Eat Healthy

What do First Lady Michelle Obama and the Miami Heat have in common?  Click the pic to watch the video.



DunkThe first step towards eating healthy is to start to see food as something that can help energize you for an active day- or something that can only add to your weight problem. There are healthy foods and unhealthy foods- and lots of tools available to help you tell the difference.   Click the pic on the right to DUNK the JUNK Check out this list of Top 10 Junk foods to dunk!  Consider writing down everything you eat! Sometimes this awareness alone can lead to weight loss.

If you only click one link – the VA cooperative Extension has a great site to get you started on reading labels, shopping on a budget, healthy drinks, and more!

Needs help talking to your children about weight problems? Go here!

Worried your kids won’t eat healthy? Tell them about the young chefs aged 8-12 who attended the first kids State dinner at the White House with First Lady Michelle Obama.  Each child was a winner of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge which invited families to create a healthy, affordable, original and delicious lunchtime recipe. A digital cookbook published by Epicurious will feature the winning recipes including Kickin’ Chicken Salad, Power Pesto Pasta, and Secret Service Super Salad. ; it is available as a free download starting this week. Click here for a few winners!


Don’t forget what treats cost you.  For many people, calories are too abstract. The 20oz bottle of soda has 240 calories – but what does that mean?  A study from 2011 showed that if we translate calories into terms people can understand, we can make healthier choices.  To work off 240 calories, a 15-year-old weighing 110 pounds would have to jog for 50 minutes, ride a bicycle for 73 minutes, or walk briskly for two hours. Adults would have to work even harder, to compensate for their slower metabolism.



michellebikeThe Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has a $10 Buy Local ChallengeAre you ready to commit to spending at least $10 per week on locally-grown foods and beverages? It will be good for the local economy as well as your health!

“Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food.” – Hippocrates

Back to School Healthy Lunchboxes

Studies show that kids that eat healthy do better in school with academics.  So this fall – either look at your child’s school menu to remind them of what the healthy choices are, or pack them a box of healthy brain-food!

It doesn’t have to be complicated. Pack an appetizer tray of cut up veggies, fruits, and a few rolls of sliced turkey or chicken with 3 whole wheat crackers.

It doesn’t have to be their favorite foods – try including their favorite color in a food – or a fun-colored napkin!

Check out a local Lynchburg blog on school lunch prep!

It’s not easy being green!

smoothieMany parents find that children prefer fruits to vegetables, and wonder whether it’s worth battling over the greens?   Fruits, while they contain many of the same vitamins as vegetables, have lower concentrations which would require eating larger amounts.   We must teach our children (and sometimes ourselves) to eat the rainbow – and not forget the greens!  So how can we outsmart the green-averse child (or adult)? 

Read More

Farm Fresh Food


We live in farm country – do you know how easy it is to get fresh, local food? 

  • Lynchburg Downtown Community Market – Every Wednesday and Saturday morning,  13th and Main in Downtown Lynchburg. 
  • Forest Library Parking lot – Saturday 8am-1pm May –October 15583 Forest Road
  • Bedford – corner of Washington and Center Streets; June-October Tuesday and Friday
  • Altavista – Trade Lot; Wed & sat; April – October
  • Buena Vista – Magnolia Parking Lot; July-Sept Wed 3p-7pm
  • Campbell County – Brookville High School; May – Oct Saturdays 8am-12pm

Read More

Healthy Hydration

All year round – water is the best hydration for exercise. In the hot months, you need to drink even more to stay cool and hydrated.  

As cool as the Gatorade and Powerade advertisments look, those drinks should only be used in small doses.  Sports drinks contain lots of sugar and salt.  In a single 32-oz. bottle, you’ll find 200 calories which will be stored as fat and lead to weight gain unless you have burned more than that. Water cost less and does a better job of rehydrating.

