Choosing to live a healthier lifestyle is a journey. Like most journeys we take it's more fun to have our loved ones along for the ride. That's why one of the best ways to stay on track is to get the entire family involved. With 10 simple steps, you can enjoy the benefits of a long healthy life together.
1. Add Salads to your lunch to add fiber to your diet.
Ever feel bloated or lethargic after eating a big meal? Chances are you need more fiber. An easy way to add fiber to your diet is to incorporate salad or more vegetables into your meals. Stretch your budget by buying frozen vegetables. They won't spoil as fast and contain the same nutritional value as the fresh variety. Not in the mood to cut lettuce? Try a bagged salad option instead.
2. Eat a balanced breakfast.
Just like we wouldn't face the day without combing our hair or brushing our teeth, we shouldn't kick off the day with an empty stomach. Find a way to incorporate eating breakfast with routines you already do. For example, no one puts on their shoes until they eat a bowl of cereal. Prep for the busy morning by pouring out bowls of cereal the night before and then adding milk in the morning. In case you're running late, have pre-cut banana slices or orange juice ready to go in a hurry. If you're already a breakfast champion, find ways to make your family favorites healthier. Try using H-E-B Real Egg to add protein and cut cholesterol.
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3. Make water the #1 choice.
The human body is made primarily of water. Water hydrates your body and helps it perform everyday tasks like brain function and digestion. That's why drinking water is such an important part of living a healthier life. Flavor your water with twists of lime and lemon or add frozen fruit to your water instead of ice—it adds flavor and color. Plus, kids will enjoy the sweet treat.
Ease into the habit. Take a water bottle with you to work and make it a goal to drink at least two full bottles a day. Water filters and pitchers are an affordable way to get bottled-water taste from your faucet without the high price or waste. Use the 8x8 rule: eight glasses of water at 8 ounces each as a goal for water intake.
4. Dairy is important. Get Your Moo On.
No doubt about it, dairy is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D. Both are helpful in bone growth and density. Children and adolescents are building bone density and mass for adulthood, while adult bones undergo a renewing process throughout life. To help with this process, the USDA recommends between 2 to 3 cups of dairy a day, depending on age.
When it comes to dairy, remember to keep it low fat or skim. The higher fat content in whole milk is recommended for children between one and two years; however children past the age of two can switch to skim or low-fat milk, according to the Nemours Foundation. If you're lactose intolerant, don't let that stop you from enjoying the benefits of milk. Try lactose-free brands like H-E-B Mootopia, which has more protein to help feed muscles too.
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5. Eat lean dinners with veggies and healthy starches.
Switching to whole-grain pastas or low-sodium sauces and seasonings is a simple step to a healthier dinner. Stick to lean cuts of meat. Skinless chicken breasts, lean ground beef such as 97/3, or pork tenderloin are all staples of a healthy meal that you can build upon. Instead of flour tortillas, try corn or whole-wheat options. Cook with low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth instead of oils, or use olive oil for a source of healthy fats. Bake, roast, or slow cook a meal instead of frying.
When serving a meal, the American Dietetic Association says to divide your plate into 1/4 for protein and 1/4 for starch. Save the remaining half of your plate for vegetables. Busy families can try cooking large meals and using the leftovers for quick dinner options throughout the week. This reduces the urge to eat out or settle for fast and unhealthy options.
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6. Nutritious foods for kids don't have to be flavorless.
Childhood is a critical time for development and growth. It's important to make sure that children receive all the essential nutrients needed to grow into healthy adults. Have fresh fruit, washed and cut veggies, snacks like crackers, string cheese and natural fruit juice readily available.
Win over picky eaters by getting them involved with the dinner process. Let them pick out the vegetables they want to include with dinner. Add a new veggie with something they already enjoy eating to make their first experience with the vegetable a positive one.
H-E-Buddy snacks are an affordable option. All products follow strict nutritional standards and contain no trans fats or high fructose corn syrup. In addition, H-E-Buddy snacks include more than 10% of the daily value of vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein.
7. Snack Smart. Quick and convenient doesn't have to mean unhealthy.
Frequent snacking is the best way to keep your energy level balanced and your waist line in check. When you restrict your meals to only a big lunch and dinner, you're more likely to binge and make unhealthy choices because you feel deprived.
Curb your hunger by eating small snacks throughout the day. Bagged carrots, celery, nuts, whole-grain crackers and fruits like grapes and strawberries will help you snack smart and knock out the recommended veggie and fruit servings for the day. No need to shell out extra for pre-cut or pre-measured packages. Prep beforehand by cutting fruits or measuring out your snacks for the week in baggies.
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8. Vitamins and Multivitamins can help you fill in nutritional gaps.
Think of a daily multivitamin as a way to fill in the gaps on what you have missed in your diet. There are 13 essential vitamins that we should strive to have in our diets: A, C, D, E, K including eight B Vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate).
Consult your doctor or nutritionist to indentify which vitamins you might be lacking in your diet. Many multivitamins are catered for specific genders and age groups to help people find what they need.
9. Know your numbers.
Kick off your health journey with a trip to your H-E-B Pharmacist. Knowing your cholesterol, blood pressure, BMI (body mass index), weight and blood sugar levels will give you a point to measure your progress.
Remember there are more benefits to a healthy lifestyle than weight loss. Energy levels and mood will be your best indicators that you are on the right track. For those managing diabetes or who wish to quit smoking, the H-E-B Pharmacy is also a great resource for management products.
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10: Get Moving!
Walk, bike, run, swim, play basketball, walk the dog, go hiking—there is an activity for everyone. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends 60 minutes of physical activity daily for children 6 through 17. Adults 18 to 64 should aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes each week (or 30 minutes a day for five days).
What counts as activity? Activity is described as any task or workout that lasts at least 10 minutes and engages the heart in moderate to intense aerobic activity. This even includes rigorous housework and gardening.