Is It Time to Start Making Healthier Food Choices?

drink more water

Did you make a resolution to lose weight last month? How’s that going? Even though I know I need to, I didn’t have the heart to make another resolution that I’ll fail to keep. However, I am making a “life resolution” to start making healthier food choices, a few at a time. Now that I’m half a century old, the weight doesn’t seem to want to come off very easily. I’d like to blame it on metabolism, menopause or some other random reason, but I know why. My diet sucks. Period. Gone are the days of eating anything I want and still manage to maintain my weight. Now days, I have to give more attention to making healthier food choices and getting my butt off the couch. How about you? Are you feeling like it’s time to live a healthier lifestyle? What about your family? I know my son makes better food choices when I bring healthy foods into the house. I hope I can set a better example for him than I have recently. Enough is enough! 🙂

So, now that I’ve told you about my bad eating habits, here are a few easy to introduce ideas and suggestions on how to improve your diet with healthy food.

How to Make Healthier Food Choices

make positive changes in your diet

Begin by taking a look in your cupboards. What foods do you have which aren’t good choices on a healthy eating plan? Rather than tossing those foods out, add healthy choices and eat less of the not-so-good choices.

Set realistic goals and write them down. Don’t try to lose 50 pounds in a month – it simply won’t happen. Making positive changes to your diet can help you lose one to two pounds a week healthfully, but it might be foolhardy to try to lose any more. To lose one pound per week, you’ll want to eat 3,500 calories less or expend more energy to equal this number.

Make plans to eat a healthy breakfast every day. Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. The best breakfast choices include a serving of protein, whole grains and some type of fruit. These will provide you with the energy you need to get you through your morning. Read more

How to Make Exercise Fun – or at Least Tolerable

make exercise fun

Just thinking about exercise probably makes you shudder. Let’s be honest—exercising is boring for the most part. But you can make exercise fun. I’ve tried so many different kinds of exercise I can’t even remember them all. Since the birth of my now 13 year old son, I’ve done all sorts of exercise. Aerobics, walking, treadmill, trampoline, resistance bands, free weights, pilates, etc., etc. I get bored very easily because I really don’t like to exercise and naturally I don’t keep it up very long. What I’ve found works best for me is to just get outside and walk. I love to hike, so getting back to nature is a great way for me to get extra exercise.

If this sounds anything like you, perhaps these 5 simple tips can help. Won’t hurt to read and maybe give one or two a try.

Easy Tips to Make Exercise Fun

1. Plug in your headphones. Turn on your favorite playlist or audio book when you head to the gym or go for a walk. Listening to music or audio books will make the time fly by. Before you realize it, you will have exercised for an hour. Read more

Some of the Best Diets for a Healthy Life

Best diets for a healthy life

Some of the Best Diets for a Healthy Life

January is typically the month when people start looking for the best diets for losing weight. However, the right diet can do more than lower numbers on your bathroom scale and make your clothes fit looser. It can also improve your health and with that, improve your longevity. Children follow the habits of their parents, so naturally, when they see their parents eating delicious, healthy food they will learn to do the same. While there are many dozens of diets you can follow, some of them are ranked higher than others when it comes to being better for your overall health and considered to be the best diets.

DASH Diet

The DASH diet is one of the higher ranked diets when it comes to overall health because it can help keep your blood pressure down or bring it down if you already have higher than normal numbers.

Lowering your blood pressure can keep your heart healthier and prevent heart disease. The vitamins and minerals in the foods you eat work to keep your blood pressure lower naturally and the DASH diet is one that guides you toward those foods to provide you with a balanced diet.

Not only is the DASH diet one of the best diets that’s great for helping you lose weight and for keeping your blood pressure lower, but it also helps to prevent or control diabetes.

What you have to do first is to look at the DASH guide to see where you currently are with your age and how much physical exercise you get. The diet focuses on the amount of calories you’ll need based on that criteria.

You don’t have to eat any weird foods or outrageously expensive ones. You’re allowed to eat normal, wholesome foods that are readily available in your grocery store.

One of the big focuses of this diet is to watch your salt intake and there’s a good reason for that. Salt is one of those things that’s super unhealthy in large doses and most people get three to four times above the recommended cutoff for sodium consumption.

Too much salt intake will show up in your overall health and that’s one reason why you might be feeling the impact. Salt is well known to raise blood pressure because it makes you retain fluid and that fluid causes more pressure on your heart.

On this diet, you should keep your sodium intake to no more than about 1,500 mg. Less than that is unsafe. The gist of the diet focuses on increasing your servings of fruits and vegetables and making sure that your meat choices are lean.

It emphasizes meats like fish and poultry. The dairy that you consume should be low or fat free. As you replace the high calorie, high fat and high sodium foods with whole grains, lean meats, and fruits and vegetables, you’ll start to notice a weight loss and you’ll see a difference – not only in your blood pressure – but in your health overall.

What makes this eating plan popular and therefore one of the best diets is that there aren’t any off limits foods. It’s mostly just healthy eating with controlled portion sizes. It’s highly recommended that you develop an exercise plan along with following a DASH diet.

