5 Fall-Fresh Fruits & Veggies to Try Now!

November 06, 2018

Southern California’s 80-degree sunshine-filled days don’t exactly feel like autumn, but you can still experience fall in the produce aisle of your grocery store! Peaches, nectarines, watermelons and other summer fruits are beginning to give way to heartier fall fruits and veggies. When you buy foods that are in-season, they’re healthier, have richer flavor, and cost less. Try them as suggested, and they’re sure to become family favorites. 
 

1.    Apples
apples

Apples have evolved from the Red Delicious you probably got in your school lunches, and there are many types of apples that have been grown to be sweet, crunchy, and more flavorful. You can slice them up and add them to salads, or bake them with cinnamon for a healthy, crunchy treat. 

Choose apples that are firm and free of blemishes or bruises. Store them in a cool, dry place - away from avocados, bananas, or citrus fruit.  To keep apples fresh after they’ve been sliced, give them a squeeze of lemon juice. This will prevent them from browning. 

Benefits: Apples are high in fiber and vitamin C – so they’ll keep you feeling full and healthy.

2.    Pumpkin
pumpkin

Pie isn’t the only way to enjoy this delicious, festive food. Enjoy it baked, like spaghetti squash or zucchini, but ditch the butter and try coconut oil or coconut milk instead. 

Benefits: Pumpkin is full of fiber and vitamin A, which is great for your skin and eyes. You’re also getting powerful anti-inflammatories that can reduce pain and swelling while promoting improved digestion and circulation. 
 

3.    Beets
beets

Naturally-sweet beets are edible from their leafy greens down to the root.  The hearty leaves are like spinach: use them in a salad or enjoy them sautéed with some heart-healthy olive oil or vinegar. Beets are also delicious raw, shredded, and tossed in salads or thinly sliced and baked into chips.

Roasting or steaming beets whole takes the fuss out of peeling — the skin easily slides off after cooking. Fresh is always best, but in a pinch, you can make a delicious, healthy side dish by adding olive oil and oregano to canned beets. 

Benefits: Beets are rich in naturally occurring nitrates and may help to support healthy blood pressure. 
 

4.    Sweet Potatoes
sweet potatoe

Once you try a baked sweet potato, you may never go back to the plain white spuds again. During the fall, there’s a huge variety of sweet potatoes available. Any of the varieties make a great breakfast side dish, and they’re equally delicious in desserts and savory dishes.

If you do eat them baked, skip the butter and cream and try using healthier coconut oil or coconut milk instead. Sweet potatoes stay fresher for longer when kept in a cool, dark place. Toss any that’ve grown sprouts.
 
Benefits: Sweet potatoes are loaded with carotenoids, vitamin E, potassium, copper, and fiber. They also have fewer calories and carbohydrates than white spuds.
 

5.    Kale
kale

Kale is definitely having a moment! The superfood is turning up everywhere, from juices and smoothies to salads and main dishes. 

Think lettuce, only tastier and heartier. Kale is so durable, it tastes sweeter when it is cold! Sautee it with salt, pepper, and olive oil as a tasty side dish. Add it to salads, tacos, or any other food that could use a healthy crunch. Unlike other types of greens, you can add your salad dressing ahead of time. The kale becomes more tender and delicious, not wilted.

Benefits: One cup of raw kale has only 8 calories and is loaded with vitamins A, C, and K as well as magnesium. Kale is also packed with fiber.
 

These are just a few of our suggestions. Check your favorite place to find healthy recipes – or get creative. With so many fresh fall flavors, the possibilities are endless.

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Childhood Obesity: Fight the Growing Problem

September 04, 2019

Obesity is a growing problem that affects a child’s physical, social, and emotional well-being. While weight isn’t the only measure of health, obesity is defined as having a weight-to-height ratio that is much greater than other kids of the same age and gender. At almost 26% and 22%, the obesity rate among Latino and African American children aged 2-19 is above the national average in the United States. We’ve got to work together, as families and communities, to help our children grow healthy.

 

A Healthy Lifestyle Starts Early

girl drinking a glass of water

Our children’s weights are usually determined by a little bit of nature, a little bit of nurture: genetics play a big role but so do healthy eating and activity habits (or lack of them). As a parent, there’s a lot you can do to help your child maintain a healthy weight:

  • Don’t offer food as a reward or comfort, or punish by restricting access to a preferred food.
  • Serve balanced meals that are high in nutrients but lower in calories, sugar, salt, and fat.
  • Avoid the temptation of the fast food drive-thru.
  • Limit empty-calorie drinks like sugary sodas, sports drinks, and juices.
  • Add colorful fruits and vegetables to every meal.
  • Find fun ways to help your child get at least an hour of physical activity most days of the week.
  • Better yet, take advantage of the So Cal sunshine and get the whole family outside for playtime.
  • Limit screen time (television, social media, games).

