12 Steps to Better Health

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• It's Super Bowl time and time to be active and kick off a year of good health. Put yourself in training camp and get started on a regular exercise routine - find ways to have fun while getting fit.
• Be your own Valentine! Heart month is the perfect time to start getting back in your kitchen. Make it a goal to have at least 5 home-cooked meals each week that are low in fat. Focus on eating less fat and more fiber in all of your meals.
• Nutrition month is here - take a checkup on your eating plan. Are you eating at least 3 whole grains each day? Do you regularly eat about 2.5 cups of veggies? Or 2 cups of fruit? Do you vary your protein to include beans and nuts and fish and keep it all lean or low in fat? Are you getting about 3 cups of milk per day?
• Visit www.choosemyplate.gov for more information.
• April is cancer awareness month. Eat a low-fat salad every day this month to help boost your intake of vegetables.
• Do a spring cleaning on your beverage habits - don't drink your calories! Try to consume more beverages that don’t contain a lot of cream and sugar.
• Fruit and Vegetable Month - let's take a look at your snack habits - now that all of those beautiful fruits and veggies are coming into the store, start eating more of them for snacks in place of packaged snack foods.
• Vacation - plan an active vacation where you can ramp up your fitness - get outdoors and have fun hiking, biking or hiking.
• Back to school - take the time to learn how to read a nutrition facts label. Compare labels when you shop and try to lower the sodium you consume that is in canned goods, frozen foods and packaged meals. Remember that a daily value of 5% or less is optimal for fat, cholesterol and sodium. How many servings are in that package? The serving size might be a lot smaller than you think for many calorie dense foods.
• Be aware of the calories in favorite foods especially when eating out. Visit your favorite eateries online and develop a list of items you can eat that won't blow the fat, calorie or sugar budget.
• Portion control. Are you upsizing or downsizing what you eat? Take care this month to order everything smaller when eating out. Use smaller plates in your own kitchen.
• Holidays are around the corner - time to come up with a holiday survival plan. Plan lighter meals and take lunches from home. Enjoy the season without going overboard.
• Give yourself 5 new fitness gifts - this may be exercise classes, a gym membership, new athletic shoes or clothes or home gym equipment.

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