Five Health Tips for 2015

With the holiday season in full swing, you may find yourself falling into some unhealthy habits.  Wondering how to proceed?  Check out our Holiday Season Nutrition Tips post to better manage the festivities, or read on for some ideas to re-set your habits come 2015 – or sooner!

1. Eat breakfast
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There’s no better way to start your morning than with a healthy breakfast. To achieve maximum nutrition, be sure to serve up a varied meal of lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.  Wondering how to make a tasty combination?  Try hearty (and heart healthy!) oatmeal cooked with fat free milk and served with berries, or a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, low-fat shredded cheese, and vegetables (spinach, diced onions, and mushrooms are all delicious and nutritious additions!)  If you eat breakfast on the go, try a smoothie mixed with low-fat yogurt, frozen berries, banana, low-fat milk, and ice.

2. Be Mindful of Portion Sizes

my plateDo you know if you’re eating the correct portion size?  Most Americans overestimate portion sizes.  Get out the measuring cups and see how close your portions are in comparison to the recommended serving size.  Using the image above (My Plate) as your guideline, fill half of your plate with vegetables and fruit, ¼ with starches or starchy vegetables, and the remaining ¼ of your plate with protein or protein substitutes.  To complete the meal, add a serving of dairy such as low-fat milk or yogurt.  To see all of the recommended serving sizes of food groups, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.

3. Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables
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Fruits and veggies add color, flavor, and texture plus vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber to your plate.  Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups or more of vegetables your daily goal.

Don’t let winter stop you from enjoying produce.  Try seasonal winter produce, such as pears, oranges, tangerines, papayas, pomegranates, sweet potatoes, lemons, mushrooms, broccoli, and cauliflower.  Frozen fruit and vegetables are also great alternatives.

4. Get Active
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Regular physical activity lowers blood pressure and helps your body manage weight and stress.  Beginners should start by doing whichever exercises they can for at least 10 minutes at a time.  The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days of the week. Remember, you don’t have to head to the gym to be active.  Even getting out for a brisk walk, completing a workout video with a loved one, or climbing the stairs in your home can raise your heart rate and help your health.

5. Healthy Snacks
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Healthy snacks help maintain your energy levels between meals – something unhealthy snacks with empty calories such as chips or baked goods can’t do.   When you choose a snack, try to select a whole grain, fruit, vegetable, low-fat or fat-free dairy, lean protein or nut.  Low-fat yogurt with fruit, whole-grain crackers with cheese, or a small portion of nuts with fruit are all great choices.  If you love your vegetables with dip, try the following, healthier version of traditional ranch:

Healthy Vegetable Dip

  • 1 container of fat-free plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ packet of Ranch dry packet

Pour some of the dry ranch packet (to taste) into the fat-free plain Greek yogurt.  Add your favorite vegetables to dip and enjoy!

Perhaps taking on all of these ideas seems like too much of a commitment.  That’s okay!  Pick one or two to focus on, and you will be having a healthier holiday or 2015!

-Kallie Fennert
Dietetic Intern

References and Sources
eatright.org
fruitsandveggiesmorematters.com
cdc.gov

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