So many diets, so little time!!

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What are prebiotics and probiotics, and why should I care?

Eating nutritious foods gives you energy and good health, but did you know that some foods possess potential hidden benefits? Certain foods that contain prebiotics and probiotics have been gaining the attention of dietitians, medical doctors, the media, and others.  Biotics don’t exactly sound like food though, so what are they? And why do we need them?

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National Nutrition Month 2018


National Nutrition Month 2018


            March is National Nutrition Month and this year the country is focusing on “Going Further with Food”.  It’s all about shopping from local providers, making the most of those foods, preventing food waste, stretching your food dollar, and, last but not least, foods that promote good health!  Let’s explore each of these areas a bit more.


            Shopping locally can be a small change in routine but it can have a significant impact on communities.  It stimulates small businesses in your area and supports local agricultural as. How far does something have to travel for it to qualify as “local”? Foods can travel about 1,500 miles and be considered “farm-to-table”.  Very often local produce and foods lack the preservatives and additives most packaged and processed foods contain.  Remember, shop from what’s already in your fridge and pantry, to prevent buying an unnecessary amount of food!


After you buy your groceries for the week, the next step is to make sure they are stored properly, to prevent spoiling.  Make sure that:


  • All dry storage goods are kept in a cool, dry area between 50 and 70 (or at about room temperature)

  • Potatoes are best kept in the pantry and things like tomatoes and bananas are best kept out in the kitchen

  • Store refrigerated items at or below 40

  • Keep produce like apples, blueberries, and grapes in the low humidity drawer

  • Keep produce like lettuce, spinach, and broccoli in the high humidity drawer

  • Make sure your freezer stays at or below 0 for long-term frozen food storage 


Preparing and cooking your foods also plays a part in preventing waste.  Try deboning meats and trimming as much visible fat as you can, to ensure that everything is edible after cooking.  Don’t be afraid of slight blemishes on fruits or vegetables either.  Just because it’s not a “perfect” piece of produce doesn’t mean that it’s not edible!  If you let some of your fruits hang around too long, try using overly ripened apples, pears, and bananas as sweeteners in baking, to avoid tossing them in the garbage. Or use them to make smoothies, or delicious banana muffins and pancakes. Lastly, watch your portion sizes!  Try not to fill your plate with more than your stomach can handle at a sitting. Safely store leftovers for meals later in the week, to stretch those food dollars!


Regardless of who you are, creating and sticking to a budget is something we should all do. Take inventory of what you already have available for the week’s meals before heading to the store to see if you have anything of use, and beware of shopping when you are hungry! Take advantage of seasonal foods as they become readily available and their prices drop.


  • Spring = peas, peppers, strawberries, and beets

  • Summer = artichokes, cherries, peaches, and eggplant

  • Fall = apples, pears, broccoli, and cauliflower

  • Winter = pumpkins, winter squash, brussel sprouts, and radishes


So, what about promoting good health through the foods we eat? All of these tips can help your food go further, but we also want to go further with our health goals by choosing the best diet for ourselves. During this month we’ll talk a bit about how the foods we eat can help us go further with those goals. Stay tuned!


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Slow Down - A Tip for Tennesseans: By Partners for Health!


You know what they say about stress: We can’t change what’s happening around us but we can change the way we react to it. During the holidays, it can feel like everything is moving at top speed. If you’ve ever found yourself trying to find time to catch your breath, you’re not alone. That’s the perfect time to stop, slow down and be in the moment. Try these three stress management practices to center yourself and lower stress.

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A Recipe for the Sweet Life - A Tip for Tennesseans: By Partners for Health


There’s a lot of focus on type 2 diabetes these days, and for good reasons. It makes up about 95 percent of high blood sugar cases and happens when the body stops using insulin as it should. That leads to higher blood sugar (glucose) levels. Over time, it can cause eye, heart, nerve and other problems.

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Avoid The Candy-Eating Halloween Frenzy

Avoid The Candy-Eating Halloween Frenzy


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Just Add Water Challenge

Sumner County “Just Add Water Challenge”

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Eat Better...Eat Together

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Cool Beans & Savory Spices

Cool Beans & Savory Spices

March is National Nutrition Month! Inspired by National Nutrition Month’s motto “Savor the Flavor,” WIC Nutritionists from Sumner County Health Department designed an interactive program about beans and spices for a 5th grade class at Benny Bills Elementary School. Beans are a great economical source of protein, fiber and iron! Students learned about Indian culture and were introduced to beans and spices from around the world by playing “Beango.” “Beango” is not your traditional Bingo! Students smelled spices such as fresh ginger, cinnamon and curry and learned about types of beans while placing lima bean markers on their “Beango” cards. Students sampled lentil soup, hummus with carrots, purple cauliflower and pita chips, naan bread, and corn and black bean salad to show dishes with beans and spices from around the world. TENNderCare Community Outreach Coordinators demonstrated how to properly brush teeth and answered questions about oral care and yearly physicals. Students took home nutrition handouts, a TENNderCare brochure and a Sumner County Health Department water bottle as well as recipes for each dish served. The students practiced their culinary skills by measuring the amount of red and green lentils needed for the lentil soup recipe, then were given the spices and other ingredients to make the soup at home. A survey conducted at the end of the program showed 100% of the students enjoyed the class!

