Dermatologist Debunks Top 5 Skincare Misconceptions

Picture - Teen Influential - Health & Wellness - Top 5 Myths

Figuring out what’s best for your skin can feel like solving a difficult mystery – everyone’s condition is unique, there are countless treatment options and people will do almost anything for a clear complexion.

“When it comes to your skin, there are many elements to consider,” says Dr. David Lortscher, board-certified dermatologist, CEO and founder of Curology. “Clogged pores, acne and other common issues can be a result of age, genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors. I often hear about common misconceptions that cause otherwise well-meaning people to make mistakes that trigger larger skincare problems.”

To help people better understand skincare and take control of their daily regimen, Dr. Lortscher shares the top misconceptions about skincare and acne.

Misconception: Exercise and sweat can cause acne.

Fact: Sweating while exercising doesn’t cause acne. The eccrine glands produce sweat and the sebaceous glands produce oil – so revving up the sweat glands doesn’t actually turn on the oil glands involved in acne breakouts. The truth is sweating and humidity can aggravate breakouts by giving the bacteria on the skin a better environment to grow.

Cleansing is key post-workout, but keep in mind vigorously cleansing your skin can also be a source of friction that aggravates acne. The best strategy is to splash comfortable-temperature water on your face and neck, then pat dry gently.

Misconception: Chocolate and greasy foods cause acne.

Fact: Many people have heard that chocolate and junk food are the worst foods for your skin, but modern science hasn’t found a direct link between acne and oily foods.

Diets are like acne treatments: highly individual. That’s not to say your eating habits can’t affect your skin. Eating simple carbs and sugar raises your blood sugar levels, causing your body to produce excess insulin, in turn stimulating oil production and leading to more inflammation and increased acne severity.

Misconception: DIY skincare and home remedies are good for your skin.

Fact: The DIY craze has extended to skincare routines, giving people ample ways to create their own remedies at home. However, it’s wise to be careful about the ingredients applied to your skin.

Some people try baking soda as a cost-effective scrub or mask. Baking soda is pH 9 and the pH of the skin is 4.5-5 or so. Therefore, scrubbing your face with a baking soda paste can be harsh and disturb your skin’s natural barrier, leading to red, raw and sensitive skin and leaving it susceptible to breakout.

Others suggest lemon juice as a home remedy for acne but it can cause significant dryness, redness and irritation. Lemon juice may have an exfoliating effect on the most superficial dead skin cells, but there are better ways to treat your acne.

If you’re fed up with DIY remedies and over-the-counter products just haven’t worked for you, you have options. Try custom prescription skincare like Curology, a service that gets you expert dermatology care from the comfort of your home. Just take a few photos and a skin quiz to get a prescription formula customized to your individual needs.

Misconception: You can make your pores smaller.

Fact: Most people want smaller pores, but in reality, you can’t change the size or force them “open” or “closed.”

Pore size is genetic; you can’t shrink them or make pores go away. To keep large pores from worsening, treat acne breakouts, don’t pick and use sun protection. Sun exposure breaks down collagen, which is the support structure surrounding the pores, so pores do appear larger as you age.

Misconception: You only need to wear sunscreen on sunny days.

Fact: It doesn’t matter if it’s sunny or cloudy; if you plan to spend time outdoors, wear sunscreen daily. It is estimated that damage caused by ultraviolet rays from the sun is responsible for up to 80 percent of skin aging.

SPF is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin. Most sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher do an excellent job of protecting against UVB. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. (BPT)

Make Game Day a Win

It’s game day, which means your party needs food and needs it fast. Use recipes that can pump up the crowd this season and make every game a win.

These quick recipes for an Olive Bar Flatbread and a Mediterranean Nacho Bar can leave the fans in your home screaming for more.

Your fans will almost assuredly be dipping, diving and running for these simple snacks created with fresh ingredients like Sabra Hummus, which is available in more than a dozen flavors in the deli section of your grocery store. Spread it on fluffy flatbread with your favorite veggies to create a snack that fans can go crazy over, or set it out buffet-style for everyone to munch on at halftime.

