Spring is a time of change and renewal. So in honor of the season’s fast approach, we’ve put together a month’s worth of nutrition and fitness tips to get you motivated for the warm weather soon to come! Here are the first ten tips. Try one tip each day and build on a healthy lifestyle!
1. Add fruit to your morning cereal and get a head start on your daily quota for fruit. Try blueberries in your oatmeal or sliced bananas over bran flakes.
2. 2 snacks per day along with regular meals can help keep you hunger under control, energy levels up and blood sugar levels steady. Try a protein and carb combo such as an apple and string cheese.
3. Aim for 3 cups of non-fat or low-fat dairy per day to help meet your calcium and vitamin D needs. Dairy products are also a good source of protein, potassium and phosphorus. Not a dairy fan? Try fortified soy milk or soy yogurt.
4. Try to go no longer than 4 hours in between meals. Add a snack if you go long periods between eating.
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5. Aim for 5 servings of veggies per day. It’s easy! One serving equals ½ cup cooked, chopped or raw veggies or 1 cup leafy greens. That’s as simple as having 2 cups salad greens, 1 cup cooked broccoli and ½ cup baby carrots!
6. Sneak more movement into your everyday lifestyle. Take a walk with your children after school or walk during your lunch break.
7. Don’t leave the house on an empty tank! If you are pressed for time in the morning - grab a granola bar, yogurt and fruit and be on your way the healthy way!
8. Try new whole grains. Adding more whole grains to your day goes beyond whole wheat bread and brown rice! Try whole wheat couscous, whole grain pasta, bulgur or quinoa.
9. Craving pizza? Order thin crust pizza with veggies and ask that they go light on the cheese. Enjoy a slice or two with a side salad.
10. No time for a full workout? Squeeze in 3 10-minute sessions! Exercise doesn’t have to be cumulative to be beneficial.
11. Believe in yourself. A positive attitude is a major factor in weight loss success.
12. Did you know that Americans consume an average of 67 pounds of sugar each year – and that’s per person! Limit added sugars in your diet by avoiding high sugar beverages and buying lower sugar yogurts and cereal.
13. Enjoy your food! Limit how often you eat at your desk, while driving or watching TV. Limiting distractions allows you to connect with your internal cues of hunger and fullness.
14. Examine your reward system. Do you reward yourself with food? Doing so will make it more difficult to manage your weight. Try non-food rewards such as getting a massage or buying a new book.
15. Save money and make your own toaster waffles. Make whole wheat waffles on Sunday and store them in the freezer for a quick grab and toast meal on the go.
16. Try a new color of vegetable or fruit each week. Doing so will expand your palate and boost your health. Aim for all colors of the rainbow!
17. Stash healthy foods at work for when the munchies hit or you forget your lunch. Try instant oatmeal, frozen low-fat burritos, meal replacement bars, baby carrots, trail mix or vegetarian soup cups.
18. Wrap it up! Break out of the sandwich rut and try a wrap instead. Spread a whole wheat tortilla with hummus and top with spinach, cucumbers.
19. Add more veggies to dinner – make it goal to fill half your plate with vegetables such as tossed salad or vegetable stir-fry. Vegetables are low in calorie but high in fiber and water, contributing to fullness.
20. Glance at the Daily Value (DV) on food labels. 20% or more of a particular nutrient means the product is high in that nutrient. Limit products that are high in fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol.
21. Get to know portions. A computer mouse or deck of cards looks like 3 ounces of meat, a thumb looks like 1 ounce of cheese, a tennis ball looks like 1 serving of fruit or vegetable and a small fist looks like a cup of cereal.
22. Simplify your life! Simplifying your life, both physically and emotionally, frees up your time and energy to focus on your goals of health and well-being.
23. Watch for confusing claims on food products. Fat-free doesn’t mean calorie-free and sugar-free doesn’t mean carbohydrate-free.
24. Make TV time productive by walking on the treadmill, stretching or lifting weights.
25. Practice deep breathing when you’re stressed. Take 3 deep breaths and relax!
26. Try new healthy foods – visit a natural food store or restaurant or try tofu stir-fry at a Thai restaurant.
27. Limit fast food to less than 3 times per week. Find fast alternatives at home instead.
28. Plan “treats” into your day. A small treat won’t make or break your progress and allowing yourself your favorite foods takes away the guilt. Look for treats with less than 200 calories.
29. Go veggie! Plan 2 or 3 (or more!) meatless meals into your week. Add protein by using beans or soy products instead of meat.
30. Start a recipe club and trade low-fat recipes with friends.