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Demand for Nurses
Nurses may be the most in-demand health care position in the country.

The Role of a Nurse Researcher

January 3rd, 2011

Nurse researchers spend their days trying to find all different kinds of way to advance health and health care services. They are scientists who analyze all facets of health and illness. Through creating and applying various scientific studies, nurse researchers gather and examine data, and chronicle their findings. This research is funded by grants, which are acquired through written proposals and awarded when reporting requirements are met. Usually the working arena for a nurse researcher is an academic or medical setting. Daily activities entail composing articles and research reports for nursing, medical, as well as various professional journals and similar publications.

The career path of a nurse researcher begins as a research assistant or clinical data coordinator. As your experience grows, so does the responsibility you take on. Eventually the job duties include finding new and superior ways to distribute health care services – in a more proficient way. Nurse researchers strive to improve the quality of life for those in pain from lingering illnesses. They work to motivate patients to select healthy choices, resulting in better lifestyles. Nurse researchers team up with scientists from other fields to further tackle compound questions and problems. To get to this point, an education beyond a four year degree is required. A doctorate can give you the opportunity to conduct advanced nursing research. It is a similar career to that of a scientist, because they both involve a necessary interest in discovering questions and uncovering answers by way of research studies.

Nurse researchers can work in various environments – health care settings, learning institutions, laboratories. Their working arenas may also expand if hired by private companies as well as nonprofit organizations that possess an interest in health care issues. With most research studies being funded independently, nurse researchers can jump from project to project. However as long as grant money is coming in, the research does not need to stop. The funding is essential when talking about having the money to conduct all of these great studies comprised by nurse researchers. There is something very exciting and motivating about uncovering information that can not only improve, but save someone's life. Nurse researchers discover the knowledge we need to better out lives and further our human development. The answers they find keep patients safe preventing them from injury and illness. Nurse researchers give care and comfort to those that are nearing the end of their lives, offering a peaceful finale to what can be a long rollercoaster ride.

What a Legal Nurse Consultant Does

January 2nd, 2011

There is one job that links the world of medicine to the judicial system, and that is the title of legal nurse consultant. The job description begins with examining medically-related matters that may be relevant to a legal case. A legal nurse consultant offers an educated opinion on any case being discussed. The world of health care can be complex and difficult to understand for those that have spent their lives studying law. So when a case involves a health care issue – usually one that is complex and presents a challenge to the process of a trial – legal nurse consultants are brought in to interpret the evidence that is presented. It is the worthwhile knowledge of a nurse consultant that can make the intricacies of the health care system easier to understand, further allowing those in the legal field to continue doing their own job to the best of their ability.

Being that this job requires knowledge beyond that of a registered nurse, a specific training course is required for all those interested in pursuing this fascinating career. However once you complete this training, you have the ability to possess your own independent consulting practice. The lucrative advantages continue as you will still be able to carry out working at a law firm, government office, or perhaps for an insurance company. While it may feel tedious, a day to day picture of the work done by a legal nurse consultant can include educating lawyers on any relevant medical facts that they need to comprehend for a case – i.e. going over any records or other medical documents to help conclude whether or not there is any relevance to a case. In this situation your opinion basically determines whether or not a lawyer has a case. Your opinion as a result can be weighed on heavily at times, forcing you to only further remain independent and go strictly by the information that has been presented to you.

By typically charging less than medical doctors, the high demand for nurse consultants only continues to rise. These nurses become cost-effective commodities to legal firms, attorneys, and any other party that chooses to use their services. With this nursing field offering multiple opportunities across the country, the extra two years of school can be significantly worth it. It is in school that you learn to comprehend the multifaceted nature of medical-legal cases. You are able to acquire a unique skill set, and put yourself in a situation where you can better serve your community.

20 Incredible Facts About Breast Milk

December 14th, 2010

As the debate about the values of breastfeeding wages on, more scientific studies are conducted that ultimately prove — or at least very convincingly make their case — that breast milk isn't just a great source of nutrition: it may also influence things like the immune system, IQ, and healthy eating habits later in life. But even the nutrition part is pretty cool, too. Breast milk is full of all the nutrients that your baby needs, without going overboard. It adapts to your own diet and feeding schedule, and actually changes in composition several times a day. If you're a new mom or a nurse who's working with pregnant and nursing mothers, here are 20 incredible facts about breast milk that might change what you think about breastfeeding.

