Spaghetti Squash, It’s What’s For Dinner

spaghetti sqCollege of DuPage Nuring Student Tim Beucher shared this great dinner idea:

Looking for a healthy low carb dinner the whole family will enjoy? The lesser known spaghetti squash is the answer. This recipe incorporates all of the flavors of a southwest style casserole, with noodles substituted with strands of spaghetti squash.


one spaghetti squash, approx. 3lbs
one. 14oz can of undrained Mexican style tomatoes
one, 14oz can of drained/rinsed black beans
¾ cup of Monterey jack cheese
¼ cup of finely chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
¼ teaspoon of black pepper
¼ teaspoon of garlic salt


Preheat oven 350°F
Cut squash in half lengthwise
Remove seeds

In greased baking pan lay squash cut side down. Bake 45 minutes – 1hour, or until squash is tender. Use fork to remove squash in noodle like strands, into large bowl Add beans, tomatoes, cumin, garlic salt, cilantro, pepper, and ½ cup of cheese

Spray 1 ½ quart casserole pan with non-stick cooking spray/oil. Spread contents of bowl evenly in pan. Spread remaining cheese on top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes


** Favorite veggie or meat? Add it!

Nutritional information and reference found at:


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Here’s Exactly How Much Time You Should Spend Standing During The Day

standingSitting all day at the office is seriously problematic, even if you get hit the recommended amount of exercise. While the solution is to stand and move a little more throughout your day, the exact prescription of how often was left undetermined. Until now.

The suggestion issued in the British Journal of Sports Medicine is: you should be accumulating two hours of “standing time” during work hours. Actually, they want you to start with the two-hour goal, then aim for four hours per day of “light intensity activities.” But you know, start small.

Does this mean you should get yourself a standing desk ASAP? You could. The experts do endorse them. However, Gavin Bradley, director of Active Working, a group that want to increase awareness of the dangers of sitting and was responsible for putting together the journal’s expert panel (along with Public Health England), says there are lots of other ways to get out of your seat.

“Taking your calls standing. Walking around. Pacing. Holding standing meetings. Walking meetings. Walking over to a colleague’s desk instead of sending an e-mail. Using the stairs instead of the elevator. Taking a lunch break. Simple stuff,” Bradley tells The Washington Post.

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It’s time for your annual flu shot

article-cold-fluInfluenza (flu) season in Illinois typically starts in October and the DuPage County Health Department is recommending that everyone six months and older be vaccinated against influenza. The Health Department suggests that residents check with their physician’s office or local pharmacy for the availability of flu vaccine.

The single most effective way to prevent getting the flu is an annual flu shot. Influenza is a serious illness and can be fatal. Even healthy people get the flu each year, so it’s important for everyone to be vaccinated.  Protecting yourself from flu also protects the people around you who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness.  When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community.

The vaccine comes in the traditional form of a flu shot, but for people who don’t like needles, there is an intradermal vaccine given with a much smaller needle, or a nasal spray. There are also high-dose vaccines for people age 65 and older and recombinant (egg-free) vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that manufacturers are making more than 171 million doses, 40 million of which have already been distributed across the country.

Flu season usually lasts until May. Flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands or sometimes tens of thousands of deaths. In the United States, the rate of flu-related hospitalizations among people age 65 and older last season was the highest ever recorded since this type of record-keeping began a decade ago.  Flu also hit children hard with 145 lab-confirmed influenza-associated pediatric deaths reported, a number that is known to be an underestimate of the true number of these deaths.

In addition to getting a flu shot, the Health Department recommends following the 3 C’s:

  • Clean – frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water.
  • Cover – cover your cough and sneeze.
  • Contain – contain your germs by staying home if you are sick.

Influenza antiviral drugs can be a second line of defense for treatment of some who get sick with flu. Many observational studies have found that in addition to lessening the duration and severity of symptoms, antiviral drugs can prevent flu complications.

Because it is important to start antiviral medication quickly, high-risk patients should contact a healthcare professional at the first signs of influenza symptoms, which include sudden onset of fever, aches, chills and tiredness.

