5-Minute Lunch Ideas – Nutritious & Easy

By Alexander Clabourne, RD | Registered Dietitian

Have you ever struggled to find something healthy for lunch while at work or didn’t have enough time to meal prep? Look no further with these simple lunches that can be made in 5 minutes or less! Eating healthy does not need to be a complex task. It’s quite simple to incorporate nutrient dense foods in your meals in a time friendly manner. Eating healthy does not always have to include choosing fresh fruits and vegetables and making foods from scratch all the time. Frozen, canned and dried foods are convenient and still provide the essential nutrients our bodies need too. Check out these quick lunch ideas!  

Bento Lunch Box

  • Tuna or chicken salad- combine one 2.5 ounce can or packet of choice with 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise and spices of choice. I like to use paprika, black pepper and dried dill. If you don’t like either of these try 1 cup of Greek yogurt, soy yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese instead. 
  • Nuts or seeds- ¼ cup or small handful of choice. Some good options are cashews, peanuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
  •  Fruit- ¼ cup dried fruit or ½ cup of canned fruit. Choose any that you like! If choosing canned or cupped fruit, try choosing varieties packed in juice and not in syrup.
  • Vegetables- 1 cup any variety. Quick options include baby carrots, sugar snap peas, baby bell peppers and celery sticks.
  • Whole grain/ whole wheat crackers- 4-6 crackers. I like to use Wasa Crispbreads for extra fiber!

Asian Chicken Salad Bowl

  • Brown rice or wild rice- 1 cup of instant rice, ready in 60-90 seconds in the microwave.
  • Chicken- 3 ounces of ready to eat shredded or canned chicken. Good brand for shredded chicken is Del Real. For vegan or vegetarians use 3 ounces of tofu or ½ cup of canned beans (any kind). For extra plant protein add 1 handful of edamame.
  • Salad kit- 1 cup from an Asian salad kit.
  • Dressing- 2 tablespoons of roasted sesame or sesame ginger dressing.

Lunch Wrap

  • Protein- 3 ounces of ready to eat shredded chicken or pork or 3-4 slices of reduced sodium ham or turkey. For vegans and vegetarians try seitan. A good brand is Sweet Earth.
  • Vegetable- 1 cup from a bag of coleslaw mix.
  • Whole grain/whole wheat wrap- 1 pita, wrap or tortilla.
  • Condiments- 1 tablespoon of low-fat mayonnaise or mustard.

Protein Grain Bowl

  • Protein- one 2.5 ounce can or package of chicken or tuna.
  • Grain- 1 bag of instant rice and lentil mix ready in 60-90 seconds or your favorite choice of grain blend.
  • Vegetable- ½ bag of microwavable frozen vegetables. Any kind is good! Try finding varieties without added sauces or cheeses.
  • Condiment- 2 tablespoons of chipotle or garlic aioli. A good brand is J.L. Kraft.  

For further nutrition education and questions, schedule an appointment with a NOAH Registered Dietitian today!

Weeding Through Nutrition Information

By Annie Dodt, RDN | Registered Dietitian

Let’s face it, in the age of technology, there’s endless nutrition information available, making it difficult to be an informed consumer and knowing who and what to trust. Nutrition can be confusing to navigate and conflicting information from health influencers without expertise doesn’t make it any easier. Here are a few tips to help weed through what information is worth considering.

Who is the information coming from?

Who is the information coming from and what are their motivations? Are they requiring you to buy their specific expensive supplement or cleanse? Do they have credentials or specific training in the field that supports the information they provide? A dietitian requires a master’s degree, a supervised practice internship in the field of study, and credentialing through a national registrar. In 48 states, dietitians are also required to be licensed (Arizona and Michigan are the exceptions). A nutritionist does not require any of this.

Is there science/evidence backing the claims they are making?

Yes, while it is true science and nutrition are constantly changing as we learn and collect more data, making sure the information is coming from a reputable source is important for insuring its legitimacy. Ideally, the most trustworthy information should be backed by double-blind peer reviewed studies. These specific studies work to eliminate bias, so results are not influenced, and are critically evaluated and assessed by experts in the field to make sure the information is accurate.

Tailored nutrition

Nutrition isn’t one size fits all. What works for one person may not work for you. Avoid nutrition information that offers blanket statements.

