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Kaylor: A healthy lifestyle beyond March

March 27, 2015
Carolee Kaylor - Nutrition Program Assistant , Pierce County Tribune

(The following appeared in the March 28 edition of the Tribune.)

The key to achieving optimal health cannot be found in any one food, drink, pill or machine, but rather through commitment to healthy lifestyle behaviors, focused on maintainable and enjoyable eating practices and daily physical activity.

Tips to bite into a healthy lifestyle:

Learn your needs - Age, gender, body type, family history, existing health conditions and daily routines all play a factor in determining which foods to eat more of and which ones to avoid. Knowing which foods contain the nutrients you need is the next step in biting into a healthy lifestyle.

Know the facts - When food selections go beyond whole foods and into packaged foods, the ingredient list and Nutrition Facts Panel can be useful tools to help make more informed choices. The higher an ingredient is on the list, the more of that ingredient is included compared to others. This is a good way to determine if a product is made with whole grains, or has a lot of added sugars. Regardless of nutrition claims on the front of the package, it's important to read the Nutrition Facts Panel to determine how many calories and how much fat, sugar and salt are in the package.

Plan your snacks - Keep a variety of tasty, nutritious, ready to - eat foods nearby. This will help reduce the temptation to eat less healthy options from vending machines,

convenience stores, or the break room. Healthy snack ideas include fresh fruit, air - popped popcorn, whole - wheat crackers, dried fruit and nut mixes, almonds and low fat yogurt. Think of snacks as mini - meals to help you eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low - fat dairy. Remember to snack only when hungry, not out of boredom, stress, or frustration.

Regular physical activity is a must - Daily physical activity is an important part of a

healthy lifestyle, but unfortunately most don't include enough movement in daily routines. Regular physical activity strengthens bones and muscles, reduces the risk of chronic illness, and fosters overall well-being, which included stress relief, higher quality sleep and a more positive mental outlook.

Everyday ways to get moving - Physical activity is important for everyone at every age. The key is to find activities that are enjoyable and can easily be maintained. Here are some tips for everyday ways to get moving. Try using the buddy system, joining a walking group or attending fitness classes. Sign up for a 5k run/walk with friends or family. Sneak in

exercise at your desk or buy a desk that allows you to stand while working. Take a short

walk on your lunch break. Walk up and down the stairs when the weather's bad. Finally, find a way to keep track of daily movement, such as keeping a journal, using a website, or try an activity tracking device.

RECIPE IDEAS FOR SMARTER SNACKS

Looking for a quick snack for kids or adults - go no further than the fresh fruit aisle. Here are several options with green fruit such as honeydew, kiwi and green grapes!

Option One: fruit salad - This snack is super easy and quick to prepare. Simply cut-up your favorite fruits and place in fun cups or bowls. If you have young children, make sure to halve or quarter the grapes to reduce the choking hazard. Children can help cut soft fruit like kiwi and honeydew with a table knife.

Option Two: fruit parfait - Layer your chopped green fruit with either key lime or vanilla yogurt. You may consider topping with your favorite dry cereal or crunchy chopped nuts

such as almonds, walnuts, or peanuts.

Option Three: fruit kabobs with dip - Place small pieces of fruit on skewers. Use plastic straws for young children instead of wooden or metal skewers to avoid sharp ends. Dip could be your favorite flavor of yogurt or even pistachio pudding.

Source: Healthy Bites

By Lisa Franzen-Castle, PhD, RD Extension Nutrition Specialist

University of Nebraska Lincoln Panhandle Research and Extension Center

 
 

 

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