Flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, and the sun is staying up longer. And here in Colorado, depending on what part you’re in, we may still even be shoveling snow. It’s this time of year that runners ditch their treadmill for the trail, spring fruit and veggie recipes start to emerge and people are embracing this great transition into summer. It's time for a healthy spring. Here are four new ideas for embracing spring.
- Start cleaning - Spring cleaning! Not only is it a good idea to declutter and organize your house, but take the time to recharge your mind and evaluate your social and work schedule to make more time for yourself.
- Swap the winter soups with fresh salads. Get creative and swap out plain lettuce or romaine for arugula, spinach or kale. Also, try experimenting with new vegetables, like this Endive and Snap Peas Salad with a homemade dressing.
- Get active outdoors! Take a run through the park or grab a friend for a hike. It's nice to come out of hibernation and get a dose of fresh air and feel re-energized in your workout. Get outside and get some fresh air while you work out.
- Eat healthy and have a picnic. Pack a healthy lunch, grab your family, a blanket and head over to your favorite scenic spot. Not sure what to pack? Finger foods, like veggies or salsa are easy to pack and make for convenient snacking.
- Eat Healthy: Avoid refined sugar. White, refined sugar weakens the immune system by stealing your white blood cell's ability to destroy bacteria. It can also encourage addiction to eating foods devoid of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Additionally, stay away from Aspartame and synthetic sugar products, such as NutraSweet, which includes Methanol (wood alcohol) which is a dangerous neurotoxin and a known carcinogen. Synthetic sugars contribute to acidity, a condition which leads to inflammation and the creation of fat cells to store that extra acid. Try using natural sweeteners, such as honey for your sweetener. Eat more greens and veggies. Not only do veggies taste good, but they also boost your intake of antioxidants, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, zinc and omega-3s. Include: a daily serving of greens, a daily serving of colored veggies (can include bright-colored berries), and a daily serving of sulphur-producing vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, turnips, onions, and garlic.
- Log your food intake. Keep a food diary. Write down what you eat every day and when you eat it. The timing of your food intake affects how you feel and tracking what you eat is a helpful sports performance tool.
- Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. Movement is good, make a habit of it and stick to it. A healthy dose of exercise not only helps you get fit, but it can help you live a longer more energetic life.
Did you know that one in three children in the U.S. are obese? The statistics sound high, but in all actuality childhood obesity can be prevented! Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. By making small changes in your lifestyle, like adding fresh fruits and vegetables into your daily meals you can go a long way. Opt for fruit instead of sweets, eliminate sugary drinks, and make sure your child has proper veggie servings in every meal. Additionally, incorporate exercise into your lives. Perhaps go for a family walk after dinner, or even get the kids on their bikes and play a little bike tag. Get away from the computer screens and move! Movement in any form can help you and your family get fit and do wonders for you and your child’s health. If you don’t feel like your child is getting enough exercise or healthy food options at school, talk to your teachers and administrators to get them in the game as well. Give them ideas and help them provide healthy food options and daily physical activities for students. Need ideas? Ask your doctor for ideas to keep your child moving and eating healthy.
Superfoods. They are everywhere. But what’s so super about them? Though there is no legal or medical definition, superfoods are nutrient powerhouses that pack in large doses of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. There is a lot of buzz about certain foods, but the fact is that common and readily available foods contain these powerful qualities, there are just some that seem to buzz more than others. You don’t have to get online and order goji berries from across the world in order to acquire these certain nutrients. Common foods such as garlic and lemon are also super foods. At the core of a balanced diet are foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients while being low in unnecessary fats and sugars. Variety is key to obtaining all nutrients necessary for good health. Each food group contains different combinations of nutrients. So, for example, oranges provide vitamin C but no vitamin B12; cheese provides vitamin B12 but no vitamin C. But often times, items like kale and blueberries get additional hype due to diet fads in the market. They are in fact super foods, but other foods like oranges are just as great. It’s important to eat a balanced and healthy diet and if there is a superfood fad, try it out, fit it into your diet, as long as it’s part of the bigger balanced diet. Talk to your doctor about more information on balancing your diet and eating healthy.