Want to help your kids understand why you don’t want them to drink soda?  Go to SugarStacks and see the sugar cube equivalents to many of their favorite beverages. These drinks are desserts – and should be enjoyed sparingly. Sodas are chemically designed to make us crave salty and high fat foods, and they don’t even satify thirst -they simply make us want to drink more.  This same 12oz a day can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes – even if it is DIET soda.

juiceWe know that eating 3 servings a week of whole fruits can significantly decrease your risk of Type II Diabetes.  Eating 3 servings of these fruits helps the most: Blueberries, grapes/raisins, apples, pears, bananas, and grapefruit.  Don’t forget that JUICE IS NOT FRUIT.  Drinking 3 servings of fruit juice actually increases the risk of Type II Diabetes. 

By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Drink enough water so that your urine stays clear (not yellow). For some this might be eight 8oz glasses a day, for some it might be more!  Make sure to offer your children water every time you get a drink, especially if they are too young to signal their thirst.

Adults: click on the REAL BEARS video below to get a closer glimpse of how sugary drinks are misrepresented in the media and how dangerous they really are. 

WARNING: this video is not appropriate for small children.


Trick or Treat?

ghosts pumpkinHalloween could be ghoulish and spooky, a chance to show off creativity through costumes and decorations, mixed with a good walk around the neighborhood. But instead it seems more and more to be focused on the CANDY.   Have you noticed that Halloween isn’t just one day of fun anymore? The holiday is now extended into over a week of decorations, costume parties and SUGAR.  How do your kids act with that sugar? Is it good for their stomachs, teeth or waistlines?

If it’s a school party that you’re planning – fill gloves with popcorn, peel clementines with celery bits for sweet pumpkins, make chocolate chip & banana ghosts.  Leaf shaped whole wheat crackers with cheddar cheese  carrots and cucumber pieces to dip in ranch dressing (in a pumpkin shape), and carved fruit will all give energy without a sugar crash afterwards!

playdohFor the front porch, consider handing out glow sticks, playdoh, or other healthy alternative treats on the 31st.  And if you do go trick or treating and end up with a bag of candy tempting you and your kids to overdo it – don’t forget that the Switch Witch can help decrease the cavities and stomach aches.  She comes after the trick-or-treaters have fallen asleep and trades the bag of cavity-producing calories for a special toy.  It takes planning (especially because if parents eat the candy – the family is not any healthier!)  We suggest that you talk to your kids about your plan. Don’t be like Marge Simpson: Don’t greet your kids at the door dressed like a witch, gleefully snatching all their candy and replacing it with plain brown toothbrushes, unflavored dental floss, and fun-size mouthwashes.  This isn’t about taking all the fun out of Halloween. On the contrary, it’s about helping kids to understand that fun doesn’t have to mean food.” So go trick or treating – but keep the focus on the fun – not the corn syrup! Go here for more healthy Halloween ideas!

Making Eating Out Healthier

portionTop 10 Tips for Making Take-Out Healthier
With today’s busy lifestyles, there is not always time to cook for your family. If you are having take-out night, consider the following tips to cut the calories and fat and make a healthier meal.
  1. Chicken Night: Choose grilled chicken or chicken salad instead of a fried chicken sandwich.  Skip the fries and soda; order low-fat or fat-free milk.
  2. Mexican Foods: Get vegetarian refried or plain black beans. Pick soft tortillas (such as a burrito) instead of fried taco shells. Replace the cheese or sour cream with salsa or guacamole.
  3. Pizza: Opt for a thin crust and double the vegetables instead of doubling the cheese. Before you eat, grab a few paper napkins and blot the excess oil off your pizza.
  4. Indian Foods: Order the yogurt-based salads, tandoori chicken and fish, lentil or dal dishes. Go for the pappadams instead of thick naan bread. Avoid food cooked in coconut milk, cream or ghee (clarified butter), fried Samosas and thick creamy Korma dishes.
  5. Italian Foods: Avoid creamy sauces and pesto on pasta that can add a lot of fat and calories. Instead, try a marinara sauce, pasta primavera or a clam sauce. Consider sharing a pasta entrée and a salad with someone else.
  6. Chinese Foods: Ask for wonton or sweet-and-sour soup. Order steamed rice, boiled, steamed, broiled or lightly stir-fried dishes. Pile on the vegetables such as broccoli and bok choy. Try to avoid deep fried dishes, fried rice, egg dishes and salty sauces.
  7.  Deli Foods: Cut the fat on sandwiches by omitting bacon, mayonnaise, cheese and special sauces. Ask for mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and pickles instead. Try out lean meats (such as turkey breast) on your sandwiches and go for the wheat roll.
  8.  Japanese Foods: Opt for miso soup and steamed vegetables such as edamame and omega-3- containing fish, such as salmon. Avoid anything “tempura” which indicates “fried.” Sneak in some avocado in your rolls, they add richness and contain unsaturated fats.
  9. Burger Night: Order the regular or kid-size portion. Load on the lettuce and tomato and try to skip the cheese. Try a side salad or apple slices instead of fries or onion rings. Go for a low-fat milkshake instead of a soda for an extra calcium boost.
  10. On-the-Go Breakfasts: Opt for a whole-wheat high-fiber muffin, bagel or toast (consider eating half if the portion size is huge). Go for the low-fat yogurt or fruit instead of the home fries. Replace the bacon or sausage with ham. Avoid sugar-loaded fruit juices.

