Saturday, August 4, 2012

Small Steps to Healthy

     Anymore, it seems everywhere you turn you hear about people going green. Not just the recycling and reusing way, but also in the way they eat. Our society has become so fast paced that we have also become lazy. Sacrificing health over convenience has become the lifestyle. A while back, I became committed to turning that around and sacrificing convenience for health. It's important for me and my family so they can also grow up to pass it on their families and so forth. This isn't an easy change to make. You have to take small, slow steps to get there. My goal is not to make my family vegan, or fully organic, but to make the better choice. So I am going to share with you a few small, easy changes I made and maybe I can help someone else along their journey!

1. Whole Grains
     Whole grains are important to our bodies, and should be a part of our everyday diet. (FYI: A LOT of people confuse the word 'diet' with losing weight. Your diet is how you eat, healthy or not. You don't go on a diet, you change it.) Adding even just a serving in your daily consumption can help reduce the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. I'm SOLD!!! And with the awareness of healthy nutrition becoming high, it is not difficult to fit them into a meal or snack. Many cereals are now made with more whole grains, and you find them in something as simple as a granola bar. Personally, I have started buying Egg-O waffles made with whole grain (I prefer the Honey Oat flavor) and White Whole Grain Bunny Bread. Both still taste as good and no one notices a difference at all. The waffles are even good enough, I can eat them without syrup! Visit The Whole Grains Council to learn more about the benefits of whole grains.

2. Don't Fry, Bake
     Can you believe we don't even own a fryer?? When I was dating my husband I gasped at the fact he didn't own one. How in the world am I supposed to make french fries? Bake them! If I wanted to fry up something for supper, chicken or fish, I would just use a skillet. And to be honest, that is a lot of effort and grease I don't like to deal with, so most of the time I just bake or grill our meats. For french fries we sprinkle some seasoned salt or even just pepper and bake them. Preheat your oven to 450 and pop them in. Even things like cheese sticks, bake em. Most froze, packaged items come with instructions for the oven. Everything still tastes as good, and who needs all that oil??

3. No Cokes, Soda, Pop...
     I know there are people out there who think I am just cruel because I won't let my son drink cokes. Not even every now and then. I don't want him to like them. When I feel like he is capable of making the right, healthy choices, then he can have one. But right now, being that he is three, he doesn't know about healthy food, so it is up to me and my husband, and the rest of the adults in my family to educate him and make those decisions for him. We don't even buy cokes to keep in our home. Yes, I do drink coke every now and then, but I do it leisurely and in moderation. There is not one beneficial thing about drinking cokes. Not even diet cokes. If there is any benefit, it's not worth the risks. It is terrible for your teeth, digestion, heart, blood, brain and the list goes on. See this chart from Term Life Insurance about what happens to your body when you drink coke. It's not just the sugar (which now they use high-fructose corn syrup to sweeten a lot of food and drinks now), it's also the caffine. Caffine is a drug. And yes, you can become addicted to it just like any other drug!  I'm not saying write out cokes completely, but I'd suggest not even drink one a day. I drink MAYBE one a week. I did get headaches when I made this transition, but I powered through. For me, it's more about having something with a little flavor. I have a hard time just drinking water. I will fill up a pitcher of water, throw in some squeezed lemon and sliced cucumber. It's a tasty and healthy drink. I also make decaffinated tea and not much sugar. Cokes are difficult to cut out, but you can do it!!!

4. Stop buying your dinner in a box and cook!
     This is where a big sacrifice of convenience comes in. Those hamburger helpers and 'just add meat' dinners are packed with sodium and most likely contain msg (monosodium glutamate). In case you didn't know already, msg is BAD. It is found in most processed foods. You can find more info about msg here, At the right seasons, check out your local farmers market for fresh veggies to make it even better.
     If you are a busy family, pre-make your seasonings to keep on hand. Here is a recipe for taco seasoning, the family loves it! With places out there like Pinterest there are endless resources for making your own of anything. Keep a few frozen meals you can just throw in the crock pot in the mornings and it's done when you get home. They are healthier and tastier. Yes, you may have to cut a few of your own veggies. But you can buy food choppers and slicers to help that process along.

There you have it! It's not much and I'm sure I will come up with more later. Just remember, everything in moderation. Make good and healthy eating choices, not just for you but for your family and your family's future.

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