Food portions can be a challenge, but choosing sensible amounts of all food is important for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. The best way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight is to make small, long-term changes in what you eat and drink, along with getting daily physical activity.
Follow the MyPlate healthy eating food plan:
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables—think variety and make it colorful.
- Make half your grains whole grains.
- Choose low-fat and fat-free dairy products.
- Vary your protein—poultry, seafood, meat, eggs, nuts, and beans.
Other helpful tips:
- Avoid portion distortion—read labels, measure, and place servings into containers or baggies.
- Record the amount of food you eat with a three- to five-day food journal—you might be surprised!
- Use smaller bowls and plates at mealtime.
- Choose foods with less saturated fats, sodium, and added sugar.
- Cook more often at home to control the ingredients in your food.
- When dining out, look at nutritional information before ordering.
- Drink water or low-calorie beverages with meals.
- Get the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week.
Set realistic and achievable goals for your health. Remember, if you slip up one day don’t dwell on it, just press on with your health goals in mind. Download Key Nutrients from the Extension Store for additional information.
“What gets measured, gets managed”—Peter Drucker, management consultant and author.
Weight loss is a common goal many people share. Research suggests that tracking what we eat and how much we move can help us reach and maintain a healthy weight. Apps can make this tracking easier and more fun.
Check out these apps to help you achieve your health goals:
MyFitness Pal—This is a free calorie-counting app with more than five million foods in the data base and featuring a bar-code scanner option for ease and accuracy in tracking food intake. Users are able to set goals and track progress toward daily intake targets. Recipes and videos are shared when users log in to track food intake. Myfitnesspal.com
Spend Smart. Eat Smart.—You can carry Spend Smart. Eat Smart. in the palm of your hand at the grocery store with the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. mobile app*. The app tools make shopping for healthy foods a breeze. Produce Basics helps you choose, clean, store, and prepare fresh vegetables and fruit with ease. The Recipe Finder helps you keep track of your favorite recipes from the website. The Unit Price Calculator compares products to help you find the best price. *The Spend Smart. Eat Smart. app will be available soon. Watch the website, spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu, and Facebook page for announcements about the release.
Dine Safe—This is a free app that allows users to identify restaurants that cater to allergies and restrictions using a sort menu that compares allergies to allergens in each menu. Dinesafeapp.com
Epicurious—This free app offers cooking tips, recipe collections, and holiday menus. Epicurious is adding original video and features a seasonal ingredients finder and smart kitchen timer. Epicurious.com
Reference: Akers, J. D., R. A. Cornett, J. S. Savla, K. P. Davy, and B. M. Davy. 2012. Daily self-monitoring of body weight, step count, fruit/vegetable intake and water consumption: A feasible and effective long-term weight loss maintenance approach. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 112 (5): 685–692,
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2012.01.022 (27 January 2017)
Dancing is an excellent source of physical activity and provides many health benefits. Some of these benefits include the following:
- better heart health
- stronger muscles
- better balance and coordination
- stronger bones
- reduced stress
- more energy
The amount of calories burned depends on the type of dance. Ballroom dancing, for example, is a form of moderate exercise that burns about 260 calories an hour. On the other hand, Zumba is a form of aerobic exercise that can burn up to 500 calories an hour.
To get started, find classes at your local health club, community center, or dance school. If you don’t have a partner, many classes will find you a partner. Dance DVDs are available for use at home by purchasing them or renting them from your local library. Your local cable provider may provide channels as well. Or better yet, turn up the music at home and dance it out.
Take a look around your local health market shelves or smoothie bar menu and you may notice products containing activated charcoal (also called activated carbon). Before you jump to try this latest fad, take a moment to understand what this product is, its intended uses, and health implications.
Activated charcoal is not found naturally in foods. It is made when coal, wood, or other substances are placed under high heat with a gas or an activating agent to expand the surface area. Activated charcoal has been used by medical professionals to manage poisonings and overdoses.
There are several other activated charcoal health claims that are far less studied include the following:
- treating cholestasis (a condition of pregnancy affecting normal bile flow)
- reducing high cholesterol
- preventing a hangover
- preventing gas (flatulence)
There is limited scientific evidence to support the use of activated charcoal as treatment for these conditions.
Activated charcoal is often marketed as a way to detox and eliminate harmful toxins from our bodies. Although the use of activated charcoal may be warranted in the case of poisonings or overdoses, general detoxification is done by our bodies naturally with the help of our kidneys and liver. Additionally, activated charcoal can absorb food nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that our bodies need. It is also important to remember that the Federal Drug Administration does not regulate the sale of dietary supplements, including activated charcoal.
Side effects are more likely when activated charcoal is used on a long-term basis; these include black stools, black tongue, vomiting or diarrhea, and constipation. Activated charcoal can also react with certain medications you may be taking. Always talk with your doctor before you begin taking any supplement, including activated charcoal.
The bottom line is that further research needs to be done to determine how effective activated charcoal is for the treatment of various conditions and what doses should be used.
Sources/more information: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/activated-charcoal-uses-risks
Exercising can be hard, but tracking your progress doesn’t have to be. A fitness tracker counts your steps and provides motivation to exercise more throughout your day without drastic lifestyle changes or fad diets. By simplifying the process of monitoring with a fitness device, you will increase the likelihood of reaching a healthier weight and improving your overall health.
Fitness trackers are lightweight and wearable, and they can track steps, distance, heart rate, and calories used. Some even monitor sleep. The best activity trackers monitor your activity and display information about your daily routine on your smartphone or on the screen of the device itself.
Look for ones that will calculate your total minutes of activity, steps taken, heart rate, and goals for you. Some may even remind you to get up and move when you have been sitting for too long. Choose one that works with your lifestyle and habits. PC magazine has a good review of features and costs for some of the more popular wearable activity trackers.