A big part of taking care of our body comes down to what we eat on a daily basis. While it can be hard to change your routine, adding vegetables and fruits into your daily take can positively impact your body.
One of the simplest methods to promote health and well-being is to eat a lot of colorful fruits and vegetables. There are at least nine primary fruit and vegetable families, each with hundreds of different plant nutrients that are helpful to one's health. The USDA suggests that you consume 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
So, why and how can you add fruits and vegetables to your daily routine?
Why Add Fruits and Vegetables to your Diet?
Fruits and vegetables are a vital part of a healthy diet to build a healthy body. Fruits and vegetables energize and strengthen your whole body. It supplies your brain, bones, and muscles with many vital nutrients to keep them functioning properly.
So, what are the nutrients that vegetables are filled with that protect our brains? If you answered antioxidants, you are absolutely right. Antioxidants are essential nutrients that protect our brains from damage and pollution. Some vegetables and fruits rich with antioxidants include kale, chard, beet greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, carrots, mangos and spinach.
Bones need vitamin K and vitamin D to grow and stay strong. These vitamins make sure calcium doesn’t get used up too fast by the other parts of our bodies. In addition, vitamin K works with vitamin D to rebuild bone in your body, making your bones healthy and strong!
An essential part of our diet that makes our muscles strong and healthy is fiber. Fiber helps the fuel inside food burn more slowly and last longer. Our body needs grain foods, fruits and vegetables like rice, oats and quinoa for fiber.
Here are 10 simple tips to help you incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your daily eating.:
Red fruits and vegetables include:
Blue/ Purple Fruits and Vegetables include:
Green vegetables and fruits include:
5. Blend in :Try a new fruit smoothie with different combinations. And don’t be afraid to throw some vegetables in there! Cucumber, beets, and frozen spinach work great for this. You can visit our recipe page for easy and fun fruit smoothies that will help you start the day right.
6. Allow someone else to do the work: Maybe you do not enjoy or know how to chop, cut, and peel vegetables and fruits. It’s okay to ask for help. You can buy pre-cut or chopped produce, so you get the final result of having your needed requirements of fruits and veggies. You can even just get prepared salads to enjoy at the end of your busy day.
7. Add your touch: There are so many fun flavors you can add to your fruits and veggies. Spice it up! Add nuts, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and whatever else you enjoy in your salads or veggie recipes. You can also add nuts and honey to your favorite fruits.
8. Try dips: Sometimes, you just don’t enjoy the taste of certain vegetables. You can try to dip them into hummus, ranch, or your favorite dip, which will serve as a great snack. Another option is to make your own! Get some avocados, onions and tomatoes and make your own dip. You can also try dipping your fruits in peanut butter and yogurt. Check out our very own delicious spinach yogurt dip and let us know what you think.
9. Start your day right : A big boost to maintaining your routine is starting your day right. For example, you can add some strawberries and bananas to your oatmeal breakfast or have a delicious fruit smoothie for that energy boost. You can also add some vegetables to your eggs and sandwiches. Once you start doing this each morning with minor additions, you will pick it up for the rest of the day.
10. Grab and Go: Keep your vegetables and fruits in easy-to-grab places so that you can snack on them throughout the day. They serve as great snacks and boosters, which will help increase your nutrient intake without you realizing it.
It’s National Nutrition Month, so it’s a great time to think about ways you can add more nutrition into your everyday routine.. We would all love to add healthier meals to our lives using a more proactive approach to our nutritional intake.
Before we start thinking about how we are going to plan meals, we need to know exactly what we want to achieve according to our preferences and limitations. Some questions you might ask yourself in the goal-setting step include:
- Am I thinking of trying a weekly plan or something a bit more long-term?
- Do I enjoy preparing my meals way ahead of time, or do I like to be spontaneous while prepping?
- Do I enjoy cooking every day, or do I rather prepare everything once a week on an off day?
-Do I or any of my family members have any allergies or special dietary requirements?
This review will help you pinpoint what you might need and what you are able to do given your time and limitations. Once you set your goals, you will have the planning strategy to come up with a healthy game plan for the time span of your choosing.
Step 2: Build a Healthy Menu
For an easy start, you can sit down for around 20 minutes each weekend and set a weekly healthy meal plan for the following week. You can use a calendar to organize and visualize your meals. To prepare your healthy menu, keep these points in mind:
1. Consider making recipes that include healthy meal components. An excellent place to start is with the Five Food Groups: vegetables, fruits, dairy products, grains, and proteins.