  1. A drop in hormones triggers breast milk: Most people think of pregnant women being as being hopped up on hormones, but as the body is born (removing the placenta), a major drop in hormones occurs. This allows a hormone called prolactin to activate, which signals to your breasts that it's milk-making time.
  2. Breastfeeding might lower risk for childhood obesity: A couple of years ago, a study broke that proposed breastfeeding leads to better eating habits in preschool aged children. Kids who were bottle-fed — even if they were drinking pumped breast milk — were less able to tell when they were full, so they kept eating. It's more of a behavioral link, scientists believe, than a nutritional one.
  3. Breast milk needs water: Women who breast feed are more thirsty than normal, and the USDA recommends that they drink one glass of water for every breastfeeding session.
  4. Breast milk glands grow during the second trimester: Your breasts get ready to produce milk during the second trimester when sac-like glands grow, thanks to an increase in estrogen, lactogen, and other hormones. Once your baby is born and starts suckling, prolactin is activated, which then spurs on another hormone called oxytocin, which actually releases milk.
  5. Breast milk can't be duplicated: Breast milk is always changing, and it can't be duplicated. No two mothers have the same breast milk, and breast milk taken from one woman during one part of the day won't even be the same as a sample taken from the same woman later in the day.
  6. Milk changes during each feeding: That's because the actual make-up of your breast milk changes from feeding to feeding. When your baby first starts feeding, your milk contains mostly lactose and proteins, and is a bluish color. At the end of the feeding, your baby starts drinking hindmilk, which is mostly made up of fat and gives your baby the calories it needs.
  7. Breast milk contains two major types of protein: Your breast milk contains two main types of protein, called whey and casein. There's more whey protein than casein, and it has the greatest infection-fighting powers. If you use formula, make sure the whey-to-casein protein matches natural breast milk, or your baby could have a higher chance of infections and have trouble digesting milk.
  8. Your breasts will always produce just enough milk: Remarkably, your breasts will only produce as much milk as your baby needs, no more and no less. When you start breastfeeding, your breasts will start producing more milk, but as feedings slow down, your body just naturally stops producing it.
  9. Your breast milk contains only as many vitamins as you take yourself: One common misconception about breast milk is that it's inherently superior to formula, simply because it's natural. But breast milk only contains the vitamins that are already in your body, which is why it's important for pregnant and nursing women to take supplements and eat a healthy diet to get enough Vitamin A, D, E, K, C, riboflavin, niacin and panthothenic acid.
  10. Alcohol is present in your breast milk: If you plan on breastfeeding, you need to be conscious of your alcohol intake even after you give birth. Alcohol is present in your breast milk, just as it is in your blood stream. Drinking isn't prohibited, but it's recommended that you have only a drink or two a few hours before breast feeding so that your body can metabolize the alcohol. If you drink more, pump your breast milk so that feedings aren't interrupted and your baby's health isn't compromised.
  11. Fresh breast milk lasts up to 8 hours at room temperature: It lasts 5-7 days in the refrigerator, too, but just make sure it's labeled to ensure freshness and avoid any accidents involving dunking Oreos into it.
  12. You can freeze it: You can also freeze breast milk if you've got extra time to do some pumping and are afraid you won't be able to meet regularly scheduled feedings because of an out-of-town trip or work commitment. You can freeze breast milk in a freezer-safe container for up to 3-4 months in a regular freezer, and up to 6 months in a deep freezer set at 0.
  13. Microwaving breast milk isn't the best option: Don't ever microwave breast milk to heat it up or thaw it, though. Because a microwave heats unevenly, the milk might get too hot in one spot, even though you've tested it safely in another.
  14. Each nipple has 15-20 openings to release milk: Each nipple has tiny little openings that release breast milk, about 15-20, doctors estimate.
  15. Colostrum, or early milk, releases slowly: When your baby's tummy is at its smallest — the first few days after birth — your "early milk," called colostrum, is released in tiny amounts, so as not to overfill your baby. It's high in protein and antibodies from the mother — it contains three times as much as mature milk — but low in fat and sugar, which your baby doesn't really need in the first few days.
  16. You can cross-feed: Wet nurses may have died out in the U.S. for the most part, but cross-feeding is still possible. Some moms don't like that they don't get to experience the emotional bonding time with their baby if they use a wet nurse, but for busy moms who don't want to pump, it's a viable option. Some moms even cross-feed, switching babies among groups of nursing moms to satisfy hectic working schedules or even accommodate for breast surgeries.
  17. You can make cheese with it: It might sounds nauseating to you, but one prominent New York chef used his wife's breast milk to make cheese and serve it in his restaurant. The New York Health Department quickly banned it, but a food critic from The Daily Beast was on a mission to try it anyway, finding that, although "it is quite bland, slightly sweet…It's the unexpected texture that's so off-putting. Strangely soft, bouncy, like panna cotta."
  18. Breast milk boosts IQ: In addition to lowering the risk of childhood obesity, breast milk may boost IQ in nursing infants, scientists believe. Their IQs may even reach 8 points higher than babies who aren't breast fed, especially in verbal evaluations. It's a two-part hypothesis: the nutrients in breast milk helps brain development and mental skills while the actual act of breast feeding is an intimate experience that aids baby development, too.
  19. Breast milk is the best medicine: Babies receive all the nutrients and disease-fighting powers they need from breast milk, which helps keep infections and other illnesses at bay. If you switch between bottle feedings and breast milk, babies won't get the same benefits, and breast feeding for six months is recommended to stave off infections for the first year. And after that? This woman squirted breast milk into her preschool-aged daughter's eye to cure pink eye. She recovered quickly with no meds, but a scientific study hasn't been scheduled to follow up.
  20. Milk composition changes during the day: Just as your milk changes during each feeding, its composition also changes throughout the day, affecting the number of calories your baby gets during nursing sessions. Another factor that might influence milk composition is the mother's diet, which can determine how much fat and calories are then passed on to the baby.