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Using the Power of Music to Relieve Pain

Listening-to-music-can-reduce-painKeaton Miller C.O.D. Student RN shared that according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, antibiotics, antidepressants, and painkiller opioids are the most commonly prescribed medications given to Americans. The research also notes that 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug. Prescription pain medication can be highly effective for those who are in chronic or acute pain. Although modern pharmaceutical advances have been highly beneficial to humanity, some would argue the overuse of prescription pain medication; perhaps it’s time to consider alternative means.

Research into the power of music in medicine and health has gained traction in recent years in response to the over medication of America.   The use of music in clinical settings has been shown to reduce anxiety, fear, pain-related distress, and blood pressure; music also lowers the need for pain medications by lowering the pain-intensity levels.

What is it about music that makes us feel better and helps us cope? The current research theories are concerned with nerve impulses in the central nervous system that are manipulated by thought and emotion. By using music to take our minds off pain-related distress, we reduce the extent to which we feel the pain. Music has the power to grab our attention and engages our emotions.

Music preference is highly personal, and research has shown that our favorite kinds of music, artists, and genres will have the strongest positive effects in reducing anxiety and depression, while increasing pain tolerance and feelings of control of pain. Music also reduces agitation in older people with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Researchers are hoping the painkilling effects of music will reduce our dependence on prescription medications. Further research into the effects of music on patients with chronic or acute pain is being done to help us understand ways to maximize its effects, so don’t go clean out your medicine cabinet just yet!


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5 Ways to Add Health and Fitness Into Your Busy Schedule

fitnessRachael Daily from Mapmyfitness shared that while optimum health and fitness are important to many, the demands of work, home and personal life can leave one feeling like there’s just not enough time. However, just a few minutes of exercise a day can actually improve one’s health. Whether it’s a simple five-minute walk or an intense hike in the woods, exercise can release endorphins that can help relieve stress and make you more relaxed and productive in everyday life.

Here are five tips to help you get fit and healthy.

1. Set short-term and long-term goals.
Short-term goals will keep you consistent daily. Long-term goals will challenge you out of your comfort zone. As a short term goal you could drink one green smoothie a day. A long-term goal would be to train and register for a 5K, 10K or beyond depending on your fitness level and time constraints.

2. Get support.
Reaching out to others who share similar goals will help you reach your goals faster. Join a Weight Watchers group or a local walk or running club in your area. Join a gym or do a yoga class. Find an online weight loss forum for support and motivation.

Continue reading

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Protein Is Your Friend

barsCollege of DuPage Nursing Student Meghan K. Breitenbucher shared that protein is a vital part of any healthy diet. The problem is that many people find carbohydrates and fats to be faster and tastier all around. Think about when you eat high carb meals though, it may taste great, but you develop what I like to call a “food baby.” This “food baby” leaves you wanting to take a nice siesta, mid-day. How does this tie into protein? Protein combined with some carbohydrates causes your blood sugar to rise and fall at more of a steadier rate.

Not making sense? Think of it like this… Carbohydrates make mountains in your bloodstream. The sugars are quickly taken in, spiking your blood sugar and then the insulin lowers you quickly. Suddenly you feel tired, from the fast incline and decline. You also feel hungry sooner. Protein however, gives you nice hills. It causes your body to process those sugars over a more steady time-frame. This nice hill keeps your cravings down, and your energy up.

When possible, always add some protein into your meals and snacks. Whether it’s a cheese stick, some eggs, almonds, etc. Your body will thank you later. Below I’ve attached a family-friendly recipe for some simply delicious protein bites. I found it off of a recipe blog website. This is a quick way to give your family a high protein and carbohydrate combination snack to curb the hunger until dinner time rolls around. Enjoy!!!

Honey-Nut Protein Bites

Author: Lauren Greutman
Prep time:  10 mins
Total time:  10 mins
Serves: 15 bites


  • 3cups of Honey-Nut Cheerios (comes out to 2 cups of crushed Honey-Nut Cheerios)
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Coconut
  • 2 Tbsp Yoplait Greek Yogurt
  • ⅔ cup of Natural Peanut Butter
  • ⅓ cup Honey
  • 1 cup Mini Chocolate Chips


  1. Measure out 3 cups of Honey Nut Cheerios. Place in ziploc bag and break them into crumbs with a rolling pin or spoon. This will bring them down to apron 2 cups worth.
  2. Add 1 cup of unsweetened coconut.
  3. Add in 2 Tbsp of Yoplait Greek Yogurt
  4. Add ⅔ of a cup Natural Peanut Butter (I used Crunchy this time for extra protein)
  5. Add ¼ cup of honey
  6. Add in 1 cup of Mini Chocolate Chips
  7. Stir together and roll into small balls
  8. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour
  9. Serve to hungry children when they get home from school


