Childhood Obesity Awareness Month – Tips to Stay Healthy

By Dr. Mason Wedel, MD PGY1

September is National Childhood Obesity Month, a time to raise awareness of this growing concern for children. Obesity is a major public health problem for children everywhere, putting them at higher risk for other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and asthma. Having obesity as a child also makes children more likely to become obese adults.

“About 1 in 5 (19%) of children are obese today.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Here are some tips to prevent or combat childhood obesity:

  • Eat More Fruits and Vegetables – serve more fruits and vegetables at meals and as snacks. Decrease the amount of high fat and sugary foods.
  • Stay Active – children are recommended to get 60 minutes or more physical activity DAILY. Include running, jumping, walking, bike riding as well as muscle strengthening exercises such as push ups.
  • Drink More Water – always encourage more water and make it available at all times instead of high sugar drinks such as soda. Limit juice intake.
  • Ensure Adequate Sleep – follow a sleep schedule by going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends. Remove electronics from bedroom and make sure the bedroom is quiet and dark.

These tips will help your child have more energy, control their weight, strengthen their bones, increase their self-esteem and live an overall healthier life. Be sure to have a medical home for your entire family and talk with your child’s doctor about any concerns like childhood obesity. Follow these tips daily and help stop the rising number of children with obesity.

Food Safety Education Month

By Brandon Bolton, RDN

September is Food Safety Education Month. It is a time to bring awareness to food safety and to learn more about foodborne illnesses (also known as food poisoning). There are steps that we can all take to help keep food safe and prevent food poisoning.

“An estimated 48 million Americans get sick from food poisoning every year.”

Centers for Disease and Control

Common symptoms of food poisoning include, but are not limited to:

  • an upset stomach
  • stomach cramps
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • dehydration

Food poisoning can lead to hospitalization, and some groups of people are even more likely to get sick from eating unsafe food. These groups include adults aged 65 and older, young children under 5 years old, people with pre-existing health conditions, and pregnant women. While these groups may be at higher risk of getting sick, food safety is important for everyone!

The CDC recommends following these four steps when you prepare and handle your food:

  1. Clean – Wash hands, surfaces, utensils, and equipment that you use to cook. Wash your hands often, especially before you prepare and eat foods, for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  2. Separate – Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs should be separated from your cooked foods and fresh produce. Be sure to use different cutting boards, knives, and utensils when working with and preparing raw foods and fresh produce. This can help prevent cross-contamination. These foods should also be stored separately in the refrigerator, with raw meats being stored on the bottom shelf.
  3. Cook – Use a food thermometer to make sure you are cooking your foods to the proper internal temperature, which will kill harmful germs and bacteria. To see the appropriate minimum cooking temperatures, look at these food safety charts.
  4. Chill – Refrigerate perishable foods and leftovers within two hours. If food is exposed to temperatures greater than 90 degrees, it should be refrigerated within one hour.

Following these four steps can help protect you and your family from foodborne illness. You can also visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information, and don’t forget to reach out to your NOAH dietitians with any questions regarding food safety!

Oh Baby! Celebrating Breastfeeding Month

By Nicole Vaudrin, RDN, Stephanie Olzinski, RDN and Katelyn Millinor, LPC

“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding until 6 months old.”

Around 60% of mothers do not breastfeed as long as they intend to due to various factors such as issues with lactation and latching, concerns about taking medications while breastfeeding, un-supportive work policies, cultural norms, and lack of family support.

Breastfeeding can help give babies a healthy start and build their immune systems, and may protect against obesity, diabetes, ear infections, asthma, digestive issues, and more. However, breastfeeding is not always easy and mothers often need extra support. 

Tips for mother and baby that will help with both nutrition and emotional well-being.