The Role of the Geriatric Nurse in Health Care

December 13th, 2010

Because the number of the elderly is projected to grow rapidly in the next ten years, the geriatric nurse can expect to take on an even more active role in health care than in previous years. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor statistics projects that general medical care facilities will be pressured to discharge patients earlier due to financial reasons, which means that elderly patients could more often check into elderly-care facilities or hire geriatric nurses more often.

Simply put, geriatric nurses care for elderly patients. However, their responsibilities can vary, depending upon the needs of the patient, the medical facility, and the attending doctor. In many cases, geriatric nurses are trained to help patients who have lost their mobility; have trouble seeing, hearing, and speaking; and have the need for supervision in order to enjoy their daily lives. Geriatric nurses can work in a variety of institutions. Some are hired to care for their patients in the patients' residency, others work in hospitals and retirement centers. They often assist doctors who are treating elderly patients, and they serve as a kind of supportive counselor to help families of elderly patients adjust to having a family member in need of geriatric care.

In order to become a geriatric nurse, students typically enroll in a nursing program. These programs can vary between two and four years and graduates of these programs earn an associate's or bachelor's degree. The quality of their education will determine how much a nurse earns, usually, but most graduates of these programs qualify from an entry-level nursing job; however, higher degrees may open greater nursing opportunities down the road. In either case, from there it's only a matter of building enough experience to advance in a nursing career. In order to gain admittance to these kinds of programs, applicants should typically have a high school diploma.

Those interested in geriatric nursing in particular should consider studying health areas particular to the needs of geriatric patients and the methods of their care. For example, geriatric nurses should be familiar with treating pressure ulcers and other skin conditions, many of which arise in the cases of bed-ridden patients. Other areas of study should include but is not limited to identifying and treating cardiovascular diseases; respiratory issues, especially in the case of a long-term smoker; and complications arising from mental degradation, such as Alzheimer's and dementia. A nurse with training in these areas can be a wonderful resource for family members, while also being able to help keep the patient comfortable.

Online Nursing Schools Offer Numerous RN-to-BSN Programs

December 13th, 2010

Are you a registered nurse who is unemployed or having trouble moving up in your career? You might want to consider pursuing an RN-to-BSN program at an online nursing school. Hospitals and clinics that employ nurses are increasingly looking for higher levels of education in the nurses they hire, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is very much in demand as a qualification for promotion. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, advancement opportunities are sometimes more limited for nurses who hold only an associate degree in nursing, or ASN.

The great thing about online RN-to-BSN programs is that they are designed with busy nursing professionals in mind. In fact, many RN-to-BSN students work full time while taking classes online. If you are working shifts that vary from week to week, it can be extremely difficult to make it to class on a traditional campus on the same day and time each week. When you take classes online, you can log in to your classes at the time of day that is most convenient to you and complete school on your own schedule.

Many RNs have questions about how clinical training is conducted when you're taking classes online. Clinical training in an online program is arranged at a health care setting close to where you live. For example, in the online RN-to-BSN program offered through the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill, only one course requires clinical training, a course called Community Health Nursing. Nursing students do their clinical in a local community health agency setting, according to program information on the UNC website.

