Archive | Essentia Health

Easter candy can quickly add up

{guest post By Bonnie Brost, licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health.}

With Easter just around the corner, baskets are filling up with candy for kids. Sugar-packed treats are also part of the celebration for many adults.

Easter candy

Pop a Peep bunny or chick in your mouth and you’ve just enjoyed a teaspoon and a half of sugar. Sink your teeth into a and you’ve had 5 teaspoons. Four jelly beans equal a teaspoon of sugar.

It’s easy to see how Easter candies quickly load up our diets with added sugars.

Sugar can be natural or added. Natural sugars are found in whole fruits, vegetables and milk products. Added sugars are put into foods during manufacturing or at the table. Added sugars have many names that include corn syrup, date sugar, dextrose, fructose, glucose, honey, maltose, molasses, sucrose and fruit juice concentrates.

The American Heart Association and the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting how much added sugar we consume. These calories crowd out other foods that provide important vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that we need to keep us healthy.

Eating too much sugar can increase your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease and obesity. Added sugars can also increase inflammation by releasing inflammatory messengers called cytokines.

Most Americans eat 22 teaspoons or a ½ cup of added sugars a day. That adds up to 156 pounds a year, or 15 10-pound bags. The American Heart Association recommends only 6 teaspoons of added sugars each day for women and children and 9 teaspoons for men.

Reading food labels can help you see how much sugar you’re eating. However, it is sometimes difficult to decipher how much of that sugar is natural or added since the amount listed in the nutrition facts includes both. If you don’t see any of the names for various forms of sugar, then the total sugar comes from natural sugars. For candy, the total sugar is added sugar. It’s more difficult for a product like yogurt that has natural sugars from milk and usually has some added sugar. The label also lists grams so remember that four grams equals a teaspoon of sugar.

We like things sweet because we are born with a desire for sweet foods. Foods that are high in sugar and fat release “reward chemicals” in our brain and give us a strong desire to eat more.

This Easter season, start something new by rewarding your family with some alternatives to candy. Then rely more on the natural sugars in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products that also provide vitamins, minerals and many phytonutrients to keep your immune system strong and help improve or prevent many chronic diseases.

SIDEBAR: Easter basket alternatives

Create new traditions this Easter that include less added sugar. Try filling Easter baskets with fun alternatives to candy:

Bunny ears
Balloons
Bubbles
Colored pencils or crayons
Coloring books
Stickers
Sidewalk chalk
Toothbrush
Toys for the tub, beach or sandbox
Squirt gun
Stamps and ink pads
Jump rope
Hair bow/barrettes
Fun socks or tights
Gift card for phone apps or music
Seed starter kits
Baseball or tennis balls
Yo-yo
Bubble bath
Nail polish
Sunglasses
Movie tickets or DVD
Zoo admission

Happy Easter!

Bonnie Brost is a licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health

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Healthy Community Grants Available through Crow Wing Energized First application deadline April 15

{shared with permission from Essentia Health press release}

Crow Wing Energized is awarding Healthy Community Grants to support efforts to move our community to a place where the healthy choice is the easy choice.
Crow Wing Energized
Grant applications to Crow Wing Energized, a grassroots community movement led by Essentia Health and Crow Wing County Community Services to improve health and wellness in our community by making healthy choices essential, are being accepted. The first application deadline is April 15, 2017.
 
Organization criteria for applying includes serving or located within Crow Wing County, including but not limited to: neighborhood, youth, or environmental groups; faith-based organizations; health care organizations; civic or citizens’ associations; economic development agencies; local government entities; local businesses; school districts and other similar groups. Applicants are not required to be incorporated 501(c)3 organizations.
 
Applicant projects need to align with the Crow Wing Energized guiding principles as well as Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) SHIP’s financial guide:
• Creating and sustaining a united approach to improving health and wellness in Crow Wing County
• Collaboration towards solutions with multiple stakeholders (e.g. schools, worksites, medical centers) to improve community engagement and commitment focused on improving community health
• Being anchored in evidence based efforts around greatest community good that can be achieved through available resources.
 
