For 24 Hour Emergency Services Call 1-833-787-CECI
For 24 Hour Emergency Services Call 1-833-787-CECI

Sparky’s Notes March 13, 2017


Keep Fit as a Family
Build a Healthier Salad

Keep Fit as a Family

shutterstock_304320311Be honest, do you ever wish your kids would stop staring at a screen and be more active? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) estimates that today’s children are spending an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media, including television, computers, phones and other electronics. By contrast, AAP recommends one to two hours of screen time a day. Whatever number seems reasonable to you, it’s certainly not an easy task separating kids from their screens.

Here are five ideas to help you get your family unplugged and “moving” in the right direction:

1. Make a family media plan—a written set of rules and guidelines. Include specifics about time limits, device curfews, guidelines for information not to be accessed or shared on the Internet, as well as consequences for not following house rules. Keep all screens in public spaces and out of bedrooms. Set up an “overnight charging station,” where everyone’s mobile devices are docked for the night and out of reach.

2. Be a role model. Set a good example by curbing your own screen-use time. Replace it with rejuvenating activities like exercise, listening to music, taking a class, reading a book, walking the dog, or cooking a healthy meal.

3 .Work on activities as a family that don’t involve phones, computers, or television. Consider creating a family vision board with words and pictures of places and things you want to do, take a trip to a craft store and have your child choose a creative project, or visit a toy store to pick out a model, puzzle, Frisbee or other inexpensive piece of sports equipment. Get your kids to help think out of the box.

4. Encourage physical activities the whole family can enjoy. There are many options such as ice skating, cross-country skiing or sledding, visiting an outdoor park or art museum, going on a beach walk, a family hike, or discovering the neighborhood stairs, going on a bike ride, joining the YMCA or finding community centers that offer exercise classes, open swim or self-defense programs.

5. Teach your kids the nutritional value of food. Encourage healthy snacking and make sure your active family stays well hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Fill water bottles with orange slices or watermelon chunks. Designate a large container that holds snack bags full of almonds and dried fruit like cherries or apricots, keep fresh fruit on the counter for easy access, and set out “munchies-to-go” like brown rice cakes and nut butter that make a quick snack.



Elaine Alcones, Administrative Assistant keeps her family active and fit by attending events like the St. Joseph’s Fun Run held on January 28 2017 which Collins Electrical Company, Inc. was one of the proud sponsors! This event benefited St. Joseph’s emergency room expansion.




Build a Healthier Salad

Salad doesn’t have to be boring. Learn some tricks to build a delicious, inexpensive and healthy salad meal.

shutterstock_582036748 (1)When you hear “salad”, you may think of a boring bowl of lettuce and tomatoes. But salad can be so much more! With a few simple additions, it can be a delicious, healthy and inexpensive meal.


Slice up fresh fruit that’s in season or on sale – choose a rainbow of colors! Pairing sweet fruits like pear, apple or pomegranate with savory vinaigrettes will bring complexity and flavor to any salad. Dried fruits without added sugars are another super salad ingredient.


Warm or cold cooked whole grains add bulk and satisfaction. Try whole wheat couscous, barley, quinoa, bulgur or wild rice. To save money, look for whole grains in the bulk aisle of your grocery store. Whole wheat pasta is another inexpensive way to bulk up any basic salad.


Add more satisfaction to your salad with skinless poultry like grilled chicken breast or fish like salmon and tuna, which provide omega-3 fa y acids. Mix in a chopped hard-boiled egg or a small amount of cheese. Toss in some chickpeas, kidney, navy or black beans. Unsalted nuts, like peanuts, almonds and walnuts, give your salad extra crunch and a dose of healthy fat. All these protein foods will keep you feeling fuller longer.


Choose lower-fat, lower-sodium cheeses such as mozzarella or Swiss.


Raw vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, broccoli and cauliflower add great crunch and color. Roasted veggies like beets, potatoes and squash add terrific flavor and a little bit of sweetness to any main meal salad.


quick-tipsCanned and frozen produce are a great addition to any salad. Check labels and choose the options with the lowest amounts of salt and added sugars. Drain, rinse and pat dry to help your greens stay crisp.


Choose dark, leafy greens like romaine, spinach or arugula. Add color with radicchio, red leaf lettuce or red cabbage. If you have fresh herbs, like basil, thyme, oregano or mint, they add zest and extra nutrients to your salad bowl.


Whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard. Add a dash or two of black pepper and toss into salad (serves four).


With oil, vinegar and spices in your pantry, you are minutes away from a simple, healthy homemade vinaigrette dressing. Jazz it up with tasty ingredients like chopped fresh herbs, a squeeze of citrus juice and diced veggies with lots of flavor, like onions, garlic and scallions. Experiment by adding small amounts of those add-ins to this vinaigrette recipe, taste-testing as you go.