Being physically active does more than just get you in shape. It can also relieve stress, reduce depression, help you sleep better, boost your energy, all for free! Take some time each day and move around to get your heart beating faster. You can walk, clean, dance – anything! – as long as you do it for at least 10 minutes at a time. It’s best to be active for 150 minutes each week. One easy way to reach this goal is to set aside 10 to 15 minutes a few times each day to be active. You don’t have to do the same things all the time, do all sorts of activities! The important thing is to just keep moving!
Did you know that scientists have developed a score to tell which foods give you the most nutrients for your money? It’s called the Affordable Nutrition Index . So what foods came out on top? Highest scores went to carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, oranges, and bananas. Other foods with high scores were peas, string beans, squash, lettuce, grapes, nectarines, apples, and berries like strawberries. Vegetable soups, especially the low – sodium ones, are also good values. So next time you think you’re paying a lot for fresh produce, just think about what you’re getting! And if these foods keep you healthy, you’re saving even more!
Eating breakfast is a great way to start your day. It gives you energy to make it through the morning and focus on work or school. People who eat breakfast are also less likely to be overweight. There are lots of breakfast food options. If you need something quick, try toast with peanut butter, yogurt with granola, or low-sugar cereal with low-fat milk. If you have more time, try making scrambled eggs with leftover veggies, pancakes with fruit in the batter, or a fried egg sandwich on an English muffin. Or, if you need something on the go, try a granola bar, a muffin, or a piece of fruit. Eat breakfast to be healthy and give your body the fuel it needs!
Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel and refined grains contain only the starchy part of the kernel. Whole grains have more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than refined grains. Some refined grains are “enriched,” which means a few of the vitamins and minerals are added back. However, fiber and many other nutrients are not. The nutrients found in whole grains are important for heart health and healthy digestion. Whole grains also help you manage your weight because they help you feel and stay full. You can add a variety of whole grains to your diet by cooking and eating brown rice, whole grain pasta, oats, quinoa, barley, and whole grain breads. Try several different whole grain products because the taste will vary with different brands. Get healthy with whole grains!
Eating fruits and vegetables helps to protect your health. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases like heart disease. They fill you up without adding many calories, and they’re full of nutrients like vitamin C and potassium. Fruits and vegetables also add lots of different flavors and variety to your diet. One great way to eat more fruits and vegetables is to keep them in sight and ready to eat so you can snack on them when you’re hungry. Fruits and smoothies are also great for dessert. Perhaps the easiest way to eat more fruits and vegetables is to simply put more on your plate. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables for great taste and good health!
Staying hydrated is important, especially during these hot months. However, many drinks have a lot of sugar and calories, and people often forget about these “liquid calories.” You don’t need to give up sweet drinks entirely, but try replacing some of them with lower calorie beverages to reduce excess calories. Simple water is an inexpensive and calorie-free option, and you can flavor it at home with lemon or other fresh fruit. Try making your own iced tea at home, too. You can use any type of tea – black, green, herbal, flavored – and you can drink it unsweetened or just lightly sweetened. For a creamy tea drink, add several chai (spiced) tea bags to low-fat or fat-free milk. Steep in the fridge for about 24 hours and then sweeten it lightly. Stay hydrated this summer without adding extra calories!
With warmer weather just around the corner, now is a great time to go outside and get moving. One benefit of exercising outdoors is that it’s free. You also get to know your community better and might inspire others by setting an example. There are lots of places outside to be active, but remember: safety first. Use common sense, and don’t go anywhere you feel is unsafe. Look for public parks, basketball or tennis courts, walking trails, and biking trails. Or you can simply use the roads and sidewalks around you. Be safe and enjoy being active outdoors!