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Aspirin: An Old Drug with a New Indication


Elizabeth Moxley an Adjunct Faculty Member at the College of DuPage and an Assistant Professor at DePaul University shared that aspirin (ASA) is a widely used drug and popular in the news lately. A recent study published in JACC (J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015 Jan 20;65(2):111-21) reports that more than 11% of individuals who take ASA daily to reduce the risk of heart disease, should not; it carries the risk of GI bleeding. The American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines suggest daily ASA for individuals who have a 10-year cardiovascular risk of at least 10%. (See NIH risk calculator for risk assessment). The study also estimated that 17% of women taking ASA had less than a 6% risk, and therefore, ‘may be doing more harm than good’, according to the author of the study, Dr. Virani. In a similar vein,

Dr. S. Nissen, from the Cleveland Clinic recommends not taking ASA to prevent a first heart attack or stroke and believes millions of individuals may take ASA who should not. These warnings have been considered in part, as ASA therapy has for the first time been recommended to prevent not only heart attacks, but colorectal cancer (CA) according to an expert panel.

The guidelines of the draft report (Sept. 14, 2015) from the US Preventive Services Task Force, found that the benefits of low-dose ASA outweighed the risks in adults ages 50-69 who are at high risk for heart disease, with the most benefit for those in their 50s and lower for adults between 60-69 years, as the risk for bleeding increases with age. No current recommendations are listed for individuals less than 50 or older than 70 years.

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Get Ready for “APPLE CRUNCH DAY!”

crunch appleIt is not until October 22 but we would love to post YOUR Healthy “Apple Crunch” Selfie on our site to encourage EVERYONE to participate!  Please email us your selfie at:

On that date the first Great Apple Crunch! Illinois  is joining with other Midwestern states to celebrate local apples this fall as a part of Farm to School Month.

The Great Apple Crunch 2015 is a pilot program coordinated by the Illinois Farm to School Network, Agriculture in the Classroom and the Illinois Farm Bureau.

Schools (AND ADULTS) are encouraged to participate in the Crunch and there are many options for what they can do. The cafeteria can serve local apples during the lunch period, using their regular food service providers. Depending on where you are located, local can mean within a 200-mile radius. Cafeterias are also encouraged to use DOD Fresh funds to buy Illinois apples for the Crunch. This will benefit our local farmers and you’ll love the way the fresh, locally grown apples taste. Kids can crunch into their apples all at the same time and see how loud it gets!

The Lombard Jewel Store has already opted in to help promote this event. They are planning on: handing out Healthy Eater Cards to the kids under 12 from the Lombard Elementary School District 44 and will also have the store in Lombard to hand out healthy eater cards and coupons for bagged apples that day. 

If YOUR school would like some cards/coupons, just comment on this post and a Healthy Lombard representative will get you signed in.

To have YOUR school officially participate and receive great information and receive a cafeteria poster and a classroom ‘Ag Mag’ all about apples, created by Agriculture in the Classroom just contact Lydia Mills at the Illinois Farm to School Network at


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GYM Bags Are Doing Great At Butterfield School

GYM Bags

Healthy Lombard  would like to sincerely thank Physical Education Instructor Carrie Fernandez at Butterfield School in District 44 for participating in our G.Y.M. (Get Yourself Moving) Bag Program for 2nd graders

This program provides the opportunity for two or more 2nd graders to take home a G.Y.M. Bag each Friday so they can continue to “exercise” 60 minutes a day during the weekend. The bag contains balls, a Frisbee, a jump rope, a paddleball, recipes, a list of healthful hints, an activity booklet from Elmhurst Hospital or The BEARS, and a journal.

The students use all the items in the bag, fill out the activity booklet. They also write up what they did on the journal sheet that is then displayed either on a hallway or gym bulletin board the following week (AS SHOWN ABOVE).

This is a great activity because it involves children and parents, the left and right side of the brain, and … it’s FUN!

IF YOUR LOMBARD-AREA SCHOOL is not taking advantage of this FREE program, please ask  the principal or the Physical Education Teacher to send an email to us at


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