EMS Nutrition #5 – What Makes A Healthy Lunch?

January 30, 2012 § 1 Comment

Alright, so writing this post at 11:15 today means I’m probably going to continue to think about my lunch until I actually get a chance to eat it!  I really need to consider writing these posts when I’m not already hungry.

It’s easy to forget about lunch or miss lunch, especially in emergency services. You run a call that keeps you out while the rest of the shift eats a nice sit down lunch, you are relegated to whatever you can find in the EMS room at the hospital or whichever fast food service has the shortest line.  However, given these guidelines, you can eat a healthy meal both on the go and at the station.

Before reading these rules, don’t forget the general considerations when choosing meals, including the food pyramid and portion control.  Here are two images to help:


Rules for a Healthy Lunch

1.  Eat Fresh Fruits – They provide a constant source of energy (not just a quick boost) and often help with the sweet craving. Besides the standard banana/apple choice, consider raspberries, kiwi, or frozen grapes

2.  Remember to eat your veggies! – It seems simple, but in order to get the appropriate number of servings of vegetables, you have to eat some with lunch and dinner. Consider adding it as a sliced tomato or two on your sandwich, or through a soup/stew. Or, get vegetables steamed as a side.

3.  Consider your calcium – While it’s easy to drink a glass of milk to get your calcium, consider low-fat yogurt, greek yogurt as an option. When combined with fresh fruit you have a great dessert for lunch.

4. Consider a healthier option – Where you might have previously eaten fried foods, consider another cooking option including baking or grilling.

Unfortunately, this job does not always allow for the best selection of foods. While you won’t always be able to choose the best foods, making good decisions based on the rules above may help you in the long run in maintaining a healthy diet.

Until next time stay safe!  And remember to follow on twitter (@stickysidedwn).


EMS Nutrition #4 – Breakfast Recipes

January 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

Alright, well I hope you didn’t skip breakfast waiting for the delicious breakfast recipes I meant to share yesterday.  You can be sure that tomorrow’s breakfast will be great, if you choose one of these recipes!  I’d like to take credit for them, but I can’t.  I’m including the links from where I picked them up.  Also, if you have special dietary issues, make sure to make the appropriate adjustments!


Smoothies, when made with fruit, yogurt, and milk provide a dairy/fruit serving and normally provides about 12 oz of a drink. When a protein powder is added, you get the additional benefits of protein, vitamins, etc.  My suggestion is a simple recipe of 1/2 cup frozen fruit (instead of ice cubes), 1 cup milk, and protein powder.

Banana Berry Smoothie – http://www.healthy-firefighter.org/nutrition/recipe-archive/456-banana-berry-smoothie

Various Smoothie Recipes: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes-and-cooking/50-smoothies/index.html

Breakfast Burritos

Fruit Burrito – take a wheat tortilla, spread low-fat/non-fat yogurt, add your favorite fresh fruits, roll, and eat.

Sausage, Egg, and Cheese – Scramble eggs, brown sausage, add to tortilla and top with cheese

Breakfast Sandwiches
Prepare a breakfast sandwich the night before or just before you head out the door. Whole-wheat English muffins or bagels are fiber-packed ways to start your sandwich. Add chopped hard-boiled egg, sliced bell peppers and sliced tomatoes
Hot Cereals

Hot cereals, such as oatmeal or porridge, supply you with a healthy dose of fiber, but they can also be prepared in just a few minutes to take to work with you. Instant versions can be heated in your office microwave in less than five minutes. Pack a banana or sliced strawberries to top your oatmeal to add flavor and nutrients. Stir a bit of peanut butter into your hot oatmeal or porridge and your breakfast will also boast a good dose of energy-supplying protein.

I hope this has given you a few more ideas about the choices you have for breakfast!  Until next time!

Friday Five – Top Five Conferences

January 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

I just sat in the 2012 planning meeting for the Virginia Office of EMS annual Symposium, so I’ve been thinking about various conferences I’m attending, have attended, am aware of, or hope to attend/teach at in the future.  So, in honor of those thoughts, today’s Friday Five is the Top Five Conferences.  Remember this list is my personal opinion.

Top Five Conferences

1.  Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) – There are only 86 days until the 2012 FDIC.  This conference is an annual conference sponsored by Fire Engineering/Pennwell Publishing and for as long as I can remember, the conference has been held in Indianapolis Indiana.  This year will be my fourth year attending the conference and I can’t recommend it enough!  I’ve been lucky enough to teach every year I’ve attended, but I’ve also taken the opportunity to attend classes, walk through the conference exhibits, and almost as importantly, participate in the social activities that are held after-hours. It is a great gathering of some of the greatest minds of the Fire Service, and EMS field, as well as providers throughout the nation and world!  If you haven’t attended, this conference should be on your bucket list!  For more information go to www.fdic.com and don’t forget to register early!