  • Worried baby isn’t getting enough? Milk quantity is a common stressor for most moms. If you’re worried about milk supply, be sure to maintain frequent feedings throughout the day. This is also a place to review your own nutrition. Most mothers need 400-500 extra calories per day while breastfeeding to provide the needed nutrition and energy to produce milk. As you are continuing your nutrition post-partum, try to focus on including whole grains (more fiber is better!), lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds, fatty fish).
  • It hurts! Soreness is to be expected at first, but breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt. Two of the most common issues are latching and engorgement. Mothers may need assistance from a lactation consultant to problem solve. Lactation consultants in the hospital are very beneficial to help a mother learn how to breastfeed, identify barriers, and work to remedy those barriers. Breastfeeding is a skill that both baby and mother must learn. If pain continues to be a concern, there are local breast feeding support groups to help mothers navigate through various difficulties.
  • It’s a lot of work! The pressure to breastfeed is high for new mothers. The mention of it starts in the prenatal period and it is often discussed as if there will be little to no issues. These messages are impactful and can be stressful. Often there is guilt or shame if a mother is unable to produce milk to feed her infant or if she chooses not to breast feed or pump. A lot of time can go into pumping, storing, and producing milk.
  • Going back to work or school? Pumping can be a great option to continue providing your baby with breastmilk. However some moms may experience lack of privacy or supportive work policies, and may struggle with the time needed throughout the day to pump and store.
  • You may experience increased stress. Some stressors of breastfeeding may include irritability, pain, concerns about privacy, lacking confidence, criticism, milk supply, or feeling unsupported or trapped. There are various ways to cope with breastfeeding stressors such as taking breaks (when it is safe to do so), deep breaths, exercise, talking to someone you trust, or joining a support group. Breastfeeding is natural but it doesn’t always come naturally. Remember, fed is best.

What can you do to learn more and support breastfeeding?

Support your local La Leche League: LLL is an international non-profit that supports and advocates for breastfeeding, including establishing human milk banks. LLL also has information on everything breastfeeding including pumping, reflux, biting, and more!\

HonorHealth Centers for Breast Feeding Support:
Shea Medical Center
Call: 480-323-3638
Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center
Call: 480-882-4827

How to Celebrate Honey Bees Today by The Nutrition Experts

Honey bees are oftentimes overlooked and feared, but these lovely creatures play a crucial role in our ecosystem? Honey bees are responsible for pollinating or transferring pollen grains from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma. Pollination is essential to the production of approximately 90 crops¸ including many fruits and vegetables that we eat every day.

Honey bees are the most common pollinator. About one-third of the food eaten by Americans comes from crops pollinated by honey bees, including apples, melons, cranberries, pumpkins, squash, broccoli, and almonds, to name just a few (1).

How to Celebrate

  • Buy local honey! Often times commercially produced honey provides cruel treatment to the bees, like clipping the queen’s wings and taking too much of their honey that they need for food.
  • Flavors of honey vary depending on the variety of flowers and nectar available to the bees. Wildflower, clover, alfalfa, lavender, orange, and chestnut are just a few to choose from. 
  • Use honey in cooking, baking, making hot beverages, and more! Find some great recipes to use or substitute honey.
  • Collect and spread local wildflower seeds in your yard/garden to help promote honey bee pollination.
  • Replace your usual sweetener with local honey. Not only are you supporting your community by buying local, but you’re supporting reaping all the benefits honey has to offer which is much better than consumer processed sugars.
  • Give the gift of honey by purchasing jars from your local honey business and add a cute ribbon and card to them. Maybe even use them in a gift basket and give to neighbors, family and friends.

Alternative to Honey

If unable to find honey from a local famer or famers market, choosing options such as maple syrup or agave are great alternatives. Remember to be mindful of using all of these as they may have added sugars and could have an impact on your blood sugar.

Infants and honey. Honey may contain small amounts of botulism, a toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, that may affect infants under 1 year of age. It’s best to not give infants honey or even any processed products, like crackers or cereal, made with honey.

Food Safety Tips by Nicole Vaudrin, RDN

Whether you have a healthy, balanced diet or not, food can make you sick! Foodborne illness is estimated to affect 48 million or 1 in 6 Americans each year. Below are tips to help you and your family prepare and store foods safely.