2. Dig into fun recipes you’ve always wanted to try. You can find recipes that match your cooking skills and preferences online. Even if you are starting as a beginner, there are many easy healthy recipes you can start working with.
3. Keep dietary restrictions in mind. Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, or suffer from specific allergies, you can always create a perfect meal plan that matches the family’s nutritional needs while keeping in mind your limitations.
4. Think about the weather and themes. Maybe it’s rainy next week, or perhaps it’s your sibling’s birthday. You can plan according to how the week looks, whether it is a special soup that makes you feel cozy or innovative snacks for a special occasion.
5. Open the fridge and check out what ingredients you already have on hand. This will give you an idea of what you really need. Plus, it’ll save you a bit of money and grocery shopping energy for later.
6. Try to build a colorful menu, but don’t feel pressured to have something different every single day. Some days, work gets you down, and you are just too tired to cook or prepare anything, and that’s okay. While planning your menu, make space for the simple snacks and recipes that will energize you, like some oatmeal and yogurt and easy but hearty sandwiches for lunch and dinner.
Step 3: Prepare your Grocery List
Take some time to stock up on the essentials to help you get started on the menu you have set in the step prior. Keep a notebook and pen in a convenient location and add them to the list as you go through the prep. You won't have to stress about forgetting anything at the supermarket this way.
So, after setting your menu and checking your stock, add all the groceries you might need to the list. Then, check the cabinets, pantry, refrigerator, and freezer so you can check off anything that you might already have. This will help you reduce any food waste or extra costs for the week.
You can either use a cute notebook to get you going or use an application to track your grocery shopping. Some apps like “Our Groceries” and “AnyList” help you put together a great grocery list and allow multiple people to edit at the same time. Other apps like “Target’s Cartwheel” can even show you the best deals around for certain vegetables, fruits, and other items you might need for this week's meals!
Sometimes, grocery shopping can be a great hassle. So another good tip is to think about your availability for grocery shopping during the week and planning accordingly.
Step 4: Meal Prep for Busy Days
As a fellow busy person, you certainly understand the importance of prepping ahead of time to save time.. Here are some easy tips to help you on those hectic days.
So now that you have the essential tips and tricks, you can finally plan healthy meals. This routine will turn your health planning into a beneficial habit, significantly boosting your energy and health without increasing your expenses.
With the Winter season upon us, it can be more challenging to find ways to stay active when all you want to do is sleep. However, here at HealthStart, we embrace this challenge as a way to get creative and find new fun and safe ways to stay active indoors and outdoors when it’s cold. So, here are some helpful and fun tips for staying active this chilly season!
Put on or sing your favorite songs and just dance! This fun activity requires no equipment, and you can do it inside or outside. Dancing is also a great way to get your heart pumping. Do it alone, or with friends and family. Either way, it’ll be hard not to be smiling after. So just put on your favorite jam, get your family, and dance to the rhythm.
You can also try a fun game with your family called the Dance Attack Game. It’s pretty simple: you dance, dance, dance until the DJ at home stops the music, then everyone has to freeze! You cannot move till you hear the music again. Take a moment to notice if your heart is beating faster. Whoever keeps dancing when the music is going and stops when it’s not there wins.
House Balloon Games
There are so many games you can play right inside your house in the cold. All you need are some balloons, and you will have a world of games to discover with your family. One of the classic games to enjoy is “Don’t Let the Balloon Touch The Ground.” It is as fun as it sounds: you throw the balloon among your friends or family, and you must never let it touch the ground. This keeps you moving and jumping to follow that balloon and throw it as hard as you can.
Another game you can play with balloons is “Balloon Blow.” Every player gets their balloon, and the trick is to blow it to the finish line. The player who gets their balloon to the finish line first wins. You need to crawl A LOT to do this, which will make your upper body and core much stronger than when you first started.
Another great balloon game is “Balloon Foot Balance.” All players should lay down on the floor with their legs up and try to balance their balloons. Watch out; it is not as easy as it sounds. This balloon game requires much concentration and will strengthen your core along the way.
