Alice Waters’ Greek Salad

In honor of National Nutrition Month, we are sharing simple, healthy, delicious, and fun recipes for you to try all week!

Greek Salad [from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food]
4 servings

Cut out the stem end and cut into wedges: 2 small ripe tomatoes
Season with: Salt
Peel, cut in half lengthwise, and thickly slice: 1 medium cucumber
(If the seeds are large, remove them by scraping a spoon down the center of the halved cucumber.)
Peel and thinly slice: 1/2 small red onion or 5 green onions
Cut in half, core and seed, and slice thin: 1 small sweet red pepper
Rinse (and if you prefer, pit): About 1/4 cup black olives (2-3 olives per person)
Break up or cut into small pieces: 4 ounces feta cheese
Make a vinaigrette. Mix:
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper
Whisk in: 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Season the cucumbers and onions with salt. Taste the tomatoes and season again if they need it. Gently toss the vegetables with about three quarters of the vinaigrette. Taste and add more salt or vinegar as needed. The salad can sit for a few minutes to let the flavors blend together. Just before serving, gently toss the salad again and garnish with the cheese and olives. Spoon over the remaining vinaigrette.

Variations:
-Serve the salad over a few leaves of romaine or other lettuce.
-Dried oregano may be substituted for fresh, but use only 1 teaspoon
-A Greek salad is a hearty dish; wish some crusty bread, it could be the main event of a dinner

Enjoy! Let us know if you try this recipe!

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Choose to Eat Healthy

With so much information and so little time to plan and prepare meals, it can seem that eating healthy is nearly an impossible task in today’s world. There are small steps that even the busiest families can take in order to improve your family’s health each day. Here are some simple steps you can take to improve your daily approach to healthy eating:

Aim for Five Every Day

Be intentional about making the delicious crunch of fruits and veggies a significant part of every meal and snack your family enjoys throughout the day.

Choose Your Drinks with Care

A simple way to improve the overall health of your family is to adjust your approach to beverages. Try cutting out drinks with sugar added and focus on drinking more water, 100% fruit juice and milk.

Check the Label

Look at ingredient lists; if you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t eat it. By learning to make sense of the information that all food packages are required to provide, you can begin to make choosing healthier foods a little easier.

Control Your Portions

Sure, we all over do it from time to time, but by being careful to consume food portions that are in line with energy output from physical activity, everyone can eat healthier. A good trick is to take 5 deep breaths between bites. This gives your stomach time to tell your brain that you are full, helping to avoid overeating.

For additional tips and strategies for building these and more healthy habits, visit the YMCA’s Healthy Family Home.

To help you celebrate National Nutrition Month, we will post simple, healthy, delicious and fun recipes here all week!

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Art Impact

The Arts leave a lasting mark on youth, inspiring self-expression, self-esteem, and critical and creative thinking. According to research by the John F. Kennedy Center, youth who regularly participate in arts programs tend to display more intellectual curiosity, experience higher levels of excitement from their school work, and apply more effort during their attempts to complete school projects and assignments. Parents of these youth noticed their children taking more risks, solving problems with ease, and respecting other people’s ideas and opinions. Students in the Kennedy Center’s Arts in Education Research Study were more confident, intellectually curious, and positively challenged citizens who may be better equipped to generate original ideas to improve their communities and contribute to a creative global economy.

To help nurture the potential of our youth, the Y offers a Y-Arts programs to help improve creative and tactical skills, learn to socialize and build relationships. The Y-Arts program can make all the difference for some children, keeping young minds creating and discovering.

Community member and parent to a former Y-Arts student, Rosanna Salcedo tells us “the Y-Arts program gave my child the freedom to express his creativity, and encouraged him to explore new forms of artistic expression, in a supportive environment. Thanks to Y-Arts, he has experience using a variety of materials and techniques.”

Learn more about Y-Arts! Registration is open for the next Y-Arts Session. Classes meet once a week from 4-5 pm for 6 weeks at the YMCA in Exeter, 30 Linden St. Each class costs $85 for 6 weeks. All classes are taught by local Exeter artist, Marissa Vitolo.

Y-Arts Session 2: Tuesday, March 10th – Thursday, April 16th

Tuesdays: Painting and Drawing

Thursdays: Hand building (clay)

Register today!

WINTERFEST 2015 at YMCA Camp Lincoln

YMCA Camp Lincoln chose another perfect winter day to host WINTERFEST. More than 70 people braved the cold, with sleds and skates in hand, and made their way to the shores of Kingston Lake for sledding, ice skating, snow-angel making, and hot chocolate drinking and s’more eating by the campfire.

The skating was perfect; Camp Lincoln staff had shoveled a skating area and trails, but skaters discovered that they could skate through the light snow anyways. Conversation and laughter echoed across the lake.

How are you staying active with your family this winter? Here are some ideas for creative ways to stay active and healthy this winter.

Thanks to all who joined us for a fun WINTERFEST at YMCA Camp Lincoln! Check out photos from WINTERFEST on Facebook.

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Fun and Friends at Family Camp

Each fall, Camp Lincoln opens it’s doors, cabins, and activity areas to families for a long weekend. We call it Family Camp, and it is exactly as it sounds. Children, parents, grandparents and friends settle into lakeside cabins, unroll their sleeping bags onto wooden-framed bunk beds, pull on their wool socks and hats (or bathing suits!) and enjoy and challenge themselves at camp activities. From kayaking to hiking, pumpkin carving to campfires, families enjoy a relaxing and fun weekend at camp!

Thank you to the ten families who joined us for a beautiful weekend at camp! Family Camp 2014 was a great success. We look forward to seeing all of you again next fall.

Does this sound like your cup of tea? Learn more about Family Camp at Camp Lincoln, and join us in 2015!

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The Right To Play

At the YMCA, we believe the pillars of a healthy family home are eat healthy, play every day, get together, go outside, and sleep well.

Now that school is back in session and kids will spend much of their day indoors, we encourage parents to help their children spend time outside. Protect your children’s right to play! Parks and playgrounds are wonderful environments for unstructured outdoor play. They provide opportunities for children to test out their abilities as they climb, slide, swing and hang. Parks are also good environments for parents to watch but not hover as children interact with one another in a safe setting. Having the opportunity to explore, problem solve and resolve the occasional conflict will help your child develop a healthy sense of independence. Balance independent exploratory time with your own efforts to be active with your child.

There are incredible resources for families looking for information and ideas to support their healthy family home. The YMCA website is a great place to start!

Download this quick start kit to help your family accomplish Healthy Family Home goals to play every day!

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FUN With Your Family

August is Family Fun Month! There are only a few weeks left before school starts. Here are some fun and creative ideas to have fun with your family. How many can you complete this month?

1. Visit a local park: Go for a walk, toss a frisbee, pack a lunch, and don’t forget your picnic blanket!

2. Host a dance party: Turn your living room into a party zone by dressing up in funky clothes, dimming the lights, and turning on your favorite dance music. Disco ball is optional!

3. Beach outing: We are lucky to live in an area close to the beach, take full advantage while there is still a little bit of warmth! Take your kids out to the beach and let them boogie board while you soak up some sun and relax.

4. Book Night! You don’t always have to leave the house to have fun. Take a trip to the local library and check out some books so you can huddle up with your family and read. You might want to include a longer novel where everyone can read a chapter or two.

5. Scavenger hunt: Give your kids a list of things that they will need to find around the house or in your neighborhood. Have some prizes ready for the person who finds all items on the list!

6. Backyard movie night: Why not watch a movie in your own makeshift movie theater? Play your family’s favorite movie using a projector and a blank wall. Make sure to pop some popcorn!

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