Tag Archives: soda

Deciding on a Balanced Diet

Eating a Balanced Diet

Focusing on a balanced diet is one of the best ways to make healthy eating a part of your life.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The USDA sets Dietary Guidelines for Americans regularly to help guide balanced diet choices. While these guidelines can seem complicated, there are key takeaways from them you should know.

The Importance of Healthy Eating

Healthy eating helps prevent and slow the onset of diseases, like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Include in a Balanced Diet

A healthy and balanced diet, which for most people is around 2,000 calories a day, includes a variety of:

  • Vegetables, including a variety of dark green, red, and orange veggies, legumes, which include beans and peas, and starchy veggies, like corn and potatoes.
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits, like apples and oranges, which are the perfect serving  size.
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grain.
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy (like milk, yogurt, and cheese) or appropriate substitutes.
  • A variety of foods high in protein, like lean meats, poultry, eggs, seafood, beans,  soy-based products (like tofu), nuts and seeds.
  • Oils (like canola, olive, peanut, and soybean) or naturally occurring oils in nuts, seeds, olives, and avocados.

Limit in a Balanced Diet

  • Added sugars should make up less than 10% of your daily calories, which can be hidden in processed and prepared foods, like soda, cereal, cookies, and more.
  • Limit saturated and trans fats, which should make up less than 10% of your daily calories. Foods high in these include butter, whole milk, and palm oil. Replace with unsaturated fats, like canola and olive oil whenever you can.
  • Limit sodium to less than 2,300 mg per day. Processed foods, like pizza, and canned soup and sauces can be high in this salt.

A Balanced Diet with MyPlate

MyPlate replaced the food pyramid as the guide to making sense of servings. It helps you look at your plate and strike a balance with each meal.

This chart can help you divide your own plates appropriately: MyPlate

Fruits and veggies should make up about half of your plate, with just over a quarter filled with whole grains, and protein should be under a quarter. (A few ounces of meat, a piece about the size of the palm of your hand, is a good serving size for most people.) Also work in a small serving of dairy through milk, cheese, or yogurt to round out your meal.

Making Smart Choices

Combine these guidelines with smart choices, and you’ll be well on your way to eating a balanced diet. And making these smart choices doesn’t have to be difficult. There are lots of tips and tricks that can help you make a balanced diet a part of your daily life.

Tracking Your Food

Then, you can target the number of servings you should be getting of the different food groups.

These can help you figure out calorie counts and limit sodium and sugar.

This can help you understand how balanced your diet and food servings are and set and reach food goals.

Making and Meeting Food Goals

  • Start small.

Making small changes in your eating habits can have long-term effects:

  • Switch to high fiber, low-sugar cereals.
  • Give up soda with flavored sparkling waters.
  • When you’re hungry, try drinking a glass of water before you eat something.
  • Plan for all of the places you go in life:
    • Instead of eating out for lunch at work, start planning and meal-prepping ahead of time, and avoid the vending machines.
    • If you know your kids aren’t making great food choices at school, get them involved in packing lunches they’ll love ahead of time.
    • When you know you’ll spend the day at the mall, carry snacks and a water bottle, eat a healthy breakfast or snack before you head out, and skip the food court. If you just can’t avoid a meal or a snack while you’re out, find the healthiest option. Load up a sandwich with veggies, get frozen yogurt without all kinds of extra sweet toppings instead of ice cream, and choose hot tea or unsweetened iced tea instead of a frappachino.
    • Check menus for calorie counts when you’re eating out. Ask for salad dressings and sauces on the side, avoid fried foods, and keep in mind that alcoholic drinks can be full of calories.
    • Many communities have community gardens. Join in and help out to get moving and to grow things your whole family can enjoy in meals.

Results and Rewards

  • Don’t beat yourself up when you have missteps.

Everyone struggles with giving up the foods full of sugar and salt that they love, so it’s important to stay positive and get back on track.

  • Plan your cheat day.

Many people have found that planning a weekly cheat day can help them stay on course knowing they can treat themselves later. And once you get used to a balanced diet, you’ll find that you’ll cheat in smaller and smaller ways, even on the day you’re allowed to.

  • Find healthy ways to treat yourself.

For example, do you love watermelon or raspberries? Splurge on the healthy treats you love. Enjoy a piece of dark chocolate each day or a glass of red wine each week. Another option, reward meeting your goals with a treat that isn’t food-related, like a new outfit, book, or manicure.

Up Next:

Now that you know the value of a balanced diet, learn to prepare before you go grocery shopping and shop smart to meet your goals.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Healthy Eating Together for National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month 2016

This month is National Nutrition Month, and this year encourages you to savor the flavor of eating right.

Social food experiences, like family dinners holiday gatherings, and meals with friends, can help you cook healthier meals together.

Eating Socially

 

Savor your food. When you notice the flavors and textures of the food, you’ll enjoy it more and feel full faster.

