A Few Things To Know About Sport Physicals

Many parents choose to have a sports physical conducted on their children during the summer. This makes sure they are ready for another activity filled sports season while last minute, mad rushes to the physician are avoided. Although most parents know that they need to get a sports physical conducted on your child, in order for him/her to participate in athletics, there are still a few unanswered questions.

How Should I Prepare Myself For This Checkup?

Make a list of questions about your child’s health and well being, should you experience any concerns or alarming signs. Ask your child if there is anything they s/he would like to ask the examiner. Take the medical history of your family and your child’s medical history reports with you.

Do Parents Need To Be Present At This Check Up?

Minors under the age of 18 require parental consent in order to have a sports physical performed. Parents also need to fill up the health history portion of the form. All in all, it is best that you are present for your child’s physical.

Is It Required For School Sports?

Yes, most schools do need a pre-participation checkup before enrolling students into their many athletic programs.

For How Long Is The Report Valid?

The report that you get is generally valid for one year. You need to pay special attention to this duration. Students who fail to go for this checkup can be disallowed from participating in sport and athletic activities.

What Should You Expect During The Procedure?

During a procedure, a child’s blood pressure, height and weight are checked. The physician will also look at the lungs, heart and spine. The immunization schedule will be reviewed and signs of puberty will also be taken into consideration.

What Is The Difference Between An Annual And Sports Physical?

Although an annual physical is the same as a sports physical, you go in for a sports physical when your child wants to involve himself/herself in a sport or physical activity. In such cases, the sports physical can be incorporated into the annual physical.

How Can I Prepare My Child For The Upcoming Check Up?

Sit down and have a thorough conversation with your child. Tell him/her about the procedure that is to be conducted and that there is nothing to worry or be fearful about.

These are just a few answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this checkup.

Three Important Things to Know About Radicava

The ALS Association is the largest charity for people with Lou Gehrig’s disease in the United States. Not only do they provide excellent patient provision through care takers and support groups, they are also the leading fundraiser for new research when it comes to ALS treatment and a possible cure. During the summer of 2014, the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge went viral online and raised over 100 million dollars. This was the largest amount of donations the fundraisers at ALS had ever seen. They were ecstatic! This boost in funding led to the research and development of three new treatments for Lou Gehrig’s disease, one being Radicava, which will likely be available August of this year. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Radicava slows the progress of ALS by reducing oxidative stress in the body. ALS is essentially a slow reduction in the body’s ability to function overall. This eventually leads to the shutdown of vital organs within the body. One of the first signs of ALS is the presence of oxidative stress, which is an imbalance between the presence of toxins in the body and the immune system’s ability to detoxify. These effects will first manifest themselves as a general slowing of autoimmune abilities followed by the more sinister effects of ALS, such as major organ failure. Radicava offers a time out to these unfortunate realities. The new medication has been shown to slow oxidative stress, and most patients see a 33% reduction in the decline of their physical abilities. Additionally, all Radicava test patients had higher scores on the ALS Functional Rating Scale
  2. First new medicine in 22 years. Because the origins of ALS are still largely misunderstood, it is incredibly difficult to approve and test new medications. Since the mid nineteenth century, our knowledge of what causes ALS has not kept up with other medical advancements. Because of this, it is incredibly difficult to find funding for new treatments when legislatures do not understand the medicinal premise. The first and last drug to be approved for treatment of ALS was Riluzole, which slowed lung failure. Unfortunately, the relatively small benefit offered to ALS patients compared to its astronomical costs essentially relegated Riluzole to pipe dream status. The mystery surrounding its origins combined with a lack of funding lead to a two decade ASL treatment dry spell. However, after the 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge, three new medications were presented to the FDA for approval. The first to reach the pharmaceutical market will be Radicava in August!
  3. Administered by infusion. At this point you’re probably wondering how Radicava will be administered to patients. Is it overly intrusive or painful? Will it even be worth it? For those who participated in the testing of the drug, Radicava absolutely is. The treatment is administered intravenously over a fourteen day period, followed by a fourteen day rest. After the initial treatment, patients will receive injections for ten out of every fourteen days. While this is a time-consuming treatment, this is the first ASL medication with legitimate promise for, not only extending the lives of those with Lou Gehrig’s disease, but also improving their quality of life!

