It’s the American Heart Association’s National Eating Healthy Day! Celebrate the small changes you can make to your everyday eating style to be the healthiest version of you possible.
Start by tucking an extra fruit into your lunch sack or trade your afternoon candy bar for a more healthful pick-me-up such as a handful of nuts and dried fruit.
Did you know 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women are at risk for heart disease? And research shows an unhealthy lifestyle – such as a poor diet - is a major contributor.
Try these top 12 tips for building a better plate and healthier lifestyle!
#1: Start the day with breakfast. Include protein and fiber for a “stick-to-your-ribs” combination. Try Greek yogurt with berries or a stir almond butter into a bowl of steamy oatmeal.
#2: Paint half your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables. Apples, pears, butternut and other “winter” squash and Brussels sprouts are all fall-favorites.
#3: Tip the scale in your favor. Control portions to keep calories in check. Use the serving size on food labels as a guide.
#4: Get the “whole” package. Swap refined grains for whole grains for more fiber and nutrition. Trade white rice for quinoa, snack on light popcorn instead of pretzels (sprinkle yours with a little pumpkin pie spice for seasonal flavor!) and use whole wheat couscous in place of refined pasta in cold salads.
#5: Opt for friendly fats. Trade butter and stick margarine for more healthful olive and canola oils, soft margarine, nuts and avocados. Top a sweet potato with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of cinnamon instead of butter or dip veggies in an avocado-tomato-garlic dip instead of a sour cream-based dip.
#6: Know your numbers. Monitor blood pressure and weight routinely. Ask your doctor about blood cholesterol and blood glucose screening.
#7: Rethink your drink! Hydrate with calorie-free beverages. Regular soda, sweet tea and juice drinks take a heavy toll on your calorie budget.
#8: Snack smart. Choose foods that up your nutrient quotient. Think outside the chip bag! Try a cup of light veggie soup and a piece of string cheese, mini “garden” salad with a few nuts or wrap a couple of deli turkey slices with leaf lettuce - drizzle with spicy mustard.
#9: Get your ZZZ’s. Target 8 hours of sleep nightly to boost energy and brain power - even reduce the temptation to overeat during the day.
#10: Add more plant protein to your plate. Enjoy a bean burrito, simmer a hearty black bean and sweet potato chili or top a salad with a mound of roasted chickpeas. Plan a “Meatless Monday” – for all three meals!
#11: Go fish – twice a week! Add fish and seafood to your plate at least twice a week. It’s as simple as making a tuna sandwich for lunch one day, then letting the supermarket prepare your fresh seafood selection for dinner on another day!
#12 – Make your move! Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. And, avoid the “sitting disease”! Make it a goal to avoid sitting for longer than an hour – walk and talk on the phone, stand up at your work desk or do a chore during commercials when watching your favorite TV show.