Cutting out entire food groups or restrictive eating patterns

All foods fit. Be cautious of nutrition information that eliminates entire food groups or requires you to be overly restrictive with your intake. The exceptions to this are certain medical conditions or food allergies/intolerances.

Complex arguments

Be wary of information that uses terms like “always” or “never.” As we know, science and nutrition are constantly evolving. There is room for change and exceptions.

For more help navigating the nutrition world, please visit with one of our knowledgeable friendly dietitians at NOAH! Whether it’s management of a chronic condition, coming up with snack ideas, or simply wanting to improve your eating habits, a dietitian is an expert in nutrition who can help create a personalized plan for you to help achieve your health goals.

Charcoal Toothpaste: Is it Safe and Does it Work?

By Mina Youssef, RDH | Dental Hygienist

Is charcoal dangerous for my teeth?

Charcoal is known to be a very abrasive substance. Charcoal is very coarse and gritty, which in turn helps to remove surface stains and plaque from your teeth. Also, charcoal is so harsh that it also wears away the top layer of the tooth called enamel, leaving your tooth weak and susceptible to sensitivity and prone to cavities.

Does charcoal actually whiten your teeth?

Activated charcoal is incredibly porous, meaning that it’s highly effective at absorbing bacteria, oil, and dirt. In addition, charcoal is sometimes used in medical settings to remove dangerous toxins. However, it may not actually be effective at whitening your teeth. Truth is, most claims about charcoal toothpaste are unproven.

Is charcoal toothpaste a safe choice for your teeth?

While charcoal-based toothpastes may market themselves as being effective, using abrasive toothpaste too frequently could eventually lead to permanent yellowing of the teeth. Another disadvantage about charcoal toothpaste is that most don’t have fluoride in them, an essential ingredient in preventing cavities.

Is charcoal toothpaste safe for kids/young teens?

Dentists do not recommend using charcoal toothpaste especially in kids and young teens. The abrasiveness of the charcoal could affect developing teeth and hinder growth.

Schedule an appointment with a NOAH dental provider here for more teeth healthy tips!

Does my Toothpaste Need to Include Fluoride?

By Jane Roots, RDH | Dental Hygienist

Yes! Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay.

According to the ADA, Fluoride has been considered safe, effective, and necessary in the prevention of tooth decay since 1950. By strengthening and slowing down the decay process, fluoride limits the ability for plaque and bacteria to break down the enamel of teeth. Fluoride in toothpaste is good, the medical and dental community recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day with a toothpaste that has Fluoride.

The center for disease control (CDC) and dental professionals concludes that “all persons should receive frequent exposure to small amounts of Fluoride,” Fluoride exposure can come from drinking water and toothpaste. Fluoride is beneficial in two ways. First is enamel remineralization, which means when fluoride is absorbed by the enamel on teeth, it attracts minerals to your teeth helping to keep them hard. Secondly, Fluoride helps by protecting your teeth during the demineralization process.

Fluoride never sleeps, it begins to strengthen your teeth enamel even before it breaks through the gums and continues working on an ongoing basis. Whenever you brush with a fluoride tooth paste or consume foods or beverages that contain fluoride, it strengthens weak spots in your enamel and help protect teeth from acid attack. Fluoride equals stronger enamel, less cavities, and a happier mouth!

Schedule a visit with your NOAH dental provider today!

Honoring Black History Month: Dr. Louis T. Wright

Among many of his accomplishments, Dr. Louis T. Wright was the first African American on the surgical staff of a non-segregated hospital in New York City.

Louis T. Wright

Louis T. Wright was born in 1891 in La Grange, Georgia. Wright was the son of a doctor and graduated from Clark Atlanta University in 1911. He went on to attend Harvard University and was very vocal about the unfair treatment he received from professors for not allowing him to deliver babies at a white teaching hospital. Despite graduating 4th in his class from Harvard University, he was unable to obtain an internship to work at any of Boston’s hospitals. Having graduated from a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) for his undergraduate degree, Dr. Wright took his talents to an affiliate of another HBCU, Howard University, to complete his post-graduate internship at Freedman’s Hospital in the District of Columbia.

