March is National Nutrition Month and in celebration of this year’s theme “Bite Into A Healthy Lifestyle”. We hope these weekly tips will inspire you.
A healthy lifestyle can mean many things – better eating habits, more physical activity, coping with stress better. A healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain kinds of cancers. Taking care of yourself now and you will reap benefits now and later.
We know that fruits and vegetables are a big part of this healthy picture. We know that half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables. Here are a couple of creative ways to help get you there:
- Puree berries and other fruits as a sauce for pancakes, waffles, even chicken and fish.
- Create a more nutritious soup by adding cut up vegetables. Frozen, canned or fresh will do!
- If you bake, substitute 1/2 of the fat in the recipe with pureed fruit – try applesauce, bananas, peaches. Add dried fruits too!
- Use vegetables as a sandwich layer – peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers add a refreshing crunch.
- Make an omelet with cut up vegetables.
Small changes will add up to big diet benefits. Try a couple out!
A healthy lifestyle not only includes eating healthier foods but it also means being active. Exercise can keep you healthy in many ways. It certainly can help you lose weight quicker and is more effective in keeping the weight off. Exercise can help keep blood sugar and high blood pressure under control.
Even if you exercise regularly, you may need to change things up a bit. Our bodies get used to the activity we do, and you may need to adjust your exercise routine. For example, if you walk three times a week, you may need to do that same distance at a faster pace. Or, perhaps you will keep the same pace but increase the distance. Our bodies get efficient at burning calories and by changing your routine you will be able to become fitter and burn more calories.
A pedometer is a great tool that can help you get fit and lose weight. It doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive. Track your steps that you do for a few days – if you track the amount of steps your take for three days, average the amount of steps you take for a day. Work from that number by trying to increase the amount of steps your take daily. Perhaps a goal can be to add two thousand steps a week to your routine. Two thousand extra steps a week averages out to an extra 285 steps per day. This is an easy to achieve goal – get up from your desk more often to move around. Take a walk at lunch.
Fitness is not all or nothing – you don’t need expensive equipment or clothes to get in shape. You just need a positive attitude to make it work. So let’s get going!!
“No matter how slow you go you are still lapping everybody on the couch!”
Snacks are an important part of everyone’s diet. However, the snacks you choose can be a dietary disaster. With smart planning, snacks can provide nutrients that we might not get at our meals. Unplanned snacking can lead to unwanted fat, sugar and excess calories. Snacking can help to prevent overeating at meals and help to provide energy. Properly planned snacks can also keep blood sugar in control.
Think of your snack as a mini meal and a way to get extra fruits and vegetables in your diet – any seasonal fresh fruit or vegetable is great. Add a little peanut butter to an apple or cut up veggies to help keep you fuller longer.
Tips for Biting into a Healthy Snack:
- Practice a simple “food rule” – If you really, really want some chips or chocolate –don’t deny yourself – but – your food rule should be that you have to eat something healthy first. If you eat an apple first, you will get much needed nutrients and fiber. You will eat less of the snack you desire because you will feel full from the fruit. You can still have your snack, but you will eat less of it!
- PLAN your snacks – if you don’t, you will probably wind up with something high in fat, sugar and salt. Make sure you are hungry when you snack and not just bored.
- Some ideas – fresh fruit, fat free yogurt – greek yogurt is high in protein and will keep you full – nuts, whole wheat crackers, air popped popcorn.
Here is a quick microwave recipe for whole grain tortilla chips:
Whole wheat tortillas
- Cut tortillas in half, then fourths and so on so that you have at least 8 uniform chips.
- Place on microwave safe plate or paper plate. Spray a little vegetable oil on top. You can also sprinkle a little salt or even cinnamon sugar if you want a sweet snack.
- *Microwave about one minute on high. Turn over chips and microwave approximately 30 seconds more.
*Microwave times vary – microwave until chips are slightly browned.
Let cool so chips become crunchy.
These chips will provide a little over 100 calories and at least three grams of fiber. Most important, they taste good!
Plan healthy snacks so that you can Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle!