As 2017 is winding down (still can’t believe how times flies by!) let’s refresh our memories of all the important things we must do for our health. If you’ve accomplished any of the healthy goals you set out for yourself this year then congratulations. If not, then it’s never too late to start!
We talked about starting the year off right with cleaning up your health, your home, and your life.
Clear out the clutter in your mind and life. Most of us nowadays have either more than one job or are working parents or stay at home parents with several kids. No matter what, we all have some kind of clutter lingering in our minds and lives. Ask yourself is it necessary to hold on to damaging thoughts and feelings. Think about what those detrimental thoughts are doing to your health and to your life. Are they affecting your way of living or your loved ones? Do they cause you so much stress that you barely have time for doing anything relaxing? Find healthier solutions to resolving these harmful lingering thoughts in your head and move on. Even a little bit of stress can cause health problems later on in life.
We also talked about eating more super seeds and berries and how they greatly benefit children.
Seeds and berries have been eaten for many centuries and are often used to boost health and increase longevity. Some are also used as medicinal purposes and most are easy to add into our daily meals. I’ve been eating certain types of seeds and berries since I was a child and started giving my son the same type of seeds and berries when he was younger as well. Our favorite health-boosting berry is the Goji berry, which originated in China and have an awesome amount of health benefits. Goji berries were used in ancient times to increase one’s overall immunity as they contain high levels of antioxidants. They’re naturally sweet and versatile and make a great snack for adults and children.
And we talked about boosting our nutrition intake by finding out what’s making us tired or cranky or not be at full potential.
Determine the type of nutrients your body is lacking.We all fall short to eating unhealthy now and then but we don’t have to let our bad food choices define who we are and what we want to achieve. If your body is lacking in certain types of nutrients, be it Vitamin D or Magnesium, determine what causes you certain illnesses or imbalance in your life. Do you feel fatigued all of the time? Perhaps your body lacks enough B complex vitamins which includes B1, B2, B6, and B12. B vitamins are known for a multitude of benefits for the body and B5 and B12 helps convert carbohydrates into glucose which gives your body the “fuel” it needs to thrive. The best ways in getting more proper nutrients into your body is of course through natural foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean protein, and healthy fats. But if you don’t have enough time to consume all the necessary nutrients your body needs on a daily basis, then adding in supplements is important. Take vitamins and supplements from reputable brands that can trace their source materials and offer you a complete spectrum of supplements to choose from.
We also talked about reducing food waste and teaching our kids the importance of not being wasteful.
Reduce at the Grocery Stores – Some may live on very limited monetary budgets while others have more money than they can use. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be careful when we’re grocery shopping. Grocery stores need to make money off of us therefore stores will line their shelves with thousands of types of food that we don’t really need. Factor in the food they place at checkout counters and stands, it’s no wonder that America waste so much food every year and gain unnecessary weight. Do we really need that extra pack of chips or cookies? Most likely not if you’re just buying for the sake of buying. In order to reduce waste in grocery store shopping, make a list of what you plan to buy based on what you want to cook during the week. Find creative recipes if you’re stuck on what to make for dinner. Don’t buy groceries on an empty stomach as feeling hungry can send visual signals from your sight to your brains leading you to want to buy more food. Turn on your “blinders” so that you are only buying what is on your list and what your family truly needs. Consider how much money you can save by only buying what you need and not what looks good at the moment in the grocery stores.
And another important topic is about reducing sugar intake. This is especially important for children as having too much sugar at an early age can lead to bad food choices and later on major health problems.
It is hard to stop having sugar altogether, but there are ways to limit our daily intake of it. According to the American Heart Association, women should consume no more than 100 calories of added sugar and men consume no more than 150 calories of added sugar. Preschoolers should not consume more than 170 calories of added sugar a day (or 4 teaspoons), children ages 4-8 consume no more than 130 calories of added sugar ( or 3 teaspoons), and pre-teens to teens should consume no more than 5-8 teaspoons of added sugar. Children under the age of 2 years old should not be given added sugar at all because the calorie needs of children in this age group are lower than older children and adults, so there is little room for food and beverages containing added sugars that don’t provide them with good nutrition. In addition, taste preferences begin early in life, so limiting added sugars may help children develop a life-long preference for healthier foods.
As the months went by, we also talked about eating a spectrum of colorful fruits and vegetables.
Engage your kids to make healthier food choices by having them pick out a few of their favorite Crayon colors. If they don’t have crayons, then bring along colored pencils or even markers, just as long as the colors are an equal assortment – blue, green, red, orange, etc. Then have them go around the produce aisle and compare the colors to the various fruits and vegetables. They will have so much fun and be amazed at how colors are important in nutrients and taste. Try this when your kids are young so that you can do this for at least a couple of years until they grasp the concept of buying fruits and vegetables in an assortment of colors.
We then talked about buying organic versus non-GMO products.
So what exactly does non-GMO infer? GMO, or genetically modified organisms, refers to plants, animals, and other organisms whose genetic material has been changed in ways that do not occur naturally. Such instances would be products that have been manufactured in a “lab” rather than from traditionally-grown seeds from original crops. In order for food to be labeled as “non-GMO”, the food must be made without ingredients that derived from genetically altered or manufactured organisms. For meat, poultry, dairy and eggs, the “non-GMO” labeling indicates animals were not fed a diet containing genetically engineered crops.
And we rounded off our 2017 Health Start posts with choosing smart foods for smarter students.
In a perfect world our kids would do exactly what we tell them and eat wholesome, nutritious food all the time. But, the reality is that most kids don’t really know the difference between an artificially-colored cereal with 30 grams of sugar per tablespoon and one sweetened only with natural fruit juices. Eating well means eating food that are rich in vitamins, wholesome nutrients, and less artificial flavors and colors. But to help little minds grow exponentially, kids need to eat certain types of food found to have targeted benefits for the mind and body. Below I’ve listed a few that can be beneficial as well as fun for kids to eat.
And then, tips on preventing and reducing stress for both adults and children. I suggested 10 ways of reducing stress:
1 -Write Things Down. Write about your thoughts, feelings, triumphs, and fears.
2. Make a List. Lists help you stay in focus and centered.
3. Go outside. Being with nature helps us see the bigger picture.
4. Read a Book. Books can temporarily take us to another place in time and forget about everything else.
5. Dance. Dancing can help release happy emotions.
6. Sing. Singing a happy tune lifts our mood.
7. Talk. Talk to someone who can help you see a brighter future. Listen to your kids and allow them to let their feelings out without judgement.
8. Volunteer. Helping someone else makes you think of another person instead of yourself at the moment.
9. Garden. Flowers and plants bring joy in our lives. Dig your hands into the soil and let your emotions pour out into the earth.
10. Sleep. Sleep replenishes our body and our mind and puts us in a better mood.
So there you have it. The year 2017 is rounding off pretty quickly so take extra time to care about your health. Nothing is as precious as your well being so find ways to eat healthier, think healthier, and act healthier.
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