National Nutrition Month: Cooking Healthy at Home

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Did you read our blog post National Nutrition Month: Put Your Best Fork Forward earlier this month? It is all about taking small steps toward a healthy diet.

If your eating habits are anything like those of many Americans, you know that eating out has become a trend. Busy schedules can lead to grabbing a quick bite in the drive through, while social engagements can lead to restaurant meals. Yet, it is commonly believed that cooking at home can be healthier—and less expensive! Continue reading

The Importance of Childhood Nutrition and Wellness

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Guest blogger: Karen R.. Compliance, Quality and Clinical Program Specialist

Child Nutrition

Keeping a child healthy is a top priority for all parents. It begins before birth with the mother’s prenatal care and continues after the baby is born. Encouraging a healthy diet for your child is essential in aiding in your child’s growth and development as well as promoting a good defense against obesity and childhood diseases such as diabetes. Continue reading

National Nutrition Month: Put Your Best Fork Forward

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March is National Nutrition Month®, sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which educates and reinforces the importance of making informed food choices. This year, we want to help you ‘put your best fork forward,’ which serves as a reminder that each one of us holds the tool to start making healthier food choices. Small changes in our food choices one forkful at a time can help inspire a healthy diet. Continue reading

Picnics with Panache

PICNIC


Whether it’s in the backyard, on the beach or at a local park, picnics are a great way to spice up lunch with friends or family. Also, nothing beats a picnic lunch after a nice long walk—did you see our last post on the benefits of hiking?

So, grab your basket and blanket and head outside in the coming weeks—but first, let’s chat and chew about some tips for your perfect picnic!   Continue reading

Hanukkah: History & Traditions

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Image / Copyright © Compass Rose Benefits Group.


Hanukkah, or Chanukah, which means “dedication” in Hebrew, is the eight-day and eight-night festival of light.  The Jewish holiday celebrates a miracle that symbolizes faith and never losing hope.  Hanukkah begins at sundown today, December 16th and ends on Wednesday, December 24th.

In preparation of Hanukkah, let’s chat and chew about its history and traditions.

THE HISTORY: WITNESSING A MIRACLE

Hanukkah commemorates the successful rebellion of the Jewish freedom fighters called the Maccabees against the Greeks in the Maccabean War. (More) After their victory, a ritual cleansing and re-dedication of the Temple took place.

After restoring the Holy Temple, only enough consecrated oil was found to keep the menorah’s candles burning for one-day; yet, the flames remained lit for eight nights!  This event is why Hanukkah is referred to as the Feast of Lights or Festival of Lights.

HANUKKAH TRADITIONS

  1. Light the Menorah: The Menorah—a candelabrum that holds nine candles—is the centerpiece of the Hanukkah celebration.  Eight of the candles symbolize the number of days the oil lasted, which are placed in the Menorah right to left, BUT lit left to right.  The ninth candle, known as the Shamash, is used to help light the other candles. Families light one new candle every day after sundown during the eight days Hanukkah, while saying prayers and singing songs.
  1. Holiday Songs: Speaking of singing, Hanukkah has its own carols that are sung around the Menorah.  Songs are about a variety of things—topics range from the glory of God and the ancient Temple of the Jews, to the iconic dreidel. See a list of songs here.
  1. Tasty Foods: As with most holidays, Hanukkah comes with traditional foods that are always served—but you don’t have to celebrate Hanukkah to enjoy them!  If you’re looking for some new twists on traditional foods, see below for some yummy, HEALTHIER, Hanukkah recipes to try in the coming days.
  1. Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel: Playing with dreidels, or spinning tops, is customary during the holiday.   Sometimes bets will be placed on which side of the dreidel will fall face up.  The story goes “that Jews played with the dreidel in order to fool the Greeks if they were caught studying Torah, which had been outlawed.” (More)  The characters carved into the four sides of the dreidel are the letters nun, gimmel, hey, and shin, which represent nes gabol haya sham­, or “a great miracle happened there.”
  1. Gold Coins: Better Homes and Gardens describes that the tradition of handing out gelt—the Yiddish word for “money”—dates back to 17th century Poland.  It’s suggested that the gesture relates back to after the Maccabean revolt—the only time Jews were historically free to mint their own coins, in their own state. (More)

If you have some recipes or family traditions of your own, please feel free to share with us!  In the meantime, check out our Pinterest board, where you’ll find fun DIY Hanukkah-inspired activities and more recipes to enjoy this holiday season!