DHEC wants you to give mom the gift of good health

By Adrianna Bradley

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) encourages you to give your mom the gift of good health.

Most moms will appreciate a Mother’s Day gift that will make her happy, and help keep her in your life for a long time.  Start a new “healthy Mother’s Day” tradition this year.

Try dark chocolate this year

Giving sweet treats is a traditional way to show your mom how much you care.  Consider giving your mother dark chocolate this year. Dark chocolate, in moderation, has many health benefits.  It is good for your heart and brain to name a few.  Eating small amounts of dark chocolate, about 1 ounce two to three times a week, can help lower blood pressure and improve cognitive function.  It may help reduce the risk of stroke as well. Remember, that chocolate is also high in fat.  Serve it along with other treats like fresh strawberries, grapes or bananas.

Help mom improve her heart health

Give the gift of heart health.  Fill her gift basket with items that will help her become more physically active.  Add a pedometer, arm weights, a yoga DVD, fitness club membership, or a cute workout outfit.

If you’re still at a loss for things to give mom, give her gifts that will help her get a good night’s sleep.  Our moms stay busy.  Getting a good night’s sleep is just as important as eating health and staying active.  Lack of sleep has been linked to serious health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Consider buying nice bedding, and encourage your mother to turn off the computer, smart phone, and lights, and go to bed an hour earlier each night.

Put on your chef’s hat

Lastly, pamper your mom on her special day.  Put on your apron and chef’s hat.  Prepare a brunch that she is sure to love.  Try one of the heart healthy recipes below for a new twist on pancakes and muffins below.  These foods are a healthy way to satisfy her sweet tooth without sacrificing her health.

Whole-grain Strawberry Pancakes

(Adapted from USDA)

Ingredients

Whole Grain Strawberry Pancakes

Attribution: USDA

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 container vanilla low-fat yogurt (6 oz)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 3/4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 container strawberry low-fat yogurt (6 oz)

Preparation

  1. Heat griddle to 375°F or heat 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Grease with canola oil if necessary (or spray with cooking spray before heating).
  2. In large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In medium bowl, beat eggs, vanilla yogurt, water and oil with egg beater or wire whisk until well blended.
  4. Pour egg mixture all at once into flour mixture; stir until moistened.
  5. For each pancake, pour slightly less than 1/4 cup batter from cup or pitcher onto hot griddle. Cook pancakes 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbly on top, puffed and dry around edges. Turn; cook other sides 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Top each serving (2 pancakes) with 1/4 cup sliced strawberries and 1 to 2 tablespoons strawberry yogurt.

Pineapple Carrot Muffins

(Adapted from Cooking Matters)

Ingredients 

Pineapple Carrot Muffins

Attribution: Cooking Matters

  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 cup canned crushed pineapple with juice
  • 5 Tablespoons canola oil
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 Tablespoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch ground nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Preparation

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    Rinse and peel a carrot. Shred with a grater. Measure out ¾ cup shredded carrot.
    3. In a medium bowl, add pineapple with juice, oil, water, vinegar and shredded carrot. Mix with a fork to combine.
    4. In a large bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Blend well with a fork to break up any lumps.
    5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
    6. If using walnuts or raisins, gently stir in now.
    7. Coat muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Fill each muffin cup about ¾ full with batter. Bake on middle rack of oven until muffin tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 20–25 minutes.

Fruit Smoothies

(Adapted from Cooking Matters)

Ingredients 

Fruit Smoothies

Attribution: Fruit smoothies

  • 1 medium banana (Use any fresh or frozen fruit. Use fruits in season when you can.)
  • ½ cup ice cubes
  • 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • ½ cup 100% orange juice
  • 4 frozen strawberries

Preparation

  1. Peel banana. Place in blender.
    2. Add remaining ingredients to the blender. If using cinnamon, add now.
    3. Cover and blend until smooth.

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