 

Enjoying food traditions can help you get cooking. Learn to make your family’s traditional dishes and find healthy substitutes, like low-sodium soy sauce.

Traditional Comfort Food

 

Think about where you eat. If you eat at your desk or TV a lot, try somewhere you can focus on your food instead of multitasking.

 

Consider talking to a nutritionist. They can help you make informed food choices based on your personal needs.

Personal Food Choices

 

Cut back on salt with fresh products, by cooking at home, and by flavoring food with herbs and citrus.

 

Avoid soda and sugary snacks. Small portions of sweet treats or fruits can satisfy your sweet tooth.

Avoiding Excess Sugar

Save

GERD Awareness Week

GERD Awareness Week

This week is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD Awareness Week. Do you have chronic heartburn?

Heartburn Sufferers

 

Regular acid reflux and heartburn are the most common symptoms of GERD. Learn more.

Burning Pain

 

GERD could be affecting you, and it has costs.

The Costs of GERD

 

How can you control GERD this holiday season?

Controlling GERD for the Holidays

 

GERD can impact your health in many ways, including sleep. Learn more.

GERD and Sleep

 

GERD is a disease. It’s not caused by your lifestyle. Learn about living with it.

There are a variety of options to help treat your GERD. Talk to your doctor at your next appointment.

7

Save

Making Grapes Savory with Healthy Grape Recipes

Healthy Grape Recipes

Right now, grapes are in-season. But they can be used in so many ways besides snacking with these healthy grape recipes.

First up is a savory winter side dish, Roasted Grape and Honey Sweet Potatoes.

Roasted Grape & Honey Sweet Potatoes

 

These Goat Cheese and Grape Balls are the perfect snack or appetizer for a party.

Cheese Grape Balls
Image and Recipe via Express-o

 

This Homemade Grape Soda is sugar-free, fresh, and sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Homemade (sugar free!) Grape Soda

 

Caramelized Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese and Roasted Grapes makes a tasty fall side.

Caramelized Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese and Roasted Grapes

 

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken and Grape Skewers are a great recipe to grill up before fall’s over.

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken and Grape Skewers
Image and Recipe via Joy of Kosher

 

Roasted Grapes with Thyme, Fresh Ricotta, and Grilled Bread are an easy appetizer, before a hearty fall soup.

Roasted Grapes with Thyme, Fresh Ricotta, and Grilled Bread

on the menu: roasted grapes with thyme, fresh ricotta and grilled bread

 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes and Walnuts are a simple side dish for holidays or fall meals.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes and Walnuts
Image and Recipe via Teenie Cakes

Save

Healthy Summer Drinks

Healthy Summer Drinks

Looking for something cool, refreshing, and healthy to sip by the pool or for your kids to sell at their stand? We have the perfect healthy summer drinks for you!

First up was a Watermelon Agua Fresca that lets you drink your favorite summertime fruit.

Watermelon Agua Fresca

Watermelon Agua Fresca

 

This Sugar-Free Lemonade also tastes great made with sparkling water, and it’s much better for you than soda.

Sugar Free Lemonades
Image and Recipe via Yummy Mummy Kitchen

 

Honeydew and Raspberry Agua Fresca is refreshing way to drink your fruit.

Honeydew Raspberry Agua Fresca
Image and Recipe via The Wanderlust Kitchen

 

This Homemade Strawberry Lemonade will be everyone’s favorite summer drink, so it’s a good thing it’s a big batch.

Homemade Strawberry Lemonade Recipe

 

Sparkling Mint and Blackberry Agua Frescas are such a pretty drink that they’re sure to impress the guests at your next summer party.

Sparkling Blackberry Mint Aguas Frescas

 

Vanilla Berry Lemonade is a more sophisticated take on the classic childhood drink.

Vanilla Berry Lemonade

 

This Peach Agua Fresca is the perfect drink to enjoy beside the pool or on picnics, and the jalapeño garnish adds the perfect kick.

Peach Agua Fresca

Save

Fighting for Fitness with Exercise

My Healthy Journey: Time to Sweat

I’ve changed my diet, organized my life, and made healthier choices, so the last and biggest thing on the list is exercise.

I don’t like to exercise, as I think a lot of us don’t. I’m competitive, so I liked playing sports as a kid, but as an adult, exercising by myself is boring and hard work. If I had a gym membership and could read on a treadmill, it might be different. But as it is, it’s hard to make myself do it.

But if I can (for the most part) give up candy, completely abandon soda, and stop drinking coffee for a month, I can handle anything!

I started by doing a muscle-strengthening yoga routine every day, which was a great way to start for me. It wasn’t too intense, it was calming, and it really helped me regain some flexibility and balance I’d lost over the years.

Now, I’ve been doing P90X. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but it used to have infomercials on TV, which automatically makes me suspicious. But I actually know a number of people who have done it, and my goal is less to get a killer six-pack and more to get in better shape, so I don’t really need it to live up to all its TV promises.

