Small Steps Toward Better Health

There are many simple steps you can take each and every day to achieve a happy and healthy lifestyle for you and your family. Even small changes in your life will add up to big results.

  • Do NOT go to the grocery store feeling hungry.
  • Do not skip breakfast.
  • Use fat free milk instead of whole milk.
  • In the morning, get a whole grain head start with oatmeal or whole grain cereal.
  • Drink water before a meal.
  • Eat lean or low fat red meat, turkey, chicken, and fish. You can also try dry beans and peas as your lean protein.
  • Eat more carrots and less dessert.
  • If you must have dessert, only eat half of it.
  • Share an entree with your friend.
  • Before going back for seconds, wait 10 to 15 minutes. You might not want seconds after all.
  • When dining out, ask for salad dressing “on the side”.
  • Have fruits and vegetables for snacks.
  • Make half your grains whole.
  • Use whole grains in mixed dishes such as brown rice in stir fries, bulgur in casseroles, or barley in vegetable soups or stews.
  • Bag some fruit for your morning commute.
  • If you have to drink soda, make it diet soda.
  • Eat off smaller plates.
  • When eating fast food, choose a smaller burger, a grilled chicken sandwich, or a salad with low calorie dressings, fresh fruit, low fat milk, 100 percent fruit juice and/or bottled water.
  • Do not skip meals to lose weight.
  • Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation, if at all.
  • Stock up on your favorite fruits such as apricots, pears, and peaches that are canned without added sugar or syrups, or buy them frozen so you always have them on hand.
  • Do not take second helpings.
  • Order fat free (skim) milk in your latte or hot chocolate.
  • Make your sandwich on 100 percent whole wheat or oatmeal bread.
  • Snack on whole grain crackers.
  • Eat sweet foods in small amounts.
  • Chew your food slowly, and pay attention to the textures and the flavors.
  • Ask a friend to exercise with you.
  • Microwave a sweet potato for a delicious side dish.
  • To get extra protein and fiber, try kidney beans or pinto beans on a salad, or a hearty split pea or lentil soup.
  • Try olive oil and flavored vinegar on your salad.
  • Choose foods and beverages that do not have sugar and caloric sweeteners as one of the first ingredients.
  • Keep a bowl of vegetables in the refrigerator for snacks like carrots, broccoli, radishes, celery sticks, pepper strips, and cucumbers.
  • Make sure you drink enough water everyday.
  • Try eating less sodium by choosing low, reduced, or no-salt-added versions of food and condiments, and flavor your foods with spices, herbs, and other low fat seasonings. You can also rinse canned foods, such as tuna and canned beans, to remove some of the sodium.
  • Request more vegetable toppings on your pizza and less cheese.
  • Ignore the candy at the checkout line.
  • Before you eat the soup recipe you just made, to lower the fat content refrigerate it first so you can remove the fat that will rise to the top.
  • Walk the dog, or walk to work, or walk during your lunch hour, or walk your kids to school.
  • Avoid food portions larger than your fist.
  • Skip buffets.
  • Use a push mower when mowing your lawn.
  • Dance.
  • Join an exercise group.
  • Take your dog to the park.
  • Take stairs instead of the escalator.
  • Buy 100 percent fruit juices instead of sugary drinks and sodas.
  • Remove the skin from poultry before you cook it to lower fat content.
  • Eat before you get too hungry.
  • Carry your groceries instead of pushing a cart.
  • Steam, bake, broil, roast, or grill your food instead of frying it.
  • Use applesauce instead of oil or shortening when making a batch of brownies.

Healthy Diet
Eat a healthy diet and avoid harmful substances.

Physical Activity
Adults should do at least 30 minutes or more of physical active at least five times a week, muscle strengthening activities and bone strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week.

Kids and Teens
Kids and teens should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day, muscle strengthening activities, and bone strengthening activities at least 3 days per week.

You can break up your physical activity into 10 to 15 minute sessions throughout the day to add up to the recommended amount of 30 minutes for adults and 60 minutes for children.

Be sure to give your muscles at least one day of rest between workouts. Consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program. Always be careful… what is easy for one person might be strenuous for another.

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