Aside from the flexibility of logging in to your courses from your home at your own convenience, you are also not limited to nursing programs in your immediate area when you decide to do an online RN-to-BSN program. For instance, if you are really interested in the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay's online nursing program, you can take it from any state in the U.S., as long as you have a nursing license in that state, according to the program website.

Finally, the great thing about BSN completion programs is that they are built with experienced RNs in mind. The courses are tailored for nursing professionals who already have clinical training. Therefore, you don't necessarily have to "re-learn" the basics of nursing that you already know; instead, these programs build on the nursing foundation you already have.

Benefits of Attending Online Nursing Schools

December 11th, 2010

As the health care industry has grown exponentially over the past few years, more and more students are interested in making a career as a health care professional. Many of these students look into nursing as a viable career option. In order to help educate the increasing number of student nurses out there, online nursing schools and online nursing degree programs have sprung up all over the country. With the significant improvements in online pedagogy and practices, these online nursing programs can provide just as good an education to their students as traditional brick and mortar nursing schools. As a result, students can benefit greatly from taking courses online as they work towards a nursing degree.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of taking courses online in order to get a nursing degree is the amount of flexibility such an online course schedule can give you. This is why a majority of online nursing students are actually non-traditional students, which means they work full time or are in the midst of a career transition and need more education in order to reach their new goals. By taking courses online, nursing students do not have to worry about quitting their job, and thus losing their income, in their pursuit of a good education. This allows them to have a safety net should a nursing degree not be right for them.

Additionally, online nursing students do not have to transplant themselves in order to attend their dream nursing program. They can remain in whatever state they live. They don't have to worry about moving across the country and uprooting their life. Online programs give students who cannot move access to top of the line education, faculty, and course materials.

Taking courses online also means that nursing students don't have to worry about some of the traditional costs associated with going to classes on campus. They don't have to worry about gas money, or campus parking fees. Nor do they have to worry about the stress of living in a dormitory. They can focus on the standard expenses of their lives, and they'll only really have to pay the tuition and fee for course materials, which are usually very similar to those of traditional nursing programs.

Finally, taking classes online isn't as isolating as it sounds. Because everything is online, there are actually plenty of built in exercises that require you to interact closely with your fellow students and professors. As a result, it's possible to develop good working relationships with the other students in your classes, and these relationships will prepare you for the kinds of professional relationships you will develop with your co-workers once you're a certified nurse. So this is an added benefit that simply makes taking courses online even more worthwhile.

100 Nutritious Brown Bag Lunch Ideas for Both Kids & Grownups

December 9th, 2010

Most people already know that bringing their lunches can be a lot healthier and more nutritious than going out to eat every day, but doing so isn't enough to make sure you're eating right. You also need to make sure that what you're bringing in those brown bags and lunch boxes is good for you. This part of the equation doesn't have to be complicated, however, and can be pretty delicious, too. If you're struggling to figure out what to bring along with you for lunch, whether you're headed to work or school, check out some recipes that are both nutritious and tasty. Many of which are kid-friendly, too!

Sandwiches

These sandwiches go above and beyond the standard PB and J in terms of nutrition and taste.

  1. Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Tuna Sandwich. Ditch the boring old tuna sandwich in favor of this option that adds in veggies and herbs to give taste without loads of calories.
  2. White Bean and Avocado Sandwich. This rich and creamy sandwich will fill you up without filling you out.
  3. Cheddar and Apple Sandwich. Even kids will love this tangy and sweet combo for lunch.
  4. Better BLT. A regular BLT may not be the healthiest sandwich, but this revamped version changes things up.
  5. Falafel Sandwich. Enjoy this vegetarian Middle Eastern treat for lunch without even having to go out.
  6. Grilled Eggplant Sandwich. Instead of meat, consider this burger made with eggplant instead.
  7. Nut Butter, Honey and Banana Sandwich. You could whip up a traditional peanut butter and jelly, but this recipe will help you change things up and add some health with banana and honey. A concoction even little ones will love.
  8. Hummus, Avocado and Tomato Sandwich. Combining these health foods into one sandwich is a great way to build a tasty and filling lunch.
  9. Balsamic Tuna Salad Sandwich. Go another route with your tuna sandwich by using this healthier recipe.
  10. Turkey Burger with Feta and Spinach. This burger is simple but tasty, plus lower cal than its beefy cousin.
  11. BBQ Chicken Sandwich. This sandwich, made with BBQ chicken breast, is a great meal any time of the year.
  12. Pita Pockets with Avocado and Sprouts. Grownups and kids alike will enjoy this healthy veggie pocket. Go with whole wheat pitas for an even healthier lunch.
  13. Portobello and Goat Cheese Sandwich. Grill up a portobello mushroom the night before to ensure you'll be ready to take this great sandwich to work with you the next day.
  14. Meatball Parmesan Sub. Don't think a meatball sandwich can be healthy? Try this recipe to enjoy an old school classic with a healthier twist.
  15. Tangy Roast Beef Sandwich. This sandwich is a great choice for dinner or lunch and healthy to boot, with fat-free ingredients and sprouts for a topper.

