shutterstock_274816253

Coughing? Bring a Healthy Dose of Sick-Etiquette to Work

(BPT) – Being considerate of others when you’re sick is one of the first steps to good sick etiquette.

For example, you may think you’re going to score points for showing up at work despite feeling under the weather. However, if you were to run this by an etiquette expert like Diane Gottsman, she would probably tell you the reverse is true.

“A recent survey found that half of Americans feel anxious about getting sick when others cough around them,” Gottsman says. “So when you cough, your co-workers are likely going to be thinking of themselves and may not sympathize with you.”

That’s why Gottsman says the best thing you can do is steer clear of the office. If working remotely isn’t an option, it is best to take a sick day.

“When you’re sick, it’s so important to take precautions to keep your germs from infecting others, which should always include staying home from work or other activities until symptoms have subsided,” says Gottsman. “I understand that sometimes life seems too busy to get sick or a workplace may not offer enough paid time off. So staying home and putting work on the back burner until you’re well is not an option for everyone. Still, productivity will decline when you are sick and you may prolong your illness by overexerting yourself.”

With that, Gottsman says the name of the game is keeping those germs to yourself. Don’t be afraid to be demonstrative about that so you send a clear signal that you care and you don’t want to infect anyone — it will put your friends and colleagues at ease. Here are Gottsman’s sick etiquette tips:

Telecommute: If it is physically possible for you to complete a day’s work at home, that is probably the second most ideal solution to taking a sick day. If that’s not a typical arrangement at your place of employment, though, frame it as being beneficial to your boss and your fellow employees. For example: “I understand we have this important deadline coming up, which is why I would prefer not to spread this bug to others. What if I worked on the project from my home office today instead of coming in? If you sent me the call-in information, I could still join the conference call later. Of course, if you need anything at all, I’m just a phone call or email away.”

Touch no one: If a friend moves in for a hug or a handshake, kindly warn them that you are recovering from a cold and would prefer to “play it safe” before extending your hand or leaning in for a hug.

Keep a sickness arsenal: Keep your desk well stocked to help you treat your symptoms and keep common areas germ-free. For your kit, consider items like tissues, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer, as well as relief for sick symptoms, like pain relievers and a cough syrup like Robitussin.

Avoid shared surfaces: Cold viruses can survive several hours on surfaces, transferring easily to your colleagues. Germs can be hard to contain and avoid, but you can do your part by wiping down shared areas like a table or chair with a disinfecting wipe when you are finished using them.

Cover your mouth wisely: Coughs and sneezes give germs and viruses a nice little vehicle to get around and infect others nearby. When you must cough or sneeze, use a tissue or cough into your arm or elbow — never your hand, because the hands help spread the germs around. When using a tissue, promptly dispose of it and sanitize your hands.

Minimize coughing: When people hear someone cough in a crowded space, 26 percent feel annoyed, and 46 percent feel anxious about getting sick themselves, according to a recent online survey conducted by the Harris Poll. Keeping the medicine cabinet stocked with a powerful cough reliever is one effective way to suppress your cough. One product Gottsman recommends is Robitussin 12 Hour Cough Relief, because the long-lasting formula gets you through the whole work day by providing soothing relief from the hacking coughing. (You’ll also be much quieter, which is a bonus.)

It’s not always possible or practical to stay home for several days when you come down with a cold, but practicing good sick etiquette can help keep viruses from spreading to those around you.

Read more
shutterstock_519397753

90% child bone mass acquired by age 20 – nutrient packed foods can help

(BPT) – Most people associate bone density and skeletal concerns with advanced age. However, healthy bones form during childhood with the majority of bone density established before kids reach their 20s. Is it time to shift the focus to the early years rather than the later?

Up to 90 percent of peak bone mass is acquired by age 18 in girls and age 20 in boys, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. What’s more, bone mass peaks by the late 20s for most people, which means at this point bones have reached their maximum strength and density.

Bone is a living tissue and childhood is a critical time to focus on bone health and establish good habits that support skeletal wellness throughout life. Some factors effecting bone mass cannot be controlled, such as gender, race and hormones. Nutrition, on the other hand, can be controlled and is one of the best ways to increase your child’s bone health while teaching them positive eating habits.

Nutrition ideas to boost bone health

Studies show an increase in childhood bone fractures over the past four decades. Experts agree adequate levels of vitamin D and calcium decrease the risk of developing fractures by supporting bone strength. During the winter months, many children are not getting enough vitamin D — an essential vitamin needed for the body to absorb calcium — so it’s an important concern with decreased daylight hours.

Milk is an obvious source of vitamin D and calcium, but for kids with lactose sensitivities or those who don’t like drinking milk, there are other options. In fact, there are many foods that are a good source of both vitamin D and calcium.

Eggs: Eggland’s Best eggs come from hens fed an all-vegetarian diet consisting of healthy grains, canola oil and supplements like alfalfa and vitamin E. As a result, each EB egg has five times more vitamin D, plus three times more vitamin B12, two times more omega-3s, 10 times more vitamin E and 38 percent more lutein compared to ordinary eggs.

Kale: Just one cup of kale has 10 percent of your daily calcium and 133 percent of both your vitamin A and vitamin C needs for the day. If you struggle to get your kids to eat veggies, simply blend kale in a fruit smoothie, make kale chips by baking with garlic and olive oil, or mix cooked kale into spaghetti sauce or an egg frittata mixture to make it a seamless addition.

Figs: Five medium fresh figs have around 90 milligrams of calcium and other bone-healthy nutrients like potassium and magnesium, according to WebMD. Dried figs are a good option also, plus are a great natural sweetener for bakery items like cookies. A half cup of dried figs have 120 milligrams of calcium.

