March is National Nutrition Month
Taking charge of your health contributes to your overall wellbeing; as well as losing weight or staying at your ideal weight, which reduces risks of chronic illness such as heart disease and diabetes. Learn how to replace unhealthy habits with new, healthy ones. Try these healthy eating tips that can improve your health and that of your family.
- Make half your grains whole. Try using whole wheat pastas and breads, oatmeal and brown rice.
- Use fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese to lower your intake of saturated fat.
- Avoid overeating by understanding serving sizes. Learn more on Serving Size vs. Portion Size: Is There a Difference?.
- Understand what goes into the foods you are buying. Shop Smart and Get The Facts on Food Labels.
- Eat right with color! Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies. Diversify your plate with 20 Ways to Enjoy Fruits and Vegetables and eat fruits and vegetables that are in season.
- The Heart Healthy Foods shopping list has some great ideas on healthy items to buy at the grocery store.
- Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals—and choose the foods with the lowest numbers.
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
- Make Healthy Snacks for you and your kids.
Being Active is Good for Both your Mind and Body.
Regular physical activity helps fight chronic diseases, control weight, boost energy and improve mood. Even small amounts of physical activity add up and there are many simple ways to work exercise into your daily routine.
Ready to get started? We’ve got you covered with the tips below. Be sure to talk with your health care provider
before beginning any exercise program.
Easy Ways to Add Exercise to Your Day
Take the stairs: Pass up the elevator and climb the stairs. Don’t worry about how fast you’re moving; go at your own pace. Make it a regular habit and before long, you’ll have forgotten that you used to get winded.
Ditch the car: Whenever possible, walk to your destination instead of driving. If you have to take the car, park further away to get some walking time in.
Pump up your jam: Blast your favorite song and dance. Dancing is a great cardiovascular activity and you’ll be having so much fun grooving to the beat that you won’t even remember that you are exercising.
Take It Up a Notch
Break for exercise: Make a conscious decision to get out of your seat several times a day for some physical activity. Take a brisk walk, run up and down a few flights of stairs or do some jumping jacks.
Act like a kid again: Remember all those activities you did for fun as a kid? Revisit them and get your heart pumping! Jump rope for 10 to 15 minutes, bike ride around your neighborhood a few times or shoot some hoops at the park. Each of these activities has great cardiovascular benefits.
Do your chores: Tackle those tasks around the house that you’ve been putting off and you’ll not only cross things off your to do list, you’ll also burn some calories. Rake leaves for 30 minutes, weed the garden for 45 minutes or wash the floors and windows
for an hour.
The same smartphone that keeps you sitting down can also inspire you to get up and move. Free fitness apps are available for all fitness levels. Download ones that match your ability and get moving today!
Burn Those Calories
Kick start your heart: Instead of a brisk walk, try jogging. You can alternate between walking and jogging if you need to at first. Swap some of your jumping jacks out for burpees or squat jumps. Increase the distance and speed of your bike rides.
The more the merrier: Try a group exercise class or grab a friend and do a work out video. If you can’t join a gym to take classes, check out your local parks department. Many offer low cost fitness classes for residents. You can also download free exercise apps and videos online, or rent workout DVDs from the library.
Get strong: Include resistance training in your routine to strengthen and tone your muscles.
Find a good beginner program and start out using light dumbbells or resistance bands. There are also many strength exercises that you can do using just your bodyweight, like pushups, planks and tricep dips.
Check out these videos on physical activity basics and proper form for strength training exercises. Want to take these tips with you? Download our, "Keep Healthy and Move More" brochure.
Resources for a healthy start: