Monthly Archives: March 2013

Happy Healthy Easter Tips

Jeanie StaskoJeanie Stasko is a Health Educator for Rex Wellness Centers who blogs about fitness, exercise & overall healthy lifestyle topics.

  1. You should actually eat those hard-boiled eggs (if they have been refrigerated). They are an eggcellent source of protein!
  2. Fill your kid’s or grandkid’s Easter basket with non-food items like a new shirt for spring or storybook. Bonus: you won’t have to endure post sugar-high meltdowns.
  3. Offer an arrangement of fruit and veggies for the family to snack on before your main meal. Now they won’t be starving and will be less likely to over indulge at the dinner table. If you’d like to offer an accompanying dip, try a yogurt-based dip for the fruit and hummus for the veggies.
  4. If you’re in charge of the family’s Easter feast try to fill the table with healthier options. Some delicious recipes are far healthier than others e.g. spinach and mushroom frittata instead of cheesy bread bake (my family’s personal favorite).
  5. Save some time and just make one special Easter dessert. It’s time to choose between Carrot Cake, Lemon Pie, and Coconut Cream Tart.
  6. Instead of filling your hunting eggs with candy, fill them with stickers, stamps, or washable tattoos. If it will just be your personal family participating you can add events like “trip to your favorite park” or “extra story at bedtime”.
  7. Make the kiddos really work for those eggs! Spread out the eggs so they get some real exercise running from hiding spot to hiding spot.
  8. Take time for a family stroll. Enjoy this delightful time of year by taking in all the sights of blooming trees and springtime flowers. Plus, you might even get to see the REAL Peter Rabbit!
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Shaking that salt right out of your diet

There are tons of salt-free tasty spices to help you kick salt out of your diet.

Ready to put down the saltshaker?

You can cook delicious and nutritious meals with less salt! The trick is using a variety of herbs and seasonings to kick up the flavor. Try these tips:

  • Add fresh or dried herbs. For starters, try basil, oregano, thyme, chives, parsley, sage, mint or ginger. Rosemary pairs nicely with chicken and tarragon mixes well with scrambled eggs.
  • Sprinkle in spices. Use paprika, black pepper, turmeric, cumin or cinnamon for flavor in pasta salads, sauces and soups.
  • Harness the power of chili powder. Hot peppers and hot sauces can also spice things up.
  • Experiment with seasoning blends. Try Italian seasoning with salmon or lemon pepper with chicken and vegetables. Be sure to check the labels of seasoning blends for salt.
  • Use garlic and onion in vegetables, meats, salads and stews. Enjoy the flavors of fresh pressed garlic or chopped onion—or substitute garlic powder and onion powder.

Need some meal ideas? Try this healthy recipe tonight!

Tuscan beans with tomatoes and oregano
Serves 4


1 can (15½-oz.) low-sodium chickpeas (or garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
2 cups cherry tomatoes, rinsed and halved
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, minced (or 1 tsp. dried)
⅛ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. salt-free seasoning blend
4 whole inner leaves of romaine lettuce, rinsed and dried


  1. In a large salad bowl, combine beans and tomatoes.
  2. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, oregano, pepper and salt-free seasoning blend. Using a wire whisk, beat the ingredients until they blend into one thick sauce at the point where the oil and vinegar no longer separate.
  3. Pour the dressing over the beans and tomatoes, and mix gently to coat.
  4. Line four salad bowls with one romaine lettuce leaf each.
  5. Top each leaf with one-fourth of the bean mixture, and serve.

Tip: Serve with a fresh green salad and crusty bread to soak up the delicious dressing.
Note: If you can’t find beans labeled “low sodium,” compare the Nutrition Facts panels to find the beans with the lowest amount of sodium. Rinsing can help further reduce the sodium level.

Per serving: 265 calories, 10 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 116 mg sodium, 10 g fiber, 12 g protein, 35 g carbohydrates, 731 mg potassium.

Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

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No Time to Panic

Don’t worry… You can get help for panic attacks

Out of the blue, you’re struck with intense fear, light-headedness, palpitations and a sense of being out of your own body. And then it passes, as suddenly as it came. What just happened? You might have had a panic attack.

What triggers a panic attack?
A panic attack can come on suddenly, for no apparent reason, and can come and go during a normal activity. Sometimes a recurring situation—such as entering a tunnel—can trigger one. Unusual stress, such as work overload or a serious accident, can trigger a first-time panic attack. Certain medications or too much caffeine can set you up for one, too. Women and those with a family history of panic attacks are more likely to experience one.
Panic attacks usually peak within 10 to 15 minutes and rarely last more than half an hour. Afterward, many people feel worn out or head to the emergency room, assuming they’re having a heart attack.

How can you get help?
The good news is that panic attacks are treatable. If you experience symptoms, consult your doctor. (See “Recognizing a Panic Attack” below.) He or she will perform a complete medical examination to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms. If your doctor determines that you do suffer from panic attacks, he or she will most likely suggest the following treatments:

  • Therapy. A combination of cognitive and behavioral therapy is most effective. Normally, you meet with a therapist for one to three hours a week for approximately six to eight weeks. After this time, your therapist will assess your progress. Many people find that relaxation techniques, recreational time and local support groups help as well.
  • Medication. Your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant or anti-anxiety drug. The right medication helps you use the strategies you learn in therapy to head off the earliest thoughts and feelings of panic so you can ward off future full-blown panic attacks.

Once you’ve been diagnosed with panic attacks, it’s important that you follow your treatment plan. Otherwise, your panic attacks may develop into a repetitive pattern called panic disorder.

Don’t let a fear of more panic attacks cause you to avoid otherwise normal situations. Get the help you need to manage your anxiety and reclaim your life.

Recognizing a panic attack
If you experience at least four of the following, you may be having a panic attack:

  • a feeling of terror or doom
  • a need to escape
  • palpitations
  • a racing or pounding heartbeat
  • chest discomfort
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness or light-headedness
  • a sensation of choking
  • nausea
  • tingling in the hands
  • sweating
  • trembling
  • hot flashes or chills
  • a fear of losing control
  • a sense of unreality
  • a fear of dying

Some of these symptoms, such as chest discomfort and shortness of breath, may also indicate a heart attack. When in doubt, seek emergency care.

Source: BlueSpire Strategic Marketing. Published with permission.

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Hockey Fights Cancer!

Would you like to win a pair of tickets to go see the Canes battle the Panthers on March 19th?

It’s “Hockey Fights Cancer” night and all you have to do is:

  1. Follow @RexHealthcare on Twitter
  2. Post a tweet with the hashtag #hockeyfightscancer

That’s it!  We’ll choose two winners each day from now until game day on the 19th.  We’ll notify you via Twitter and each winner will receive 2 tickets to the game!

Hockey Fights Cancer™ is an initiative founded in December 1998 by the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association to raise money and awareness for hockey’s most important fight. Learn more…

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Dinner Table Drama

Ashley HoneycuttAshley Honeycutt, RD, LDN is the Manager of Corporate and Community Services for Rex Wellness Centers. She blogs about nutrition, wellness & healthy living.

Baby's eating habitsDo you have kids? If so, you’ve probably experienced the dreaded dinner table drama. You might have a baby that eats everything now, but things could change as they enter the toddler years. Or, you might be knee-deep in the food fight now and just need some advice. It’s a good idea to understand why kids can be picky and learn how to help your kids develop into good eaters:

  1. Kids want control. (If you haven’t already figured that out). Toddlers are notorious for being picky eaters because they are learning how to test the limits with their parents, even at the dinner table. Although frustrating to parents, this is a normal part of development.
  2. Kids can be scared of new foods and textures. This fear is very common between ages 2 and 4. Kids are biologically driven to be skeptical of new foods, a behavior which is thought to have come from the hunter/gatherer times. This fear kept kids away from harmful or toxic foods. Did you know that kids may need to be introduced to a food as many as 12 times before they’ll try it or develop a taste for it? Keep trying….
  3. Your kid might be a “supertaster”. Taste is largely genetic and some kids are very sensitive to certain tastes and textures, most often found in vegetables. Flavors that most adults find appealing are actually very intense for kids. For instance, broccoli can be bitter for a supertaster. It’s estimated that ¼ of all kids are supertasters. The good news is that most kids grow out of this sensitivity.
  4. Don’t use food as a reward. They will start to develop a preference for the “reward” food (like ice cream) and will continue to lose interest in the food that they are being told they must eat (vegetables).
  5. Don’t push vegetables. Just make them available. They’ll see you enjoying the veggies and will eventually want to try them. Remember what I said about supertasting? If they’re sensitive to the taste AND you’re pushing them to eat, they’ll develop a negative attitude toward that food.
  6. Don’t cater to them. Who likes making 3-4 separate meals at dinner? No one. Allowing the kids to choose their dinner every night can exacerbate the issue of picky eating. Instead, know their food preferences and include at least one of those foods with the meal that you serve to everyone. Include other “new” foods you’d like them to try.
  7. Get them involved. Research shows that allowing your child to help with the shopping and cooking gives them a sense of ownership and they are more likely to try the food.
  8. Give them variety and expose them to new foods as much as you can. Research also shows that exposing them to different types of foods at a young age makes them more willing to try new things. And, like I said earlier, if they watch the rest of the family eat and enjoy these foods, they’ll be more likely to develop these healthy eating behaviors. Kids model behavior. They’re always watching you.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re experiencing the dinner drama. Most adults were picky eaters as kids and most of us have grown out of it. I vividly remember gagging my way through dinners that contained broccoli or peas. I remember feeding my vegetables to the dog whenever I had the chance, or trying to hide the peas in my tea (thinking no one would notice). I only really liked three vegetables until I graduated from high school. But, my mom served them. I may not have eaten (or liked) them, but I was exposed to them. We always kept sweets in the house but they were not used as a bribe for eating our vegetables. Dessert was never part of our dinner, unless it was a special occasion. She never cooked separate meals for my sister and me. We ate what was served to us, or we didn’t eat. And we didn’t starve. And today, I have a very positive relationship with food and am willing to try most anything.

Always remember that every kid is different. Every family is different. If these tips haven’t done the trick, take some time to meet with a registered dietitian and figure out the best ways to make dinnertime work in YOUR family.

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