Wraps and Rolls

Ditch the heavy bread without losing an ounce of taste with these delicious and nutritious wrapped meals.

  1. Whole Wheat Hummus and Veggie Wrap. Whole wheat tortillas, hummus and veggies help make this recipe a super healthy lunch choice.
  2. Rotisserie Chicken Wrap. Use leftover rotisserie chicken to fill this yummy wrap.
  3. Vietnamese Salad, Shrimp and Turkey Roll. Using thin, rice-based wrappers, these rolls let you combine healthy ingredients with an Asian flair.
  4. Salmon Veggie Wrap. Salmon isn't just for dinner. Roll it up in this wrap for a great lunchtime treat too.
  5. Ham and Cheese Rollups. Kids will love this simple classic that can taste good and actually be healthy, too.
  6. Thai Chicken Wrap. Rachael Ray offers this recipe for a spicy peanut Thai chicken wrap that will impress your coworkers or classmates.
  7. Pepperoni Pizza Wrap. Pizza doesn't have to just come in slices. Add a little health to your lunch with this wrap version.
  8. Black Bean Burrito. If you're craving Mexican for lunch, don't go out. Bring this healthy burrito from home instead.
  9. Mediterranean Wrap. Stuff your wrap with zucchini, hummus, tomatoes, spinach, onion, pine nuts and mint to give it a Greek flair.
  10. Caesar Turkey Wrap. Caesar salads don't have to go in a bowl. Wrap them up using this recipe.
  11. Grilled Chicken Pesto Wraps with Sun-Dried Tomato. Pesto and sun-dried tomatoes combine to give this wrap and Italian flair.
  12. Mushroom and Rice Wrap. Canned mushroom, corn and rice topped with salsa and lettuce makes a healthy lunch.

Salads

If you're looking for a classical healthy lunch option, try out one of these great salads.

  1. Southwestern Bean and Pasta Salad. Beans, lime juice, corn and peppers spice up this traditional pasta salad.
  2. Minted Citrus Salad. You might think citrus and mint is a strange combo, but you're sure to love this summery treat.
  3. Orange 'n Red Salad. Oranges and red onions combine to make this colorful dish.
  4. Spinach Salad with Apples. Even kids will enjoy this yummy salad that pairs basic spinach with apples.
  5. Spring Salad. Mix up spring veggies in this salad for an enviable lunchtime meal.
  6. Quinoa and Bean Salad. If you've never tried quinoa, mix it up with beans to create this perfect lunchtime entree or side.
  7. Roasted Vegetable Salad. Roast up some veggies the night before to pull together this fabulous and tasty salad.
  8. Tomato and Mozzarella Salad. During the summer, this Caprese salad can make an amazing side dish.
  9. Traditional Greek Salad. Looking for a basic salad anyone in your family will eat? This recipe could be just the right thing.
  10. Chicken Fajita Salad. You can enjoy fajitas anytime with this tasty recipe.
  11. Buckwheat Noodle Salad. Popular Japanese noodles make a healthy base for this salad.
  12. Spiced Orange and Carrot Salad. Get in your daily serving of orange foods with this great salad.

Soups

If you've got a microwave handy, these soups make healthy lunches you won't mind bringing along.

  1. Tomato Tortellini Soup. Even the littlest eaters in your home will love taking this lunch along in a thermos.
  2. Chicken Santa Fe Soup. You'll be able to make several meals out of this soup that combines chicken breasts, onion, black beans, chilis and corn.
  3. Pumpkin Soup. During the fall, you'll love bringing along these creamy seasonal treat.
  4. Curried Cream of Tomato Soup with Apples. This combo might sound strange, but it results in an amazing lunch.
  5. Black Bean Soup. Get a Southwestern flair with this simple to make recipe for black bean soup.
  6. Cannelli Bean Soup. Try out this recipe for a protein-rich lunch.
  7. Curried Carrot Soup. This soup offers up all the health benefits of both curry and carrots in one.
  8. Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup. Your kids will love mushrooms when they're put into this great soup.
  9. Homestyle Turkey Soup. Use leftover turkey to whip up this amazing healthy soup.
  10. Zesty Tomato Soup. Served with a simple sandwich, this tomato soup is perfect for a rainy day.
  11. Ginger Chicken Noodle Soup. If you're looking for an alternative to regular old chicken noodle, this recipe has you covered.

