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Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle

Committing to a healthy lifestyle does not mean you have to turn your back on the seasonal feasts. Just keep things in check with these three guidelines.

by Kristi King, senior clinical dietitian at Texas Children’s Hospital

It’s that time of year again when families gather for football, fun and food. Earlier this year, we celebrated National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle.” Doing so can help you and your family achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic diseases and promote overall health and wellbeing. While it can be difficult to take these steps, especially during the holiday’s, this is a great time to remember that being healthy is a lifelong commitment; it’s not just a particular moment in time, a specific weight goal or a strict diet. So, what exactly does this mean for you and your family? 

Focus on consuming fewer calories.

Plan your snacks. Snacks can actually play an essential role in helping to keep up your energy throughout the day, not to mention, for kids, snacks help to provide calories for growth and development. Planning your snacks out in advance can help to prevent mindless eating on highly processed foods.

Make ½ of your plate fruits and veggies. This will ensure you will consume adequate fiber, (which will help to fill you up), as well as provide you a variety of vitamins and minerals.

Make informed food choices.

Learn your needs and your family’s needs. Age, gender, healthy conditions and physical activity levels are all going to play a part in determined calorie and protein needs of each person. It’s important not to compare yourself (or your child) to another person because what is right for them, may not be right for you.  

Know the facts. Reading labels is important in finding the right foods for you. Be sure to look at food labels focusing on the serving size, calories, fat, sugar and salt. These label components can help you determine if this is a food that will work for your personal needs.

Get daily exercise.

60 minutes daily of physical activity. Physical activity strengthens bones, muscles and fosters overall well-being. Physical activity has also been found to be helpful in stress relief, improve quality of sleep and improve the mental outlook amongst many.

Make it fun! Physical activity doesn’t have to be just an elliptical machine or treadmill, find activities you and your family enjoy. You can do 5K walk/runs for your favorite causes, have a dance party in the house, go to the park and play tag or even make a competition out of completing various numbers of sit-ups, jumping jacks, high knees, lunges, etc.

With the tips above, I hope you and your family will take a few minutes to examine your health habits and “Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle.”

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