In 1916, he returned to Atlanta to practice medicine with his stepfather and decided to join the NAACP. He later served as a Lieutenant in the Army Medical Corps during World War I. Dr. Wright ran a field hospital in France and would go on to attain the purple heart, a medal that represents a service member that has greatly sacrificed themselves, or paid the ultimate price, while in the line of duty. After the war, he opened a small practice in Harlem, New York in 1919 and continued to work with the local NAACP chapter.

In 1929, the New York Police Department appointed him Police Surgeon. In 1935, the NAACP appointed him Chairman of the board, and in 1943, Harlem Hospital named him Chief of Surgery. None of these titles have ever been awarded to an African American before.

Dr. Wright suffered from chronic lung damage that he acquired in the war from 1939 to 1942 and was later diagnosed with tuberculosis. He passed away in 1952 of a heart attack. Louis T. Wright was one of the most respected physicians during his time and his research proved significant in areas such as antibiotic treatment, cancer, treating head injuries and treating bone fractures.

Why You Should Attend Your Local Farmer’s Market

By Carolina Grant, RD, IBCLC | Registered Dietitian

March is National Nutrition Month, and this year’s topic is Fuel for the Future. There are many ways we can do this, and a good way to start is by being surrounded by nutritious foods such as the ones you can find at the farmer’s market. Around the valley, you can find a variety of farmer’s markets with local vendors and farmers year-round. You can find fresh produce, delicious food, and even homemade products. It’s a great way to try new things you wouldn’t typically find in stores.

Reasons to attend a local farmer’s market:

  1. Enjoy seasonal produce – the produce is as fresh as it gets and usually at its peak in flavor.
  2. Support your local farmers – this helps the local economy by supporting small businesses and creating more jobs.
  3. Cheaper prices – you can typically find great deals on conventional and organic produce.
  4. Less carbon footprint – farm to table is much closer when you’re shopping at your local farmer’s market a few miles away from home.
  5. Physical activity – you’ll do plenty of walking while traveling between vendors and getting some fresh air is always a great decision.
  6. Variety – you’ll find a variety of vendors selling pasta, bread, and fruits and vegetables among many other edible and non-edible items.

Tips for the farmer’s market:

  1. Get there early – you want to increase your chances of finding the most variety before the crowd arrives.
  2. Bring your own bags – most booths don’t offer any and you can help save some plastic.
  3. Bring the family, pets are welcomed too – this is a great way to involve children by allowing them to choose their fruits and vegetables.
  4. Talk to the farmers – they love sharing about their farming practices and will share some tips and tricks on food preparation.
  5. Shop the color of the rainbow – For a well-balanced diet, pick fruits and vegetables of all different colors for a variety of vitamins and minerals.
  6. Sample before you buy – this allows you to try different products without having to buy them first.
  7. Shop the deals – walk around once writing down prices or produce and come around a second time shopping for the best prices. If you find a great deal, buy extra to freeze, or make into large batches for leftovers.  

On WIC, SNAP, or 60 years and older? You’ll want to keep reading.

If you are on WIC or are a qualifying senior, you may be eligible for at least $30 and $50 respectively to spend at a participating farmer’s market on locally grown produce. However, beginning 2023, participants are eligible for an additional $50 per calendar year.

You’re eligible to collect coupons from February 1st to September 30th!

Click here for participating locations: Locations – Arizona Farmers Market Nutrition Program (azfmnp.org)

SNAP Recipients:

Do you have a SNAP/EBT card with an active balance? For every $1 you spend on produce, beans, and seeds, you receive an additional $1 – there is no daily limit on how much you can double.

Click here for participating locations: Locations — Double Up Food Bucks Arizona (doubleupaz.org)

If you have any questions regarding nutrition related concerns, please reach out to one of NOAH’s Registered Dietitians!

X-Rays – What are They Used For?

By Jane Roots, RDH | Dental Hygienist

There’s a lot more to your teeth than what you can see with the naked eye. Luckily, we have X-rays to see parts of your teeth that aren’t easily visible, like in between tooth surfaces. Dental X-rays are just like X-rays for any other part of your body. A special machine using a form of electromagnetic radiation similar to light but of shorter wavelength penetrates through the solid surface of your body to produce a radiograph – or picture – of what’s inside.

X-rays help your care providers see inside your teeth and under the gums. In fact, X-rays provide an in-depth look at all different parts of your mouth and jaw including your teeth from the crown to the root, inside and out.

