Let’s Get Real: Eating Disorder Awareness Week

30 million Americans struggle with a full-blown eating disorder and many more battle with food and body image issues that have negative impacts on their mental and physical health as well as negative impacts on their lives.

Stigma and stereotypes prevent many people from getting the support they deserve. You can help raise awareness, bust myths, and start journeys to healing.

Watch this video to learn how you can support and help a suffering loved one.



Simple Acts of Kindness

It’s almost Valentine’s Day! Everyone thinks of Valentine’s day as a time to shower the ones close to them with love and presents. It’s a day for classmates to give and receive valentines, couples to trade gifts, and chocolates to be shared in offices. Although it is always nice to receive recognition for our actions, giving without the expectation of anything in return can be even more rewarding.randomactsofkindness

Doing a little extra for a friend or even a stranger can makes everyone’s day better. This week is National Random Act of Kindness Week; a week devoted to doing more good deeds in your community. Acts of kindness do not need to involve much money or time in order to be meaningful. In honor of this selfless celebration, we have compiled a list of easy things you can do to make someone’s day a little brighter. Try a few out or create your own way to celebrate!

  • Offer to babysit for parents who deserve a night out.
  • Pay for the toll of the person behind you.
  • Let someone jump ahead of you in line at the supermarket.
  • Donate clothes or canned goods to your local shelter or food pantry.
  • Let a manager know when an employee has shown you excellent customer service.
  • Call your parents, or other family members you do not get to see often.
  • Give a thank you card to your mail person.
  • Offer to cook dinner for a friend.
  • Write a letter to someone deployed.
  • Volunteer at your local senior center.
  • If possible, donate blood to a blood bank.
  • Pay for someone’s dinner at a restaurant.
  • Hold the elevator door.
  • Keep an extra umbrella at your place of work for someone in need.

Tag #DE4HealthyLiving in a social media post of your random act of kindness this week to possibly be featured on our blog or Instagram!

Healthy Heart, Happy Heart

A sedentary lifestyle, meaning a life full of lounging and laziness, can lead to serious health concerns later in life. Regular physical activity can help keep your heart healthy. It’s American Heart Month; why not make an intention for the month to take care of your heart muscle and keep it going strong?HeartHealth

Here are some tips for effectively exercising to get the most heart healthy benefits.

  • Warm-Up and Cool Down. Warming up will reduce the stress on your heart and other muscles and will help slowly increase your breathing and heart rate. A cool down where you slowly decrease exercise intensity can help the body recover.
  • Avoid overworking. Make sure to leave at least an hour after meals before you exercise to allow the body to fully digest. Also, remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water before and after sweating.
  • Keep a routine. Getting into a routine of activity not only makes it more convenient to exercise but it also allows you to see your body change as it gets stronger. Gradually increase the exercise intensity of your routine to keep the heart working without getting bored.

Warm, Healthy, Easy, Mexican Minestrone

Looking for a crowd pleaser this winter?  Celebrate National Soup Month with this recipe that is so easy and yummy that you are sure to please everyone.  Plus, vegans can indulge in this deliciousness as well.

This is a recipe that we tweaked a little to make it a healthier choice.  This recipe calls for low sodium or no salt added foods as canned foods can quickly add a lot of sodium to the diet.  We also chose sweet potatoes as they are richer in vitamins and minerals than a white starchy potato.

Mexican Minestrone


·         15 ounce can reduced sodium black beans, rinsed and drained

·         14 1/2 ounce can no salt added Mexican-style stewed tomatoes

·         14 ounce low sodium vegetable broth

·         15 1/4 ounce can reduced sodium whole kernel corn, rinsed and drained

·         15 ounce can reduced sodium garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

·         cups diced sweet potatoes

·         cups frozen cut green beans

·         cup salsa

·         Low fat sour cream (optional)


1.    In a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker combine drained black beans, undrained tomatoes, broth, corn, garbanzo beans, potatoes, frozen green beans, and salsa.

2.    Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 9 to 11 hours or on high-heat setting for 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours. Serve with sour cream (optional). Makes 12 servings.

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens “Mexican Minestrone”

Tips to Enhance Teen Involvement in your Club or Program

Friendships are extremely important to teens. University of Illinois Extension lists the following benefits to teen friendships:

1) Friendships provide teens with opportunities to develop conflict resolution skills. Teens can learn how to end a fight and still remain friends. 2) Friends provide fun and excitement for teens through companionship and recreation. 3) Friends also give advice to one another. Teens talk through lots of issues and problems with their friends. 4) Loyalty is a valued trait in friendship. 5) Friendships also provide stability during times of stress or transition.


 Let’s use this information as a guide to create an atmosphere that excite teens to return week after week and month after month to a program.

1.Teens will need to experience a number of events and activities together to bond into friendships.  Teens need to learn not only each other’s names, but also each others talents and gifts.  By having a deeper understanding of each other, when conflict does arise, teens will be prepared to work through issues with their friends. Tools that you can use to build your group into a team of friends and build relationships include “Great Group Games” and “Propeller: Quick Questions to Launch Good Conversations” developed by Search Institute.

2.Teens need fun, new experiences, and excitement to help keep them engaged. Clubs and programs that are all about work and self improvement can eventually lead to burnout for participants. It’s great to work on a project, but equally important to have opportunities for teens to socialize through adventures such as game nights, movies, parks, beaches etc.

3.  While teens need to connect with advice from each other


, they also seek advice from caring adults. It’s important to be available to the teens in your program and to be approachable and attentive to their needs for someone to listen and coach. Teens like discussing and working on real world issues where they can make a difference. Youth and adult advisory boards are a growing opportunity for youth to work together and make a difference in their communities.
4. And who doesn’t appreciate loyalty? Don’t allow teens to huddle up and form cliques that keep individuals out.  All should be engaged and all teens should feel safe and accepted in the group.
5. Help teens learn positive ways to alleviate stress together with other teens.  Incorporate fitness activities into your meetings, take time to learn new skills such as mindful breathing.  There are many tools on the market, and DE 4-H Healthy Living Website host some Grab-N Go lessons that can be used for activities and discussion builders.

Mountain Meditation

Practice this visualization technique to help stay grounded and centered.

  • Begin by sitting in a comfortable position on the shins or with legs crossed and back straight. Close the eyes if comfortable. Focus on your breath for a moment without changing it. Then take one deep inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
  • Imagine a mountain. In your mind, visualize the most beautiful mountain you can. Picture its peaks that reach high towards the sky and its solid base that is rooted deep in the earth. Your mountain is solid and unmoving. Imagine what it looks like in your own mind, it may be covered in snow and rock or green trees and flowing rivers. What would you find on this mountain? What creatures may live here or travelers may pass through?
  • Remember these observations and think of yourself and body as forming the same shape as the mountain. Your head and shoulders representing the high reaching peak and your tailbone and legs representing the base of the mountain. You are solid and unmoving like the mountain. As the mountain sits in stillness, many suns, moons, seasons and weather pass through. The moment that the mountain experiences is always changing but the mountain always stays grounded.
  • Inhale through the nose, exhale the breath and gently and mindfully move and stretch the neck and any muscles that may feel tense.
  • Then slowly open the eyes.