Leftovers

Why make two meals when you can cook once and have it do double duty? Whip up these healthy recipes for dinner and enjoy the leftovers for lunch.

  1. Angel Hair with Fresh Spinach, Peas and Goat Cheese. You won't mind eating this pasta dish for two meals — perfect for springtime lunches.
  2. Turkey Chili. Make this recipe in a crockpot to feed you and your family for several healthy meals.
  3. Veggie Pizza. Save a few slices of this pizza for a tasty lunch the next day.
  4. Chicken Quesadillas. Go light on the cheese to make these chicken quesadillas a little healthier, but still tasty.
  5. Parchment Paper Salmon and Green Beans. This recipe is amazingly easy to make, and you'll have a lunch ready to go if you simply make another packet the night before.
  6. Beef and Bok Choy Stir Fry. You won't believe how low-cal this stir fry is, but when you find out, you'll really want to eat it again.
  7. Roasted Chicken. You'll be able to make many other lunches when you cook this roasted chicken the night before.
  8. Pork Loin. Pork loins are healthy, low-fat and easy to bring with you for lunch.
  9. Sausage and Chicken Gumbo. This soup is full of great flavors and won't lose a thing when reheated.
  10. Chipotle Sloppy Joes. Bring along a bun and a container of this sloppy Joe mix for a lunch that will be just as good as the night before.
  11. Shepherd's Pie. This recipe from Cooking Light puts a healthier twist on shepherd's pie, with enough left over for the next day.

Sides

Looking for something to go with your main dish? Consider one of these mouth-watering options.

  1. Chickpea Salad. Chickpeas are packed with protein and make a great addition to any lunch.
  2. Ginger-Garlic Snap Peas. Cook these ahead and have them alongside your sandwich for an amazing lunch.
  3. Jicama Sticks. If you've never had jicama, this recipe for easy, portable, healthy sticks may motivate you to try.
  4. Sliced Tomatoes and Basil. A simpler version of a Caprese salad, this recipe is perfect in summer months when tomatoes are in season.
  5. Moroccan Lentil Salad. Lentils, garbanzo beans and a variety of veggies create a salad that is incredibly nutritious – and doesn't taste too bad either.
  6. Cheese and Fruit Platter. You don't have to go to wine tasting to enjoy this. Create a selection of natural cheeses and fruits like grapes and apples to have a simple but fancy lunch.
  7. Black Bean Salad. Don't miss out on this delicious black bean salad that is the perfect side for any Mexican meal.
  8. Baked Chips or Pretzels. If you simply must have chips, go with a baked option or reach for whole-wheat pretzels.
  9. Kale Chips. Who says chips can only be made of potatoes? These kale chips are crispy and super healthy.
  10. Pita Chips. Make your own pita chips to have alongside your sandwich or wrap with this recipe.
  11. Bananas, Blueberries and Yogurt. The yogurt in this recipe will keep your bananas from browning before lunchtime.
  12. Fruit Salad. Bring all your favorite fruits together in this one recipe.

Desserts

Just because you're eating better doesn't mean you have to give up on desserts altogether. While not completely healthy, these recipes let you indulge your sweet tooth without blowing your diet.

  1. Blueberry-Orange Compote. This simple compote doesn't add any extra sugar, but doesn't skimp on the taste.
  2. Chewy Picnic Bars. Nuts, cherries, walnuts, coconut and dates combine to make these rich treats.
  3. Greek Yogurt and Fruit. Bringing together healthy yogurt and sweet fruit, this lunchtime treat is a great way to indulge without loads of calories.
  4. Blueberry Cookies. Replace those chocolate chips with blueberries with this recipe from Giada.
  5. Rolled Oat Cookies. These cookies aren't exactly healthy, but they're pretty healthy for cookies, which is what you need when you've got a serious sweet tooth and are trying to stay healthy.
  6. Frozen Raspberry Pie. This recipe is super easy to make and provides you with an amazing low-cal dessert anywhere you can keep it cold.
  7. Fruit Pizza. Pizza doesn't have to just be about veggies. Top one with fruit instead for a healthy dessert.
  8. Whole Wheat Carrot Cake. If you're going to eat cake, make it healthy like the one listed in this recipe.
  9. Chocolate-Pumpkin Vegan Cupcakes. If you're craving a cupcake, this recipe lets you make one dairy-free and healthier than average.
  10. Hidden Veggie Brownies. You can get your kids, or yourself, to eat your veggies by hiding them in this brownie recipe.

