Farmers Market Recipes

Farmers Market Recipes

In honor of National Farmers Market Week, we have farmers market recipes packed with fresh fruits and veggies to help you use your in-season summer finds.

This super simple Heirloom Tomato and Chicken Toss will be a crowd-pleaser.

Heirloom Tomato and Chicken Toss
Image and Recipe via My Recipes

 

Seared Salmon with Sugar Snap-Fennel Slaw is a light and delicious summer meal.

Seared Salmon with Sugar Snap-Fennel Slaw
Image and Recipe via Eating Well

 

For rainy or sick days, this rich Andean Potato & Cheese Soup is sure to please.

Andean Potato & Cheese Soup
Image and Recipe via The Kitchn

 

Mix sweet and savory with these Pork Chops with Cherry Sauce.

Pork Chops with Cherry Sauce
Image and Recipe via Real Simple

 

Basil, Blackberry, and Grilled Chicken Salad is the summer lunch you’ve been missing.

Basil, Blackberry, and Grilled Chicken Salad
Image and Recipe via Cooking Light

 

Use the summer staple to make Honey-Chipotle Grilled Corn.

Honey-Chipotle Grilled Corn
Image and Recipe via My Recipes

 

Skip the expensive restaurant and make Pepper Steak Fajitas at home.

Pepper Steak Fajitas
Image and Recipe via Health

Family Fun Month

Family Fun Month

It’s Family Fun Month, and in honor of it, we’re helping you make exercise fun so you can get moving with your whole family.

Go for pre- or post-dinner walks as a family. They’ll help with your digestion, and walks are the perfect time to explore your neighborhood.

Dinner Walks

 

Crank a record or a playlist, move the furniture, and have a dance party. Music can help cognitive development. You’ll get moving, and you can hand down your favorites.

Make a game out of household chores to improve imagination and get active. Put on capes and have your kids save their toys from the slimy pit of the rug by putting them away.

Clean-Up Made Fun

 

Have a weekly sports night. Go to your kid’s baseball game, play tag or catch in the backyard, or make or buy an exercise deck of cards.

A New Kind of Sports Night

 

Walk or run for charity. Teach your kids the value of helping others and about good causes, and meet people while working out.

Moving for a Good Cause

 

Put kids to work in the yard. Tell them they can only jump in the leaf pile if they help rake and bag them too.

Yard Work Made Fun

 

Garden together! Kids already love playing in the dirt, so have them help you plant a garden and learn about healthy fruits and veggies.

Learning Through Gardening

Healthy Frozen Pop Recipes

Healthy Frozen Pop Recipes

Summer’s winding down, but it’s never too late to stock your freezer with some refreshing and tasty treats with this week’s healthy frozen pop recipes.

First up is a colorful treat, Tropical Coconut Chia Pops.

Tropical coconut chia pops

 

Skip the iced latte with these Roasted Blueberries ‘n’ Cream Matcha Pops.

Roasted Blueberries n’ Cream Matcha Pops

 

Rehydrating Electrolyte Pops are the perfect treat after a day at the pool or working outside.

Rehydrating Eletrolyte Popsicles

 

 

Relive your childhood or excite your kids with these Healthy Fudge Pops.

Healthy Fudgesicles

Healthy Fudgesicles Recipe

 

Dress up your ice pop for adults with these easy Herb-Infused Fruit Pops.

Herb-Infused Fruit Popsicles

 

Have Coconut Lime Pops to feel like you spent the day at the beach.

Coconut Lime Popsicles

 

Ditch the ice cream pint with these Mint Chocolate Chip Greek Yogurt Pops.

Mint Chocolate Chip Greek Yoghurt Popsicles

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A Healthy A1C Level

Long View: What Does A1C Mean to Me?

Our community liaison team has never met a health fair or expo they didn’t love! Health fairs and expos are great places to learn about the abundance of services available in our communities to support seniors and their families.

With brightly colored, free shopping bags in hand, visitors gather pens, lip balms, and hand sanitizers, along with informational brochures and contact information for everything from beautiful, new living communities to financial planning. I’ve never seen so many butterscotch hard candies in one place since my grandmother’s candy dish in the 1970s.

Many health fairs and expos offer free checkups for various parts of your body and health. Participants aren’t the only ones taking advantage of a little free TLC. So far this summer, I’ve had the kinks rubbed out of my neck, the skin on my face analyzed for sun damage, and my blood pressure checked.

But one of the most interesting tests I’ve done recently came from my friends at Memorial Hospital in Carthage, IL. They measured my A1C level.

“What is A1C?” I asked, with a donut in one hand and a cup of coffee with cream in the other.

A1C is the measurement of the average blood sugar levels for the past 3 months, they told me. “Oh no,” I said. “I can’t get that done today. I’m eating a donut!”

The kind nurses assured me to sit down and relax. No fasting is required. In the blink of an eye, my finger was (painlessly) pricked, and a small amount of my blood slipped into a tiny little tube. The tube took a 5-minute spin in the centrifuge, and bingo, my A1C for the past 3 months is…. I’ll keep you in suspense until the end.

The National Diabetes Education Initiative recommends that diabetics have the A1C measurement taken at least twice a year. Everyone else should measure A1C once every 3 years. The nurses from Carthage recommended that most people should have measurements below 5.7%, since measurements between 5.7 and 6.4% indicate a greater risk for becoming diabetic.

