Eating Healthy is Not Hard
Summer is here and hot and full of yummy summer treats! However, you sometimes forget about the rules of healthy living and overindulge in foods that can cause digestive or other health issues, and usually unwanted weight gain that is not fun to accumulate when we are hot in the summer weather. How can you enjoy summer and all the wonderful foods while being social and still stay healthy? We have compiled a list of healthy eating habits to help keep your diet on track this summer and develop healthy habits to stay active and happy. Needless to say, food affects energy and mood. 18 Tips to Keep you Healthy Both Physically and Mentally
- Eat Breakfast. Starting your day off on the right track has been preached to you your whole life. However, you should not start the day with donuts, sugar cereal or cookies. You should have a nice balance of protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. For example, you can make a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, low-fat cheese, and some roasted vegetables on a whole wheat tortilla or try a fruit parfait with fresh fruit and low-fat plain yogurt.
- Make Half Your Plate Fruit and Vegetables. Colorful fruit and vegetables add flavor, texture, fiber, and vitamins & minerals. Try to aim for 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables daily. When it is hot outside cut up a bunch of fruit and veggies and store in the refrigerator for a quick healthy snack.
- Control Portion Size. One of the biggest mistakes people make is portion size. You eyeball it and think you are close. It is time to get out the measuring cups and really measure your portions. A quick rule of thumb is to make half your plate fruits and vegetables and half with lean protein and grains.
- Stay Active. Keeping active is great not only for physical health but mental and social health too. It is important to keep moving as it recharges the body and brain. Start doing an activity for just 10 minutes and then build yourself up to half an hour to an hour. Adults should get 2 1/2 hours of physical activity per week. That is not very much. Start out with a walk after dinner or a nice bike ride with friends. Making exercise fun and social benefits your overall health.
- Prepare Healthy Snacks In Advance. Healthy snacks sustain your energy between meals. Choose 2 or more from the MyPlate food groups: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy,and protein. Cutting up containers full of vegetables and fruit makes eating healthy easier. For example,try fresh veggies with hummus/cottage cheese or try apples/bananas cut up with a tablespoon of peanut butter. There are many options for you to eat healthy and maintain your energy.
- Read the Label. The bottom line is reading the nutrition facts label on food can help you shop and eat better. Sometimes food that appears and looks healthy might be loaded with additives, salt or sugar. Be proactive and read the label.
- Talk to a Registered Dietitian. Experts are helpful no matter what your goals. Whether you want to eat better, lose weight, or lower your risk/manage a chronic disease, talking to an expert will get you the best advice. A registered dietitian can provide you with a personalized plan that works for you.
- Read and Follow Food Safety Guidelines. You can reduce your chances of getting sick if you practice proper food safety guidelines. These guidelines include the following: wash your hands regularly, separate your raw protein food from your ready-to-eat food, cook food at the appropriate temperature, and refrigerate food promptly.
- Drink Water. To maintain or reach optimal health it is very helpful to drink water to quench your thirst versus drinking beverages with a lot of added sugar. You need to stay hydrated; especially if you are active or an older adult.
- Get Cooking. Preparing foods at home can be healthy, rewarding, and cost-effective. Learning some cooking basics can help you stay healthy and have some fun. You can always take a fun cooking class with friends and socialize and learn some new recipes.
- Keep on Track Even When Dining Out. It is very easy to get off track with healthy eating when you are going out to eat with friends. Before you go out, check out the menu and plan ahead. What are you best dining options? If you plan ahead you are less likely to shop for you meal through the pictures on the menu. One of the greatest requirements is that restaurants have to put their nutritional information on the menu and that is super helpful when looking for healthy food options. Choosing options that are baked, grilled, broiled, or steamed are usually best.
- Keep a Regular Meal Time. Eating as a family helps keep your meals interactive and usually healthier. Turn off the electronics and engage as a family or with friends. Getting the entire family onboard and cooking healthy together works for everyone!
- Have Creative Packable Lunches. It is so easy to “brown bag” a pre packed lunch or snack to get you through the day. Usually, these types of snacks are loaded with sugar, salt, and several additives. Why not make it fun; c reate a wrap with vegetables and hummus or a quick side salad that you can eat and feel rejuvenated for the day. Pre-planning your lunch can help you eat healthier lunch options.
- Try New Foods and Seasonings. Are you sick of the same old thing? Sometimes trying new fruits or vegetables can be fun and healthy all in one. You can even just spice up a family favorite with different spices and feel like it is a new dish. When you select a variety of foods you don’t get as bored or tempted to go off the healthy food grid.
- Eat Seafood Twice a Week. Eating seafood such as fish and shellfish, you gain many nutrients including omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats are helpful in brain health and also reducing the risks of several diseases such as heart diseases. Fish benefits eye health and depression as well. Salmon, trout, oysters, and sardines are higher in omega-3 fats and also lower in mercury.
- Cut Back on Added Sugars. There are many drinks and foods with added sugars and over time they can be your nemesis when you are trying to maintain healthy habits. If you are trying to keep your weight in check, your heart healthy, and avoid diabetes, eliminate or reduce added sugar as much as possible.
- Try More Plant-Based Meals. Many meals you create can be meatless. Try to expand your plant-based meals and they will help boost your energy and health. You can add beans and lentils in place of meat, and change up your diet a little; and you will enjoy more variety to your diet.
- Try to Reduce Food Wastes. Manage your food you have in your home before you make that trip to the grocery store. Many times you fill the refrigerator and freezer and forget the to use food that can be used to create healthy meals or the rest goes to waste. Being organized with your food is key to a healthy and successful diet.