Start Simple with MyPlate

The newly updated MyPlate website can help you put the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020–2025 into practice. To get started, go to MyPlate, www.myplate. gov. Find out if you are making every bite count by taking the MyPlate Quiz. You will receive the following free, personalized resources:

  1. Start Simple with MyPlate app will help you build healthier eating habits by setting goals. You can also sync your quiz results with the app.
  2. MyPlate Plan provides a personalized plan for what and how much to eat from each food group. Join challenges, track your progress, and earn badges to celebrate successes.
  3. MyPlate Kitchen puts your MyPlate plan into action using healthy, budget-friendly recipes.

Make Every Bite Count and Start Simple with MyPlate at MyPlate, www.myplate.gov.

Source: MyPlate, www.myplate.gov

Moving More = Better Health

Our bodies are built to move. There are many benefits to being active throughout the day. Moving your body for just 3–5 minutes every 30–60 minutes improves nearly every system in the body.

Studies show that moving for a few minutes every 30 minutes or so

  • Improves digestion,
  • Increases energy levels,
  • Enhances mood,
  • Promotes better blood flow,
  • Improves posture, and
  • Increases focus.

Get your body moving by taking a stroll away from your work area. Stretch muscles that feel tense. Shake your arms and legs or do simple exercises in your workspace. For example, you could do wall push-ups, repeatedly standing from your chair.

Print this useful infographic on desk exercises, bit.ly/36X4kte!

Source: Time to Move, hr.umich.edu/benefits-wellness/health-well-being/ mhealthy/faculty-staff-well-being/physical-activity/time-move.

Personalize Your Plate

Plate, fork, and knife on table

March is National Nutrition Month. This year’s theme is “Personalize Your Plate.” There is no one-size-fts-all when it comes to nutrition. Everyone is unique! Each of us has different tastes, traditions, and budgets.

Personalize your plate to make sure every bite counts by choosing “nutrient-dense” foods. Nutrient-dense foods are those that are high in nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, but not very high in calories. The 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests the following:

  1. Start with personal preferences. When choosing nutrient-dense foods, be sure to think about the healthy foods you and your family truly enjoy. If you and your family enjoy the food you eat, you will be more likely to retain your healthy eating habits over time.
  2. Celebrate your food traditions! For example, if your family traditionally enjoys eating spaghetti and meatballs, make the same dish using less sodium and saturated fat. Use low-sodium sauce. Use leaner beef or ground turkey for the meatballs. Choose whole grain pasta. With a few small changes, you can still enjoy any traditional dish.
  3. Consider your budget. Healthy eating can be budget friendly and delicious. The ISU Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website, spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu, is a great source for easy, low-cost recipes.

Sources: Eat Right, bit.ly/3tHoP6T, Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, bit.ly/3jw8NIv

Apps to Get You Back on Your Feet

Woman working at computer and looking at watch

If you sit more than 30 minutes at a time for more than six hours a day, you are at higher risk of death from all causes. Even an hour of physical activity daily cannot undo the damage caused by too much sitting.

You can lower your health risk by standing up for only a few minutes every half hour. One way to make sure you do this is to get a free reminder app for your laptop or smart phone. With a reminder app, you decide how often you want to take a break from work to stand, stretch, walk around, or do some aerobic or resistance exercises.

Visit Whole Family Living, www.wholefamilyliving.com/apps-to-helpyou-
move-more-at-work/, for a review of the many reminder apps available.

Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3404815/

Three Reasons to Have Soup for Supper!

Dinner of soup, salad, and bread
  1. People who eat more soup usually have a healthier diet. An Iowa State University study found that soup-eaters consume less fat and more fber and vitamins than nonsoup-eaters. This is probably because most soups contain a variety of vegetables.
  2. Soup is flling. Because most soups are high in water and fber, they help you feel fuller longer. For this reason, soup helps people maintain a healthy weight. To avoid excess calories, enjoy broth- or tomato-based soups, not soups with cream, cheese, or butter.
  3. Soup is easy. It can be as simple as opening a can and turning on the microwave. Even canned soup can be a healthy meal, if it’s low sodium. You can pep up the favor of low-sodium canned soup with onion or garlic powder, oregano, basil, turmeric, or a dash of hot sauce. You can also add your favorite frozen vegetables.

For more reflections on soup and the joys of healthy foods, visit Spend Smart. Eat Smart., blogs.extension.iastate.edu/spendsmart/tag/soup/.

Source: Soup consumption is associated with a lower dietary energy density and a better diet quality in US adults, lib.dr.iastate.edu/fshn_ag_pubs/120/

Geocaching—A treasure hunt around the corner

Geocaching device on a rock

Geocaching is a modern-day treasure hunt. It takes people to places they otherwise may have never gone. It’s a low-cost way for the whole family to stay active. You can enjoy outdoor adventures year-round. In fact, winter can be the best time to geocache—no bugs and fewer people!

To get started, set up a free account at Geocaching (geocaching.com/play). Download the app to your smartphone or purchase a GPS unit. In the app, you will see a map of all the caches. You can either choose to search for caches near you or browse for other locations you want to explore.

What you will find may be a very small pill container or a larger plastic container. Some will be harder to find than others, but they are never buried. Inside will be a log to sign. There might also be “swag” like geodes, stickers, patches, pins, marbles, keychains, lanyards, and geocoins. Visit geocaching.com for success tips and discover what is hiding near you!