2. Virginia Office of EMS Annual Symposium – Okay, so maybe I’m slightly biased about this conference, considering I participate in the planning committee each year and my office sponsors the conference, but this is again, an amazing conference.  With over 300 courses to attend, the Virginia Office of EMS works to cover topics of a variety of focuses, including Medical, airway, Cardiac, hands on, Special Considerations, Communications, CISM, Health and Safety, and a few others.  I’ve attended the conference since 2001 and can say the course offerings have gotten better each year.  The conference runs from Wednesday to Sunday one week in November and is held every year in Norfolk, Va. Registration normally starts in July/August.  Check out http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/OEMS/symposium/index.htm for more information.

3.  Firehouse Expo – For quite a long time there wasn’t a year that I didn’t attend Firehouse Expo and then I got married and busy and missed a few years. Once again though, we make an effort to take at least a day trip to this conference, which is held every year in Baltimore, Md. Thanks to my location, a day trip, while tiring, is a feasible action. The conference has both classes and exhibits/sales. Part of the appeal for me is that this really is a family friendly conference. We’ve taken the kids and caught an Orioles game, eaten at Hooters, walked around Inner Harbor, and made the conference a mini-vacation.  Baltimore is a great place, and this conference is definitely enjoyable! You can visit http://firehouseexpo.com/ for more information

4.  EMS World Expo – I’ve never attended this conference, but HELLO, it’s in New Orleans!  Unfortunately because the conference basically ends right before the Virginia conference begins, so I’m still here getting ready. But, if you have an opportunity to attend, the course offerings are impressive, the opportunity to hear about new technologies and treatments is fantastic.  You can find more information at: http://emsworldexpo.com/

5.  Lancaster Firemen’s Expo – This event has a special meaning to me, mostly because I can remember a day almost 25 years ago, where my dad and I got up extra early, probably 5:30, (hey, I was like 8 at the time) and drove from Northern Virginia to Lancaster Pennsylvania to see all that was to be seen at the Lancaster Fireman’s Expo. This year there are over 558 booths and over 400 exhibitors, as well as various apparatus.  It’s a multi-day conference that is a must see to appreciate everything there is in the fire service. It is also a fundraiser for the Lancaster County Fireman’s Association, which helps them offer training and educational opportunities each year.  You can visit http://www.lcfa.org/expo/index.html for more information.


So, those are my top five conferences. What have I missed.  Unfortunately I don’t know them all but would love to know about others I should add to my bucket list!  Until next time…don’t forget to follow on twitter (@sitckysidedwn).

EMS Nutrition #4 – What’s For Breakfast?

January 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

So, if you are like me, you were raised on the motto that “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!”.  As I’ve gotten older, the ability to eat a big breakfast has decreased. Mostly because I prefer a few more minutes of sleep versus the time it takes to make/eat/clean up a big breakfast. I’ll often skip breakfast, eat a smaller breakfast that I should, or eat something unhealthy and on the fly.  My other problem is that I need variety, so eating the same thing over and over again gets boring and I have a problem finding something to add to the rotation.  I’m working to improve my eating habits and hopefully can find something that fits the following suggestions.

What Makes A Good Breakfast

  • Your breakfast should contain at least two of the major food groups. I like to include dairy and fruit. – Recently my breakfast have been fruit smoothies – two frozen ice cubes of yogurt, half a cup of fruit, 8 oz of milk, and a protein powder).
  • Your breakfast options should include foods high in fiber and/or protein. This will provide you a source of energy that will last through until lunch, without the need for extra/excessive snaking
  • Limit high-sugar foods such as some cereals and breakfast pastries. These are often the easiest foods to eat, but provide energy for only a short period of time and are higher in calories
  • Make sure your drinks aren’t high in fat or sugar. Choose low fat milk, limit coffee, sugary juices or sodas. They provide little nutritional benefit and increase the calories.

Next week I’ll provide a few recipes and food ideas for breakfast!  Until then, make sure to follow on twitter – @stickysidedwn



Did You Miss Me?

January 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

I apologize for the three-week absence and hope you didn’t miss me too much!  I left work on December 16th and took a three-week vacation, and took that opportunity to really take a break and focus on more of the personal life and my family than the EMS/Emergency Management side of things. Sure there were bits of each thrown in, but it was nice to be able to sit and enjoy the holidays, baking, preparing, etc. without being too overwhelmed.  But, now that it’s the new year, I’m back and ready to get back into things.

I hope you all had a great holiday/New Year! After a week-long celebration (or at least it seemed that way) we came into the New Year and are now focused on multiple birthday celebrations, as well as preparations for FDIC and various other events.

One big thing that did happen over the break….my book has officially been published, is available on various websites, and I am lucky enough to have 10 copies (okay, well 7, since I gave a few away) in my hands.  Here’s a picture:

After almost two years it is great to have a hard copy, to know it’s been published, and to know that others are goign to read the things I put on paper. I can only hope I did the topic justice and that those who read the book learn something from it.  Here are two links on where you can buy it:



But, also keep an eye out on my blog and on averagejakeff.wordpress.com, we will be giving away a copy of the book soon!

Now that I’m back, keep an eye out on the blog, I’ll be picking back up on the nutrition series and also doing some posts on various topics including: Hurricane Preparedness, Nutrition, Stretching, Stress management, and other topics.

If there is something specific you would like to see on here, let me know! And don’t forget to follow on twitter (@stickysidedwn).

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