Feeding Babies

The best nutrition for newborns is breastmilk.  No formula is perfectly suited to each baby like mother’s milk.  Breastmilk is free and always ready to serve, even if the power goes out or when you are on the go. It is never contaminated by beetles or melamine. Best of all, breastmilk provides lifelong protection from illness and disease. Read More

Honey, We’re Killing the Kids

Current data shows that 1 in 3 kids is overweight or obese. Kids are drowning in extra weight starting at a younger and younger age.  Being obese as a youth strongly predicts that they will be obese as an adult.  These numbers are staggering -and foretell that this generation will have a shorter lifespan than their parents.  Our best information shows that patterns of eating too much are established before children turn two. Children can develop adult levels of cholesterol before their second birthday.  Therefore, the burden is on our shoulders as parents to set up healthy habits from the very beginning.  We must teach our children how to eat healthy -and we all know that they will do what we do, not just what we say.  It takes creativity and consistency. Here are some resources to help us be super models!

Healthy is a website by the American Academy of Pediatrics with lots of information about obesity. Their magazine Chop Chop  adds new recipes monthly.

FitMD has individual option for young kids, school aged kids, and teenagers.

Who knows best how to make kids eat healthy? Kids!! The Recipes for Healthy Kids Challenge has a great list of kid-tested recipes to try.

Healthy Eating for Kids Recipes and Menus has great ideas for the whole family!

This article from Today’s Dietitian discusses how to deal with the children’s menu at restaurants.

Obesity takes the fun out of being a kid.
Click to see ad

It’s A SNAP!

The bad news: 24,000 Lynchburg residents live in a food desert, an area where healthy food is difficult to acquire. snap

The good news: Since July 2013, SNAP/EBT recipients can use their benefits at the Downtown Lynchburg Community Market with local food vendors.

LAFCThe even better news:  SNAP recipients will get “double dollars” on fruits and vegetables (buy $4 of blueberries and get $8 worth!) thanks to a grant by the Virginia Department of Health!  With continued work of the newly founded nonprofit Lynchburg Area Food Council, founded by locals who are passionate about the issues of food access, insecurity, quality and systems in Region 2000, we hope to soon announce the creation of a regional food co-op to be located in the food deserts so all residents have access to healthy foods, and a produce market on wheels that can travel to our FORMER food deserts!


Portion Control

portion2Parents often overestimate the amount of food that their children need, which can put youngsters on the fast track to obesity.

Did you know that using a smaller plate is an easy way to help your child feel more full?

Check out this video on how parents’ can help kids make better choices about portion control.plate

Check out plates that help show how to control portions – like this.

Check out My Plate!

My Plate is the newest tool from the USDA to help you make smart food choices. It replaces the old food pyramid – it is more simple and colorful – and reminds us to get variety in good proportions.