Even if you just walk 10 minutes a day at first, that will help you get started and ease you into a newer, healthier lifestyle.

MIND Diet

There are some diets that can help you retain your cognitive function and can prevent age related issues with the memory and even certain age related diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

The MIND diet is one of these. You can protect your brain function as well as your overall health by following the guidelines outlined in this diet. The diet is also focused on heart health, so it can help you lower your blood pressure as well.

Studies have shown that those who stick to the diet can lower their risk of developing Alzheimer’s by more than 50 percent. This diet is also good for helping to keep dementia at bay.

The MIND diet is actually a combination of two well known diets. What it does is it takes the best of both and looks at how the foods in those two diets can specifically benefit your brain.

The two diets that this one combines are the DASH diet as well as one called the Mediterranean diet. The focus of the MIND diet is found from eating foods that have been scientifically proven to help how your brain can hold onto its ability to function normally.

In this diet, you’ll eat plenty of vegetables, meats such as poultry or fish, whole grains and nuts. What people like about this diet is that it also focuses on making sure that wine is included with meals.

Wine has a lot of benefits when it comes to protecting the brain as well as the rest of the body. You will have to make some eating changes with this diet and some people find that hard.

But the key is to slowly do away with the wrong types of foods and you’ll discover that your body will come to crave this new, healthier way of eating. When on this diets, you’ll need to stay away from processed foods, fatty items like butter or margarine, unhealthy red meats, certain dairy items, junk food and foods that are cooked in unhealthy oils.

The good news about this diet is that it’s simple to follow and the food is delicious and following it can also lower your risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.
The basic outline of this diet is to make sure that you consume a specific amount of healthy foods and make sure that your eating plan has whole grains for each of your three meals.

And you should make sure you have a glass of wine every day. Snacks should consist of things like nuts and the oil or fats that you use should be mainly olive oil.

A lot of people think this is one of the best diets because if you follow the healthy foods recommended, it’s not as calorie restrictive as some of the other diets on the market. Read more

Six Healthy Cooking Ingredients All Families Need in Their Kitchens

healthy olive oil onions and garlic

 

It is necessary to have healthy ingredients at home that you can use on a regular basis to fix healthy meals for you and your entire family. They should be low in fat, salt and sugar with no added preservatives.

Some of the healthiest cooking ingredients to have in your kitchen include:

1. Olive Oil
Olive oil has no saturated fat and is considered the most healthy oil by many authorities, including, the American Heart Association. It can be used in salads, for baking, and for pan cooking.

2. Non Fat Yogurt
Non-fat yogurt, especially Greek yogurt is a wonderful substitute for recipes that call for mayonnaise, or sour cream. They can be used to thicken a variety of sauces and also make a great snack or breakfast.

3. Onions and Garlic
It is possible to include onions in a number of recipes like soups, salads or in stir-fry. Onions have a very distinctive flavour liked by many people in their salads. They help balance blood sugar for people struggling with this issue, such as, Diabetics and those diagnosed with pre-diabetes. They contain anti-inflammatory benefits for those who struggle with allergies when they include them regularly in their meals. Onions eaten in large amounts provide anti-bacteria properties for the body to fight harmful bacteria that may cause illnesses.

Garlic is related to the onion family and is high in selenium. It helps in reducing blood cholesterol that can cause problems in the heart. It is necessary to allow garlic to rest after chopping before cooking to obtain the maximum health benefits. It increases iron absorption which is essential in the production of red blood cells. Furthermore it is believed to help in the fight against obesity.

4. Tomatoes
Tomatoes whether fresh or in a paste are a must have ingredient. They can be eaten raw in a salad or made into various sauces for a sumptuous meal. The red pigment in tomatoes is called lycopene and promotes the production of collagen for gorgeous firm skin. Lycopene enables one to enjoy a good night sleep healing to the mind, body and soul. Tomatoes are also believed to help the skin fight against sunburn when eaten in abundance. Tomatoes also lower the risk of osteoporosis by strengthening the bones when eaten regularly. They also contain antioxidants necessary in the fight against cancer. Drizzling olive oil on your tomatoes ensures you obtain additional nutritional benefits. Finally, cherry and grape tomatoes are very low in calories, they can be eaten in abundance for snacking and with meals.

5. Herbs
Most fresh herbs contain strong aromas that make a meal enjoyable, and they can be grown on your windowsill and therefore be easily accessible to create healthy and delicious meals.

• Rosemary can be included in soups, for chicken dishes and in your cup of tea.
• Rosemary is believed to help improve the brain health of people who forget easily.
• Parsley is full of minerals and vitamins; additionally it adds color to a salad for a mouth-watering meal.
• Ginger is another herb that is good for the digestive health and is believed to settle an upset stomach. It can be dried and used in a tea to relieve a cold becauses it is known to open the sinuses for easier breathing.
• A number of people have used it to relieve pain in a tooth by chewing it. Read more