After so many years of failed treatments and questions surrounding the origins of ALS, Radicava’s approval is a beacon of hope for patients and their loved ones.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Recovery Testimonial

In 1989 I was medically diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, due to chemical poisoning from pesticides such as 245-T, Network, Roundup, Asulox and Malathian and heavy metal poisoning from Mercury (due to toxicity from amalgam fillings in my teeth), aluminium and lead.

After consultations with many doctors, specialists and natural health therapists, including Homeopaths and Acupuncturists, I was told that I would never regain normal health again due to the length of time I had been ill with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. At that time, I wasn’t able to work, couldn’t sleep at night, had no energy and reacted to almost everything I ate!

I was getting pretty desperate at that stage to get my health, life and career back to normal when I met Philip Rafferty while he was doing allergy testing in a health food store. As I already knew of my allergies, I thought I would put him to the test. You can imagine my surprise when in a couple of minutes of using Kinesiology; he was able to correctly identify what my allergies were.

My life at that time had been a real struggle. I had just undergone two years of medical treatment and was taking all the right remedies and nutrition; however, I was still suffering from extreme fatigue, hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), chronic Candida, food allergies, poor concentration, short term memory loss, acne and had very little energy. I then decided to have several Kinesiology treatments, and to my surprise, I started feeling much better.

Kinesiology Got Rid Of My Allergies, Lots Of Health Issues And My Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
To help me understand, Philip explained that Kinesiology encompasses holistic health disciplines that use gentle manual muscle monitoring to obtain information about a person’s well-being. It may assist with pain, stress, allergies, TMJ problems, toxicity, heavy metals, candida, dehydration, learning, sabotages, and more. Kinesiology realigned the muscles in my body, and as the muscles are connected with the organs, puts the organs back into balance, and this allowed my body to assimilate nutrition and water properly. He said that by putting the muscles back into balance, that my body would be able to heal itself from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

While my muscles were out of balance, my body was using up all its energy just trying to function on a basic level, therefore leaving me with no energy to do anything else. After several Kinesiology treatments my food allergies reduced, my blood sugar came back to normal, the severe cystic acne on my face cleared dramatically, I started to gain weight and I had a lot more energy.

Amazing Results Recovering From Myalgic Encephlomylitis Lead Me To A New Career
At the time of seeing Philip Rafferty he started teaching Kinergetics, a new modality of Kinesiology here in Melbourne, Australia and asked me if I would be interested in learning this for myself. After having such amazing results and a full recovery from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis due to Kinesiology, I was curious to find out how it actually worked and why.

I found learning Kinergetics absolutely fascinating. After completing the whole series of eight levels of Kinergetics, I then trained to become a Kinergetics Instructor and began teaching Kinergetics in 1994.

Always interested to learn and grow more, I went on to attain a “Diploma on Health Sciences in Holistic Kinesiology” at the Kinesiology College for Energetic Sciences in Carlton, Melbourne, Australia.

I love practicing and teaching Kinesiology and Kinergetics, and seeing the life-changing results in my clients and mentoring students. I continue to work using my Kinesiology skills and knowledge using Transformation Coaching working with many people all around the world.

I work with clients with a broad range of issues relating to Myalgic Encephalomylitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Lyme Disease including resolving allergies, candida, heavy metal toxicity, emotional issues, stress, pain, TMJ, dehydration, sabotage and much more.

How to Safeguard Your Immune System

The immune system of a human body is a network of cells, tissues and organs that work together to defend the body against the attacks by the ‘foreign’ invaders. The term ‘foreign invader’ is used for the bacteria, parasites, fungi and other viruses that can lead to illness through infections. It is the job of an immune system to keep these infectious organisms out and destroy them.

Though unseen, the immune system cells are constantly gobbling up with the bacteria and blocking viruses from invading your cells. Similar to your heartbeat and indigestion, the immune response is a system that functions on its own and you don’t control them. But, there are a lot of practices that can work as your helping hand. Some of such practices are:

Good hygiene- The first step to begin with the defence is to keep all prospective germs at bay. How can it be done? By following good personal hygiene habits. Stop infection as it begins and before it begins. Make sure you avoid spreading your infections to others with these simple measures:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap or use sanitizers 5-6 times a day. Always prepare or eat food after washing your hands and every time you use the restroom.
  • Whenever you sneeze or cough, make sure you cover your mouth and nose with a tissue in order to avoid its germs infect others.
  • Always bandage all your cuts because if left open, it can become septic and harm your immune system. If you have any serious cut or wound anywhere on your body, get is examined by the doctor within due course of time.
  • Do not touch your healing wounds and do not squeeze pimples because doing so allows germs to enter your body.