What’s Cooking?

cook5Americans eat fewer than 70 percent of their meals at home; but we know that people who eat more home-cooked meals are healthier. The portion sizes are more appropriate, it costs less, you can be more creative and make exactly what you like – but most people don’t cook!  Here are some resources to get you and your family back in the kitchen! Read More

Added Sugar?

sugar The word “sugar” can mean different things.  There are two main types of carbohydrates  – simple sugars (fructose from fruit, lactose in milk, and sucrose in powdered sugar – so some are good and some need to be limited!)  or starches/complex sugars (found in potatoes, rice, bread, cereal).   We need carbohydrates, but we need to make healthy choices. has this tip: Adults should limit added sugar to about 25g (women) or 37g (men) per day. Preschoolers should limit added sugar to about 16g per day.  Elementary school aged kids are growing more, and need to limit sugar to only 12.5 g per day.  Pre-teens and teenagers can handle a little more, but 20-30g per day is plenty. Do you know where sugar is hiding? Read More

Healthy Snacks

appleWhat is a snack? The Healthy Snacking Research Center proposes that a snack is solid food eaten between mealtimes that does not substitute for a meal and that has significantly fewer calories than a meal.  LCS wellness policy says: “Snacks served during the school day or in after-school care or enrichment programs will make a positive contribution to children’s diets and health.  Schools will assess if and when to offer snacks based on timing of school meals, children’s nutritional needs, children’s ages, and other considerations.”

Grades K-5 Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch & Breakfast Programs – 1.2012


Breakfast: 1 cup fruit, 1oz of whole grains, 1 cup milk

Min 350- max 500 calories;  less than 10g saturated fat;  less than 430 mg sodium, and ZERO grams of trans fat

Lunch: ½ cup fruit, ¾ cup vegetables (no more than ½ cup starchy veg), 1oz whole grain, 1oz meat/meat alternate, 1 cup milk

Min 550 – max 650 calories;  less than 10g saturated fat, less than or equal to 640 mg sodium, ZERO grams of trans fat

BOTTOM LINE: Everyone needs more fruits and veggies. Apples, bananas, carrots, dates, figs, green beans, peppers, oranges, pears, raisins, raspberries, cherry tomatoes. Try to use these for snacks. Use low fat yogurt, low fat ranch, hummus, or guacamole as dips.  If you choose grains or proteins, try to limit to 10o calorie packages with whole grain ingredients. Here are 100 more ideas!!

Lynchburg Area Food Council

Lynchburg Area Food Council is focused on addressing food access, insecurity, quality, and systems in our region. It is the desire of the LAFC to serve as a forum and clearinghouse to promote education on food system issues, coordination among those interested in healthy foods, advocacy for healthy food options and policies, and launching and supporting community-wide programs for healthy foods.  To get involved with this non-profit organization, check out their Facebook page or email for more information. 

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

CSA projects allow you to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. You purchase a “share” or membership which provides you with a weekly box of seasonal vegetables and other farm products through the farming season.

  • Frog Bottom Farm CSA is a small community supported vegetable farm located in Appomattox County that uses low impact, sustainable farming methods.
  • Horse & Buggy Produce is a local Natural Foods Cooperative that draws from over 100 small family farms, personal vegetable gardens and fruit orchards in Central Virginia.  On a weekly basis, H&B delivers fresh, local food to either a central pickup site or a variety of home and office locations.

  • Lynchburg Grows is an urban farm on almost 7 acres in Lynchburg with a mission to teach sustainable food production and to embrace people with special needs. The farm has a Community Supported Agriculture program which allows patrons to get weekly bags of local produce for a nominal fee.
  • Lynchburg Real Foods is a natural foods buying club that provides basic whole foods and household items for residents of the inner Lynchburg area.  434-528-1100

Food Revolution

 Jamie Oliver is a celebrity chef and health campaigner. 

In 2005 Jamie started a TV show in Britain called Jamie’s School Dinners.  This put a spotlight on the appalling quality of food served in school dining halls across the UK. He then started the Feed Me Better campaign to demand government intervention, funding and training to improve school food quality.

