10 Tips to Be Active Adults

Be Active Adult

Being physically active is important for your health. Adults who are physically active are less likely to develop some chronic diseases than adults who are inactive. Physical activity is any form of exercise or movement of the body that uses energy. People of all ages, shapes, sizes, and abilities can benefit from a physically active lifestyle.

  1. Start activities slowly and build up over time
    If you are just starting physical activity, build up slowly. This will help to prevent injury. After a few weeks, increase how often and how long you are active.
  1. Get your heart pumping
    For health benefits, do at least 2½ hours each week of physical activity that requires moderate effort. A few examples include brisk walking, biking, swimming, and skating. Spread activities over the week, but do them at least 10 minutes at a time.
  1. Strength-train for health muscles and bones
    Do strengthening activities twice a week. Activities that build strength include lifting weights, doing push-ups and sit-ups, working with resistance bands, or heavy gardening.
  1. Make active choices throughout the day
    Every little bit of activity can add up and doing something is better than nothing. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for a 10-minute walk on your lunch break, or park further away from work and walk.
  1. Be active your way
    Mix it up—there are endless ways to be active. They include walking, biking, dancing, martial arts, gardening, and playing ball. Try out different activities to see what you like best and to add variety.
  1. Use the buddy system
    Activities with friends or family are more enjoyable than doing them alone. Join a walking group, attend fitness classes at a gym, or play with the kids outside. Build a support network—your buddies will encourage you to keep being active.
  1. Set goals and track your progress
    Plan your physical activity ahead of time and keep records. It’s a great way to meet your goals.
  1. Add on to your active time
    Once you get used to regular physical activity, try to increase your weekly active time. The more time you spend being physically active, the more health benefits you will receive.
  1. Increase your effort
    Add more intense activities once you have been moderately active for a while. You can do this by turning a brisk walk into a jog, swimming or biking faster, playing soccer, and participating in aerobic dance.
  1. Have fun!

Physical activity shouldn’t be a chore. It can help you feel better about yourself and the way you live your life. Choose activities that you enjoy and that fit your lifestyle.

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The tips featured in this blog post were developed by the USDA. For more information, visit myplate.gov.

Let’s Build A Healthy Meal

Build A Healthy Meal_blog

Each meal is a building block in your healthy eating style. Make sure to include all the food groups throughout the day. Make fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein food part of your daily meals and snacks. Also, limit added sugars saturated fat, and sodium.

  1. Make half your plate veggies and fruits
    Vegetables and fruits are full of nutrients that support good health. Choose fruits and red, orange, and dark green vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.
  2. Include whole grains
    Aim to make at least half your grains whole grains. Look for the words “100% whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” on the food label. Whole grains provide more nutrients, like fiber, than refined grains.
  3. Don’t forget the dairy
    Complete your meal with a cup of fat-free or low-fat milk. You will get the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk but fewer calories. Don’t drink milk? Try a soy beverage (soymilk) as your drink or include low-fat yogurt in your meal or snack.
  4. Add lean protein
    Choose protein foods such as lean beef, pork, chicken, or turkey, and eggs, nuts, beans, or tofu. Twice a week, make seafood the protein on your plate.
  5. Avoid extra fat
    Using heavy gravies or sauces will add fat and calories to otherwise healthy choices. Try steamed broccoli with a sprinkling of low-fat parmesan cheese or a squeeze of lemon.
  6. Get creative in the kitchen
    Whether you are making a sandwich, a stir-fry or a casserole, find ways to make them healthier. Try using less meat and cheese, which can be higher in saturated fat and sodium, and adding in more veggies that add new flavors and textures to your meals.
  7. Take control of your food
    Eat at home more often so you know exactly what you are eating. If you eat out, check and compare the nutrition information. Choose options that are lower in calories, saturated fat, and sodium.
  8. Try new foods
    Keep it interesting by picking out new foods you’ve never tried before, like mango, lentil, quinoa, kale, or sardines. You may find a new favorite! Trade fun and tasty recipes with friends or find them online.
  9. Satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way
    Indulge in a naturally sweet dessert dish – Fruit! Serve a fresh fruit salad or a fruit parfait made with yogurt. For a hot dessert, bake apples and top with cinnamon.
  10. Everything you eat and drink matters
    The right mix of foods in your meals and snacks can help you be healthier now and into the future. Turn small changes in how you eat into your MyPlate, MyWins.

For more healthy tips, follow us on Facebook. For recipes visit etfbrecipes.org.

The tips featured in this blog post were developed by the USDA. For more information, visit myplate.gov.

10 Tips to Get Enough Dairy Throughout the Day

The Dairy Group includes milk, yogurt, cheese and fortified soymilk. They provide calcium, vitamin D, potassium, protein and other nutrients needed for good health throughout life. Choices should be low-fat or fat-free—to cut calories and saturated fat.

How much dairy is needed in a day?

Older children, teens, and adults -3 cups

Children 4 to 8 years old- 2½ cups

Children 2 to 3 years old- 2 cups

  1. “Skim” the Fat- Drink fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk. If you currently drink whole milk, gradually switch to lower fat versions. This change cuts calories but doesn’t reduce calcium or other essential nutrients.
  2. Boost Potassium and Vitamin D and Cut Sodium- Choose fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt more often than cheese. Milk and yogurt have more potassium and less sodium than most cheeses. Also, almost all milk and many yogurts are fortified with vitamin D.
  3. Top Off Your Meals- Use fat-free or low-fat milk on cereal and oatmeal. Top fruit salads and baked potatoes with low-fat yogurt instead of higher fat toppings such as sour cream.
  4. Choose Cheeses with Less Fat- Many cheeses are high in saturated fat. Look for “reduced-fat” or “low-fat” on the label. Try different brands or types to find the one that you like.
  5. What About Cream Cheese? Regular cream cheese, cream and butter are not part of the dairy food group. They are high in saturated fat and have little or no calcium.
  6. Ingredient Switches- When recipes such as dips call for sour cream, substitute plain yogurt. Use fat-free evaporated milk instead of cream, and try ricotta cheese as a substitute for cream cheese.
  7. Choose Sweet Dairy Foods with Care- Flavored milks, fruit yogurts, frozen yogurt and puddings can contain a lot of added sugars. These added sugars are empty calories. You need the nutrients in dairy foods—not these empty calories.
  8. Caffeinating? – If so, get your calcium along with your morning caffeine boost. Make or order coffee, a latte or cappuccino with fat-free or low-fat milk.
  9. Can’t Drink Milk? – If you are lactose intolerant, try lactose-free milk, drink smaller amounts of milk at a time, or try soymilk (soy beverage). Check the Nutrition Facts label to be sure your soymilk has about 300 mg of calcium. Calcium in some leafy greens is well absorbed, but eating several cups each day to meet calcium needs may be unrealistic.
  10. Take Care of Yourself and Your Family– Parents who drink milk and eat dairy foods show their kids that it is important. Dairy foods are especially important to build the growing bones of kids and teens. Routinely include low-fat or fat-free dairy foods with meals and snacks—for everyone’s benefit.

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The tips featured in this blog post were developed by the USDA. For more information, visit myplate.gov.

10 Tips to Eat More Fruit

Eating fruit provides health benefits. People who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Fruits provide nutrients vital for health, such as potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C and folate (folic acid). Most fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium and calories and none have cholesterol. Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts as a part of the Fruit Group. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen or dried, and may be whole, cut-up or pureed.

Here are 10 tips to eat more fruit throughout your day:

  1. Keep Visible Reminders– Keep a bowl of whole fruit on the table, counter or in the refrigerator.
  2. Think About Taste– Buy fresh fruits in season when they may be less expensive and at their peak flavor. Add fruits to sweeten a recipe.
  3. Think About Variety– Buy fruits that are dried, frozen and canned (in water or 100% juice) as well as fresh, so that you always have a supply on hand.
  4. Don’t Forget the Fiber- Make most of your choices whole or cut-fruit rather than juice, for the benefits that dietary fiber provides.
  5. Be a Good Role Model- Set a good example for children by eating fruit every day with meals or as snacks.
  6. Include Fruit at Breakfast- At breakfast, top your cereal with bananas, peaches or strawberries; add blueberries to pancakes; drink 100% orange or grapefruit juice. Or try a fruit mixed with fat-free or low-fat yogurt.
  7. Try Fruit at Lunch- At lunch, pack a tangerine, banana or grapes to eat, or choose fruits from a salad bar. Individual containers of fruits like peaches or applesauce are easy and convenient.
  8. Experiment with Fruit at Dinner– At dinner, add crushed pineapple to coleslaw, or include orange sections, dried cranberries or grapes in a tossed salad.
  9. Snack on Fruits– Dried fruits make great snacks. They are easy to carry and store well.
  10. Keep Fruits Safe– Rinse fruit before preparing or eating them. Under clean, running water, rub fruits briskly to remove dirt and surface microorganisms. After rinsing, dry with a clean towel.

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The tips featured in this blog post were developed by the USDA. For more information, visit myplate.gov.

10 Ways to Eat Whole Grains

Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain is a grain product. Grains are divided into two subgroups, whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel—the bran, germ and endosperm. People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy eating style have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Here are 10 healthy tips to eat whole grains.

  1. Make Simple Shifts- To make half your grains whole grains, choose 100% whole-wheat bread, bagels, pasta or tortillas; brown rice; oatmeal; or grits.
  2. Whole Grains Can Be Healthy Snacks- Popcorn is a whole grain. Make it with little or no added salt or butter. Also, try 100% whole-wheat or rye crackers.
  3. Save Some Time- Cook extra brown rice or oatmeal when you have time. Refrigerate half of what you cook to heat and serve later in the week.
  4. Mix It Up with Whole Grains- Use whole grains in mixed dishes, such as barley in vegetable soups or stews and bulgur wheat in casseroles or stir-fries. Try a quinoa salad or pilaf.
  5. Try Whole-Wheat Versions- Change up your favorite meal with whole grains. Try brown rice stuffing in baked green peppers or tomatoes and whole-wheat noodles in lasagna.
  6. Bake Up Some Whole Grain Goodness– Experiment by substituting buckwheat, millet or oat flour for up to half of the flour in your favorite pancake or waffle recipes. To limit saturated fat and added sugars, top with fruit instead of butter and syrup.
  7. Be a Good Role Model for Children- Set a good example for children by serving and eating whole grains every day with meals or as snacks.
  8. Check the Label– Most refined grains are enriched. This means that certain B vitamins and iron are added back after processing. Check the ingredients list to make sure the word “enriched” is included in the grain name.
  9. Know What to Look for on the Ingredients List– Read the ingredients list and choose products that name a whole-grain ingredient first on the list. Look for “whole wheat,” “brown rice,” “bulgur,” “buckwheat,” “oatmeal,” “whole-grain cornmeal,” “whole oats,” or “whole rye.”
  10. Be a Smart Shopper- The color of a food is not an indication that it is a whole-grain food. Foods labeled as “multi-grain,” “stone-ground,” “100% wheat,” “cracked wheat,” “seven-grain,” or “bran” are usually not 100% whole-grain products, and may not contain any whole grain.

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The tips featured in this blog post were developed by the USDA. For more information, visit myplate.org.