The Basics

Need the basics to aid you in your journey toward great health? Organized according to the multiple components of health–such as diet, physical activity, and general lifestyle habits–these healthy suggestions will help pave the way.  Click on each heading to learn more information about the topic.

Vegetables

  • Buy fresh vegetables in season; they cost less and are likely to taste better.
  • Stock up on frozen vegetables for quick and easy cooking in the microwave. Although, the stovetop is best.
  • Buy vegetables that are easy to prepare, such as baby carrots and celery sticks.
  • Vary your veggie choices and spices that you use to keep meals interesting.
  • Try crunchy vegetables, raw or lightly steamed

Fruit

  • Drink LESS fruit juice and eat MORE whole fruits to get your needed fiber.
  • Keep a bowl of whole fruit on the table, counter, or in the refrigerator.
  • Refrigerate cut-up fruit to store for later
  • When choosing canned fruits, select fruit canned in 100% fruit juice or water rather than syrup.

Grains

  • Half (or more) of your grain servings should be from whole grains.
  • For a change, try brown rice, whole wheat pasta, or quinoa.
  • Experiment by substituting whole wheat flour for up to half of the flour in pancake, waffle, muffin or other flour-based recipes.

Dairy

  • Drink low-fat dairy options, or try milk alternatives such as soy or almond milk.
  • Add fat-free or low-fat milk instead of water to oatmeal and hot cereals. This not only increases your intake of valuable vitamins and minerals, but the added protein will help you feel fuller longer.
  • Have fat-free or low-fat yogurt as a snack.
  • Make fruit-yogurt smoothies in the blender.

Water

  • Begin your day with a tall glass of water.
  • Get a water bottle AND actually use it!
  • Use lemon, lime, or orange wedges, watermelon, cucumber, or even mint for flavor.
  • Drink unsweetened teas and experiment with the flavors to see what you like.
  • Put a splash of 100% juice in your water and vary it up from week to week so you won’t get bored — cranberry, grape, apple, you name it!
  • For a bubbly treat, mix 100% juice with seltzer water in a 1:3 ratio–1 part 100% juice to 3 parts seltzer water.
  • Coffee even counts toward your water goal, but make sure your coffee isn’t loaded with sweetener.
  • Drink a cup of warm water after dinner (or even better, after every meal).

Physical Activity

  • Take the stairs as much as possible instead of the elevator or escalator (follow the doctor’s orders, however).
  • During your lunch break, take a brisk walk with co-workers or by yourself.
  • When at your desk, take brief moments throughout the day to get up to stretch or stretch while seated.
  • Start using a pedometer if you don’t already.  Try to gradually increase how many steps you take in a day and aim for the recommended goal of 10,000 steps.
  • Park you car farther away from the store entrance.
  • Take a bike ride or walk with your family or friends on the weekends.
  • Join a group exercise class at your local community center. If you are new to exercise, look into dance classes in particular, which are a great, fun way to start.

Salt

  • Cut back on eating out and when you do eat out, ask for exchanges for foods that you know are salty.
  • Use more herbs and spices to make food more flavorful without the addition of salt.  Onions and garlic also bring more flavor to a dish.
  • Check the sodium levels on the Nutrition Facts label, making sure to make note of the appropriate serving size.
  • Make use of your kitchen!!!  By doing so, you have control over how much salt you put in your foods and won’t eat out as much.
  • Don’t place the salt shaker on the table.
  • Order salad dressing or sauces on the side.
  • Avoid creamy and tomato-based sauces.
  • Limit consumption of salty foods such as deli meats, pre-prepared frozen meals, hot dogs, pretzels, pickles, canned goods such as baked beans, fish, soups, and pre-seasoned, frozen vegetables.
  • Wash canned goods off with water before preparing.
  • Gradually cut out (or more realistically, back!) prepackaged snacks.  These snacks should be once-in-a-blue moon treats.
  • Get low-sodium products as much as possible.
  • Transition to no sodium versions of foods that are typically sold with salt added (i.e., unsalted peanuts and other nuts).
  • Limit consumption of sports and energy drinks.
  • Switch to course salt varieties because we tend to use less salt when it’s in this form.

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