These “pictures” of your teeth are used to find dental problems like cavities, cracks, infections, and more. Using X-rays allows your care provider to identify and treat issues early, often preventing future oral health complications.

For children, dental X-rays are necessary to closely monitor the progress of the adult teeth and the jaw’s growth and development. Dental X-rays are also used to assess the health of the bone that surrounds the root of the tooth as well as look for any teeth that haven’t made their way up through the gums.

Dental X-rays are typically performed every six months or, in some cases, annually. However, it may be necessary for X-rays to be taken more often if your dentist is tracking the process of a dental issue or you have pain or irritation anywhere in your mouth.

Schedule an appointment with a NOAH dental provider for a comprehensive oral health assessment to develop a personalized treatment plan that is right for you.

How Often Should You Floss?

By Celeste Ouyoung, RDH | Dental Hygienist

We all know that the number one rule for healthy teeth and gums is brushing and flossing, but knowing and practicing are two very different things.

Just because we know it by heart does not mean we follow it. Many people think just brushing twice a day is enough to keep their teeth and gums healthy and that flossing is just an extra step, but that is incorrect. Flossing is harder to follow because the action required to remove plaque buildup can become tedious and difficult, especially with a full set of teeth and brushing at least twice a day.

The American Dental Association (ADA) and Bloorwest Smiles recommends flossing between your teeth at least once a day. Cleaning between your teeth can help prevent cavities and gum disease. If you do not floss between your teeth to remove plaque, that sticky deposit will continue to build up and eventually harden into tartar. This result can lead to gum disease or even cavities between teeth!

Ensure your flossing technique is effective at removing plaque by flossing up and down between your teeth and below the gumline. It can take time to practice and get better at flossing. If you have any problems flossing, consult with a NOAH dentist or dental hygienist for tips and suggestions to an alternative flossing device that will work for you.

What is the Best Kind of Toothbrush to Use?

By Celeste Ouyoung, RDH | Dental Hygienist

Need help deciding on the toothbrush that is right for you? We’ve got you covered.

The best kind of toothbrush is one with a soft bristle. Using a soft bristled toothbrush is the safest and most comfortable toothbrush to use. It will minimize the risk of scratching and damaging the tooth surfaces and gums as opposed to a medium or hard bristled toothbrush. There are many toothbrush head design options available. Toothbrushes with multi-level bristles or angled bristles perform better than the traditional flat-level bristles in removing bacterial plaque. The varying sizes of bristles are useful for getting into hard-to-reach areas.

Both manual and powered toothbrushes can be used effectively in removing plaque. Some may find it easier to use a powered toothbrush if they have difficulty with a manual toothbrush, especially those with dexterity issues like the elderly, people with disabilities, or children.

You should change your toothbrush or toothbrush head to a new one every 3 months. Food debris and bacteria can get trapped in the bristles of the toothbrush over time. The bristles of the toothbrush will start to wear down or fray the longer it is used and can reduce effectiveness in removing plaque and food debris from teeth.

Look for toothbrushes with the ADA Seal of Acceptance logo on the package. A product with this seal indicates that it is safe and effective for removal of plaque and reduction of gingivitis. You can also search on the ADA website for products that are listed to ensure you are getting a product that is safe and effective: ADA Seal of Acceptance | American Dental Association

To learn more, visit our NOAH Dental page for helpful videos and tips. If you are ready for you or your child to see a NOAH dentist, schedule an appointment today!

Honoring Black History Month: Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler

Rebecca Lee Crumpler became the first African American female to earn a medical degree in the United States.

Rebecca Lee Crumpler

Born in 1831 in the state of Delaware, Dr. Crumpler worked for 8 years as a nurse before pursuing a degree in medicine. She would then go on to graduate in 1863 from the New England Female Medical College, which later became the Boston University School of Medicine.

Dr. Crumpler practiced in Boston and then moved to Richmond, Virginia after the Civil War ended in 1865. Dr. Crumpler was able to practice with other African American physicians and caring for freed slaves who would otherwise have no access to medical care. She eventually moved back to Massachusetts and retired in the affluent neighborhood of Hyde Park. Where in 1883, she published a book, Book of Medical Discourses based on her journal notes in practice over the years that provided medical advice for women and children.