Home Gym Ideas

Workout equipment

Can’t go to the gym? Make your own at home, using these suggestions.

  1. Make your own weights. Use canned goods or fill recycled milk jugs with water or sand.
  2. Make your own resistance bands using old nylons or tights.
  3. Walk up and down your stairs to replace the step machine workout. Play some music to keep you going. Increase the workout by adding a new song each time.
  4. A jump rope is a great option for cardio workouts at home. It’s more affordable than a treadmill or exercise bike.
  5. Use free smart phone apps or computer programs to plan or track your workouts.
  6. Use an exercise ball instead of bench and exercise equipment. Use the ball to do crunches, push-ups, chest presses, and more.
  7. Need a yoga mat? Use a towel during stretching, yoga, or core exercises. It also prevents your hands and feet from sliding during exercises.

Sources:
Medline Plus, medlineplus.gov; Eat Smart, Move More, eatsmartmovemoreva.org

Pulse Flour: A Healthy Baking Alternative

Not all four is grain. “Pulse fours” are becoming more mainstream as plant-based diets gain popularity. These fours provide a good source of protein along with other nutrients. They are also gluten free. Pulse fours are made from pulses or the edible seeds of legumes, including dry beans, chickpeas,
lentils, lupin (lupini) beans, and multiple varieties of peas.

You can buy chickpea four plain or blended with other glutenfree fours. A 1/4-cup serving of chickpea four contains 120 kilocalories, 21 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fber, 1.5 grams fat, and 5 grams protein. Key nutrients include folate, copper, and manganese. This four has a fne texture. The nutty, mild favor works well for sweet products.

Lentil four is the most nutrient-dense pulse four. You can combine it with other fours, such as almond or brown rice, in sweet and savory recipes. A 1/4-cup serving of lentil four contains 170 kilocalories, 29 grams carbohydrate, 14.5 grams fber, 0.5 grams fat, and 12 grams protein. Key nutrients include folate, iron, manganese, and potassium.

Green pea four has a mild, almost sweet favor. It is slightly lower in calories than other fours. A 1/4-cup serving of green pea four contains 100 kilocalories, 18 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams fber, 0 grams fat, and 8 grams protein. Key nutrients include folate, iron, thiamin, and zinc. Be aware that this four will turn baked goods green!

Lupin four is another good source of plant-based protein. A 1/4-cup serving of lupin four contains 110 kilocalories, 12 grams carbohydrate, 11 grams fber, 2.5 grams fat, and 11 grams protein. This four also promotes the “good gut bugs.” Individuals with peanut or soy allergies should be cautious about consuming items prepared with lupin four. This four should be blended with other fours to offset the bitter favor.

Source: The Ultimate Guide to Pulse Flours, www.todaysdietitian.com

Activity—A Natural Mood Booster!

When the sun shines less in fall and winter, that can depress our mood. Regular physical activity lifts our spirits by releasing feel-good endorphins. Aim for 30 minutes of activity three to fve days a week. You can engage in three 10-minute bouts of activity a day, if 30 minutes all at once is daunting. Try these ideas for indoor physical activity during the cold and icy months:

  • Turn on the radio and dance.
  • March in place while watching your favorite TV show.
  • Set an alarm to walk around your house or office every hour during the day.
  • Climb stairs.
  • Use workout videos.
    • Explore streaming channels to find those that are free.
    • Borrow an exercise video from your local library.
    • Visit Spend Smart. Eat Smart., spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu, for free physical activity videos.

Lunch and Learn!

Working and homeschooling at home this fall? The structure of school and work can help limit our eating to designated meal times. When we’re all at home all day, though, we may graze on less-than-healthy choices. What to do?

  • Involve the whole family in planning meals and menus. Family members can suggest weekly menu items, including something new. The ISU Extension and Outreach Spend Smart. Eat Smart. (spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/) website has planning tips and a Five Day Meal Planning Worksheet (tinyurl.com/yyhaf3w2).
  • Get the family involved in preparation and cooking. They may be more inclined to help if the menu was their suggestion. Children will learn colors, shapes, reading, math, and science as they cook, without realizing they are “learning.”
  • Prep meals in advance. View this video to learn how to Cook Now, Enjoy Later (vimeo.com/419747928).
  • Make snack bins in your fridge and on your kitchen table for both perishable and nonperishable snacks.
    – Nonrefrigerated Snacks: peanut butter; washed fresh fruit such as pears or bananas; individual bags of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, whole-grain crackers, or trail mix; individual applesauce or fruit cups; or Apple Cinnamon Bread (see featured recipe).
    – Refrigerated Snacks: low-fat yogurt; precut vegetables and fruits such as apples, carrots, and celery; or high-protein foods such as cottage cheese, cheese sticks, hummus, or hard-cooked eggs.
  • Keep sweet and salty snacks out of sight.
  • Everyone “starving” right before a meal? Set cut-up raw vegetables out while the meal is being prepared. Watch Veg Out! (vimeo.com/419742344) for more on vegetables.
  • Remember you don’t have to be perfect at this. Do your best as a family and have fun.

Sources:
Adapted from American Institute for Cancer Research (aicr.org).
For more snack ideas see the ISU Extension and Outreach publication Snacks for Healthy Kids (store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/4605).

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