How Do We Know If We Are Eating Healthy?

Most of us remember the food guide pyramid as the graphic icon for a healthy diet, but that confusing pyramid has been replaced by a new and improved version called MyPlate.  MyPlate is an update icon which shows you what your plate should look like at every meal.  The colorful divided plate includes sections for vegetables, fruits, grains, and foods high in protein. With MyPlate, forget about measuring out serving sizes and trying to remember whether a piece a chicken should be the size of a fist or a golf ball. The icon visual shows you what you need:

•fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits

•fill ¼ of the plate with grains and make at least half the grains you serve are whole grains, like oatmeal and brown rice

•The other ¼ of your plate should be a protein, like chicken or eggs

•Serve fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk and water rather than sugary drinks

Once you get the concept of MyPlate down, you might be wondering: Do I have to serve all the food groups at each meal? And what about breakfast? Do I really have to veggies for breakfast? No, you don’t, but do aim to serve a variety of food groups at each meal. Use the plate as a guide when planning and serving meals. The goal is to think of the plate as an entire day’s worth of eating: so, throughout the day, try to make half of what you eat vegetables and fruits, and the other half grains and protein foods. It is that simple to create a healthy meal! Exercise is no longer included in the icon, but it’s still an important component of a healthy lifestyle as well. So visit and reimage your plate today!

Get out of your recipe rut with these new recipes!

Thinking about eating healthier but don’t know where to start? Or are you stuck in a recipe rut? Eating healthy doesn’t mean what you eat tastes like cardboard or is difficult to make. Our Get Healthy team has put together some EASY recipes that are not only simple but delicious as well! Most of these recipes only have three steps to prepare so is no excuse why you can’t whip them up!  Here is a little taste…

Strawberry Mango Salsa… This salsa is tangy yet sweet and adds a burst of color to any plate and can be eaten as a side or with tortilla chips

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
⅔ cup orange juice (2-3 oranges)
¼ cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)
2 fresh mango, diced
2 pints (16 oz each) strawberries, diced

1. In a large serving bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar orange juice, lemon juice, and lime juice. Add sweetener if desired.
2. Add mango and strawberries and lightly combine.
3. Wait about half hour before serving to let flavors mingle together
To check out our Get Healthy Recipes today.

Let us know your favorite healthy recipes too!

Quit smoking and save your heart!

Certain types of heart disease can be prevented by making lifestyle changes. Quitting smoking is one of those lifestyle changes that can prevent heart diseases. Smoking can lead to heart attack or stroke and steals an average of 13-14 years of your life. It causes immediate harm to your body.  If you could see it, would you still smoke? Check out this video.

The good news is that it’s never too late to quit! Once you stop smoking, your risk for heart attack and stroke declines each year. The health benefits of quitting smoking are substantial including decreasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, lung and other cancers, and chronic lung disease.

The most effective and long term approach to break nicotine dependence is to get professional help in creating your individual strategy to quit smoking. Do you have a family or friend who needs to quit? Give them information on how to get help to quit!

Call 1-800-QUIT NOW or (800) 784-8669 to start the process today. Hours of Operation: Monday– Sunday 4 a.m. – 10 p.m., Pacific Standard Time

Healthy heart equals healthy choices

Good heart health means being active, eating healthy and maintaining a healthy weight. We understand that can sometimes be a challenge. Here are some resources to help you do just that!

  • Join the Nutrition Challenge and learn how to eat healthier. This free 8-week online program will help you increase the number of fruits and veggies you eat each day.
  • Go for a walk outside! Find trails and parks in your neighborhood. Check out the Neon to Nature App.
  • Take the guesswork out of healthy eating. By choosing a plan that’s just right for you, these 28-day meal plans can help you healthfully lose weight and learn the patterns of a heart-healthy diet.
  • Join the Walk Around Nevada and increase your acitivity by keeping track of your steps or miles. Complete a lap around NV and earn a Hall of Fame T-shirt!
  • You don’t have to drastically change the way you shop to eat healthy. Check out this link to find tips to ensure you have the right foods in your healthy eating plan.
  • Looking to lose some pounds? The 10 in 10 Challenge is a free online program designed to help you lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks.
Reduce your blood pressure and help your heart

Too much sodium increases your risk for high blood pressure… and high blood pressure is the leading cause of heart attack and stroke. By taking the right steps to reduce your sodium intake, your blood pressure can begin decreasing within weeks. You can help control it! We consume excess sodium—primarily from salt added to food by manufacturers and restaurants—increasing our risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Look for low-sodium options. Eat out less. Look for canned items that say no salt added. These small changes can add up. Want to get your blood pressure checked? Find a location near you using this tool. For more information click Million Hearts.

Be one in a Million!

