Q: What are the benefits of Rice Milk and Almond Milk and how do they compare to each other?

The benefits of drinking either of these alternatives to cow’s milk is due to the fact that they are plant based. Plant-based milks will not contain cholesterol and will usually have little saturated fat. The almond milk should also contain the nutrients found in whole almonds, like vitamin E and magnesium.

On the other hand, because they are plant based, they will not contain vitamin B12, they are low in protein, and have little calcium unless fortified. Even when they are fortified with calcium it will not be absorbed as well as the calcium found in dairy. The nutrient and calorie content will vary widely according to manufacturer, so be sure to check the nutrition facts. If you are consuming a vegan diet, be sure to look for milks that are fortified with B12, vitamin D and calcium.

You may want to check the ingredient label to see what they’ve put into the milks. Manufacturers may add sweeteners to enhance the flavor, and if you are a person with diabetes you should look at the total carbohydrates in a serving. Rice milk tends to have more carbohydrates than almond milk. Both should work well in cooking, though you shouldn’t use a sweet or flavored product with savory dishes like mashed potatoes.

The best way to compare these two products is to look at the nutrition facts labels side by side and see which one packs the most nutrients in per serving for the amount of calories. You should also consider the taste of course, and the price.

-Aurora Buffington, MS,RD

100 Calorie Snacks

Many food manufacturers have adopted the idea of “100 Calorie Packs” and help consumers exercise portion control.  Yet, have any of you recognized how little food is in each pack?  100 calories of cookies is really not that much!  Fruits and vegetables are even better way of managing weight and controlling portions.  We’ve developed our own “100 Calorie Packs” that you can also use as snacks during your day:
2 cups broccoli
1 medium banana
1 1/5 cups of raspberries
2 cups baby carrots
3 oz. fish
7 cups spinach
20 stalks of celery
1 medium cantaloupe

Q: How much physical activity do you need to do each week to gain health benefits?

The answer is found in the guidelines for physical activity. The guidelines recommend that most adults get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking. Or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activities like jogging. Or get an equivalent mix of both each week. Everyone should also do muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups, a minimum of twice a week. Children and adolescents need 60 minutes of physical activity each day.

Don’t feel overwhelmed about the amount of time.  150 minutes each week sounds like a lot of time but really it breaks down to be 2. 5 hours a week.  About the same amount of time as a movie.

The good news is that you don’t have to do it all at once. You can break it up and spread it out thought the day or even the week. You can break up your activity into 10 min bursts throughout the day. Almost any activity can count  Choose activities you enjoy! Playing tennis, walking, soccer, dancing or riding a bike.  No matter what you do, make it fun and something that you want to do not something you feel like you have to do.

Just remember that some activity is better than none. The more you do, the greater the health benefits and the better you’ll feel. For more detailed information go to www.gethealthyclarkcounty.org