Vaccination or Immunisation- A number of serious infections can be prevented by immunisation. Whereas vaccination is used to cure a sore arm or low fever. The vaccination is generally safe and effective in curing such diseases. And when it comes to the infections, consult your doctor for the immunisation status. A number of health care providers and centres provide immunisation services. Generally:

  • Children should be given all necessary immunisations and vaccinations as and when recommended by the doctors.
  • All adults should make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date.
  • Travellers should get additional immunisations before their date of journey.

Food safety- Mark yourself safe from the causes of food-poisoning not because they are life-threatening but they can lead to serious medical conditions sometimes. For this, you have to prepare and store your food safely. Take necessary precautions to kill germs or to prevent them entering your immune system:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after each time you handle a raw food.
  • Rinse all meat, poultry, and fish under running water before cooking. Rinse all fruits and vegetables under running water before cooking or serving them.
  • Separate raw foods and cooked foods, and never use the same utensils or cutting boards with cooked meat that were used with raw meat.

Healthy travel- If you’re planning a trip, make sure you consult your doctor once, for, if your body needs some immunisations and vaccines before you make any travel. Consult your doctor at least 3 months or as early as possible about your journey and ask him about the precautions you have to take during your visit to the place.

The Top 10 Benefits and Uses of Essiac Tea

Essiac tea is an alternative health drink that is getting a lot of attention lately. It’s a tea that is comprised of several herbal elements include burdock, rhubarb, elm bark, and many other elements. It has been traced to being a major drink of indigenous tribes in North America. Researchers have been studying the drink for some time, and it has been shown to help the body in a number of ways. Drinking this on a regular basis could very well help with the following 10 benefits.

Liver Health

The first major benefit is in regard to the liver. The blend of herbs helps with cleaning the liver of toxicity. It can flush toxicity through the liver, and process it through the urine. With this tea, some individuals may see a reversal of issues related to jaundice. Which is a disease of the liver. While it’s not a miracle cure, it does support liver function, enzymes, and the removal of toxicity that can end up traveling through the body’s digestive tract. It can help boost immune system, and waste management, with a boost to the liver outright.

Ease Constipation

For individuals that are dealing with bowel movement issues, specifically constipation, this tea can help. The herbs can help soften the stool, and can help bring through enough fiber to help with intestinal distress. This is an easy laxative to take as it works with the body’s natural systems. It’s not a chemical stimulant, or harsh fibrous element. The herbs help the body manage waste, and assist with constipation with ease. There is no pain, or issue when taking this tea, as it helps the body within a few hours of drinking it, assuming the individual is struggling with constipation.

Iron Supplement

Essiac tea has a few key vitamins and minerals. One of the most common is iron. Iron is a very critical part of the body’s natural systems. With iron supplemented through tea drinking, you’ll find that the proteins in the blood help form red blood cells, and even help with reversing anemia. This strengthens circulation, and assists with proper production of hemoglobin. Staving off anemia is a great thing, and can help people that are struggling with diet and exercise, get a small boost in the right direction. It helps directly with the circulatory system, promoting heart health.

Blood Pressure Regulation

Those dealing with blood pressure issues, specifically high blood pressure, will find that the tea can help with circulation. It can help with lowering pressure, and regulating heartbeat. Those that utilize this as a calming drink, will find that it can help with a variety of different elements in the body. It can lower pressure, and even help with stress. It begins working within the first time taking it, and works as one drinks more of it through several days. Studies have shown that in a few days, pressure can significantly drop to safer levels.

Bone Health

Much like calcium, this tea can help with bone health. While it’s not the same compound as calcium, it does help with strengthening bone structure, and delivers a powerful mix of vitamins and minerals that the body utilizes to strengthen bone structure. There is a calcium element in this, but not as much as milk, but enough to help boost the body’s natural resources to help with strengthening bones that are susceptible, or may be weakening from injury, or malnutrition.

Energy Boost

While Essiac tea is not caffeinated like a cup of tea, there is an energy level boost given to drinkers of this tea. It’s done through an increase of vitamin-C, and B elements. By helping the body’s natural systems get a boost in vitamins, waking up becomes easier, and getting a little natural energy delivers on the premise that coffee does, without the crash. That’s right, there’s no crash, there’s no sleepiness after drinking this, instead, energy becomes natural, without stimulants. It has a balance that works with the body.

