Spring is the season of fresh starts—what better time to spruce up your eating and exercise habits? Spring into action with the tips below.
Set Goals to Get—and Stay—on Track
First, look at your current eating and exercise habits and decide what changes to make. Do you want to eat more fruits and vegetables? Cut back on sweets? Be more active?
Then, lay the groundwork for meeting your goals. Set only two or three small goals at a time and keep them realistic, specific and simple. For instance, if a goal is to eat more fruits and vegetables, make sure produce is on your shopping list and plan when you'll eat it—maybe an orange for an afternoon snack and a salad with dinner.
Consider keeping a journal to record what you eat and how much you exercise each day. This information helps you identify what changes to make and tracks your progress to help you stay motivated. Don't forget to reward yourself for reaching a goal. Celebrate with a manicure, tickets to a special event, or a bouquet of fresh spring flowers!
Shape Up Your Diet
Just about everyone's eating plan can use a little nutrition tune-up. Try these tips to get your diet into tip-top shape:
Put nutrient-rich foods first.
Paint your plate with vibrant veggies and fruits:
Base your diet on vegetables, fruit, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean meat, poultry and fish. These foods offer lots of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients per calorie.
Pop open a can of 100% vegetable juice
Accompany sandwiches with red pepper slices
Add beans to chili, quesadillas and soups
Whirl up a fruit smoothie
Toss a handful of blueberries on your cereal
Put a new type of apple in your lunch bag
Shake Up Your Fitness Routine
For good health, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. That's the equivalent of 30 minutes, five days a week—and ideally, every day (make that double-time — 60 minutes a day—for kids and teens).
Fortunately, short periods of physical activity—even as little as 10 minutes at a time—accumulated throughout the day provide health benefits similar to longer periods of physical activity. Get a move-on with these ideas:
Be an early bird.
Get up at least 20 minutes early to squeeze in a quick walk before the day gets underway. Buddy up with a friend to stay committed to your routine.
Walk it off.
Snag the furthest parking spot from the store or office building or hop off the bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way. If you're a "desk jockey," take a quick walk around the office every hour or so.
Make it a family affair.
Grab the kids and go walking, hiking, biking, kayaking, or splashing around in the pool.
Add activity to errands.
Walk or bike to mail a letter, pick up a few items at the grocery store, or take the kids to school.