20 Tips for Healthy Living
Life is a journey. The healthier you are the more you can enjoy your journey. My family's journey at the moment includes changing the way we eat and live so that we are all healthier. I have put together my top 20 tips for leading a healthier life. These tips will work for anyone, not just my family. Wherever you are on your journey, if living a healthy life is what you want, these tips should help you. Many of these revolve around food, because I believe that what we put into our bodies is the major key to how we feel each day.
- The fresher the food the better it is for you. Fresh fruits and vegetables loss nutritional value each day after they have been picked. The sooner you eat the food or it is frozen for later use, the more nutritious these foods are for you.
- Don't eat out of the bag or box. Put what you want on a plate or in a bowl and put the box away. This automatically limits portion sizes, preventing you from mindlessly eating the entire bag of chips.
- Ignore the clean plate rule. Stop eating when you feel full, or better yet, when you feel almost full.
- Don't eat the leftovers from your kid's plates. This can add hundreds of calories a day to your waistline.
- The simpler the better. The less processed the food the better it will be for you.
- Eat real food. If a company invented the food you are eating, or invented the ingredients in the food then it isn't good for you. Think high fructose corn syrup.
- Grow your own vegetables. Not only will it get you outside (always good for you), but it will lead to healthier eating habits for the whole family. Gardening is good exercise too.
- Eat whole grains. Have you ever heard the saying "The whiter the bread, the sooner you're dead"? White flour has virtually no nutritional value, yet whole grains are excellent for your health.
- Eat the food, not the food product. For example, eat an apple, not apple juice. You will feel fuller, get more nutritional value from an apple and consume fewer calories.
- Count your calories. Not obsessively every single day, but for a few days write down everything you consume and the calorie count. If you need some help figuring things out, check out Spark People. They have a great site where you can input what you ate that day and it will track your calories for you. Doing this for a few days will give you an idea of whether you are consuming too many calories, too few, or just the right amount.
- Figure out what a serving size is. Do you read labels? Did you realize that a can of soup actually has two servings in it? Almost everyone I know eats the whole can for a meal. Figure out what a serving is for the foods you eat then limit yourself to just one serving.
- Eat the rainbow. Fruits and vegetables incorporate all the colors of the rainbow and more. Eating a varied diet will ensure that you are getting enough vitamins, minerals and nutrients that you need to be healthy.
- Ditch the soda. There is zero nutritional value in soda. Drink water instead. I flavor my water with fresh lemon juice for a delicious drink that adds vitamin C to my day with hardly any calories. You can't beat water.
- Refer to the pyramid. The food pyramid that is. I know you all remember learning about it in school, but when was the last time you actually looked at it to see where you stand with the recommended foods and portion sizes?
- Keep treats as treats. The occasional piece of candy is fine but when you grab a handful of jelly beans every time you walk by the receptionist's desk then it is no longer an occasional treat, but an everyday occurrence. At that point we are either eating too many calories, or we are missing out on healthy calories in favor of unhealthy ones.
- Everything in moderation. I am firm believer that we should be able to eat whatever we want - as long as it is in moderation. Just keep in mind #15 as well.
- Avoid the fake stuff. If the food was invented in recent decades (think margarine and high fructose corn syrup) then it is probably fake. All processed foods have fake ingredients in them - in the form of artificial colors, flavorings, additives or preservatives.
- Exercise! Everyone should do some exercise almost every day of the week. People in the United States are typically too sedentary. Make it a point to get up and move around whenever you can and to at least go for a daily walk to get your minimum exercise. You will feel so much better; physically, mentally, and emotionally.
- Get enough sleep. By the time you are an adult you should have a pretty good idea of the amount of sleep you need each night to be well rested and effective in your day. I know that I need 8-9 hours of sleep on a regular basis. I am fine with less every now and then, but not on a regular basis. For children, talk to your doctor about an appropriate amount of sleep for their age and then make sure they get it.
- Take a supplement. Not for everything and of course you need to take into consideration your dietary needs and habits. But I firmly believe that most people do not get enough Vitamin D or Omega-3. So take a supplement for each to ensure your good health.
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