The Healthy Community Grants are made available through Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) funding that was awarded to Crow Wing Energized. Grant applications are reviewed by the Crow Wing Energized Community Leadership Team and Goal Groups:
Healthy Choices goal group develops sustainable strategies and encourages healthy choices by increasing access to healthy foods, increasing active living opportunities, and helping to promote and support the healthy environments.
Mental Fitness goal group encourages and equips citizens in achieving and maintaining mental fitness by building networks throughout the county for achieving resilience, increasing the practice of intentional choices to help reduce stress and anxiety, and educating our communities to increase the knowledge of mental fitness so it will help to make positive choices regarding their overall health.
Workplace Wellness goal group helps to create a healthy and energized workforce by increasing employee satisfaction, maximizing productivity, minimizing absenteeism, and helping to reduce health care costs.
 
For a Healthy Community Grant Application visit crowwingenergized.org “Resources” page or to learn more about Crow Wing Energized and what it’s community partners are currently doing, please contact Cassie Carey – Crow Wing Energized Coordinator at Cassie.Carey@crowwingenergized.org or 218-828-7443.
 
 
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Bike Fleet Grant Awarded! Details on the Crow Wing Energized Bike Fleet

(shared with permission from Essentia Health-Brainerd)

MINNESOTA SUPER BOWL HOST COMMITTEE AWARDS LEGACY GRANT TO CROW WING ENERGIZED

Brainerd Bike Fleet

{Steffenhagen Photography}

The grant will help fund an educational bicycling program for children in Crow Wing County

BRAINERD, MN – The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee (MNSBHC) Legacy Fund today awarded Crow Wing Energized with a $50,000 grant to help provide a fleet of 60 bikes to Crow Wing County and the community. The grant is part of the 52 Weeks of Giving campaign, a year-long effort to make Super Bowl LII a statewide event by awarding 52 communities with grants that will help improve the health and wellness of young people in Minnesota.Crow Wing County Bike Fleet

The Crow Wing Energized Bike Fleet will serve as an educational tool for Crow Wing County to help children learn how to ride a bike, bike safety and as a hands-on learning tool on how bicycling can be a part of a healthy lifestyle in addition to a recreational activity. Working with the physical education teachers at elementary schools in the county, the bikes will be part of state-required bicycle curriculum for 3rd and 4th grade students.Brainerd Bike Fleet

To celebrate the grant, Crow Wing Energized and the MNSBHC Legacy Fund hosted an event for Garfield Elementary School students today. Activities included a pre-lunch recess, lessons on bicycle safety, fittings for free helmets and practice-time riding a stationary bike. Brainerd Public Schools Superintendent Laine Larson and representatives from Crow Wing County were on hand to accept the grant from the MNSBHC Legacy Fund.

 

“A recent survey revealed that two-thirds of adults are obese or overweight in Crow Wing County and contributing factors are inactivity and unhealthy eating, habits we don’t want children of our community to adopt,” said Adam Rees, President of Essentia Health-Central and co-chair of Crow Wing Energized. “Crow Wing Energized has already started programs to provide healthier food options to children in the community, but this program and the grant received today, will help us teach kids the healthy benefits of fun activities like bicycling.”
The project is a collaborative effort between Essentia Health, the City of Brainerd, the City of Baxter, Crow Wing County, Independent School District 181, Easy Riders Bicycle and Sports Shop, Crow Wing County Passenger Safety Coalition and Brainerd Public Library. All these organizations will work with Crow Wing Energized to coordinate the bike fleet education program and the transportation of the fleet between schools in Crow Wing County.

“Crow Wing Energized and the community organizations moving the Crow Wing County Bike Fleet project forward are making an important investment in the health and wellness of Minnesota’s children,” said Dana Nelson, Vice President of Legacy and Community Partnerships for the MNSBHC Legacy Fund. “We are thrilled to support this initiative as part of our 52 Weeks of Giving campaign, to promote lifelong healthy habits for children in this community.”

