of your breakfast, lunch, or dinner plate looking just like the MyPlate logo, with sensible portions of your favorite fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins, and a healthy beverage on the side. (See the example photo.)

Please send a sentence to accompany your photo identifying the foods on your plate. Submissions must be received by e-mail at social.chpa@chathamnc.org by this Friday, July 29th, to be considered. We’ll post a slideshow of our best MyPlate Pics submissions!


MyPlate for My Next Meal!

Say goodbye to the pyramid! The food pyramid has officially been replaced by MyPlate, a plate shaped logo that is meant to serve as a reminder of how to craft a balanced meal every time you sit down to eat.  You might remember that around this time last year, we blogged about the new dietary guidelines that had just been released by the US Department of Agriculture.  MyPlate is basically a visual icon of these new guidelines.  The main message to take away from both is to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at every mealtime.  The other half of your plate is for grains (preferably whole grains) and lean proteins like seafood, chicken, beans and nuts.

In the MyPlate icon, there is a glass for skim or lowfat milk next to the plate, but the dietary guidelines really recommend any kind of healthy beverage.  A glass of water is a great option, and one of the best ways to replace any sodas or sugary drinks that might try to creep up next to your plate.

A Lunch of Chicken Salad, Whole Wheat Crackers, Cherries & Carrot and Cucumber Sticks

This shift to MyPlate has inspired us and we hope it will inspire you as well.  To spark your inspiration, we’re asking you to share your “MyPlate Pics” with us.  Send in a photo of your breakfast, lunch, or dinner plate looking just like the MyPlate logo, with sensible portions of your favorite fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein, and a healthy beverage on the side. (See the example photo above, of a lunch that a health department employee recently enjoyed.) We’ll post a slideshow of our best MyPlate Pics submissions! Please send a sentence to accompany your photo identifying the foods on your plate. Submissions must be received by e-mail at social.chpa@chathamnc.org by July 29th to be considered.


CHEF Recipes- Chicken and Vegetables Stir-Fry

Eat a Rainbow Week may have ended, but it’s important to keep up with that goal of eating a rainbow of colorful, nutritious fruits and vegetables every day. This CHEF recipe is perfect for helping to meet that goal! Not only is it cheap, healthy, easy, and fast, but this chicken and vegetable stir fry features a variety of vegetables such as red peppers, broccoli, green beans, and carrots to give the dish an array of colors. The beauty of this recipe is that you can use whatever vegetables you like. Although we made it here with frozen vegetables, it’s also perfect for summer when many fresh vegetables are in season.

CHEF Breakdown

Cheap: We cooked this recipe for $9.36, enough to serve four people.

Healthy: This recipe features a rainbow of vegetables.  Frozen vegetables can be just as nutritious as fresh because they are processed at their peak ripeness, when they are at the most nutrient rich.

Easy: We used instant rice and there were few other steps besides making the sauce.

Fast: To make this recipe even more quickly, you could use store bought sauce instead of making your own, but that will likely increase the amount of sodium in the recipe. This recipe takes under 30 minutes.


  • 2/3 lb. chicken breast
  • 2 cups instant brown rice
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 16 oz. bag frozen stir fry vegetables


1.      Make rice according to directions on package.

2.      Peel and chop two garlic cloves.

3.      In a bowl, combine soy sauce, cornstarch, and orange juice.

4.      Add the garlic and stir the sauce until it’s mixed.

5.      Cut the chicken breast into small pieces.

6.      Cook over medium heat until browned.

7.      Add frozen stir fry vegetables and stir until cooked.

8.      Add sauce.

9.      Stir again and allow sauce to boil.

Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Analysis (4 servings):

505 calories

24g protein

6g fat

92g carbohydrate

592mg sodium