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A healthy twist for Mother’s Day

Published: Thursday, May 8, 2014 11:33 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, May 8, 2014 11:55 a.m. CDT

Eating well and being active are not only evidence-based ways to reduce cancer risk, they also can make moms everywhere feel good and reduce risk of other chronic diseases. With Mother’s Day right around the corner, why not take this opportunity to say, “Thanks, Mom!” with a bit of a different spin this year.

Special dinner. Rather than an expensive meal out, consider preparing mom a healthy meal from a healthy cookbook and leave the book behind for her to try out later.  Or see what quick and easy recipes are available at www.extension.iastate.edu/spendsmarteatsmart.   Adorn the table with fresh flowers and set a special place setting just for mom.  Add some handcrafted decorations from the children.  And don’t forget to leave the  kitchen cleaner than when you started!

Fitness gift basket. If your mom needs a little inspiration to get moving, she might enjoy racking her steps.  This is a great motivator and gives a concrete goal plus a challenge to improve on each day.  There are  plenty of options including the simple pedometers that cost a few dollars to the more advanced gadgets that align with online diet and exercise programs.  Instead of a gourmet gift basket filled with sweets, make your own fitness gift basket.  Not sure what to put in there – consider a yoga or other exercise DVD, arm weights, pedometer and a water bottle.  

Green thumb. If your mom has a green thumb (or even if she doesn’t), consider starting her off with an herb garden.  Culinary herbs such as basil, oregano, mint, parsley and rosemary grow well in pots on a sunny deck or in the garden in well-drained soil.  Plants can usually be purchased in the garden center at  local stores.  For additional information on growing and using herbs check out “From Garden to Table: Harvesting Herbs for Healthy Eating” by North Dakota State University.

Fruit infusion. Another gift option might be a fruit infusion pitcher. What could be more refreshing than a glass of thirst-quenching water that’s infused with her favorite fruit and/or vegetable. 

If you are a traditionalist and feel you must give chocolate, choose dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants, which can fight against the damaging free radicals known to play a role in heart disease and other illnesses. Just make sure you choose types with less sugar and fewer calories.  This way you are satisfying her sweet tooth and benefitting her heart as well.

Happy and Healthy Mother’s Day!

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