 

In Some Cases, Obesity Can Be Caused by Health Conditions

feet of a child over a bathroom scale

Sometimes, weight gain or obesity can be caused by a disease or even a medication. Some disorders, such as hypothyroidism, affect the metabolism (how your body changes food and oxygen into energy), which can lead to extra weight. Medications can also be a factor: for example, the steroids that are commonly given with allergy shots can increase the appetite and cause weight gain. If you believe any of these things are affecting your child’s weight, talk to your pediatrician. If you don’t have one, we can help you find a good one!

 

Health Conditions Caused by Obesity

Obesity affects a child’s physical, social, and emotional health. It is a chronic disease that can cause or worsen other chronic diseases, such as:

  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • Social isolation
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Low self-esteem
  • High blood pressure
  • Bone and joint problems

 

Let’s Make a Difference Together!

chubby child eating broccoli

Your child depends on you to help them live a healthy life. Empower your child to make good choices about food and physical activity: better yet, set a good example for them!

If your child is overweight, take it seriously but don’t get down about it. Be patient and persistent, while also understanding healthy weight loss takes time. Instead of placing your child on a restrictive diet, try to teach them healthy habits about eating that will stick with them through life.

 

The fight to end childhood obesity starts at home and in your community.

Daughter and father playing hula-pop in the backyard

Need some support? We are here to help you with our Solutions and Treatment in Obesity Management and Prevention (STOMP) program. This year-long pediatric weight-control program helps you and your family live a healthy lifestyle by offering nutrition and fitness education, motivational messages, medical care, and personal consultations. It’s a supportive, fun environment, and depending on insurance and eligibility, you and your family may qualify for free.

 

Call one of our participating STOMP locations to find out more today:


AltaMed Medical and Dental Group - Anaheim, Lincoln (714) 678-2134
AltaMed Medical and Dental Group - Boyle Heights (323) 307-0402

AltaMed Medical and Dental Group - El Monte  (626) 453-8466

AltaMed Medical and Dental Group - Huntington Beach (888) 499-9303

AltaMed Medical Group - Santa Ana, Broadway (714) 919-0280

 

Eating Until You’re Color-Full

July 30, 2018

Colorful foods aren’t just nice to look at, they offer a lot of benefits to your health! 

berries

Red, Blue, and Purple Food:

  • They can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, urinary tract infections, and memory loss.
  •  These foods contain potassium, vitamins A and C, and folate. 
  • They are known for anti-inflammatory properties, helping to protect against cell damage, and keeping the heart, blood, joint, and immune systems healthy. 
  • Foods include tomatoes, pomegranates, berries, watermelon, cabbage, beets, eggplant, grapes, raisins, cherries, kidney beans, and red pepper.

 

lemons

 Orange and Yellow Food:

  • They can improve immune function and lower the risk of heart disease, vision problems and cancer. 
  • These foods contain folate, potassium, bromium, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium. 
  • They are known for flushing out toxins and keeping the eyes, skin, teeth, and bones healthy. 
  • Try carrots, lemons, oranges, corn, peaches, nectarines, mango, squash, pineapple, bell pepper, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes. 
     

avacados

Green Food:

  •  They can lower the risk of cancer and vision problems. 
  •  These foods contain folate and vitamins A, C, and K. 
  •   They are known for fighting free radicals, helping prevent blood clots, and regulating blood sugar. 
  • Foods include leafy greens like kale, spinach and arugula, green apples, limes, kiwi, avocado, cucumber, asparagus, green beans, grapes, and broccoli. 


garlic

White Food:

  • They can lower the risk for stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and cancers like colorectal cancer.  
  • These foods contain potassium, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin C. 
  •  They are known for providing essential dietary fiber and supporting the immune and circulatory systems.
  •  Try pears, bananas, cauliflower, mushrooms, ginger, dates, potatoes, garlic, onions, black eyed peas, and white nectarines. 


According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we should all try to eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day in a variety of colors. So go ahead and fill your plate with a rainbow of fruits and veggies!