Jean Ince | County Extension Agent Staff Chair
We are well into the New Year. Many people made a resolution to eat healthier, exercise, and live a healthier lifestyle.
Hopefully, you are doing great and reaching your goals. However, many people tend to follow trendy advice from celebrities, and may actually be putting themselves in danger.
Probably one of the more common health and fitness mistakes people make is skipping meals.
Especially breakfast! We need to eat breakfast because it jump starts our metabolism. It basically breaks the fasting mode your body is in overnight. Instead of skipping breakfast, consider grabbing a piece of fruit, a chunk of cheese, or whole wheat toast as you head out the door.
Avoiding lunch or dinner can cause you to over eat later in the day. Instead, eat sensibly, with three well-balanced meals and at least two healthy snacks daily.
Avoiding gluten is another mistake some make.
While people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities have to avoid gluten, banishing gluten for weight loss can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Grains that contain gluten, such as whole wheat, rye, etc., also contain beneficial micronutrients like iron, magnesium, folate and fiber that our bodies need.
Fiber is important to a healthy system, but getting too much can stress your intestines. Get fiber from real foods like whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables. Not from the processed insulin fiber enhanced products.
Coconut oil isn’t heart healthy as some television personalities would like for you to believe.
In fact, it is mostly saturated fat – 92 percent saturated fat to be exact. Compare that with 63 percent saturated fat in butter. That should make you stop and think.
The main thing to remember here is that despite all the hype about coconut oil, replacing all the fat in your diet with coconut oil will not benefit your brain, heart or waistline.
Remember there is no one “superfood” that has the ability to protect our bodies from disease. That’s why variety is the key to a healthy diet. It must be well balanced including a variety of healthy foods from all the food groups.
Excluding a food group may result in weight loss, but may not provide you with all the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy.
Avoid the temptation to rely on packaged foods. Although the packaged foods can be calorie controlled, such as the snack size treats, they tend to be heavily processed and may contain large amounts of fat, sodium and/or sugar. Instead rely on whole foods such as fresh fruits or vegetables.
Giving up exercise because you think that the gym is the only place to exercise is another common mistake some make.
Get moving wherever you are, physical activity counts anywhere you do it.
To meet the latest recommendations, adults should be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity.
In addition to moderate or vigorous exercise, include muscle strengthening and stretching exercises at least twice a week.
Avoid the mistake of eating huge snacks. Try to keep snacks no more than 200 calories and a healthy option.
Think low sodium, low sugar, low carbohydrate, high fiber and high flavor! Snacks more than 200 calories could wreck your diet plan and cause weight gain.
Lastly avoid the mistake of skimping on sleep. It is such an important part of your health routine. Try to get between 7 to 9 hours each night.
Avoid common food and fitness mistakes and start living a healthy lifestyle, and always talk with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program.
Be sure to check out the new dietary guidelines at www.choosemyplate.gov or visit the Howard County Extension Office for more information.
Recipe of the Week
This recipe was shared with Second Grade students at Mineral Springs recently.
Most everyone loved it! Makes a great, quick and healthy breakfast or snack option!
Orange Banana Frosty
1 frozen banana
½ cup plain or vanilla low-fat yogurt
½ cup prepared orange juice
Put all ingredients in a blender and mix well. Add more liquid if you want the drink thinner.
Yield: 2 servings (1/2 cup each)
Nutrition Information per Serving: Calories-120, Fat-1 g, Sodium-45 mg, Carbohydrates-25 g, Protein – 4 g, Fiber-2 g. High in Vitamin C and calcium.