Yoga is a great physical activity that requires little equipment. Doing it can benefit your muscles as well as your cardiovascular health. Yoga benefits not only your body but your mind as well. Practicing yoga can make you feel more open-minded and relaxed. Yoga also helps lymph flow throughout your body to remove germs and toxins from your body. If you want to learn some beginner Yoga moves to get your lymph flowing, you can check out our Snack Science Video and try them with us.
Active housework like sweeping or vacuuming
Doing active chores like mopping or sweeping can be an excellent way to stay active while also being productive. You can even make a game out of it, like by doing it faster or making it into a family competition. The person who finishes their chore first wins it all.
Now’s the time to go through your own bedroom, clear out your cool toys and clothes, and discover just exactly what your room holds. You can put some fun music to listen to while you go around the room. Then, you can play and see who can clear out their space first. You can even redesign your room to make it more fun.
Create a home gym
Putting together an at-home gym is a creative way to get exercise. It doesn’t have to be expensive; you can use objects like books around the house as weights . Books are good for both the brain and the body. You can also use extra mats or rugs as yoga mats. You can also use simple items to keep the fun alive. For example, you can create a “move jar” where each slip of paper tells you to move a certain way. You might need to crawl or quack like a duck. You have to do precisely what the paper says to win.
Play short games or sports
Playing shorter and fast-moving games when it’s cold outside can help you minimize your time spent in freezing temperatures and also keep you moving when it’s chilly. Some games you could play are tag, hopscotch, red light green light, and Marco polo. You could also play sports like soccer or football. Not only is this a good activity when it’s cold, but it can help bring competitive fun into family activities. Playing sports will make you warm and energetic in the cold season.
Running or Walking
Running and walking can still be enjoyable in the cold! It is just important to remember to wear layers to stay warm. Hand and ear warmers can also be helpful to wear when it gets to freezing temperatures.
A walk or run is a great way to warm up in the cold. If you are wearing good clothes, you will definitely enjoy the natural breeze and colors of winter. You can walk with your pet, siblings, friends, or family.
Bundle up and go biking
Biking is a healthy activity that is also an exciting way to explore nature or just see more
around the neighborhood. Biking in the winter can often be cold, but it can still be an enjoyable way to exercise if you bundle up in layers like coats, ear warmers, gloves, and thick clothing. You can discover and explore the neighborhood around you on your bike in a safe and fun way.
Even though staying active when it’s cold can seem to be a challenge, following some of these really easy tips can help make it more fun and inclusive for the whole family. You will definitely enjoy and appreciate the cold more when you try these options inside and outside with your loved ones.
Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to spend quality time with family and loved ones. Although most common Thanksgiving traditions include eating a family meal, watching football, and cooking together, there are lots of other activities to do as a family! From arts and crafts to fun recipes, here are some fun ideas to get you and your family in a giving spirit this holiday season.
2. Make a turkey veggie tray
Although many Thanksgiving dishes are thought of as complicated and hard to make, there are many simple and healthy dishes that the whole family can contribute to. For example, a turkey-shaped veggie tray is a fun, creative, and healthy dish to make. Many veggies like celery, spinach, and cabbage are all in season during November, so make sure to incorporate those to make your turkey extra fresh and yummy!
Kids are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables when they’re involved in the cooking process. They feel a sense of pride and confidence that they made it themselves. Plus, as kids work with the ingredients to make their masterpiece, they will feel more comfortable and familiar with these foods. Kids are also more likely to eat fruits and veggies when it is presented in a fun and creative way! Try out this Spinach Yogurt Dip to pair with your turkey-shaped veggie try.
3. Tell family stories
Since we have more time with family during Thanksgiving, it’s an excellent opportunity to learn more about your family history and tell funny stories. This is a great way to get closer as a family and learn more about each other. You can even have the kids brainstorm ideas and questions to ask family members ahead of time! Some questions to ask could be “tell me about your hometown?” or “what are you doing when you feel the happiest?” If you’re having trouble coming up with what to talk about, there are lots of ideas online or even games with question prompts all ready for you and your family to explore.
4. Play with mini pumpkins
There are so many activities you can do with mini pumpkins! You can paint and decorate them or hide them around the house and yard to do a Thanksgiving scavenger hunt. Who says you can only have holiday-themed hunts during Easter? Another fun game to play with mini pumpkins is ring toss. Just set out 3 or more pumpkins and toss toy rings or canning jar rings to catch it on the stem of the pumpkin.