Find more game day recipes at sabra.com.

Mediterranean Nacho Bar

  • Sabra Hummus
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Chopped green onions
  • Chopped zucchini (1/4-inch chunks)
  • Chopped Greek olives
  • Chopped pepperoncinis
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Crumbled feta cheese
  • Grilled chicken
  • Pita chips
  1. Assemble hummus, tomatoes, green onions, zucchini, olives, pepperoncinis, lettuce, cheese and chicken in buffet format.
  2. Serve with pita chips.

Olive Bar Flatbread

Prep time: 15 minutes

Servings: 2

  • 3          tablespoons Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
  • 1          flatbread
  • 1/2       cup desired vegetables, chopped (olives, roasted peppers, peppadew or artichokes)
  • 3          miniature mozzarella balls, sliced
  • 2          cups arugula
  • 2          tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • ½         teaspoon salt
  • 1          teaspoon pepper
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Place hummus on flatbread. Top with desired vegetables and mozzarella.
  3. Bake on lower rack 10-12 minutes, or until crispy and browned.
  4. Toss arugula with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on flatbread and serve. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Sabra

Don’t Overpay Your Taxes

Commonly overlooked credits and deductions

With tax season in full swing, take time to consider how to get the most out of your tax return, which includes finding all the credits and deductions available to you. While many taxpayers claim common deductions, such as home mortgage interest and self-employment expenses, there are additional tax deductions that can lessen your final tax bill or increase your refund. These often-overlooked tax breaks could potentially save you hundreds – maybe even thousands – of dollars if you itemize deductions.

To start, get to know the difference between tax credits and tax deductions. Tax credits reduce the amount you owe in taxes. In some circumstances, tax credits allow a refundable credit, meaning you may not only reduce the amount you owe to $0, but you can also get money back. Deductions, on the other hand, simply reduce your taxable income. Both can have a potentially significant impact on your taxes and are often worth the extra effort to include on your return.

Some commonly overlooked credits include:

1. Child and Dependent Care Credit

You can claim a credit of up to $2,100 for day care for your dependents so you and your spouse can work. Qualifying dependents include children under 13 and parents who are no longer able to care for themselves.

2. Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a federal tax credit based on your income and the number of qualifying children living with you. Nearly 1 in 5 people who qualify fail to claim the credit, worth up to $6,318. Just because you didn’t qualify last year doesn’t mean you won’t this year; one-third of the EITC-eligible population changes each year based on marital, parental and financial status.

3. Saver’s Credit or the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit

Make sure you “pay yourself first.” Even if it is only $20 each pay cycle, make sure you are putting some money into a retirement fund. If your company offers a retirement savings plan, like a 401(k), it is usually in your best interest to participate. If your income is lower than $60,000, you can receive a credit of up to $1,000 for a contribution of up to $2,000 into an IRA or an employer-provided retirement account, such as a 401(k). The credit is in addition to any deduction or exclusion from income for the contribution.

Some tax deductions that allow you to reduce your taxable income include:

1. Moving Expenses

If you moved for a job that is at least 50 miles away from your home and held this job for at least 39 weeks, you can claim your moving expenses even if you don’t itemize deductions.

2. Tax-Preparation Fees

Plan for tax time. Tax laws change and so do life circumstances. Using a professional to help you file your return may be a wise investment. For example, the tax pros at Jackson Hewitt can help you get every deduction and credit you deserve and the biggest refund possible. Plus, the cost of preparing your taxes can be claimed if you itemize your deductions. In fact, one missed credit or deduction could more than cover the cost of having your taxes prepared by a tax professional.

3. New Moms

Breast pumps and lactation supplies are considered medical equipment, which means they qualify for a possible deduction.

4. Career Corner

Job hunting often means investing both time and money. However, you may be able to deduct some of the job-search expenses you incur. Costs such as preparing resumes, creating and maintaining websites, business cards, agency fees and travel expenses may be eligible.