Snacks

If you tend to get hungry in between lunch and dinner, these snacks can help you bridge the gap the healthy way.

  1. Unsalted nuts. When they're roasted without the salt, nuts can help fill you up between meals and give you the protein you need.
  2. Gingersnaps and Cheese. Blending sweet and savory, this snack is the best of both worlds.
  3. Baby Carrots and Dip. Simple but delicious, this snack is easy to pack and bring with you.
  4. Unsweetened Apple Sauce. Leave the sugar behind to make this snack better for you.
  5. Hummus and Vegetables. Even kids will love veggies when dipped in this Middle Eastern treat.
  6. Low-Fat Yogurt. With numerous flavors to choose from, there's bound to be a yogurt that suits the needs of even the pickiest snackers out there.
  7. Whole Wheat Bagel. Easy to transport, a whole wheat bagel with jelly or margarine makes for a good breakfast or snack.
  8. Apple Slices and Almond Butter. Combining sweet and tangy apples with protein-rich almond butter, this snack offers it all.
  9. Trail Mix. Nuts, dried fruits and seeds can make for a protein-rich and tasty snack at any time of the day.
  10. Air-Popped Popcorn. Bring along some air-popped popcorn for a snack that feels indulgent without the calories.
  11. Dried fruits. Raisins, dried cranberries and dried cherries are all healthy snacks that are sweet to boot.
  12. Edamame. Easy to steam or reheat in the microwave, these small beans pack a powerful nutritional punch.

Drinks

You've got to have something to wash down that lunch, so make sure it's something good for you.

  1. Skim Milk. Growing kids and healthy adults can benefit from the calcium found in this beverage.
  2. Water Bottle. There is no better beverage at lunch than water. Bring along your own bottle from home and fill it up throughout the day to ensure you get enough.
  3. Green Tea. Green tea, or any other kind, can be a great hot beverage any time of the day.
  4. Real Juice. Go the 100% juice route if you're craving a sweet drink for your lunch.
  5. Soy Milk. Whether you can't drink milk or just want another option, bring along some soy milk for a healthy beverage.

The Loving Mother’s Guide to Healthy & Homemade Baby Food

November 30th, 2010

If you're concerned about the food that you provide to your baby, you may be disappointed to find out that commercial baby food isn't exactly perfect. Most of the flavors are bland, nutrients are reduced by sitting on a shelf, and you may also find additives in some foods. A great way to improve the nutritional content of the food you feed your baby is by creating your own homemade baby food. It's healthier, easier, and more fun than you might think. Read on to learn what you need to know to make homemade baby food work for your family.

Some of the benefits of homemade baby food include:

  • Saving money. Store bought baby food is not cheap, but making it yourself certainly can be. Just simply hit the produce section and frozen foods to stock up on healthy, quality ingredients at a fraction of the price.
  • It's easy. Although making your own baby food sounds like a lot of work, it doesn't have to be. Most families spend just about an hour per week making food for their babies.
  • Homemade baby food retains nutrients better. You can be sure that your baby's food doesn't include fillers, because you're the one making it from scratch.
  • You can avoid additives if you go organic. Using organic ingredients in your baby's homemade food allows you to keep additives out.
  • Homemade baby food is fresher. Instead of sitting in factories, warehouses, trucks, and on shelves, food made at home simply sits in your freezer for a limited period of time.
  • You can offer your child a more varied diet than you would if you were simply relying on commercial baby food. A good variety of foods is a healthy part of a balanced diet, and can help avoid picky eaters down the road.

So, how exactly do you make homemade baby food? Follow these easy steps:

  • Wash, then cook, the food by boiling, microwaving, steaming, or baking. By steaming, you'll retain the most nutrients, but all will work for creating big batches. Set aside any liquid from cooking to thin the mixute later, and allow the cooked food to cool.
  • Puree or grind the food using a blender, food processor, or immersion blender, adding cooking liquid to thin (you can also use breast milk, formula, or water).
  • Freeze your puree in ice cube trays (each cube is about 1 ounce) and cover with plastic wrap. Once frozen, remove from the trays and store in labeled freezer bags.
  • Feed your baby by thawing, then reheating the cubes. Most babies do not need warm food, so just heat it enough to take the chill off and bring it to room temperature. If microwaving, be careful of hot spots and be sure to mix well.