Jamie came to Huntington WV in 2010 for a reality TV show called “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” and again worked to reform the school lunch programs, to help families fight obesity and change their eating habits in order to live healthier and longer lives. 

Watch this and you’ll never eat a nugget again.  WHAT’S IN A CHICKEN NUGGET?

Jamie continues to work to combat obesity through the promotion of cooking at home, fresh cooked meals at school, and cooking in the community. 

Here’s a clip of how the Food Revolution truck taught some kids how to love salad!

Go to the Food Revolution website for more information including recipes.

Nutrition Counseling

Weight watchers has meetings in Lynchburg, Bedford, Altavista, and Madison Heights  for about $40/month but also offers great online services.  Weight Watchers is rated #1 Best Plan for weight loss by U.S. News and World Report in 2011 and 2012. BELIEVE Because It Works. 

Your doctor may refer you to a dietician who can look at what you already eat and make helpful decisions about how to help you achieve your health goals.

  • The Nutrition Department at CentraHealth is available to counsel patients on how to make good food choices.  For this service, a written order is required from your physician.  Patients (adult and pediatric) are often referred for diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, gestational diabetes, kidney problems, or eating disorders, Call the nutrition education office at (434) 200-4585 with questions
  • The Learn Program (Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitudes, Relationships, Nutrition) This is a Centra Weight Management program, Wednesdays 1:15-2:30pm at the Cardiovascular Group (2410 Atherholt Rd) starting May 23! This 12 week program will help you improve your blood pressure and glucose levels by preparing healthy meals and exercising regularly. Call 200-CARE (2273) for more info or click here!
  • Consulting Dietitians in the Blue Ridge Area (in alphabetic order by city)
  • Shapedown is a phenomenal program sponsored by Centra and located at the Jamerson Family YMCA. The emphasis is on family-centered interventions with education about the food pyramid and exercise, with special attention on parenting skills and strategies as well as confidence- building and developing responsibility in the child.  Mary Bice, R.N. is special trained in clinical education in child and adolescent obesity to be the Shapedown provider. There is a sliding- scale for fees such that all patients should be encouraged to apply regardless of income.  Referrals can be made or patients can call directly the Healthy Living Center at the Jamerson Family YMCA. (434) 237-8163.  

  • Jenny Craig  has great online resources for patients.

Mickey Mouse & Health

When you see those ears, you think FUN. But what if Mickey Mouse could help parents feed children healthier food?

The Walt Disney Company recently made two big announcements.  Starting in 2015, they will no longer allow advertisements for junk food on their TV channels, websites or radio stations. But in just a few months, the Mickey Check will hit the grocery store where the famous mouse symbol will be found only on certain foods in the grocery aisle.  If a food has too much sugar, salt, or fat, no Mickey check.  Oscar Mayer Lunchables have too much salt, Capri Suns too much added sugar.

First Lady Michelle Obama thinks this is a “game changer,” and hopes that others in the children’s entertainment industry will follow suit.  Obesity expert Vicky Rideout says the Mickey Check could help parents understand a complex list of ingredients with a single standard. Parents know that kids want what they see, so these changes may actually help influence what they ask for in the store.

Counting Calories

Calorie counters can be extremely helpful for patients who are trying to watch what they eat. Many have information about brand name foods as well as foods served at restaurants.

These are both available free of charge on the Internet. 

The Daily Plate

The Calorie Counter

Fast food has become part of our daily lives – but the food served does not meet our daily nutritional needs.  Click here for information about what you eat when you eat “junk” food (if junk food is the opposite of health food – shouldn’t we call it sick food?)


Holiday Help! – Thanksgiving

 Do you think you can celebrate the holidays without eating pounds of unhealthy food? Yes you can!  

Thanksgiving is another opportunity to overeat. Don’t forget to consult your myplate when planning the menu. If you are having a family gathering, encourage everyone to bring a salad! Try and make dessert something small – cookies or small cupcakes are easier portions to control than cakes or pies.  One great way to start your Thanksgiving – the Turkey Trot downtown! It’s a family friendly event and a great way to get your metabolic rate revving!  After the big family meal, take the kids to the playground or go for a walk.