Helps Digest Food

Having problems digesting food? Upset stomach? Nausea? Well, the benefit that this tea gives the digestive system is immense. It helps bring about the right pH levels of the body. By stimulating the stomach to produce the right enzymes, and bile production from the glands, you’ll find that digestion is much easier. That means that eating will not be a chore, and you’ll reduce heart burn, acid reflux, and much more. This helps by adding a helping hand to the stomach’s acid, so that it stabilizes a bit easier. It becomes easier to enjoy your favorite foods, that’s for sure.

Regulate Sugar Levels

While this is not a cure for diabetes, it has been shown to help with insulin production. It can help with insulin secretion, and management. This can help lower blood sugar spikes, and help keep levels lower, although it’s not a replacement for any diabetes treatment. It can help people that are susceptible to blood sugar spikes. This can also help with boosting the pancreas’s levels as well. For those that are diabetic, the tea can help with kidney function, and help with reducing toxicity. It helps with urination, frequency, and quantity as well.

Help The Skin

Researchers exploring the benefits of Essiac Tea have found that it can help with skin care. Used as a topical solution it can help with anti-septic, and anti-inflammatory elements. It also helps from the inside out, providing skin care elements, reduction of acne, and even fine lines. Those that are looking to help with the signs of aging will see a boost in overall skin care in a few days. It helps the body with hormonal secretions and balance, helping the skin heal from the rays of the sun, to the interior of the dermal layers.

Promotes Weight Loss

The last major thing that you’re going to find with this tea is that it helps with losing weight. By helping the body’s digestive system, you may get a boost of metabolic ratio. That means that you will burn calories, even when asleep. Pushing the metabolic rate is a great thing, and can lead to faster weight loss, and sustained management in time.

Kidney Transplant – Patient Assessment Factors

When kidneys stop working effectively, you either have an option of a dialysis or a kidney transplant. Dialysis ensures that you get rid of the waste products from your body but it does not replace all the functions of the kidneys. When you are diagnosed with failing kidneys, treatment can sometimes prevent or at least delay their complete failure.

However, with a transplant, your body can continuously remove the waste products of metabolism, and excess fluid. Kidneys also help in the production of a natural hormone called erythropoietin that prevents anemia. It also helps convert the vitamin D in food into an active compound that helps keep bones healthy. Moreover, it helps excretion of some toxic drugs. Finally, it plays an important role in helping control blood pressure.

Kidneys normally undertake all these functions. It is a known fact that kidney transplant provides patients with a better quality of life than dialysis.

Assessment for kidney transplant

There are a few very important factors to be checked before you undergo kidney transplant surgery. To begin with, you will be referred to transplant only when you are nearing or have started dialysis.

  • There is no dependency on age factor or ethnic background when it comes to assessment for a transplant. It all depends on whether you are fit enough to have the operation and deal with all the after effects of the surgery.
  • Some of the factors checked are evidence of heart disease, chest conditions and other problems. Special investigations are conducted to assess whether these risk factors are too great for transplant.
  • Next there will be a thorough discussion between the specialists such as the surgeons, nephrologist, cardiologist and the physician before the decision is finalized.
  • Once you are considered fit enough for a transplant, the specialists will explain all the risks and benefits to you.
  • Many times there is a waiting list for a transplant.
  • There will be a number of tests conducted to check whether you have had certain virus infections.
  • Well, the specialists will also ask you whether you have any close friends or family who are willing to be live donors.
  • Live donor transplants are known to give the kidneys a better chance of long term survival as compared to diseased donor transplants.

Whether you receive a particular donor kidney or not is determined initially by the blood group. It is pretty difficult to get two people to be perfectly alike, because the genes are different. It is however possible to achieve a good enough match for a successful transplant. The surgery takes around three hours and appropriate care needs to be taken post operation too. 

Top Ways to Prevent Chronic Disease

Even if you have a family history of chronic diseases, you can take steps to prevent these conditions and maintain your health for many years. Studies show the best ways to prevent chronic diseases include:

Eating Healthy Foods
No diet has to be perfect, but you should strive to eat nutritious, lean foods as much as possible. A healthy diet should always include foods like:

  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Lean meats like poultry
  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Healthy fats like olive oil or avocados

By filling your plate with these items, you’ll rarely have space left to eat sugary or fatty foods that can increase your risk of a chronic disease.

