Have a Healthy Holiday Season!

This time of year the list of holiday parties we have to bring food to seems to be ever-expanding.  While the norm may be to bring something like boxed brownies or cookies, this year get out of the rut! Bring a healthy dish to keep energy levels high and that New Year’s dress fitting just right.  We’ve compiled a list of party-ready foods that are easy and wallet friendly options for your holiday event lineup:

Healthy Holiday Party Ideas

  1. Bruschetta~ authentic Italian appetizer that doesn’t get any easiertop a slice of Italian bread with tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and basil—viola!
  2. Guacamole~ avocados help lower cholesterol and regulate blood pressure, an added tip:  mix in diced tomatoes for additional antioxidant power
  3. Veggies and hummus (or greek yogurt based dip) ~use the red and green veggie colors to your advantage to spruce up your veggie display!
  4. Fruit and cheese plate~  crowd favorite, try a fruit dip made from vanilla  yogurt and cinnamon for a sweet kick
  5. Whole grain crackers and lean meats~ pack a protein punch with lean meat slices (roast beef and turkey are generally lower in fat than ham)
  6. Mini soup shooters~ serve a veggie based soup like tomato or broccoli in small plastic cups that will be easier for guests vs. a spoon…soups are a great low-calorie way to warm & fill up
  7. Smoked salmon and whole wheat toast~ salmon is a winner all around, it combines easily digestible protein and Omega-3 fatty acids to provide muscle, heart, and brain benefits
  8. Spinach quiche~ use a whole wheat crust and a hefty heaping of this superfood (chock full of iron and calcium)
  9. Low-fat bean dip with whole grain chips~ legumes are a great source of fiber and protein, reducing cancer risks, improving blood glucose & blood pressure, and lowering cholesterol (no brainer!)
  10. Bite-sized desserts~ small portions allow guests to sample a couple different types of dessert while watching waistbands… an added tip: if the recipe calls for white flour, try ½ white ½ whole wheat…makes it healthier and the difference is undetectable!

What is your favorite “healthy holiday” dish?

Keep the Stress in Check This Holiday Season

Let’s not forget…the holidays are supposed to be a break to relax and enjoy time with friends and family.  But with (seemingly) endless errands to run, gifts to buy, dishes to prepare, and lights to light break can quickly become breakdown.  We’ve compiled tips to de-stress from several sources, and would love if you shared your own!

Keep the Stress in Check This Holiday Season

1. Just say no.  Take a deep breath, prioritize which events or commitments are most important to you, be realistic and remind yourself there’s only so much time (and sanity!)

2. Give back.  Whether its volunteering or donating to a toy or food drive, helping those in need will have a positive effect on your holiday outlook (and sets a great example for toy-crazed kids)

3. Let it out. There’s power in numbers…do your present or grocery shopping with a friend and vent, after shopping treat yourselves to a soothing cup of green tea or a peppermint stick.

4. Reign in the sugar.  Fluctuating sugar levels can make you depressed and bloated (and even more anxious over weight gain when the time comes to make those resolutions!)

5. Don’t forget “me”.  While you’re out grabbing gifts to impress for those around you, get something small for yourself that will help alleviate stress—think holiday scented candles, a new book, or bubble bath to keep calm.

6. Keep the focus.  These are holiday memories in the making, so slow down and laugh with the people around you!

Suds Up!

National Handwashing Awareness Week

Today is the start of National Handwashing Awareness Week 2011, which was created to decrease the spread of infectious diseases.  The CDC states that the practice of handwashing has the potential to save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention!  It’s also a good opportunity to make sure that children know the proper way to wash their hands, as their immune systems are weaker and can become sick quicker.  In fact, 1 in 3 E. coli outbreaks is caused by poor hand washing by people preparing food.

Here are proper techniques to help keep the flu bug (and the common cold) away this wintery season:

  • Wet your hands with warm, running water and apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Scrub all surfaces, including between your fingers and under your fingernails.
  • Rinse all the soap off.
  • Dry your hands thoroughly with a towel.
  • Use a towel to turn off the faucet.

 

Is Four the New Six Between You and Kevin Bacon?

Several news outlets including the Huffington Post, Venture Beat, and the Mirror have recently published articles saying that Facebook has now reduced the legendary “six degrees of separation” theory to a mere four degrees.  This means that any two people on Facebook (out of the 721 million users!) can be connected by roughly 4 Facebook friends.  Within the same country, this number shrinks even more…to an approximate 3 degrees.

For those of you not familiar with the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game, it plays off of the “six degrees” theory, except connects Kevin Bacon to any other celebrity in Hollywood using as few links as possible.  So…on Facebook, it appears you’re closer to Kevin Bacon than ever before!

6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon

We saw firsthand the effect the power of social networking with our recent “Like Us” promotion, thanks to our wonderful fans—and hope to keep expanding our Facebook family!

Check out these articles to read more about our ever shrinking social network:

“Like Us” and Gobble up to 20% off on Black Friday!

"Like Us" and Gobble Up Black Friday Savings!

This Black Friday/Cyber Monday we are letting our Facebook fans determine the discount! The total number of “likes” we have by November 23rd at 3pm EST will translate into the percentage discount lasting from Black Friday through Cyber Monday.  Get the word out to your co-workers, friends, family and you all will Gobble up the savings!

He-e-e-e-e-re’s Halloween!

Happy Halloween–we hope everyone is having a hauntingly fun day like we are!  Our team got in the spooky sprit by noshing on a buffet of terror-filled treats and wandering the halls in our creative costumes.  We all voted for our favorite, so check out the pictures below and we’ll let you know who was picked…

UA Staff Halloween 2011 Pics 1

UA Staff Halloween Pics 2

Drum roll please….the favorite costume this year picked by our staff was Tammy the Corpse Bride (3rd from the left in the top collage).  Congrats Tammy!  Everyone enjoy the remainder of this haunted holiday and stay safe!

Boo! Scare off the Halloween Hazards This Year

Trick or Treat

Since our scrubs see their fair share of hospitals and doctor’s offices, we wanted to make sure you and your family stay safe on the upcoming Trick or Treat trail.  Here is a list we compiled from several sources of basic ways to prevent accidents when energy and excitement levels get batty!

  Visible Vampires:  Trick or treating while it’s still light out is a safe bet for young kids.  If this isn’t an option, here are some easy solutions to illuminate your clan:

  • Glow sticks and jewelry (cheap and can make a costume stand out!)
  • Strips of reflective tape on costumes or bags (found in sporting goods and hardware stores)
  • Small flashlights can help navigate winding driveways and porches where pumpkin luminaries may not be enough

   Stranger Danger: Make sure that those goblins under 12 are accompanied by an adult; those a little older should travel in a big group and have a way of contacting an adult if need be. 

   Treats Not Trips: When candy craze is in full swing it’s easy for kids to forget the rules they already know, so keep them on their feet by:

  • Walking, not running from house to house
  • Using  crosswalks and sidewalks whenever possible
  • Watching out for cars that may be backing up or turning neighborhood corners
  • Making sure their costumes don’t drag to prevent falling or getting too close to lit candles
  • Masks can make it hard for kids to see their surroundings,  try face paint instead (make sure to test in a small area to make sure they’re not allergic and remove before bedtime to prevent skin or eye irritation)

   Candy Caution: Check pumpkin pails for possible tampering or choking hazards before letting kids dig in–also make sure that any homemade treats are from a trusty source.

   Haunted Huddle: As your ghoulish group is getting ready, repeat some key reminders before sugar levels spike and distractions are everywhere.

 

…and lastly, HAVE FUN!  What safety tips do you and your family use to ward off the Halloween Hazards?