5. Wedding Bells

If you were married in a church or at a historical site during the past year, you may be able to deduct fees paid to the venue as a charitable donation.

6. Medical Fitness

While general toning and fitness workouts to improve general health are considered personal expenses, you may be able to deduct your gym membership as a medical expense. If a doctor diagnoses you with a specific medical condition, such as obesity or hypertension, or a specific physical or mental illness, and prescribes workouts or participation in a weight-loss program to treat your illness, the membership dues may be tax-deductible.

7. Road Warriors

If you travel for business and aren’t reimbursed by your employer, those costs can qualify as a deduction.

Every possible tax credit and deduction can help when money is tight. You might qualify for at least one overlooked credit or deduction – and maybe more than one. Consult a tax professional to discuss how you can maximize your refund and learn more at JacksonHewitt.com.

Refund Advance

If you’re getting a refund, you typically want it as soon as possible, but that isn’t always an option, especially if you are one of the millions of Americans who claim either the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit. You could access up to $3,200 with a no-fee Refund Advance loan at zero percent annual percentage rate (APR), offered by MetaBank, at participating Jackson Hewitt locations. Terms apply, visit JacksonHewitt.com for details.

Did You Know?

1. The IRS, as well as many states, allows taxpayers to catch up on missed credits or deductions, offering a three-year window for filing an amended tax return. You can secure unclaimed credits and deductions by filing amended tax returns to avoid losing any unclaimed funds from as far back as 2014.

2. With locations across the United States, including kiosks in 3,000 Walmart stores, the tax professionals at Jackson Hewitt make it easy to stop in when it’s most convenient for you.

3. If you are a single parent, you can file as Head of Household instead of Single. This filing status can provide better deduction options and a lower tax rate schedule. (Family Features)

SOURCE:

Jackson Hewitt

Make Working from Home Productive and Liberating

Working from home is a reality for a fast-growing portion of American workers. It can add flexibility, drive higher productivity and reduce company costs related to maintaining physical facilities.

However, it also comes with challenges. If you have worked from home, you have most likely encountered issues collaborating and communicating with colleagues in multiple locations. While there are multiple technologies aimed at helping remote workers and increasing their productivity, they can at times thwart it.

All too familiar with productivity, remote working woes and how to address it, CyberLink created U, a collaboration tool that integrates online presentations, video meetings and instant messaging whether working remote or down the hall from one another.

“It’s a place to hold online meetings, have presentations and chat with your colleagues that doesn’t come with the messy installation fuss and technical errors associated with other options out there,” said Richard Carriere, CyberLink’s general manager and senior vice president of global marketing. “It brings the best of social media, such as emojis, ease of use and the flexibility to have impromptu interactions, to a business environment, in a unique way that heightens communication and collaboration across users.”

According to commissioned research by polling firm YouGov, nearly half (43 percent) of U.S. office workers think it’s harder for remote workers to be seen in the workplace than non-remote workers.Office workers think it’s twice as difficult, when working remotely, to make strong relationships with bosses and coworkers while collaborating effectively. In fact, 1 in 6 think remote workers are less valued by the company, more than 1 in 3 think remote workers miss out on office culture and 1 in 5 think they get promoted less often.

There are also technical difficulties workers can encounter when using the technology solutions of the past. Of office workers who said disruptions and working with a solution that’s incompatible with the demands of a remote workforce today had impacted their work, the most prominent included:

  • Nearly half (42 percent) have misinterpreted the tone of written communication (email, instant messaging, etc.)
  • Nearly half (40 percent) said an important call had been dropped
  • 1 in 3 (31 percent) have been late to or missed a meeting because of a tech failure and a nearly one-quarter (22 percent) because it was too complicated to join
  • More than one-quarter (28 percent) have used the wrong version of a document
  • About 1 in 4 (23 percent) said an important video meeting had dropped
  • 1 in 5 (21 percent) mistakenly “replied all” to an email