Staying Active
You don’t have to run marathons to see the health benefits of exercise. Simply walking for about 150 minutes each week can help your body stay healthy. Even if you walk in short 10 minute intervals, you will see healthy benefits.

For extra health benefits, incorporate resistance training to build strong muscles and bones.

Maintaining Low Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (hypertension) can hurt your heart and your kidneys. While a healthy diet and exercise should keep your blood pressure healthy, be sure to check your blood pressure at least once a year and take blood pressure medicines as your doctor recommends.

Sleeping Well
Sleep may play a larger role in your health than you think. People who are sleep deprived tend to have higher levels of stress, higher blood pressure, higher blood sugar and poor metabolism. Proper sleep helps your body work well.

Keep a Healthy Weight
If you are already at a healthy weight, work to maintain that weight through proper diet and exercise. If you are carrying a few extra pounds, work with your physician to find ways to lose weight that work for you. Everyone is different, and no single weight loss plan works for everyone. Keep trying to find the plan that’s right for you and your lifestyle.

Don’t Smoke
Smoking has countless negative effects on your health, increasing your risk for heart attack, stroke, lung cancer and more. If you need help quitting smoking, speak to your physician. Your physician can help you find smoking cessation support and give you access to prescription medicines that might help you quit.

Remember, your doctor is your partner in healthy living. If you have any questions about preventing or managing chronic disease, always ask your physician for help.

How Do Strong Social and Community Ties Impact Your Health?

I called my friend, also named Lisa, who lives in Houston, Texas. Hurricane Harvey’s devastation had not only hit Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, but many communities in the Gulf Coast region. According to my friend, who lives on the north side of Houston where they got no flooding except for those who were near a river or large body of water, the worst of the rain is over. People are leaving shelters scattered thought-out Harris County, where Houston is located.

Out of the 6.5 million people in the greater Houston area only about 1.5 million lost power and most all the water is drinkable. No need for ice, a valuable commodity, for many of us here in Charleston who experienced the wrath of Hurricane Hugo. Unlike Houston, Hurricane Hugo, also a category 4 storm, was a direct hit and as a result we not only got the flooding but also high winds. But no one can deny that the Houston area experienced the worst flooding in its history, with some areas getting as much as 50 inches of rain. And because Hurricane Harvey’s devastation was so widespread, it will take years for the region to recover from this natural disaster.

My friend, Lisa, who is originally from Charleston, knows about hurricanes and the emotional roller coaster they bring; the anxiety before the storm of not knowing exactly what is going to happen, the storm itself, the flooding and aftermath once the storm has passed. No doubt, you too, no matter where you call home, are aware of the horrific situation the residents of the Gulf Coast region, north of Brownsville, Texas, are now experiencing. Lives have been lost, people displaced and the uncertainty of what’s ahead. It is one thing to watch the news again and again and be reminded of the destruction and the anguish. But to just absorb the information without acting when we can help can be paralyzing and emotionally harmful.

Animals as well need help and assistance. Donate to the Houston Humane Society, which is helping animals affected by the storm. The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation, is another charity. You may also want to check out Charity Navigator to further ensure your donations are helping those in need.

By helping those in need, you too can benefit. Studies have shown that people with strong social and community ties tend to live longer, are less likely to report being depressed, and have a stronger a sense of belonging, purpose and self worth.

Knowing the Basics of Interventional Pain Management

Anyone, who is dealing with chronic and/or acute pain, knows the “pain” associated with the condition. In most cases, patients spend a considerable amount of time with primary care doctors, physical therapist, and specialists, hoping to find a more permanent solution. Interventional pain management is a practical alternative in such cases, where the concerned patient has tried all other treatment options.

Understanding interventional pain management

Interventional pain management is a specialized field in medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of chronic and/or acute pain and other related disorders. This is more of a “multidisciplinary” approach, which is offered by a team of experienced doctors and healthcare professionals. With interventional pain management, doctors aim to reduce chronic and or acute pain, besides focusing on better living. The treatment is entirely different from other forms of pain management because there is no direct dependency on pain-relief medications. In most cases, a physician may refer the matter to a pain management doctor, who will decide on the line of treatment, depending on the facts of the case. In case of interventional pain management, pain management physician will work together with chiropractors, physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, neurologist, and orthopaedic surgeon as needed to treat the condition by utilizing minimally invasive procedures such as epidural injections, facet blocks, trigger point injections, etc.

