Whether you’re crying over the loss or celebrating the fact that you have another eleven months to go – the holidays are officially over. Not only are they a few weeks past – to be occasionally relived in clandestine mobile phone pictures of you from New Years – so might be some of your resolutions. Especially the healthy ones. Together with JCI USA, we are committed to helping young professionals improve in all aspects of life. This week’s article examines the small changes you can make in the foods you eat, to create a healthier, more ACTIVE lifestyle that maximizes your energy to get involved and create a better you!
It’s no secret that a combination of diet and exercise is the key to developing healthy patterns that influence an individual’s overall fitness. But what should we focus on first, eating right or being active? Most experts agree that a proper diet is critical to providing our bodies with the right amount of energy needed to maintain a mentally alert and physically active way of life. You can’t fake it – as demonstrated by the numbers of co-workers, classmates, and friends that show common signs of improper diet including distraction, exhaustion, physical appearance, and even depression.
Let’s get you started with a simple change of five foods to avoid eating:
- Soda – a pretty obvious one, but it never hurts to be reminded of the damage it does to your calorie intake…and your teeth…and your bones…and your pancreas…and…
- Bagels – these mental justifications over the donut box are generally made from nutritionally void refined flour, and have a high caloric content
- Hot dogs – a nice, quick food to make, but high in saturated fat; processed meats have also been linked to heart disease and other illnesses
- Whole milk or yogurt – while full of some vitamins, also high in levels of saturated fat and cholesterol
- Fried Anything – most often these dishes are prepared in trans fat, which is a big no-no for a healthier you; frying also results in the food absorbing more fat and calories than other methods of preparation
Now, to achieve some easy but sustained results, here are five foods to work into your recipes:
- Apples – just like your doctor told you as a child, apples are really, really healthy; a great source of antioxidants, reducing cholesterol, and lowering the risk of strokes are all benefits of consuming apples and similar fruit
- Nuts – a great quick and healthy snack; one excellent choice is almonds, which are high in nutrients such as magnesium, vitamin E, iron, calcium, and fiber
- Oily fish – types including trout, salmon, mackerel, and sardines contain elevated levels of moega-3 fatty acids, which are proven to benefit the heart; also helps with inflammatory conditions like arthritis
- Leafy greens – again, this is probably one you’ve heard before, but it’s always good to remember the choices that are more readily accessible at your grocer than ever before; consider options such as kale, broccoli, spinach, bok choy, or mustard greens as an alternative to standard lettuce
- Olive oil – a perfect substitute and all-purpose healthy choice; from eliminating the fat you would normally consume when frying with butter, to making the base of a low fat salad dressing, or as a dip for bread, olive oil is full of antioxidants that help prevent illnesses such as cancer
This list is just a start to making the small changes that are necessary to create big results in your overall health and lifestyle. Learn about more beneficial food options at Nutrition.gov, or even better – share your favorite healthy food or recipe on our Twitter and Facebook pages. We want to learn from you!