Jump Start the New Year with a Healthy Plate and Exercise

Posted by: BeneFIT Corporate Wellness
Date: December 9, 2013

In order to achieve a healthy lifestyle, we need to implement good habits every day. It’s important to make healthy food choices, eat the right size portions and be physically active on a regular basis. Over the long term, these simple yet effective behaviors can reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer, diabetes and depression. Day to day, they can give us more energy and allow us to be more productive.

Healthy eating and physical activity go hand-in-hand when it comes to maintaining good health and making us feel better.

Healthy Eating
Sometimes the thought of eating healthy can feel overwhelming and difficult, especially if you focus on what you can’t eat instead of what you can. Rather than thinking negatively, approach healthy eating as a way of finding balance. It’s a way for you to provide your body with the right types and amounts of foods needed to live a healthy, energetic life.

When building healthy meals, you should include the following:

Fruits and vegetables. ChooseMyPlate.gov makes it simple by suggesting that half your plate should be comprised of fruits and vegetables.

Proteins. There are a number of options that enable you to introduce variety onto your plate: lean beef and pork, chicken, turkey, seafood, beans or tofu.

Whole grains. Your goal should be to have at least half your grains be whole grains, and could include breads, cereals, and snacks like air-popped popcorn.

Dairy. Choosing low-fat or no-fat provides the same amount of calcium as whole milk, but less fat and calories. For those who don’t drink milk, soymilk and low-fat or fat-free yogurts serve as alternatives.

Also, be sure to:

Avoid extra fats and additives. Saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars offer little nutritional value and often detract from naturally healthy choices. For instance, steamed vegetables are great until they are covered in calorie-heavy cheese sauce.

Control portions. According to the American Heart Association, portion sizes in restaurants are often double or triple the recommended serving size of most foods, a new standard that has found its way into more American households. Instead, think about how to adjust portion sizes at home so that you are able to get the nutrients needed, without going overboard. One simple, yet effective, trick is to use smaller plates during meals.

Physical Activity
Eating healthy is only one way to lead and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The second part of the equation is to be physically active on a regular basis. Organizations define “physical activity” as something that uses more energy than you use while resting. That creates nearly limitless options for what you can do each day to get active.

Experts suggest that all adults should set a goal of at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each day of the week―whether that means 30 minutes at a time or broken into ten-minute intervals three times per day. Here are some tips to get you moving:

Focus on activities you enjoy. If you like the activity you choose to do each day, chances are will look forward to exercising. Make it a point to find out what you enjoy and capitalize on that.

Look for opportunities every day. Find ways to infuse your daily routine with bursts of energy. For instance, when at work, consider taking a walk during your lunch hour. Or, view your list of chores (tending the yard or washing the car) as a way to multi-task and sneak in a few minutes of exercise.

Be ready to exercise any time. You never know when the opportunity may arise, so store casual clothes and sneakers in your car or at the office.

No matter if you are a professional athlete or someone taking his or her first steps toward better health, a sustainable healthy lifestyle requires you to think about what you eat and how you move every day. For more information on nutrition or wellness programs/services to keep your employees healthy, please contact us.

Disclaimer: The information presented is for your general knowledge and does not replace the advice of a physician. All medical inquiries regarding your health should be presented to a physician.

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