5. Thanksgiving arts and crafts
There are many Thanksgiving-themed crafts to do. Hand turkeys are a classic Thanksgiving activity! It is fun and simple to do, and you can get creative with how you color or decorate it. Other arts and crafts are coloring pages, turkey hats, pumpkin decorating, and leaf art!
6. Take a walk or hike
November brings great weather and pretty foliage! This makes it the perfect time to go on a family walk or hike either around the neighborhood or to a hiking trail/park. Walking and hiking are perfect ways to take attention off screens and other distractions and solely focus on the beauty of nature and family conversations. Plus, taking a walk is also really beneficial for your health, especially after enjoying a big meal like on Thanksgiving. Movement like walking activates your digestive system so it can break down your food better and absorb up all of those important nutrients.
Walking is not only great exercise, but it is a healthy way for families to bond! If you aren’t sure where to find a hiking or walking trail near you, you can use apps like All Trails, search “parks” on navigation maps, or just simply take a walk right in your neighborhood.
In addition to gratitude, Thanksgiving is also a good time to show kindness to others. One of the best ways to do that is by volunteering. There are lots of opportunities to volunteer this time of year! Many community centers, food banks, and housing areas need volunteers to provide Thanksgiving meals to families. Volunteering also makes for good family bonding time and a way to get more involved in your community. Read our Volunteering For Health Blog to learn more about the benefits of volunteering and how to find volunteer opportunities near you.
8. Play family sports
There is often lots of sitting and eating and watching TV during Thanksgiving, so it’s good to take a break and get outside to get your body moving! Playing sports is a fun and competitive way to spend some active time with family. Sports can range from anything from flag football to soccer to a classic game of tag. If you have a smaller group, try sports like balloon volleyball or frisbee. Whichever sport you chose, use that time to get some exercise, fresh air, and have some fun!
Fall is a great time of year to enjoy good weather, seasonal foods, and Halloween festivities. Most of us think of trick or treating and watching movies when looking for Halloween activities to do with the family, but there are so many fun activities to do this October that are sure to get your kids excited!
We've got 7 fun-filled ideas for you to celebrate Halloween with your family!
1. Go to a pumpkin patch
Take a family outing to pick out some cute pumpkins! Pumpkins aren’t just for carving anymore. You can also paint them or add your own decorations! You can decorate pumpkins to look like anything from bats, mummies, and skulls, to your favorite characters. Going to a pumpkin patch can also make for a great photo op and Fall themed photoshoot location. You can come up with creative poses and photos to take, and save the photos to remember happy fall times! Many pumpkin patches also have mazes, hayrides, and more family fun!
Here’s a link of pumpkin patches to visit as a family in the Austin area.
2. Apple bobbing
Apple bobbing can make for fun competitions! The setup is easy, and the game is simple to play! Just fill up a tub with water, add apples, and take turns trying to catch an apple in your mouth. Have each player hold their hands behind their back, and track how long each player takes to catch an apple in their mouth. Whoever takes the shortest amount of time is the winner! Not only do apples make for a fun game, but they are also a healthy and nutritious snack! Once you’re done playing, you can use the apples to make a snack like Apple Nachos or Spooky Peanut-Butter Apple Monsters.
3. Give out treats, toys, and crafts!
Pick out your favorite fall treats, toys, or make crafts and give them to others! You don’t have to give out only candy on Halloween! Drop off yummy treats, toys, and crafts for your neighbors and friends leading up to the 31st. This is a great way to spread kindness and build connections with others!
4. DIY Halloween costumes
Tired of the same old costumes? Try making your own costumes from common household materials and watch your unique and fun costumes come to life! Some ideas are mummy costumes made out of toilet paper, ghost costumes out of sheets, and DIY pumpkin shirts. DIY costumes can also be a fun activity to do as a family that boosts your creativity and art skills! Plus it’s often a more affordable option than the expensive pre-made costumes you find at the store.
5. Make a Halloween scavenger hunt
You can make a Halloween scavenger hunt around your house or neighborhood! Come up with creative Halloween-themed clues, and get your family and friends involved. You can do a scavenger hunt as simple as going around your neighborhood and finding specific Halloween decorations like spiders and ghosts. Or, come up with your own clues and things to find. No matter what, a scavenger hunt can be a fun and competitive game to play!