This Week's Healthy SC Challenge Tips First Family Encourages Healthy Changes in Nutrition, Exercise and Tobacco Use

March 29, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – March 28, 2008 – The Healthy SC Challenge is the Sanford family’s effort to get all South Carolinians to do just a little more to live a healthier lifestyle. The tips are designed to encourage individuals and communities to live healthier lifestyles in three categories – nutrition, exercise and help to quit smoking. The tips can also be found on the challenge’s website,
Pasta and pizza may be the first foods that come to mind when you think of Italian cuisine, but the menus of Italian restaurants contain a wide range of items, from rich soups, antipasto, and meat, to cheeses, cakes and ice cream. Here are some suggestions to help you make selections that fit into a healthy diet, whether you eat at a fine Italian restaurant or call out for a delivery from a local pizza parlor.

Appetizers: Salads and light soups, such as minestrone, are good appetizer selections. If you order a salad, ask for balsamic vinegar or, alternatively, ask for salad dressing on the side so you can control how much you use.  Steer clear of antipasto salads, which contain marinated vegetables and many high-fat items: olives, hard-boiled eggs, sausages and meats such as prosciutto ham. Skip the fried appetizers and order mussels or clams in a wine sauce, instead.  Try not to overindulge on Italian bread. Select bread sticks or plain rolls, not buttery garlic bread. Request bruschetta prepared with very little oil and go easy on dipping it in oil.

Pasta: Pasta can be a good low-fat meal, depending on the sauce. Red clam or meatless marinara sauces are good, tasty alternatives to high-fat cream sauces such as alfredo or carbonara. Keep pasta dishes low-fat by forgoing additional olive oil, cheese or fatty meats.

Main Courses: Try dishes like chicken, seafood, veal cacciatore or veal picata. Avoid dishes that have been breaded and fried, such as eggplant or veal parmigiana. Steer clear of entrees prepared with a lot of cheese, which can be very high in fat. Ask that your entree be prepared without oil. Order thin-crust pizza with fresh vegetable toppings. Resist extra cheese, meat toppings, olives and stuffed and deep-dish crusts. 

Desserts: Try an Italian ice, fresh fruit or a skim milk-cappuccino! Hold off on the cannoli and gelati!

Physical Activity
Every day, parents are bombarded with conflicting advice on what is best for their children.  Children aren’t exercising enough- get them outside!  Children are at risk for skin cancer- get them inside!  It can be confusing.  But the truth is, your family members can enjoy a healthy, physically fit lifestyle without endangering their skin- if you all practice good sun protection habits. With 15 percent of US children ages 6 – 19 overweight or obese, it’s more important than ever that your children be active. They should be encouraged to go outside and play as much as possible.  However, sustaining five or more sunburns doubles your risk of developing any type of skin cancer, so it is important to get your children in the habit of practicing sun protection.  Sometimes, surprisingly, schools are the biggest block to children’s safety.  Many schools see sunscreen as a medicine, and require either written permission to use it, or require that the school nurse apply it.  Many schools also ban the wearing of hats and sunglasses during school hours, including recess.  Talk to your school’s administration to find out what the policy is on sun safety. Is there any shade on the playground?  Are outdoor activities scheduled to avoid the sun’s peak hours? If your school’s policies are unwittingly endangering your child, alert other parents to the risk, and get involved.   
-The Skin Cancer Foundation,

Write down ten good things about being a nonsmoker — and then write out ten bad things about smoking. Do it. It really helps. Admitting that you’re smoking more out of addiction than choice will help motivate you to go on to the next steps — taking control of yourself and becoming a nonsmoker. This admission will further serve you by helping you stay smokefree later. In the months and years after you quit, when temptations to smoke occasionally overpower you — and they will — remind yourself, I have an addiction and I’m powerless over tobacco. Saying this to yourself in overwhelmed moments of desire will help give you the strength to say no to just one cigarette.