This February we are focusing on healthy hearts.  We are committing with our national partners to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes. Be one in a million! Take the Million Hearts Pledge! Make a commitment to saving your life. Wondering if you are at risk for cardiovascular diseases? Use the assessment tool My Life Check to assess your current cardiovascular health.

Most risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, specifically high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and obesity are preventable and controllable. Reducing your risk is as easy as knowing your ABCs…

Appropriate aspirin therapy
Blood pressure control
Cholesterol management
Smoking Cessation

For more information on the ABCS of heart health check out the Reduce Risk Reduction Fact Sheet.


10 in 10 Challenge 2015!

I am going to get organized…I am going to spend more time with friends and family…I am going to lose weight…

We have all made New Year’s resolutions before, and by about the 3rd week in January, we have forgotten about them, lost motivation, or given up!  Well if your New Year’s resolution was to drop a few pounds, you are in luck; the Southern Nevada Health District has created the 10 in 10 Challenge to help you lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks!

This program is not a diet, you don’t have to give up your favorite foods, eat foods you have never heard of, or work out for 5 hours a day!  The program is simple, simply reduce your caloric intake by 250 calories each day and increase your activity level by 250 calories each day. 

The 10 in 10 Challenge will teach you about what you normally eat and how many calories you normally consume.  We will provide you with a list of options to make food swaps that will save you calories throughout the day.  And we’re also going to give you ways to burn off 250 calories each day.

The program is designed to let people make their own choices so if you already know you can’t give up your latte every morning that’s OK.  We’re going to give you ways to make food swaps throughout the day that will still get you to that 250 calorie deficit.  Combined with some daily activity, modifications to the foods that you normally eat will get you eating healthy for a lifetime.

The challenge begins on February 9, 2015.  It is FREE and open to anyone.  Sign up today at !!

Sitting too much

Our entire modern world makes it a whole lot easier to just sit .When at work,  we sit at our desk.  When driving home, we sit in our cars.  When at home, we sit in front of the TV. 

Studies are showing that prolonged periods of sitting are not good for our health.  We need to be moving more throughout the day!  Less Sitting!  More Moving!  Here are some tips to get you up and moving throughout the day:

- Stand or walking at least once an hour.
- If you have the choice, stand rather than sit.
- Walk while on the phone
- Instead of sending an email, go deliver the message in person
- Park farther away from the building
- Walk to the farthest restroom in the office
- Walk at lunch
- Don’t use the drive-up window.  Park the car and walk to the counter or ATM.
- Multitask while watching TV.  Get up and move during commercials.

Moral of this post.  Move More!  Sit Less!

Find walking trails in vegas valley

Looking for new places to go for a walk? Tired of the same route you take your dog? Check out our new mobile app Neon to Nature and find new trails near your neighborhood. Download the mobile app for Apple or Android phone.  Search for “Neon to Nature”  in the app store.

The Neon to Nature app mirrors our web based program but is mobile! It allows users to find urban or rural trails and parks in neighborhoods throughout valley. Detailed information about each trail is provided such as its location, distance, surface type, and its level of difficulty as well as photos and available amenities. Trail maps are included too!

For more information

Healthy Holiday Party Eating

The holidays are in full swing, which means lots of family, fun…and food! But it doesn’t have to mean eating unhealthily. Even holiday treats can fit into a healthy eating plan. The key is balance and moderation. When is comes to holiday party eating here are a few tips to help you enjoy yourself but also keep it healthy.

Take small portions.  Your holiday plate does not need to be piled high.  Take small portions, use a smaller plate, eat slowly and wait a little while before you go back for seconds.

Add a few vegetables and/or fruit. There are often lots of things offered at a holiday party. Start with vegetables and fruit. Skip the dip for both items to avoid calories and fat. This is a good way to get started and make sure that you eat a balanced meal while there.

Bring a Dish.  Offer to bring a low-calorie dish to holiday parties. Your host might appreciate it, and you’ll know that at least one healthy item will be on hand.

Trim the dessert.  You can scrape lots of calories off treats and still enjoy the experience.  Scrape off the icing off a piece of carrot cake and save 245 calories.  Eat pie without the crust and save 120 calories.

Watch the liquid calories.  Holiday celebrations can translate into lots of extra calories from drinks you don’t normally consume.  For example 1 cup of Eggnog has 340 calories. It is okay to enjoy these drinks every once in a while, but don’t make it an everyday holiday occurrence.  Have a glass of water, apple cider, or cranberry juice and club soda.  For other ways to spruce up your water or other drinks check out our Sugar Sweetened Beverage page.

Eat before you Party.  To prevent you from eating everything at your holiday social functions, eat small light meals throughout the day.  That way when you arrive at the party you won’t want to eat everything in sight.

Mingle!  Don’t park yourself in front of the buffet at a party. If you stand by the buffet, you’ll eat more than you would if it was across the room. Instead work hard to meet new people, talk to those you have never talked to, and use this time to talk to those you rarely talk to.