Almond butter: Want a bone-boosting alternative to peanut butter for your little one’s toast and PB&Js? Try almond butter! In addition to being a good source of protein, two tablespoons contains an estimated 112 milligrams of calcium and 240 milligrams of potassium.

Tofu: Soft enough that even tots can safely eat it, tofu is considered by some to be a modern superfood. Packed with nutrients, calcium-enriched tofu contains more than 400 milligrams of calcium. Cut into small pieces, saute and add to your kids’ favorite dishes such as macaroni and cheese or scrambled eggs.

“Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient when it comes to good bone health, but it’s also difficult to get the necessary amount through food,” said Tammy Lakatos, a registered dietitian. “That’s why we love Eggland’s Best eggs — they have five times more Vitamin D than ordinary eggs, plus, they’re easy to integrate into your diet, whether in omelets, salads, wraps, casseroles or desserts.”

Want a bone-healthy recipe that both kids and adults will enjoy? Try out this recipe and find more meal inspiration at www.egglandsbest.com.

Easy Pizza with Sauteed Greens, Garlic and Eggs

Ingredients:

4 Eggland’s Best Eggs (large)
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
10 ounces baby spinach, about 10 cups
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (16-ounce) bag refrigerated pizza dough
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup low-fat shredded mozzarella
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Coat a large round baking or pizza pan with cooking spray. Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add the garlic and cook until starting to brown, about 1 1/2-2 minutes. Add the spinach, tossing with kitchen tongs, and cook until wilted, 3 minutes; season with the salt and pepper. Transfer to a sieve or colander set over a bowl and let drain 5 minutes; discard liquid.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 15-inch circle and transfer to the prepared pan. Spread the ricotta evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Top evenly with the spinach then sprinkle with the mozzarella and Romano cheeses. Bake until the crust is lightly browned, 20-22 minutes.

Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the eggs and cook until the whites are just set, about 3 minutes. With a spatula, gently flip the eggs over and cook 30 seconds longer. Top the pizza with the eggs. Cut through the eggs into 8 slices.

Read more
29986155_wide.jpg

Safe food techniques every home cook should know

(BPT) – Good hosts want positive experiences around the dishes they prepare for the holidays — great conversation and good memories.

What’s a sure way to mar the feast? Not being consistent in following safe food handling techniques that every home cook should know. Each year, one in six people experiences food poisoning, affecting some 48 million people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Sometimes, the causes of food poisoning are beyond our control, in spite of regulations and best practices by farmers and food companies. While ready-to-eat foods and restaurants are often highlighted in the fight against food poisoning, we often overlook that home cooks are important partners in reducing the risk of foodborne illness,” said Mike Robach, vice president of food safety at Cargill.

“The most common foodborne pathogens, like salmonella and campylobacter, can cause serious illness, particularly in young children, the elderly, pregnant women and other immune-compromised people,” said Shelley Feist, executive director of the Partnership for Food Safety Education. “Consistently practicing good hand hygiene and safe food handling at home is important to protect your family from these microorganisms and the serious illness they can cause.”

Each year, foodborne illnesses lead to 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths, according to the CDC, as they can lead to serious conditions such as sepsis and kidney failure.

Like any skilled chef, you are best prepared to create a memorable feast when you keep these safe food handling practices top-of-mind. They are just as necessary to a great meal as sharp knives, high-quality cookware, fresh ingredients and the right appliances.

Clean hands and surfaces often

Before you begin cooking, start by making sure your work area and tools are clean. Wash all preparation surfaces, including cutting boards, with hot, soapy water. If any tools or containers you will need are dirty, either run the dishwasher cycle or hand-wash the items in a sink of hot, soapy water. Finally, wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food.

Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables

Depending on what you are using, some foods will require rinsing. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running water just before eating or using. Firm-skinned produce like cucumbers and apples should be rubbed under running tap water by hand or with a clean brush. You should also rinse any produce that will be peeled, because microorganisms on the surface can be easily transferred to the flesh with a peeler or knife blade. Blot fresh fruits and vegetables dry with paper towels.

There is no need to rinse raw meat or poultry, at least, not in the name of food safety. All that will accomplish is potentially spreading bacteria in your sink and beyond. Raw meat and poultry must be cooked to a safe internal temperature.

Safely handle meat and poultry

The best home cooks know it’s important to safely handle raw meat and poultry. To start with, do not thaw frozen meat and poultry at room temperature — to do so gives harmful bacteria an ideal environment to multiply and spread.

There are three safe ways to defrost food: in the refrigerator, submerged in cold water, and in the microwave. Food thawed in cold water or in the microwave should be cooked immediately.

Keep raw meat and poultry separate from other foods, and use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat and poultry.

And it is worth a reminder — never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw or undercooked meat or poultry.

Cook to safe temperatures

Here is a compelling reason to cook food to a safe temperature: Even a professional chef cannot say with precision if a food item is cooked to a safe internal temperature. Food is safely cooked when it reaches a high enough internal temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that cause illness. Get a food thermometer and use it consistently. For a list of safe internal temperatures, visit the Partnership for Food Safety Education website at fightbac.org.

Safe leftovers

Proper storing of leftovers in a refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below helps reduce the risk of food poisoning. Keep leftovers in shallow containers so they cool off more quickly. When reheating leftovers, make sure they reach a safe temperature of 165 F degrees as measured with a food thermometer. Consume or freeze refrigerated leftovers within three to four days.

For more tips to build your skills and expertise in food safety, visit StoryofYourDinner.org. Check out an animated video, as well as fun items such as kid-friendly placemats to download, and a collection of delicious side dish recipes that incorporate home food safety tips.

Read more