To help address these issues and others, all of U’s offerings create virtual counterparts to in-person scenarios, in turn allowing workplace culture, creativity and dialogue to resonate beyond the physical workplace and to all workers, despite location. Learn more at u.cyberlink.com . (Family Features)

SOURCE:

CyberLink

Simple Sheet Pan Suppers

At times, spending hours in the kitchen can be a relaxing, enjoyable experience. However, even for avid home cooks, a busy weeknight isn’t one of those times. Fortunately, solutions like sheet pan suppers make it easy to create dishes with exceptional flavor depth that come together quickly and clean up just as fast.

Keeping a variety of vegetables on hand makes it simple to pull together a family meal. Onions, for example, are versatile, flavorful, easy to store, have a long shelf-life and are available year-round from U.S. growers. An added benefit when cooking with onions is that you’re serving up a good source of fiber.

All About Onions

Knowing how to buy and store onions can make them true superstars in your kitchen. Growers and shippers of the National Onion Association and Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee offer these tips:

Buying

When shopping, buy onions with dry outer skins, free of spots or blemishes. The onion should be firm and have no scent. Avoid bulbs that have begun to sprout.

Yellow, red and white onions are available year-round from

producers in the United States.

Seasonal differences like flavor and texture are noticeable and highlighted during these time frames:

Fall and winter onions (available August-April ) have multiple layers of thick, paper-like layers of skin. Known for their mild to pungent flavor profile, these varieties can be eaten raw, and are ideal for roasting, caramelizing, grilling and frying because they have less water content.

Spring and summer onions (available March-August) have thin, often transparent skins and are typically sweeter and milder than fall and winter varieties. Due to their high water content and mild flavor, they are best used for raw, pickled, lightly cooked or grilled dishes.

Storing

Store onions in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place, not the refrigerator. Do not store whole, unpeeled onions in plastic bags. Lack of air movement reduces storage life. Peeled or cut onions may be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

For more tasty recipes to make supper a cinch, visit onions-usa.org and usaonions.com.

Spicy Sheet Pan Roasted Jambalaya

Recipe courtesy of the National Onion Association and Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee

Servings: 4-6

  • 1          large yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2       large green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2       large yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2       large red bell pepper, diced
  • 3          stalks celery, sliced or diced
  • 2          garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2       jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 1          pint cherry tomatoes
  • 3          tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon black pepper
  • 1          link (13.5 ounces) Andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1          pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1          tablespoon Cajun seasoning blend
  • linguine noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • 1-2       lemons, sliced in thin wedges
  • 2          green onions, sliced
  • fresh chopped parsley
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Line 13-by-18-inch sheet pan with parchment paper.
  3. In large bowl, combine onion, bell peppers, celery, garlic, jalapenos, tomatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper until evenly combined. Spread out evenly on pan in single layer. Add slices of Andouille sausage. Roast 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and start to brown.
  4. Toss shrimp with Cajun seasoning and prepare linguine noodles.
  5. When ready, remove baking sheet from oven. Place shrimp on top of vegetable and sausage mixture in single layer. Top with half the lemon wedges. Return to oven and cook about 5-8 minutes, or until shrimp is no longer pink.
  6. Serve over linguine garnished with green onions and parsley with remaining fresh lemon wedges on side.

Easy Drumstick-Quinoa Sheet Pan Supper

Recipe courtesy of the National Onion Association and Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee

Servings: 4-6

  • 8-10     chicken legs
  • 1          fennel bulb
  • 1          large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1          large red onion, sliced
  • 2          garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3          medium-sized potatoes, cubed
  • 1          orange (1/4 cup juice and zest)
  • 1/4       teaspoon thyme, dried
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 1          teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon black pepper
  • 2          tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • orange rind curls
  • brown rice, cooked according to package directions
  • quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Line 13-by-18-inch sheet pan with parchment paper.
  3. Place chicken legs on pan. Spread fennel, yellow onion, red onion, garlic and potatoes around and in between legs.
  4. In small bowl, whisk together orange juice and zest, thyme and olive oil. Pour mixture over chicken and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Roast 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender. Cook rice and quinoa.
  6. Garnish chicken with parsley and orange curls. Serve over brown rice and quinoa.