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What Are You Eating?!?


First, let’s look at some dietary recommendations:

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Quinoa: The Super Grain!

Quinoa: The Super Grain!

First things first….how do you pronounce this grain? “KEEN-wah” is gaining popularity for its health benefits. 2013 was named International Year of Quinoa, and it can be found on all continents. Does it really live up to all that hype? Let’s start from the beginning.

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Measles Outbreak Updates

Make sure that your child is protected with MMR vaccine.  We are now experiencing an unusually large measles outbreak in the U.S. Before traveling, protect your child by making sure that they are up-to-date on vaccinations, especially before traveling abroad.

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What's all the fuss about the HPV vaccine?

HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) vaccines are given as a series of three shots over 6 months to protect against HPV infection and the health problems that HPV infection can cause. Two vaccines (Cervarix and Gardasil) protect against cervical cancers in women. One vaccine (Gardasil) also protects against genital warts and cancers of females private areas. Both vaccines are available for females. Only Gardasil is available for males. Gardasil is the vaccine that we widely use in Sumner County.  HPV vaccines offer the best protection to girls and boys who receive all three vaccine doses and have time to develop an immune response before being sexually active.  HPV vaccination is recommended for preteen girls and boys at age 11 or 12 years. This is the only vaccine that is currently available . The vaccine is new and parents and caretakers have expressed some questions and concerns about the vaccine. If you want to discuss this with a healthcare professional, call your physician or local Health Department or go to This website also has a detailed discussion on HPV dosage and uses.

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Gluten-Free Eating

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To go Gluten-Free, Or not to go Gluten-Free…

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Getting Ready for Middle School

How many of you remember the big transition from elementary to middle school? I remember how nervous I was about changing classrooms and not having a single room to be in all day. I remember going shopping for school clothes that were going to reflect the level of maturity I felt leaving elementary school behind. There are lots of thing to do to get ready for this transition and one of those things is to get the immunizations required by the school for Middle School admission. As kids get older, protection from some childhood vaccines begins to wear off. Plus, older kids can also develop risks for other diseases. Health check-ups and sports or camp physicals can be a good opportunity for your preteens and teens to get the recommended vaccines.

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Power Up With Breakfast

People often tell me they don’t eat breakfast. Some of the reasons they give are: “I don’t have time”, “I don’t like breakfast foods”, or “I’m just not hungry”. So what’s the deal with 'breakfast is the most important meal of the day’, and yet fewer than half of us eat breakfast regularly?

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Remembering Measles

When I was 3 years old, I had almost every childhood disease that existed. I had Mumps, Strep infection, followed by Scarlet Fever, and the Measles, Rubeola is the medical term. I remember lying in bed with the curtains pulled and lights off because my eyes were so watery, having to stay in bed, having a feverand a blotchy rash and even having to eat my meals in bed. I got so tired of having to stay in bed. It took about a week to get over. This happened to me in the decade before the measles vaccination program began. At that time, an estimated 3–4 million people in the United States were infected each year, of whom 400–500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and another 1,000 developed chronic disabilities from measles encephalitis. Then, in 1963 the Measles vaccine was introduced and as people started getting the vaccine the numbers of measles cases dropped so much, that people don't remember how bad it was to have the disease. As more people are vaccinated, we protect those in our midst who are too young to take the vaccine as well because they aren't exposed to the disease. Recently, in TN, we have had a small outbreak of the Measles. 18 states have had outbreaks this year. Some of these cases have been from traveling to countries that don't have measles immunization programs on par with the United States. Some parents have been afraid to vaccinate their children due to fears of autism and a link with the MMR vaccine. Much research has been done and has proven that there is not a link between the vaccine and autism. Being properly vaccinated is critical in preventing measles. As it gets time to get ready for the school immunization season, discuss the importance of vaccines with your health care provider and make the decision that is best for you and your family. For more information go to

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How social are you?

This past week I was speaking to a childhood friend and they mentioned they do not have any friends. I started to think about that statement and suggested they join facebook and start tweeting and speed dating etc. They laughed and the conversation changed, however, I started thinking about that and what we post on social websites and how that describes us to strangers, family and friends. When you post on your facebook, twitter, etc. does it show the healthy happy person you want portrayed, or just the opposite? I'm sure at some point we all have posted something and wished we could take it back. So from this day forward lets make a decision to be more social savvy realizing what you put out there on the world wide web could paint the wrong picture of the true you. May all your days (and post) be happy and healthy!!!!

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New Year New You

Now that 2014 is here, we've all made resolutions to change our everyday lifestyle whether that is stop smoking, exercise more, or eat healthier. With a new year comes many new opportunities for positive change. How do you plan to keep your resolutions? Well a good  method to try is not to take on to much too soon. In the next twelve months what do you want to accomplish? What changes would you like to see in yourself? Do you want to be the same person on January 1, 2014 as you were on December 31, 2013? Why not start small and lets see what 2014 brings us. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

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This cold is making me hungry

With the weather getting colder, many of us are developing little sniffs, coughs, and runny noses. Well a good thing to do to prevent this is to practice eating healthty fruits and vegetables daily. This not only helps with managing weight over the holidays but always helps to build a strong immune system to fight infections. A flu shot wouldnt hurt either....

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