Let’s face it – a new year may bring new opportunities for us to make the lifestyle changes that we believe will improve our lives, but it doesn’t bring any extra time for us to do it. In fact, it often feels like a new year starts quickly and then flies by to the end, leaving us wondering about where it went and how we missed it. “Busy” is a term that only begins to describe daily life for most of us, but just because we’re busy doesn’t mean that we should forget about achieving our health goals. It just means that we need to find quick (and easy!) ways to incorporate them.
Have you heard about the “Choose MyPlate” initiative from the USDA? It’s a new way of looking at the food groups that we have all studied from the food pyramid, but it illustrates how to eat them daily by putting them on your plate. This initiative is one that we have supported at Logansport Memorial Hospital since it was first introduced, because we believe that to truly have healthy habits, you have to be able to do it your everyday life. The “Choose MyPlate” guidelines are designed to help you do just that.
Try these tips to see if you can get your plate in shape.
• Increase certain foods: Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables, and make at least half of your grains whole grains. Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1 percent) milk.
• Decrease certain foods: Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals – and then choose the foods with the lower numbers. Try drinking water instead of sugary drinks. This alone can help jump start a transformation of your health! You won’t believe how much your body will thank you for giving it the hydration it needs.
For more tips on healthy eating, use www.choosemyplate.gov as a resource for you and your family.
February is officially recognized as American Heart Month by the CDC, which means it’s a great time to think about how what you eat affects your heart health. If your meals and snacks are regularly packed with saturated fats and sodium, your ticker could eventually take a time out. But cooking heart-healthy recipes doesn’t have to be challenging! And you don’t have to sacrifice flavor, either. Try some of these healthful but easy cooking techniques to tweak your favorite recipes. Bake meat or poultry in covered cookware with a little liquid such as water, juice, cooking wine, or vinegar.
Poach chicken or fish by submerging it in a simmering liquid.
Put ground meat and poultry in a strainer lined with paper towels after browning, or rinse with warm water.
We hope that these suggestions are ones that you find helpful. Continue exploring and expanding your recipe collection, because there are probably other “family-favorites” that you can slightly change for a big difference in your health. And that’s the easiest thing of all – taking something you already love and simply adjusting it to achieve a new goal. Here’s to your health in every season of “busy-ness” for you and your family!
David Ameen is president and CEO of Logansport Memorial Hospital. He can be reached via email at email@example.com