Sheet Pan-Style Buddha Bowls

Recipe courtesy of the National Onion Association and Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee

Servings: 4-6

  • 2          yellow onions, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1/2       head of red or purple cabbage, cut into wedges
  • 2          red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1          small butternut squash, peeled and 1/2-inch diced
  • 1          pound Brussels sprouts, halved
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2    cups quinoa, cooked according to package directions

Tahini sauce:

  • 1          tablespoon tahini
  • 1/2       lemon, juiced
  • 1          teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2-1    teaspoon maple syrup
  • 2          avocados, peeled and sliced
  • fresh parsley
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Line 13-by-18-inch sheet pan with parchment paper.
  3. Place onion, cabbage, potatoes, squash and Brussels sprouts in single layer on pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables 40 minutes, or until tender. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
  4. While vegetables roast, cook quinoa.
  5. To make tahini sauce: In small bowl, whisk tahini, lemon juice, mustard and syrup until smooth.
  6. To assemble Buddha bowls: Spoon quinoa into bowls. Add roasted veggies and garnish with avocado and parsley. Drizzle tahini sauce over each bowl and serve. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
National Onion Association and Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee

More Students are Going to Grad School: How are They Paying for It?

Graduate School

Photography courtesy of (c) nd3000/stock.Adobe.com.

Career aspirations are driving more students to graduate school these days, and nearly two thirds believe an advanced degree is the new minimum standard level of education for any professional occupation.

According to “How America Pays for Graduate School,” the new national study from Sallie Mae and Ipsos, an independent global market research company, nearly all grad students (95 percent) said an advanced degree is necessary to enter, advance, accelerate or remain competitive in their chosen career.

Cost is less of a factor in the enrollment decision than it is at the undergraduate level, as more than eight in 10 surveyed based their enrollment decision on a school’s academic offerings, prestige, location, campus culture, or other personal consideration. However, eight in 10 grad students said they took more responsibility for paying-for-school decisions than they had for their undergraduate studies.

“It is human nature to plan for what you value, and that includes graduate school. Today’s students see graduate school as their ticket to a successful and prosperous career, and most have a plan to pay for their advanced degree before they enroll,” says Raymond J. Quinlan, chairman and CEO, Sallie Mae. “That planning pays off: the overwhelming majority are confident in the financial decisions they’ve made about how to pay for their graduate education.”

How much did they pay? Students spent an average of $24,812 on grad school in academic year 2016-17, and more than three-fourths of them (77 percent) paid for it, at least in part, by borrowing. Funds borrowed by students covered more than half of the cost (53 percent), while money students earned, including income and savings, paid for 24 percent. Grants, fellowships, scholarships, and tuition waivers accounted for 15 percent, while eight percent of grad school costs came from funds borrowed or contributed by parents or others.

The study also reveals that scholarships and grants are less available for grad students than for undergrads, accounting for just 15 percent of grad school costs. In response, Sallie Mae announced a new Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students that will award four $20,000 scholarships in 2018. Students may apply by Feb. 14 by visiting SallieMae.com/BridgingtheDreamGrad.

To view the complete report, visit SallieMae.com/HowAmericaPaysGrad and join the conversation using #HowGradsPay.

As a graduate degree continues to become the educational norm, students will continue to plan and find creative ways to meet the cost. (StatePoint)

The Arts Residences and Thompson San Antonio Hotel Set Groundbreaking

Texas’ Fastest-Selling High-Rise to Break Ground January 30 

DC Partners recently announced the groundbreaking ceremony for The Arts Residences and Thompson San Antonio hotel will take place Tuesday, January 30, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the project site, 123 Lexington Avenue, San Antonio, with a reception following in The Arts Residences Sales Gallery, located at 115 Auditorium Circle.

