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15 Health Tips For 2015
- Eat Breakfast - There’s no better way to start your morning than with a healthy breakfast. Include lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Try oatmeal cooked with low-fat milk, sliced almonds and berries, or top a toaster waffle with low-fat yogurt and fruit.
- Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables - Fruits and veggies add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and fiber to your plate. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal. Don’t let cost stop you from enjoying produce. Frozen and canned are great alternatives.
- Watch Portion Sizes - Do you know if you’re eating the proper portion size? Get out the measuring cups and see how close your portions are to the recommended serving size. Use half your plate for fruits and vegetables and the other half for grains and lean meat, poultry, seafood or beans. To complete the meal, add a glass of fat-free or low-fat milk or a serving of fat-free yogurt for dessert. Visit www.choosemyplate.gov for more information.
- Be Active - Regular physical activity lowers blood pressure and helps manage stress and weight. Start by doing what exercise you can for at least 10 minutes at a time. Children and teens should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day, and adults should get two hours and 30 minutes per week. You don’t have to hit the gym—take a walk after dinner or play a game of catch or basketball.
- Fix Healthy Snacks - Healthy snacks can sustain your energy levels between meals. Whenever possible, make your snacks combination snacks. Choose from two or more of the MyPlate food groups: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy, lean protein or nuts. Try low-fat yogurt with fruit, or a small portion of nuts with an apple or banana.
- Sleep Your Way to a Healthier Weight - Research suggests there may be a link between how much sleep we get and how much we weigh. Although the reasons are not yet fully understood, lack of sleep may throw our hormones off balance, specifically the hormones that impact hunger and fullness, leading to increased calorie intake. In addition, those who are sleep deprived may lack the energy to exercise each day and be more likely to reach for high-calorie, low-nutrient, caffeinated beverages such as soda, energy drinks or flavored coffees, to get them through the day.
- Ditch Fad Diets - Many diet plans and products claim that they have uncovered the secret to successful weight loss however, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Instead of falling for the latest fad diet, adopt a healthy eating plan that includes nutritious foods from all 5 food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy) and can be maintained long-term.
- Follow Food Safety Guidelines - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that roughly one in six Americans gets sick from foodborne disease each year. Reduce your chances of getting sick by practicing proper hand washing. Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from ready-to-eat foods like bread and vegetables. Use a food thermometer to make sure food is properly cooked. Refrigerate food quickly at a proper temperature to slow bacteria growth. Learn more about home food safety at http://homefoodsafety.org.
- Enhance Foods Flavor with Herbs and Spices - Herbs and spices are a healthy way to flavor to food without adding extra calories, salt or fat. Many herbs and spices also contain powerful antioxidants which may offer health benefits including reducing inflammation and protecting against chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. So whether you grow them in your garden or grab them of your spice rack, don’t be afraid to experiment with different herbs and spices such as basil, cinnamon, cumin, dill, garlic, mint and more.
- Dine Out without Ditching Your Goals - You can dine at a restaurant and stick to your healthy eating plan! The key is to plan ahead, ask questions and choose foods carefully. Think about nutritious items you can add to your plate—fruits, veggies, lean meat, poultry or fish—and look for grilled, baked, broiled or steamed items.
- Focus on Family Meal Time - Research shows that family meals promote healthier eating. Plan to eat as a family at least a few times each week in 2015. Set a regular mealtime. Turn off the TV, phones and other electronic devices to encourage mealtime talk. Get kids involved in meal planning and cooking and use this time to teach them about good nutrition.
- Banish Brown Bag Boredom - Whether it’s a brown bag lunch for work or school, make it a healthy lunch packed with nutrition. Prevent brown bag boredom with easy-to-fix, healthy lunch ideas. Try whole-wheat couscous with chick peas; whole-wheat tortilla filled with chicken, mushrooms, onions and tomatoes; baked potato topped with broccoli, low-fat cheese and salsa; or spinach salad with sliced pear, red onion and low-fat feta cheese.
- Drink More Water - Drink water instead of sugary drinks and let thirst be your guide. A healthy body can balance water needs throughout the day. Drink plenty of water if you are active, live or work in hot conditions, or are an older adult.
- Explore New Foods and Flavors - Add more nutrition and eating pleasure by expanding your range of food choices. When shopping, make a point of selecting a fruit, vegetable or whole grain that’s new to you or your family. Try different versions of familiar foods like blue potatoes, red leaf lettuce or basmati rice.
- Eat Seafood Twice a Week - Seafood—fish and shellfish—contains a range of nutrients including healthy omega-3 fats. Salmon, trout, oysters and sardines are higher in omega-3s and lower in mercury.