I borrowed the DVDs from a friend, so I didn’t spend all of the money they’re talking about. I’m also not following all of their meal plans or the exact exercise plan. Each day you’re supposed to do a different workout for a different part of your body, and they’re each about an hour and a half long with warmups and cool downs.

I usually can’t make it through the whole thing yet; they’re really difficult! I also do them more like every other day because I’m so sore the day after. They make you pour sweat, and they make you want to lie on the ground in your own sweat puddle to catch your breath.

But I can already see some improvements! And that’s really satisfying. Am I out running yet? No (it’s been so rainy!). But I am getting cardio and strengthening done, in my own bedroom no less.

Plus, I’ve found some new interests by doing them. For instance, there’s a kickboxing workout that I love, so maybe in the future, I might try kickboxing classes!

Do I think I’ll stick with this level of workout forever? Definitely no! Eventually, I’d like to mix things like this up with other activities, like yoga, runs, and more simple workouts. Once it’s a habit, it will really be more about doing something every day.

It’s all about finding the things that will keep you interested, engaged, and MOVING.

There are so many reasons (and studies on) why you should  exercise. Mayo Clinic breaks it down perfectly: Exercise controls weight, fights health conditions and diseases, improves your mood, boosts your energy, and helps you sleep.

And Rally, our wellness tool, knows how important it is, too. It has tons of great missions to get you moving, like exercise 30 minutes every day, work up a sweat 3x a week, swim 30 minutes, and work your core, as well as weightlifting and walking missions.

So to help you get on a great fitness track that will entertain you and doesn’t require an expensive package, I’ve rounded up some activities for you to try for some of these missions.

Exercise 30 Minutes Every Day

43 Workouts That Allow You to Watch An Ungodly Amount of Television
100 No-Equipment Workouts

Work Up a Sweat 3x a Week

PopSugar Workout Music
Top 100 Running Songs

Run 30 Minutes

7 Easy Ways to Become a Runner
Beginner’s Running Guide
3 Methods to Run Faster

Swim 30 Minutes

The Ultimate Pool Workout
6 Tips to Improve Your Swimming Right Now
Make A Splash Infographic

Swimming's Benefits Infographic
Image via MyMedicalForum

Work Your Core

10-Minute Core-Blasting Pilates Workout

Quick Workout for a Powerful Core
Image via Buzzfeed’s 9 Quick Total Body Workouts

Save

Perfect Flexible Poise

My Healthy Journey: Flexible Living

As I told you last week, I’ve been making some radical changes, trying to be more flexible in many areas of my life.

I’ve eliminated soda, coffee, alcohol, and pretty much all processed foods. (I don’t think the coffee is going to be a permanent change after this month. I’m warning you now.)

I’ve also changed my diet in pretty big ways.

But that’s not all! I’m not participating in any challenges from work, but I’m still working out every day. That’s right everyone! I haven’t been this active for 10 years! So the truth is, even if it’s been a decade, there are ways to start getting active.

That’s not to say I started running 5 miles every morning. I’ve actually started doing yoga in the comfort of my own home. The gradual build is important to me.

I know I’m not the only one in the world who doesn’t want to put her struggle on display, but there are ways to start without witnesses.

Choosing Flexible Workouts

Rally, our wellness tool, has missions that can help you ease into fitness for when you’re not ready for a gym full of people quite yet. And increasing your flexibility and endurance is a great way to do that.

Whether it’s meditating for 20 minutes every day, stretching every day, dancing anytime, or going to yoga class every week, there is a mission to help you build to your goals. I’ve been wanting to do yoga for years, so this build has been a no-brainer for me.

Now, I have to admit, I’m not ready to go to yoga class once a week. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a yoga class (even just in movies), but the teacher tends to walk around and correct everyone’s form.

And while I would love to have perfect form eventually, there was just NO WAY I could’ve done some of the things I’m already doing on that first day. Let alone hold them for 5 breaths.

So what I’ve done is pick out a simple 10-minute routine (although it takes me more than 20 to work both sides) designed for something that’s a priority for me, building muscle tone.

And I know there are some poses in it that I simply couldn’t do on the first day, like this craziness:

Garland Pose

Or this killer:

Four-Limbed Staff Pose
Images from Shape

But 2 weeks later, I’m doing them. (Although I’m sure my version of that top one still isn’t quite perfect yet.) And each day, they get a little bit easier, and I hold them for a little bit longer. And as soon as I lose the burn from this routine, I can upgrade to something new and different.

I’m still working on mixing more things into my daily routine (mostly ab workouts at this point and hope to move on to cardio soon), but I can already feel the difference in my arms, legs, and most noticeably, my flexibility.

Here are some resources to help you follow my lead and start your own build to yoga class.

Stretch to Become Flexible Every Day

Office Stretches
Image via WalkingSpree

  • The 10-Minute De-stress and Stretch Workout:

The 10-Minute De-Stress and Stretch Workout
Image via Women’s Health Magazine

Dance Anytime

Yoga

Save