The daily measurement of glucose levels is very important for diabetics who need to keep their levels within healthy ranges. Knowing your 2- to 3-month average can help you determine your overall glucose health, which in turn can help you make healthy choices throughout each day, like about sleeping, playing, working, eating, and more.

And if you don’t have diabetes, knowing if you have a higher than average A1C level can be a valuable piece of information to help you make healthy changes to curb your chances of getting diabetes at some point in your life.

Those who are already diabetic should strive to lower their A1C to at least 7% when possible. This could be a struggle for those who suffer from the disease, but the research points toward a much lower risk of developing diabetic complications like eye, heart, and kidney disease the closer you can get to 7%.

To tell you the truth, waiting for my blood to spin around for those 5 minutes in the centrifuge had me sweating a little. This could be the year my chickens come home to roost. I’ll be having one of those special birthdays next year where everyone wears black. I’m not exactly the healthiest eater. Leggings and stretchy-fabric pants have become my best friends.

This A1C measurement was an important wake-up call for me. The good news is that I measured well below 5.7%.

While I could have spiked the football, declared myself invincible, and grabbed a second donut, I didn’t. I decided to really pay attention to this information and be grateful for my health today, maybe take an extra walk around the block every week. Next year, I’m setting my sights on something in the high 4s.

Pass the kale.

Lora Felger is a community and broker liaison at Health Alliance. She is the mother of 2 terrific boys, a world traveler, and a major Iowa State Cyclones fan.

Fun Summer Activities, Like Make Believe

Fun Summer Activities

Summer means as parents, you might be trying to fill your kids’ days with something more substantial than TV. Give these fun summer activities a try.

Get the whole family moving and take your dog to a park. Just check the pavement first. If it’s too hot to keep your hand on for 7 seconds, it’s too hot for your pup.

Struggle GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

Do you need a moment to breathe? Try these kid-friendly yoga moves and do it together.

Yoga for All Ages

 

Hit the road for a classic summer road trip, just make sure your kids’ car seats are in safely. Road trips are a great time to introduce your kids to new music or audiobooks and see new places.

Summer Road Trip

 

Make learning or getting active fun for your kids. Do they hate reading? Give graphic novels or comics a try. Do they love video games? Try these active Wii games.

Get Active with Video Games

 

Museums, aquariums, and zoos are a great way to make learning fun, and hands-on children’s museums are more available than ever. Find one now.

Learning Made Fun

 

Never underestimate the power of make-believe and dress-up, which let your kids explore complex subjects and build creativity.

Make nighttime summer memories that will last a lifetime with stargazing. Keep an eye out for special events like meteor showers or learn some constellations (there are some handy apps for that), grab some blankets and hot cocoa, and head to the country.

Stargazing Adventure

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Cooking Tips to Get in the Kitchen

Cooking Tips for National Culinary Arts Month

It’s National Culinary Arts Month, and you don’t have to be a chef to appreciate or make good food. It’s the perfect time to take a moment to brush up on your skills or think about teaching your loved ones to cook with these cooking tips.

If you’ve ever looked at a recipe and wondered what it was talking about, this quick guide can help.

Cooking Terms Image via Style Caster

 

With this infographic, you’ll be ready to prep your next recipe. And check out part 2 for more knife skills.

Knife Skills Part 1 Image via Illustrated Bites

 

Need a refresher on the basics in the kitchen? Learn to cut an onion, fry an egg, roast a chicken, and more.

Kitchen Basics Image and Recipes via Yhe Kitchn

 

With this guide, you’ll be ready to build the foundation of good flavor for a variety of meals.

Guide to AromaticsImage via Lifehacker

 

This guide will help you make the most of fresh herbs, from pairings to storage.

Guide to Flavoring with Fresh Herbs Image via CookSmarts

 

Fresh herbs can be expensive and don’t last. If they don’t work for you, spices are a great way to add punch.

Guide to Flavoring with Spices Image via CookSmarts

 

You can get your kids in the kitchen early with this guide for skills and recipes for any age.

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Beat Stress Tips

Tips to Beat Stress

It was Everybody Deserves a Massage Week, so we helped you take a minute for yourself each day with these tips to beat stress.

If you’ve never had a massage, they’re a great way to relax, relieve muscle tension, and help your immune and digestive systems.

Massage Away Stress

 

Grab some gum. It’s been shown to relieve anxiety and stress and improve alertness while multitasking.

Fighting Strss with Gum

 

Watch a viral video, comedy special, or your favorite rom-com. Laughter can lower stress hormones, reduce inflammation in the arteries, and increase good cholesterol.

Laughter for Your Stress

 

Unplug from your technology, turn off your phone, and shut off the news. Taking a break can genuinely help you beat stress.

Eat a square of chocolate, suck on a peppermint, or sip on hot chocolate. Sweets can stem the production of the stress hormone.

A Dose of Sweetness

 

Try a stress-relieving yoga routine. It’s great exercise, and you’ll feel refreshed and calm afterward.

Stress-Fighting Yoga

 

Learn to knit, cross-stitch, or sew. Repetitive motions have been shown to help sooth anxiety.

Knit Your Way to Peace

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