Good health comes from an accumulation of good decisions and actions over time. Now that you are starting a new year, resolve to make good decisions all year. Here is a calendar of good ideas for each month:
January – KICKOFF – Think SUPERBOWL – and start incorporating more bowls of soups and salads in your diet. Make them chock full of vegetables and low in fat and sodium. Visit www.foodandhealth.com for delicious recipes.
February – HEART MONTH – Focus on limiting or omitting foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fatty acids and cholesterol. This means fatty meats, fried foods and many animal-based foods. Increase your consumption of seafood. Visit www.americanheart.org.
March – NUTRITION MONTH – This month focus on the good news about food. Increase what is good for you – that means fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nonfat or low-fat milk and milk products. Visit www.eatright.org.
April – SPRING – Add variety to your diet. Instead of eating the same things over and over, consume a variety of foods within and among the basic food groups while staying within energy needs.
May – BLOOD PRESSURE MONTH – Choose and prepare foods with little salt. Experiment with new seasonings, such as herbs (fresh and dried), citrus fruits and vinegars to add flavor to foods. Be aware of canned, frozen, packaged and bottled foods and their sodium content.
June – VACATION TIME – Be physically active every day. Now that the weather is nicer, it is time to make time for that fitness program you are always putting off.
July – FRUIT AND VEGETABLES IN SEASON – Choose carbohydrates wisely for good health. Increase your consumption of whole grains, fruits and vegetables instead of items that are devoid of fiber.
August-September – BACK TO SCHOOL – Whether you are in school or graduated from school you can always learn more. Now is the time to take notice of all the foods that are high in calories that you are eating on a regular basis. Read package labels. If calories are less than grams per serving, the food has a low calorie density. Fruits, vegetables, cooked whole grains, fat-free dairy products and very lean poultry and fish are low in calorie density. Breads, desserts, cookies, chips, packaged cereals and high-fat foods are high in calorie density.
October – SPOOKY TIME – Take some time to learn more about food safety. Wash your hands; keep all food surfaces clean; do not cross-contaminate ready-to-serve foods with the juices of raw meats, seafood and poultry; keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot.
November – HOLIDAYS – If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation. Enjoy the holiday season with less stress this year.
December – YEAR END – It is time to review this list and decide what you need to be more fit and a lower weight. What worked well? What do you need to do more of?
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.