Live Well Polk: Healthy Eating Habits Start Early
The Fourth of July is just around the corner, which means many of us are already making plans about how to celebrate. There’s a good chance that at least a portion of the day will be centered on food.
The challenge for those of us who have taken on this mission of living healthier is how to celebrate without paying the price later. To make that easier, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has put together some great tips to help any celebration be a healthy one.
1. Make healthy habits part of your celebrations
Food and beverages are a part of an event, but they do not have to be the center of the occasion. Focus on activities to get people moving and enjoy being to-gether.
2. Make foods look festive
Add a few eye-catching fruits to a favorite dish or a new recipe. For older chil-dren, add a sprinkle of almonds or green onions to make the dish pop. Decorate foods with nuts or seeds or use new shapes for vegetables.
3. Offer thirst quenches that please
Make fun ice cubes from 100% juice or add slices of fruit to make water more ex-citing. Create a “float” by adding a scoop of lowfat sorbet to seltzer water.
4. Savor the flavor Take time to pay attention to the taste of each bite of food. Make small changes in your old recipes to liven things up.
5. Use ChooseMyPlate.gov to include foods from the food groups for your party
Offer whole-grain crackers, serve a spicy bean dip and a veggie tray, make fruit kabobs, layer yogurt and fruit to create a sweet parfait. Use whole grains and veggies to make a savory, healthy salad.
6. Make moving part of every event
Being physically active makes everyone feel good. Dancing, moving, playing ac-tive games, wiggling, and giggling add fun to any gathering.
7. Try out some healthier recipes
Find ways to cut back on added sugars, salt, and saturated fat as you prepare your favorite recipes. Try out some of the recipes on the ChooseMyPlate and the What’s Cooking? websites.
8. Keep it simple Have others participate by contributing a healthy prepared dish, helping with the clean-up, or keeping the kids active and moving.
9. Shop smart to eat smart
Save money by offering foods that fit your budget. Buy in-season produce when it costs less and tastes better. Plan in advance and buy foods on sale.
10. Be a cheerleader for healthy habits
It’s never too early for adults to set an example. Keep in mind that children follow what the adults around them do — even at parties.
Great gatherings can be healthy gatherings when tasty, healthy foods from all the food groups are offered in a fun, active environment. Above all, focus on enjoying friends and family.