  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before preparing food or eating and after every time you touch your face.
  • Wash your produce. Gently wash produce in running water before peeling or cutting, so dirt and germs aren’t transferred from the knife into the fruit or vegetable. This includes winter squash and melons, which are often left unwashed before slicing.
  • Organize your refrigerator. Keep raw meat separate from other foods, preferably on the bottom shelf to avoid cross-contamination, particularly with already prepared foods or those eaten raw.
  • Defrost foods properly. See the USDA Safe Defrosting Methods tip sheet.
  • Cook foods thoroughly. Cook foods to the recommended internal temperature, including leftovers. An inexpensive meat thermometer is an important kitchen tool.
  • Store foods properly. Refrigerate cooked and perishable foods within 2 hours.

For more information, visit

Back to School Health Tips – Snacking the Easy Way by Mina Goodman, RDN

Whether this year means heading back to school physically, via video from home, or both, getting back into the routine of classes can take some time to get adjusted to. Here are some tips for making healthy eating quick and easy. Snacks can be a simple way to add more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins throughout the day.
Vegetables can easily be eaten raw with or without a topping/dip (salad dressing, bean dips, nut butters, salsa, guacamole). You can choose to cut your own (cheaper) or buy pre-cut, based on your budget and schedule.

  • Broccoli trees
  • Baby carrots
  • Celery sticks – add some nut butter and raisins for “ants on a log”
  • Cucumber coins
  • Jicama sticks
  • Peppers – red, green or yellow
  • Snap peas
  • Snow peas
  • String beans
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Zucchini slices

Fruits are a sweet treat without any added sugars. If you are choosing canned options, look for fruit that is labeled as in its own juice, if that is not available, try a fruit in light syrup instead of heavy syrup and rinse the fruit before eating.

  •  Apples
  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes – red, green, or purple
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwifruit
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerines

Don’t forget whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins! After you check out the produce section for what is available, take a look at the inner aisles of the supermarket for these options:

  • Applesauce (unsweetened)
  • Canned fruit (in 100% juice or water)
  • Dried fruit – try raisins, apricots, apples, cranberries, and fruit leathers with little or no added sugar
  • Frozen fruit (check the label to be sure there is just fruit and no added sugar in the bag)
  • Whole wheat English muffins, pita, or tortillas
  • Breakfast cereals – choose whole grain, low-sugar options like Cheerios, Grape-Nuts, Raisin Bran or Mini-Wheats
  • Whole grain crackers like Triscuits or Wheat Thins
  • Popcorn
  • Baked tortilla chips
  • Nuts or nut butter
  • Unsweetened yogurt
  • Cheese cubes or slices
  • Cottage cheese
  • Hummus
  • Roasted chickpeas

Hydration Tips by our Nutrition Experts

July is Hydration Awareness Month

As we continue into the summer months, there are many ways to keep ourselves healthy, and that includes staying hydrated! Below is some information provided by the NOAH Dietitians on the reasons for hydration, how much to drink, and the many ways to hydrate. And remember – Every sip counts!

Why is water important?

  • Keeps body temperatures normal.
  • Improve brain function and mood.
  • Prevents constipation.
  • Gets rid of waste from the body in urine, sweat, and the digestive track.
  • Lubricates joints and protects your spinal cord and other tissues.

How much should you drink?

That’s not as simple of a question as it sounds. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is 15.5 cups (124 oz.) for men and 11.5 cups (92 oz.) a day for women. All beverages (even coffee and tea) count as fluids, and plenty of foods are good sources of fluids, like fruits, vegetables, and soups. The common wisdom of 8 cups of water a day (64 oz.) is great place to start!

When do you need more water?

In general, you need more water when you lose more water by sweating or your digestive track.

  • In hot Arizona summers.
  • More physically active.
  • Running a fever.
  • Having diarrhea or vomiting.

How can you tell if you’re not drinking enough?

You may have one or more of the signs below if you need more water.

  • Thirst.
  • Darker than light yellow urine.
  • Dizziness or headaches.
  • Muscle cramps or fatigue.

Tips for getting enough water?

