ABCs of a Healthy Lifestyle

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Build a Healthy Lifestyle" is the theme for this year's National Nutrition Month.

Building a healthy lifestyle really means putting a lot of small “blocks” together to create one strong “structure” for good health. Your blocks are based on adopting a healthy diet, exercising and avoiding habits like smoking and consuming too much alcohol. Getting enough sleep and drinking plenty of water also help make your structure strong.

Here are some fun tips using the ABCs for good health. They are based on the The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2000.

Aim for fitness.
Build a healthy base.
Choose sensibly.
…….continuing on down the alphabet, here are tips to help you implement those ABC's and build a healthy lifestyle:
Decide to eat plenty of foods that are good for you - fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans are the best choices for the bulk of your diet. Nonfat dairy, soy and fish are important too.
Educate yourself by reading food labels.
Focus on whole grains instead of refined carbohydrates.
Grab a handful of nuts for a snack.
Have beans and peas often.
Include fish in your diet twice a week. Salmon, mackerel, herring and tuna are the best choices sinch they are good sources of omega3 fatty acids.
Jazz up your food with herbs and spices instead of salt.
Know your Body Mass Index. See for a calculator.
Look for jam, syrups and other sweetened products that are made with less or no added sugar.
Minimize your intake of alcohol.
Nibble on raw veggies between meals.
Observe your eating behaviors.
Pack a healthy lunch.
Quit eating except when you are hungry.
Rely on good nutrition, not fad diets.
Switch to lowfat or nonfat milk and dairy products.
Try new fruits and vegetables.
Utilize low fat cooking techniques. Baking, steaming, boiling, broiling and roasting are your best bets.
Vary the foods you eat within each food group.
Watch your intake of sugary beverages and foods. Read ingredient lists to find words ending in “ose” - if they are at the top of the list, chances are that product is high in sugar.
X-ercise, exercise, exercise.
Yield to your desire to be healthy.
Zap out germs by using safe food handling practices.
By: Beth Fontenot, MS, LDN, RD

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