Local Turkey

This year, consider some options for local turkeys – great for Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas feasts!  Click the link or call the number to order.

Auburnlea Farms, Gladys, VA.   434-283-8109

Mountain Run Farm, Sedalia, VA.  434-299-5193

Our Father’s Farm, Gretna, VA.    434-656-1188

Holiday Help – Christmas!



Do you feel the cold temperatures, last minute shopping, and never-ending supply of treats are conspiring to waylay your plans to stay healthy this holiday?  Never fear – Live Healthy Lynchburg is here to light a fire under your yule log!  Keep rocking around the Christmas tree with these healthy recipes or this healthy Christmas meal plan! A Christmas feast should still include delicious vegetables and fruits, lean meats and whole grains.  Try and balance the candy canes and Christmas cookies with some special Christmas activities like walking down the street singing carols, going ice skating, or dressing up like Santa and going for a Jingle Bell Run at Riverside Runners!    This 25 in 25 challenge was intended for December but could put some va-va-voom into your vacation days!  Still looking for gifts for friends and family who want to live healthy?  Check out these lists of 100 healthy gifts or 50 healthy gifts under $5.  You better not cry, you better not pout! Live Healthy Lynchburg is here to help you out!













Healthy Valentines!

heartBerryWhat does your dearest love want for Valentine’s Day? Chest pain, high cholesterol, and chocolate? Most stores have large displays with tempting sugary confections, but if you want your valentine to have a healthy heart for many Februarys to come, high fructose corn syrup and fatty foods may not send the right message. Likewise, class parties now request healthy options for students.  How can you show love without adding to love handles? It can be a real challenge to think of a healthy treats for your valentines (or their entire class!)  Here are some tips to help you plan! Read More

Shake Your Shamrock

Here are some ideas to keep you and your leprechauns healthy on St. Patrick’s Day!

  • Start the morning with green eggs!  Thaw some frozen spinach, puree it and mix it into your scrambled eggs before cooking.
  • Play a special game of tag where all the little leprechauns get one gold coin to carry, and one child tries to tag the leprechauns, who must then surrender their gold.  The leprechauns can get a new coin from the pot of gold at one end of the room. Play for 5 minutes and then count up how many coins were collected.  Then switch taggers.
  • Have the children find different colored objects around the house to make their own rainbows!
  • Learn your first Irish dance steps and then practice while watching a Riverdance video!
  • Make leprechaun sandwiches for lunch with thin slices of cucumbers and cream cheese in between. 
  • Make a rainbow out of fruits and vegetables in your kitchen.
  • Plant some seeds (beans, peas, or herbs work well indoors) in a cup to grow something green!
  • Try to let go of sticky Irish gold with this game that teaches about the anatomy of the hand.
  • Make an outline of a rainbow on a white piece of paper – and have the children write names of fruits and vegetables of each appropriate color on each stripe.  (Strawberries, tangerines, bananas…)
  • Have the family dress in green and have your own parade around the house.  If you have a pedometer, count how many times around the living room will make 500 steps or a 1/4 mile.
  • Go here for more healthy recipes for your dinner!

May the Luck of the Irish be with you!


bunny Brainstorming how to keep your family healthy this Easter? We’re here to help! Consider alternative to the usual peeps and jelly beans in your basket this year.  Items made of sugar  don’t last long in your mouth, but will linger as love handles and slow your bunny down.  Check out our top basket 10 list:

  • jump rope

  • bubbles or stickers

  • egg or chick-shaped sidewalk chalk

  • pastel hair accessories or bunny ears

  • bunny print socks or boxer shorts

  • pastel water bottle

  • Beatrix Potter books or The Runaway Bunny  from Givens

  • a gift certificate to Amazement square or Play it Again Sports

  • Pastel nail polish

  • water balloons

Now getting hopping!easter