By: Kathleen Wood, MPH of Whole Foods Market
Last week, we blogged about preparing a Race for the Cure-ready diet. Today, we are sharing some habits healthy people use in their daily lives that you can incorporate post-Race and every single day!
Some think being healthy is about trying the biggest diet fad or eating the newest “superfood,” but the people who are the most successful in health do these simple things right.
1. They don’t diet.
The healthiest people have created good everyday habits and they don’t get distracted by fad diets and cleanses. Diets work temporarily, but they rarely last. Rather than making dramatic changes, make small, achievable tweaks that you’re likely to keep. For example, swap creamer for almond milk in your coffee, swap your usual bag of chips for organic popcorn, or skip butter and mash an avocado on your toast instead. Making a small change you can stick with will result in big improvements throughout the year.
Want a healthy popcorn snack? Watch this video to learn to make Honey-Garlic Popcorn. Yum!
2. They find exercise they love
Find yoga boring? Skip it. Hate running on the treadmill? Don’t do it! Find a fitness option that you feel energized by and that fits into your lifestyle. For some people it’s all about the music in a dance fitness class, others feel renewed by mindful yoga practice, still others love to get out in the fresh air for a run. Try out lots of different activities to see what you enjoy. Build a personalized collection of exercise options that work for you and your schedule. When you like the activity, exercise feels like a treat not a chore.
Have you ever made your own granola bars? You’ll be surprised how quick and easy they are. Here’s a recipe for Cherry Oatmeal Outdoor Bars. They make a great post-workout snack!
3. They’re BFFs with their water bottle
Drink more water! It nourishes your cells, boosts your energy levels, and supports healthy kidney function. Drinking water can also help you lose weight because being hydrated keeps you feeling full longer and ensures that you don’t mistake thirst for hunger.
If you feel like drinking plain old water is boring, try sparkling or infused water or add a slice of lemon or lime for a little flavor.
Try this recipe for Cucumber Lemon Water. It was inspired by the idea of reducing food waste and it’s a super clever way to transform kitchen scraps into refreshing spa water!
4. They eat more veggies!
If there is one thing that almost everyone needs more of, it’s vegetables! Green leafy vegetables specifically are going to give you the most bang for your buck. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. They have also been found to boost metabolic function and keep you feeling fuller longer.
If you aren’t sure whether you are getting enough… take a look at your lunch and dinner meals. At least half of your plate should be filled with vegetables. The other half can be whole grains and protein.
Here are a few holiday recipes that put vegetables at the center of the plate. They are great side dishes for thanksgiving or recipes for any night when you want to add some nutrient dense veggies to your plate.
5. They create a healthy community
Sharing food is one of the best ways to bond and gather allies in your quest to eat healthier. Bring a huge salad or extra hummus and dip to share with your favorite coworker. Now that they are on your team, they will stop tempting you with sugary treats, and start sharing their favorite healthy recipes.
Doing events like the Komen CSNJ Race for the Cure is the perfect way to make healthy habits social too. When you do these events with family and friends, you’ll chat so much that you’ll forget you’re even exercising!
So keep signing up for Susan G. Komen Central and South Jersey events, and work more social exercising into your weekly routine. For example, grab a coworker and walk at lunch or organize to meet friends at the gym instead of going alone. Doing healthy habits with loved ones makes them more enjoyable — plus social interaction is shown to improve mental health. Healthier body, healthier mind and healthier friendships: triple win!
Kathleen Wood Leverenz is Whole Foods Market’s Healthy Eating Expert and she makes eating healthy eating easy and delicious! Kathleen leads the Healthy Eating Program at Whole Foods Market, for the Mid-Atlantic region. She graduated from Dickinson College and then did a Master’s degree in Public Health at Boston University where she focused on nutrition and theories of health behavior change. She also completed a certificate in plant-based nutrition from Cornell University.