“The Thompson San Antonio hotel and The Arts Residences will truly be a landmark project –redefining luxury downtown living by offering residents exceptional customer service and unparalleled amenities from 24-hour concierge and room service, a spa, first-class restaurant, a pool deck and more,” said Roberto Contreras, CEO of DC Partners, which is entering the San Antonio market for the first time. “The premier location and proximity to the Tobin Center and the performing arts district places residents in the epicenter of San Antonio’s thriving downtown.”

The groundbreaking will begin at 9 a.m. with the ceremony of shovels, followed at 9:15 a.m. with remarks by Contreras; Leland Rocchio of Jordan Foster Construction, the general contractor; – and City of San Antonio officials. At approximately 9:45 a.m., the event will move to the sales gallery for champagne, mimosas and light bites.

“We are thrilled to bring Thompson Hotels’ unique brand of luxury to downtown San Antonio. This city is culturally and economically dynamic and has a robust future,” said Todd Wynne-Parry, Executive Vice President, Global Acquisitions & Development for Two Roads Hospitality, the international lifestyle hotel group which owns and operates the Thompson Hotels brand. “Thompson San Antonio will be a locally-immersed hotel and another valued social venue, contributing to the community and counting our neighbors among our guests.”

“We are very excited to get construction underway and play a major role in creating this landmark mixed-used development,” said Leland Rocchio, President of Jordan Foster Construction’s Commercial Group. “The Arts Residences and Thompson San Antonio hotel will further enhance the culturally rich arts district and growing downtown by providing a positive impact on the community and its long-term intrinsic value.”

Attendees will include City of San Antonio elected officials; representatives of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Centro San Antonio, Jordan Foster Construction, Two Roads Hospitality, Powers Brown Architecture, Universal Services Group and Kuper Sotheby’s International Real Estate. Numerous representatives of DC Partners will also be on hand, as well as The Arts Residences sales team, prominent members of the San Antonio real estate community, Arts residences owners and prospective buyers, friends and family.

Artistic renderings showcasing the building’s exterior and interior features will be on display both at the groundbreaking site and the reception. The sales gallery features a three-dimensional model of the project, as well as all available options and finishes for The Arts Residences condominiums.

Located at the epicenter of San Antonio’s vibrant performing arts district and across from the River Walk, The Arts Residences is a $116 million, 20-level, 337,000-plus-square-foot mixed-use development at the intersection of North St. Mary’s Street and Lexington Avenue, across the river from the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. The development slated for completion in 2019 will include The Arts Residences’ luxury condominiums atop San Antonio’s first Thompson Hotel, an international collection of design-forward, luxury lifestyle hotels and resorts.

Forty percent of the condominium homes in The Arts Residences at the Thompson San Antonio hotel have sold since the sales gallery opened May 11, 2017, setting a new record for the fastest-selling high-rise luxury condominium project in Texas. The for-sale residences are priced from the high $400s to over $4.5 million for penthouses.

“Residents of The Arts Residences will live an elegant, concierge lifestyle within minutes of San Antonio’s finest cultural and entertainment offerings,” said Acho Azuike, Chief Operations Officer of DC Partners. “A limited number of these incomparable condominium homes remain for those discriminating enough to recognize their timeless value.  Now more than ever is the time to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

For more information please visit http://theartsresidences.com or contact the sales office to schedule a tour at (210) 227-4840.

