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Living a healthy lifestyle is central to maintaining wellness throughout your lifetime. In fact, healthy habits not only help you to feel good and manage illness today, they can also help prevent future disease. There are many behaviors that influence your health - what you eat, how you sleep, if you smoke, how active you are, how you manage stress - to name just a few. You can improve your quality of life by making simple, positive changes to your daily routine.
Where to start?
We've collected useful facts and tips to inform, motivate and support steps towards a healthier lifestyle. Remember, small changes are powerful. Start today!
It is holiday time and opportunities to overindulge in food seem to be around every corner. How can one get through the holidays without gaining weight? The answer is moderation. In terms of eating, this means choosing smaller portions. Find what works best for you; you may want to try some of these “tricks”:
- One easy tip is to use a smaller plate. A smaller plate will look fuller faster, and provide your body with visual cues that you have enough food.
- Many people find eating more slowly helps them control portion sizes. By eating slowly you can taste more of the flavors of the food, as well as give your body time to recognize feelings of fullness.
- Before going for the second (or third) helping, ask yourself: How full do I feel? Many times we don’t even recognize feeling full until it’s too late.
- Be mindful; be present, enjoy the moment while being aware of what, why and how you are eating.
- Don’t forget about beverages! Eggnog, beer, and flavored coffee drinks like pumpkin latte are packed with calories, so choose smaller sizes, and drink them slowly.
These tips will help you avoid overeating and fully appreciate all the flavors in your favorite holiday meals.
December is International AIDS Awareness Month; an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show support for people living with HIV, and commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.
If you are living with HIV or AIDS, protect your immune system with a high quality diet consisting of daily fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Vitamins and minerals found in these foods are essential nutrients used in the body for growth, repair and maintenance.
- Aim for at least 5-6 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (1 serving = 1 cup of cooked or raw fruit/vegetables).
- Consume a variety of nuts and legumes regularly. Nuts and legumes have a good amount of vitamins and minerals that can enhance the immune system.
- Moderate regular exercise can also strengthen the immune system. Engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week, such as brisk walking. A combination of both aerobic, such as running, and anaerobic (weight lifting) exercises is recommended.
- Consider a multivitamin; discuss it with your doctor. People with chronic illness, such as HIV, may need more vitamins and minerals than what food provides.
World AIDS Day is an opportunity to show solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV worldwide. It’s a day to remind the public and government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.
Besides getting plenty of rest and considering a flu shot, here are some nutrition recommendations to help stay active and happy this winter:
- Protect yourself with Vitamin C rich fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, clementines, tangerines, and kiwis which are in peak season.
- Zinc, a mineral found in meat, oysters, chicken and peanuts, plays a crucial role in the proper function of the immune system. Always prefer lean cuts of meats; bake and grill them!
- Probiotics found in yogurt are great to keep a healthy digestive system, which in turns strengthens your immune or “defense” system.
- Root and cruciferous vegetables such as parsnips, turnips, kale and Brussels sprouts are in peak season. These “super veggies” are packed with beneficial phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Braising or roasting them brings out their delicious flavors.
- If you catch a cold or flu bug, chicken soup and hot beverages can help clear nasal passages and provide comfort and relief.
It may get messier and you may need to allow extra time, but involving children in the kitchen is a great time to bond with them, especially around the Holidays. Children who help out in the kitchen learn a ton of skills they need to grow as independent adults. Helping out in the kitchen can teach them basic math, how to follow directions and food safety, just to name a few!
Here are some ideas of what little ones can do:
- Measure out ingredients (younger children can pour pre-measured ingredients)
- Retrieve ingredients from the pantry and refrigerator
- Wash fruits and vegetables
- Tear leafy greens by hand
- Use a kid’s knife to chop vegetables (supervise depending on age)
- Stir ingredients in a mixing bowl
- Read the recipe
- Assemble baked ziti, lasagna or other casseroles
- Hold the on button of an appliance while an adult supervises
- Clean dishes, pots, pans and surfaces
Be safe and have fun!
When we travel, you may be tempted to let go and give in to the endless array of foods that may come across your path, but with a little preparation, you can both eat healthy and enjoy all those new and yummy foods. Being prepared is all you need to help you stick to a healthy eating plan and feeling your best. Here are some tips:
- If you are taking a plane, know that you can bring some foods through security. These are generally accepted: sandwiches (wrapped), fresh fruit (bananas, apples, oranges, berries) hard cheeses, crackers, cereal, dried fruits, nuts and seeds.
- Bring a backpack or comfortable, roomy bag to carry some healthy snacks options so you don’t get famished and fall victim to the closest options which you might later regret.
- Local markets are fun, interesting and a great opportunity to meet locals and learn about the culture of a place. For a modest price, you can stock up on fresh, nutritious and local foods and have healthy snacks and meals ready to go.
- Carry a refillable water bottle; it will help keep you hydrated and avoid the unnecessary calories of extra sodas and juices you may get while walking around.
- If you are travelling by car, pack a cooler filled with your favorite healthy foods. Some ideas you may like are yogurt, apple sauce, sliced fruit and berries, chopped veggies with hummus and hard boiled eggs. Cold cuts with sliced tomatoes in a lettuce wrap can also be a healthy sandwich alternative. Bring a lawn blanket and utensils and you can have a picnic!
Enjoy the time you spend visiting a new place and trying news foods, and remember that happiness involves taking care of you (and those you love) too!
What will the dietitian and I talk about during a nutrition assessment?
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