What about safety?

When prepared properly, homemade baby food is as safe or safer than commercially prepared baby foods. Keep these tips in mind to stay safe and healthy:

  • Avoid bacteria by cleaning everything that comes in contact with your baby's food: your hands, utensils, containers, food processors, and more.
  • Discard meals that are unfinished, as bacteria can grow rapidly.
  • You can store homemade baby food in the freezer for up to two months, and in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Talk to your pediatrician about your baby's schedule and age appropriate foods, as well as textures.
  • To watch out for food allergies, test a new food for 4 days, and never introduce more than one new food at a time.

What if your baby doesn't like the food?

If at first it seems like your baby does not enjoy a food you've spent time preparing, don't despair. Experts say it takes 15-21 times of trying to really establish a like or dislike, so just let that particular food sit it out in the freezer for a few days and revisit it later.

Tips and helpful insights:

  • Make a large quantity of a basic food once or twice per week, and over time, you will build up a variety of foods in the freezer for your baby to enjoy.
  • Don't add salt or sugar to your baby's food, but definitely ask your pediatrician about other flavorings, such as cinnamon and pepper.
  • Some foods freeze better than others, like pumpkin and strawberries. Visit Wholesome Baby Food for a list of foods that do and do not freeze well.
  • Keep one or two servings defrosting at a time and rotate.
  • Shape your baby's palate with interesting food, offering fruits and vegetables that you enjoy eating yourself.
  • Keep things interesting by mixing foods together, like green beans and potatoes, mango and papaya, or raspberries and yogurt.

There are many resources for baby food recipes online. Check out these sites and books to find fun and healthy homemade baby food recipes:

  • Wholesome Baby Food: Find Stage 1 baby food recipes.
  • Weelicious: Find fresh recipes for babies and toddlers on this site.
  • Blender Baby Food: This book includes over 125 recipes that you can easily make your baby.
  • About Home Cooking: Recipes for baby-appropriate meat loaf, custard and chicken dinners are found here.
  • NurtureBaby: Look for baby food recipes archived by age group, all the way up to 18 months old, or by food type, like finger foods, fruits, proteins, or allergy-free.

Texas Christian University offers military nurse program

November 29th, 2010

Individuals who want to pursue a nursing degree and assist the soldiers who fight for their country may be interested in becoming a military nurse.

Texas Christian University’s nursing program offers students the chance to train in the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps, the Star-Telegram reports. Following the completion of required coursework, graduates will have a job in the army.

In addition to the nursing training they will acquire, students will master skills such as land navigation, map reading and patrolling as they learn how to lead army units.

There are currently 3,300 active-duty military nurses working nationwide and overseas.

According to army officials, military nurses are typically stationed at U.S. and foreign hospitals where they treat service members, their spouses and children. They also treat men and women who have or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Captain Saundra Martinez, a brigade nurse counselor, says that the life of a military nurse is “frightening” and “scary," but “so rewarding” all at once. “You are working nonstop. But it doesn’t seem like it.”

Data collected in 2009 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that across all branches of the military, there were 72,097 individuals enlisted as healthcare workers.

NYU students gain experience on nursing van

November 29th, 2010

Thanks to a five-year $2.9 million grant from the Federal Health Resources and Services Administration, New York University (NYU) students who are pursuing nursing degrees are now able to test their skills on the road with the new Mobile Health Van Program.

The College of Nursing program, named “Feeling Good in Your Neighborhood,” is a community-based project that is designed to help high school students from immigrant families whose healthcare needs have not been met.

Students, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, social workers and other professionals ride the van daily, and visit several Brooklyn schools. Healthcare services are administered in what school officials refer to as a “friendly” and “safe” environment.

The goal is to improve health outcomes for an underserved student population that may not have school-based health services. In addition, school officials hope to turn the program into a self-sustainable organization within the next five years.

“The Mobile Health Van Program, over time, will have established itself as a financially self-sufficient, replicable model of nurse-managed, community-based primary care,” says Terry Fulmer, NYU College of Nursing dean.

Students who are enrolled in NYU’s nursing program are encouraged to volunteer.