Start the Year Strong with this High-Performance Vegetable

Chasing a place on the podium isn’t possible without the proper fuel for your body. Whether you’re going for the gold or just passing the pigskin in honor of the big game, athletes and amateurs alike need the right combination of nutrients to take on their training, and sports nutritionists across the nation are recommending one vegetable in particular to get them there – potatoes! Here’s why:

  • Carbohydrate – Potatoes are a nutrient-dense vegetable with 26 grams of quality carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are important for optimal physical and mental performance as the primary fuel for your brain and a key source of energy for muscles. And, because your body’s own stores of carbohydrates are limited and may be depleted – even in a single session of intense and/or prolonged exercise – it’s important to replenish them.
  • Potassium – Did you know a medium-sized potato with the skin has more potassium than a medium-sized banana? A medium (5.2 ounce) skin-on potato contains 620 mg of potassium, an important electrolyte that aids in muscle, cardiovascular and nervous system function. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines mention potassium as an under-consumed nutrient of concern, and recommend consuming foods with high levels of potassium such as white potatoes.
  • Energy – Potatoes are more energy-packed than any other popular vegetable. Adequate energy intake supports optimal body functions and it’s critical to take in the appropriate number of calories to match the demands of the day, especially while training.

Partial to pasta or rice? With as much – if not more – of several essential vitamins and minerals found in spaghetti, brown rice or whole wheat bread, potatoes are a smart addition to your other favorite performance foods (compared on a per-serving basis). What’s more, a medium Russet potato with the skin has more vitamin C and potassium than a medium sweet potato.

There is a medal-worthy potato option to fit your tastes (and schedule) no matter what sport is your specialty. Leslie Bonci, registered dietitian and nutrition consultant for the Kansas City Chiefs and the WNBA, says, “I love potatoes for their versatility, affordability and applicability to all types of culinary options. The carbohydrate, fiber and potassium make them a great choice for workouts and offer a change of pace and taste from other sports-focused foods.” She created a recipe for portable and crunchy On-the-Go Potatoes for a quick savory snack for mid-hike or mid-bike that’s ready in just about 30 minutes. Gearing up for a busy week? Make a batch of On-the-Go Potatoes on Sunday and freeze them. Defrost throughout the week by leaving in the refrigerator overnight, and then simply re-heat in the toaster oven (or enjoy cold). (BPT)

On-the-Go Potatoes

Yield: 8 servings (about 5 potatoes per serving)

Ingredients:

24 oz. petite yellow potatoes (about 40 petite potatoes)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 cup panko crumbs

1/4 cup tuxedo sesame seeds

2 teaspoons Chinese 5-Spice seasoning mix

Directions:

Put potatoes in a bowl and toss with the olive oil and soy sauce. Mix to coat well.

In a separate bowl, combine panko bread crumbs, sesame seeds and 5-spice seasoning and mix well.

In small batches, put the potatoes in the bread crumb mixture and roll around to coat well.

Transfer to a cookie sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until cooked through.

Nutrition

Per serving (8 servings; about 5 potatoes per serving): Calories 174, Fat: 5.7 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 257 mg, Carbohydrates: 26.8 g, Fiber: 2.5 g, Potassium: 485 mg, Protein: 4.3 g, Vitamin C: 7 mg.

Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Position of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics, American College of Sports Medicine and the Dietitians of Canada. Med Sci Sports Excerc. 2015; 48:543-568.

Burke LM, Hawley JA, Wong SH, Jeukendrup AE. Carbohydrates for training and competition. J Sports Sci. 2011; 29(Suppl 1): S17-27.

Potassium: Food Sources Ranked by Amounts of Potassium and Energy per Standard Food Portions and per 100 Grams of Foods. Available at: http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/appendix-10/.

Gelibter A, et al. Satiety following intake of potatoes and other carbohydrate test meals. Ann Nutr Metab. 2013;62:37-43.

9 USDA standard reference 28, based on Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed (RACC).

Try This Protein-Packed Substitute to Make Lunchtime More Nutritious

Cheese

Cottage cheese is having a moment.

Nutritionists and health-minded individuals have discovered that the dairy case staple can actually unlock a lot of mealtime solutions, especially when it comes to remaking recipes with a creamy base, such as tuna salad and veggie dip.

Simply swap the mayonnaise, cream cheese or sour cream with high-protein cottage cheese, and it’s pretty easy to pull off a higher-protein and lower-calorie version of your lunchtime favorites, says Amy Gorin, a registered dietitian nutritionist and writer in New York City.

