Top Ten Healthy Living Tips: Things to Start Doing Now — for Parents
1. Drink Water. Start out with two full glasses (add a slice of lemon for extra detox effects) in the morning, before any other food or drink. Aim for another glass in between meals or before meals. An easy way to get it in is to carry a reusable water bottle and drink it all day. To stay fully hydrated, you need to aim to consume half your body weight in ounces.
2. Eat Breakfast. Break the fast you just encountered all night with breakfast. Your body’s metabolism slows to a crawl while you sleep in order to preserve energy. If you don’t give it a reason to start back up, it remains slow. Slow metabolism is directly linked to weight gain. Just like you put gas in a car, if you don’t fuel your body, don’t expect it to run correctly.
3. Eat your Greens. Just like mom always said, dinner isn’t complete unless there’s some green on your plate. Greens are the #1 thing missing from American’s diets and the #1 thing you can eat that will give you a drastic improvement in your health. Leafy greens are full of vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting phytochemicals. They also contain fiber and calcium, will keep you fuller longer, help regulate your blood sugar absorption and will help regulate your digestion. Aim for 4-6 servings per day.
4. Spend Time Outdoors. Whether it’s 0 or 100 degrees, try to spend at least 30 minutes outside. The fresh air and body experience you receive from nature cannot be duplicated. Its forced relaxation and grounding, connecting you to something much further beyond yourself.
5. Get Moving. I don’t like to use the term exercise, as it sounds too much like work to me. But, movement is what you do when you are busy doing an activity you enjoy. Running, biking, jump roping, get out on the trampoline with the kids, walk the dogs, do 100 jumping jacks, yoga, sports, window shopping or cleaning the house. Lifestyle movement is movement too. 100 years ago there were no gyms, and we did not have obesity epidemics. When you move and sweat your brain releases endorphins, which has a comparable effect to morphine and sedatives. Runner’s high isn’t just a fallacy, it really exists.
6. Get to know your food. Avoid additives and preservatives when you can control it. Learn to read labels and be obsessive about ingredients. My rule of thumb is, if I cannot pronounce more than two ingredients, I don’t buy it. There IS a better alternative. Start small; choose one category a week to start to dig into, like granola bars, cereals, pasta sauces and condiments.
7. Avoid Negativity. In your thoughts and relationships, choose to view the positives in situations and your life simply becomes more enjoyable. Try a 21 day challenge to reprogram your mindset using a rubberband on your wrist or other simple reminder when negativity creeps in.
8. Choose a Superfood to Try. There are so many amazing nutritionally dense foods that taste great and do wonders for your body. A few of my favorites are chia and flax seeds, which are a great protein and fiber that helps to control blood sugar levels and normalize digestion. They are great in smoothies, sprinkled on salads, thrown into baking, and even used as a base in recipes.
9. Eat Local and Seasonal. It’s not always an option, but choosing it when you can is important. Think about your cravings and seasons, how do they collaborate to keep you healthy? In the spring and summer we want lighter options like veggies and salads, and in the winter we crave hearty soups and meat. This is your body doing its job, it’s cleansing and storing to keep you properly balanced during different times of the year. An added bonus is, it’s usually the cheapest fresh produce at the market as well.
10. Begin to Listen to your Gut. Just recently, scientists actually released the first article connecting brain health directly to gut health. This is why our grandparents used to use their gut feelings for everything. We’ve become so disconnected from our internal feelings, we don’t even recognize them when they do send out a mayday. Listen to your gut, try to understand your feelings and where they are coming from. They will never steer you wrong.
By guest contributor: Teresa
Neuman is a health coach, speaker, writer and founder of Louisville Nutrition
and Health, a personalized coaching program that shows busy families how to
regain control of their lives. Through
nutritional education and an individualized plan, she helps them lose weight,
increase energy, ease digestion and gain freedom over the confusing world of
fad diets. Teresa is a graduate from the
world-renowned Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where she studied over 140
dietary theories, mind/body/spirit wellness, and was trained in practical
lifestyle coaching methods. She is a Board Certified Holistic Health Coach
(AADP) who specializes in gluten intolerance, auto-immune issues and feeding
the family back to health. She lives in
Louisville with her husband and two young children. She believes we are all intended to live
well, but we must be intentional about it.