  • Carry a water bottle. Try freezing one overnight for ice-cold water all day.
  • For a little extra flavor, add something! Lemon, lime, mango, mint, cucumber, strawberry, melon, jalapeno or a low/no calorie flavorings can enhance the taste of water.
  • Have a glass of water with meals and before, after, and during exercise.
  • Still having trouble remembering – try an app. Apps like Water Coach and WaterMinder will help you set goals and send you reminders to keep you on track.
  • Snack on watermelon, cucumbers, other water-rich fruits and vegetables or reduced-fat yogurt. You’ll benefit from the extra fluid and healthy nutrients.
  • Use a large water container such as 1 gallon (128 oz.) and mark off times to indicate how low the water level should be at different points in the day such as 12pm, 4pm, and 8pm.
  • Place water bottles or cups in different areas of the home or office where you spend a lot of time, such as the chair you usually read in. These can serve as a physical reminder to drink more.

How to Stretch Your Food Dollars on a Budget

Tips for keeping to a budget and making your food dollars go even further.

Creating a Positive Body Image by Stephanie Olsinski, MS, RDN

In learning about eating disorders and how they can affect everyone, it is important to care for not only those affected but for yourself to ensure that you are always taking care of your health, both mental and physical. 

NEDA created a list of 10 Steps to Positive Body Image which is shared below:

  • Appreciate all that your body can do. Every day your body carries you closer to your dreams. Celebrate all of the amazing things your body does for you like running, dancing, breathing, laughing, dreaming, etc.
  • Keep a top 10 list of things you like about yourself such as things that aren’t related to how much you weigh or what you look like. Read your list often. Add to it as you become aware of more things to like about you.
  • Remind yourself that “true beauty” is not simply skin-deep. When you feel good about yourself and who you are, you carry yourself with a sense of confidence, self-acceptance, and openness that makes you beautiful regardless of whether you physically look like a supermodel. Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of your body.
  • Look at yourself as a whole person. When you see yourself in a mirror or in your mind, choose not to focus on specific body parts. See yourself as you want others to see you; as a whole person.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. It is easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you are around others who are supportive and who recognize the importance of liking yourself just as you naturally are.
  • Shut down those voices in your head that tell you your body is not “right” or that you are a “bad” person. You can overpower those negative thoughts with positive ones. The next time you start to tear yourself down, build yourself back up with a few quick affirmations that work for you.
  • Wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you feel good about your body. Work with your body, not against it.
  • Become a critical viewer of social and media messages. Pay attention to images, slogans, or attitudes that make you feel bad about yourself or your body. Protest these messages: write a letter to the advertiser or talk back to the image or message.
  • Do something nice for yourself; something that lets your body know you appreciate it. Take a bubble bath, make time for a nap, find a peaceful place outside to relax.
  • Use the time and energy that you might have spent worrying about food, calories, and your weight to do something to help others. Sometimes reaching out to other people can help you feel better about yourself and can make a positive change in our world.

Our Care Team at NOAH are here to help you create & manage your healthy lifestyle habits. Need help setting or sticking to your goals? Call 480-882-4545 today!

Help and Support for Eating Disorders – Brandon Bolton, RDN

The earlier an eating disorder is detected, the better the chance for recovery. It’s important to be familiar with the signs and symptoms of disordered eating. The first step towards positive changes is to recognize disordered eating behaviors. The second step is to reach out and tell someone that you trust. You can tell a close friend, family member, or a healthcare professional. Starting this conversation can be challenging, but you’re doing the right thing by asking for help and support and you should be proud of yourself.

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) website has a screening tool that can help determine if it’s time to seek professional help for an eating disorder. The screening tool can be found here:

Contact the Helpline for support, resources, and treatment options at (800) 931-2237. NEDA has online forums that are available 24/7 for individuals and loved ones looking to connect and communicate about the eating disorder recovery process. They also have a support group finder that can help locate in-person and online support groups.

These support options can be found online here:

The management of an eating disorder requires a multidisciplinary approach that includes a medical doctor, therapist, family members, and a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). How can a Registered Dietitian help? Nutrition counseling is a necessity, and an RDN can help an individual challenge distorted thoughts about:

  • body image and weight.
  • exploring emotions and fears surrounding food and hunger.
  • accomplishing goals without any fear of being judged.

Moving forward, embracing others, and providing strong support are all keys to recovery from an eating disorder. Our Care Team at NOAH are here to help you create & manage your healthy lifestyle habits. Call 480-882-4545 today!