Terri Mendoza, MS, RD, LDN, Department of Public Health.
Terri is a Nutrition Education Specialist with DPH.
With spring hopefully just around the corner, it’s (almost) time put away heavy sweaters and coats and take out your lighter outfits, and replace the ice melt and shovel in the trunk of your car with baseball and soccer equipment. In short, it’s time to get ready for all the pleasures of spring.
This season is also a good time to take a closer look at how well you and your family are taking care of yourselves. Many people tend to hibernate in the cold weather, and you and your children may not have been as physically active as you would have liked. Besides, winter comfort food can be high in fat and calories…eggnog or hot chocolate, anyone??
So, take note of how you and your family are eating and being physically active. January isn’t the only time to make resolutions for getting fit!
- Visit MyPlate.gov to compare your plate to what’s recommended
- Are your meals ½ fruits and vegetables, ¼ lean protein foods, and ¼ whole grains or starchy vegetables
- Are you getting 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day?
- Are you choosing fat-free or low-fat milk (for adults and children over 2 years of age) and dairy products, like cheese and yogurt made from skim or 1% milk?
- Are you making half of your grains whole, like brown rice, whole wheat bread and tortillas?
- Try these suggestions for getting closer to a great MyPlate:
- Snack on small amounts of nuts or peanut butter for a heart-healthy snack high in protein and fiber.
- Cut up sliced fruit or vegetables and keep at eye level in the refrigerator for a handy snack that you’re more likely to grab.
- Season plain low-fat yogurt with herbs and spices to accompany sliced veggies (baby carrots, celery, green peppers, or broccoli) for a crunchy treat.
- Keep an eye on how physically active you and your children are. Recent research suggests that being physically active isn’t just how much you move around, but is also how little you sit (or are sedentary).
- Find a reason to get up and move around—visit your coworker down the hall instead of calling or sending an email.
- Don’t let yourself or your children get too comfortable on the couch watching TV for hours. See who can do the most jumping jacks during commercials! Do anything to get the heart pumping and feel more energized.
- Get moving—turn off the TV and computer, turn on the stereo, and get the whole family dancing to their favorite music!
So, what are YOUR plans for a healthy spring?