 

{Steffenhagen Photography}

The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee is a private, non-profit corporation formed to plan and execute Super Bowl LII. For more information visit www.mnsuperbowl.com and follow @mnsuperbowl2018 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

 

About the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee Legacy Fund

The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee Legacy Fund is a 501(c)3, community advised fund of the Minnesota Community Foundation. Working in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health’s Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) and based on the recommendations of SHIP’s community health boards, the Legacy Fund is providing 52 grants to 52 community projects across our state over the 52 weeks leading up to Super Bowl LII. The work of the Legacy Fund is made possible by Minnesota’s philanthropic community, including foundations, corporations, and individual donors who share our passion for improving the health and wellness of kids from every corner of our state. Its goal is to build awareness of, and invest in solutions for, a healthier generation of Minnesota kids across the state. Through its grant making and awareness initiatives, the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee’s Legacy Fund will leverage this single event into a lifetime of good health for the next generation of Minnesotans. For more information on the MNSBHC’s Legacy Fund, including an introductory video, please visit www.mnsuperbowl.com/legacy.

 

About Crow Wing Energized
Crow Wing Energized is a united approach lead by Crow Wing County Community Services and Essentia Health to improve health and wellness in Crow Wing County by making healthy choices essential. They are looking for collaborative solutions with multiple community stakeholders focused on efforts that can create the greatest community good with their available resources. For more information, please visit http://crowwingenergized.org/.

 

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How to navigate food marketing in the grocery store

By Bonnie Brost, licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health.

 

A visit to our favorite grocery store can become routine. We know where items are located and we pick up our favorite brands.

What we may not understand is why the grocery store is laid out the way it is. Why are some items displayed at the end of an aisle or at the cash register? Why do some brands get shelved at eye level while other brands get the bottom shelf or the very top one? The answer is food marketing.

Nearly all large American supermarket chains generally follow the same layout, offer the same products, and use the same display techniques, according to Gary Rivlin, an investigative reporter who wrote “Rigged: Supermarket Shelves for Sale” for the Center for Science in the Public Interest in 2016.

Grocers use a plan to keep customers efficiently moving through the aisles and spending money. End aisle displays, center aisle cardboard displays and the checkout aisle are prime real estate to sell more products, often as impulse buys. Food manufacturers pay for these locations in large grocery store chains, Rivlin found. Grocers only have so much space, so it may be necessary for food manufacturers to make a deal.

The payments or trade fees that manufacturers make to retailers influence which products are offered and how they are displayed. Many consumer and nutrition advocates believe these placements help drive what we buy. Rivlin says contracts can insure that manufacturers’ products will be in the store and be well located. They may even pay to have them featured in the weekly advertisement or on the supermarket’s website.

The “bull’s-eye zone” is the front and center location on the shelf that manufacturers often pay for. Similar products by brands that are not nationally recognized may be below this eye-level location and can cost less. Top shelves may hold some local items or products from small companies that the store’s management has chosen.

Space by the cash register is prime. It’s often stocked with candy because many shoppers don’t go in the candy aisle. But everyone needs to go through the checkout. Impulse buys at the checkout can account for more than half of a candy-maker’s profits in a store.

Mary Story, associate director for academic programs at the Duke Global Health Institute, is a leading scholar on child and adolescent nutrition and child obesity prevention. In Rivlin’s report, she says: If you look at the checkout aisle and the endcaps, it tends to be soda and snacks and other highly processed foods. If you want people to eat healthier — and if you don’t want them to get soft drinks or Pop-Tarts or chips or any of these foods that are highly processed — we need to better understand the factors that put those foods there in the first place.”

Trade fees can also include a slotting fee that manufacturers pay just to get their product in a store. The Federal Trade Commission studied slotting fees in 2001 and 2003. The FTC noted the fees shut out smaller competitors and meant fewer choices for consumers but both reports concluded further study was needed before the federal agency could take action.

Your favorite grocery store may or may not be operating with trading fees but it still pays to be a savvy shopper. Here are some tips to help you be a better shopper – and eat healthier:

  • Always shop with a list and stick to it to help avoid impulse buys. Often our impulses tend toward less healthy products with more sugar and more sodium.
  • If you’re pulled to an end aisle display, check similar products in the aisle itself to see if the displayed product is really a good deal. Then check up and down the shelf, not just the products at eye level. You may even find a product that’s lower in sugar and sodium. For example, I find my favorite unsalted chicken stock on the bottom shelf. I’ve never found it on an end aisle.
  • Experiment with new brands of a product. If you’ve used the same brand for decades, you may be pleasantly surprised to find another that tastes good and is healthier.
  • Buy more fresh produce since trade fees are rarely allotted in this area. It will also help you eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Promote a healthier checkout space by requesting a candy-free aisle in your favorite store.
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