Live Well Polk: Healthy Eat­ing Habits Start Early

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - By Ti­fani Ki­nard Polk Med­i­cal Cen­ter Ti­fani Ki­nard is the Chief Nurs­ing Of­fi­cer at Polk Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

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.

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