“In many of these recipes, cottage cheese works beautifully, because it helps these delicious foods keep that creamy texture while decreasing the calories and saturated fat — and adding filling protein,” Gorin says. “It’s one of those foods that was hiding in plain sight all these years.”

For best results, start with a protein-packed brand of cottage cheese. Gorin always recommends Muuna Cottage Cheese to her clients, because its Lowfat Plain variety delivers a rich and creamy texture, plus it’s high in protein (14-19g per serving), is a good source of calcium and also contains potassium.

So look at your go-to breakfast, lunch and snack recipes with new eyes, grab your blender and get creative. To get you inspired, here are five easy ways you can make the cottage cheese swap and give yourself a protein boost without going hungry.

Lunch salad update

Many of us have said no to delicious and classic lunch salads we love, because mayo can add fat and calories. Turn to cottage cheese to make over your favorite lunches, and you can start enjoying things like tuna salad and potato salad, plus you’ll love that boost of protein.

On toast

Simplify your lunch hour and use cottage cheese as a creamy base for your favorite whole-grain toast, and then stack on yummy, vitamin-packed extras, like salad greens and sliced mangos, or even strawberries and avocado.

A Greek yogurt-cup alternative

For a quick on-the-go snack or lunch side, Muuna has reimagined cottage cheese into single-serve cups with real pieces of fruit on the bottom, packed with 15 grams of protein, including strawberry, blueberry, pineapple, peach and mango.

Smoothies reimagined

Swap out the yogurt and try using cottage cheese as a protein base for your favorite smoothie recipe. What you’ll have is a thick and creamy breakfast, likely with more protein than sugar.

Dip without the guilt

Kids and adults love how flavorful, creamy dips and dressings can liven up cut-up vegetables like carrots and broccoli. Sub in cottage cheese for mayo or sour cream to lower the calories and fat — and to amp up the protein and make the snack more filling and fueling. This super-simple, reimagined ranch dressing not only adds flavor to your crudites, it brings protein power to your lunchbox or your child’s.

For recipes and more inspiration, visit http://muuna.com/recipes/. (BPT)

 

Tips to Save Money and Energy This Winter

Winter is a time of year when expenses can soar, especially your utility bills. Thankfully, Chip Wade, HGTV expert, has some advice on how you can save energy, and ultimately money, this year:

Lighting: LED bulbs are 90 percent more efficient than incandescent light bulbs.

Prevent heat loss: Find and seal air leaks in your home. “Areas around windows and doors are often culprits for allowing heat to escape,” says Wade. Use caulking or weatherstripping to seal these leaks and keep the heat inside your home.

Water heating: Did you know you can control the temperature of your water heater? Most households only require water heater thermostats to be set at 120 F, which is lower than what the temperature is typically set at. By lowering your water heating temperature, you’re not only reducing energy, but also preventing water from becoming dangerously hot.

Adjust the temperature: Hosting a gathering? Consider turning the thermostat down. “More people in your home means an increase in your home’s temperature,” says Wade. “To accommodate for this, I turn my thermostat five to ten degrees lower than normal before guests arrive, so that they are comfortable.” Also, if you’re traveling, it’s good to keep in mind that programmable thermostats like the YORK Affinity Hx Touch-screen Thermostat can take care of temperature adjustments for you while you’re away. YORK’s free downloadable app allows you to control the thermostat from your smartphone, no matter where you travel.

Maintain your heating system: Be sure to schedule regular service appointments with your local technician to keep your heating and cooling system running properly. Also, set a calendar reminder to replace your air filters once a month to maintain proper airflow.

Choose a high-efficiency furnace: Save energy heating your home by choosing a high-efficiency furnace. “Always consider a furnace’s annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating,” says Wade. “The higher the AFUE, the more efficient the furnace and the greater the amount of heat it delivers for your money. Look for models with AFUE of 90 percent or higher.”

For more ways to save energy and money, visit www.YORK.com. (BPT)