Things worth knowing

Interventional pain management is particularly beneficial for patients who are suffering from neck and back pain. Physicians may use more than one approach to the condition, depending on the diagnosis. The use of steroidal injections in the joints and epidural space is quite common, while injections are also used to treat a spinal nerve root, which is diagnosed as the source of pain. Branch blocks are also used for diagnostic purpose followed by radiofrequency ablation, while doctors may also use additional injections in the facet joints. Discography is also utilized to find the possible cause of pain, and in this procedure, a special dye is used in an injectable form into a disc to understand the pathology better.

In some cases, minimally-invasive procedures like “Radiofrequency Ablation” can be used for the medical branches, so as to restrict the movement of pain signals. Doctors may also suggest the use of heated electrodes for certain nerves that carry the pain signals, and this process is also known better as Rhizotomy. Not to forget, physical therapy and other forms of occupational therapies are also used for the treatment. Doctors also suggest lifestyle changes to patients, if they find any hope for better health.

The first appointment

You need to visit an Interventional Pain Management specialist, who will do a thorough exam to understand the possible concerns and issues related to the condition. Doctors may also suggest a few tests including x-rays and MRI for accurate diagnosis. You must also discuss the other kinds of treatments you have tried for your condition, and as required, doctors may suggest a line of therapy, after discussing the expectations, costs and other aspects.

6 Healthy Packaged Foods That Save You Time And Money

When choosing packaged foods, it’s important to read the labels. This can be time consuming but worth it. To save time, try focusing specifically on foods low in sugar, low in salt and high in protein. Stay away from anything containing high fructose corn syrup which is an unnecessary sugar additive. Why do we even need sugar in bread? Foods with the fewest ingredients are best. If you don’t know what an ingredient is, chances are it’s not good for you.

Marketing techniques labeling foods as Lite, gluten free, healthy or wheat may not always be the healthiest choice. As an educated consumer you should know the difference. Many so called “wheat” products may not be whole grain or made from whole wheat. The first ingredient should be whole wheat flour. Wheat flour, unbleached wheat flour, multigrain, enriched, and stone-ground wheat flour are alternative ways of saying “refined white flour.”

To save you some time in the grocery store, I’ve compiled a list of packaged healthy foods that can also save you money. Here are 6 packaged foods that I recommend:

1. Canned beans. Opt for the low salt version if you can. Always rinse the beans thoroughly to wash away any unnecessary salt. Try to avoid beans with sauce or refried beans that tend to be high in sodium.

2. vegetables. Plain vegetables without sauces and added salt are a healthy and delicious addition to any meal. Steamables are a great choice when you’re in a hurry or just too tired to cook. They are quick and easy and leave you with little clean up. They can be more expensive, so stock up when they’re on sale. I’ve found them on sale for as little or close to $1 a bag.

3. Frozen berries. Not only are they delicious, but can really save you money. Especially in the winter when berries are out of season and more expensive. Try mixing them in plain Greek yogurt. Or serving them with pancakes or French toast. It makes a natural sweet sauce. Sometimes we thaw them in the microwave, making them a little warm to pour over our pancakes. Try topping them with a dollop of Greek yogurt too. It gives it a taste that’s almost like a crepe.

4. Nut butter. If the ingredient says almonds, you have a winner. It takes some time to stir, but if you store it in the refrigerator, you shouldn’t have to stir it again.

5. Low sugar cereals. Ideally cereals should have less than 6 grams of sugar. Opt for whole grain cereal such as toasted oats and muesli. Unsweetened instant oatmeal can be thrown in the microwave for a quick & healthy breakfast.

6. Canned Tuna fish. Packed in water. This is a quick and inexpensive source of protein. I pack my tuna salad with lots of vegetables like onions, celery, carrots, vinegar, pepper and olive oil mayonnaise (it tastes just like the real thing without adding as much fat and calories).

When choosing pre-packaged foods just remember, marketing can be deceptive. The fewer ingredients, the more natural the product. Look for whole wheat flour as a first ingredient when selecting whole grain foods. Try to stay away from processed foods that are high in sodium, sugar or contain high fructose corn syrup.