Weekly Healthy Idea
Help your family live a healthier lifestyle with expert advice from our nutritionists. Look for a new tip each week!
Healthy New Year
A new year signals a fresh start and, for many of us, that means resolving to make healthier choices. It's easy to let big plans fall by the wayside, so start small with these Healthy Ideas:
- Step it up. Use a pedometer to track your steps. Set a daily goal (experts recommend 10,000 steps or about 5 miles each day) or challenge friends, family or co-workers to see who can take the most steps in a month.
- Eat more fruits and veggies. It's a tip we've all heard before, but research suggests that even making small adjustments to your diet or exercise plan can have a ripple effect, leading to better overall health.
- Downsize your dishes. Controlling your weight starts with controlling your portions. Using smaller plates is an easy way to become more aware of how much you eat at each meal.
Even small changes can lead to big results, but drastic transformations don't happen overnight. Whether your goal is weight loss or improving your overall health, be patient and aim for simple changes that can become part of your daily routine.
Surviving Holiday Stress
'Tis the season for friends, family and, more often than not, rising stress levels. Stay calm and keep your holiday stress in check with these Healthy Ideas:
- Make a plan and stick to it. From last-minute holiday shopping to busy family gatherings, it can be easy to overbook and overspend. Budget your time and money as much as possible to avoid slip-ups.
- Find time for you. Take a long walk, hit the gym or at least set aside a few minutes of "you" time every day. It's worth it, even if that means rearranging your schedule or declining other commitments.
- Don't abandon your diet. It's easy to indulge in typical holiday foods - cookies, cakes, pies and other high-fat, high sugar treats - but poor nutrition can lead to low energy levels. Practice portion control and surround yourself with healthy snacks to combat temptation.
This holiday, make it your goal to stress less. With some preparation and careful consideration of what stresses you out, you can create new traditions that keep your stress levels low and put the cheer back in your holiday celebrations.
Raise Your Glass to Healthy Ideas
When watching portion size or cutting calories, it's easy to forget that sugary drinks can put as much of a dent in your diet as heavy sides and rich desserts. This holiday season, fill your glass with these Healthy Ideas:
- Ditch fat, not flavor. Instead of regular eggnog that's packed with fat and calories, opt for eggnog flavored coffee or tea.
- Sip on a guilt-free drink like flavored seltzer or add a splash to your wine or cocktail.
- Cut the cream. Sprinkle hot chocolate with cinnamon and shaved chocolate instead of whipped cream. You'll save 100 calories or more!
Regardless of the beverage you choose, sip slowly and try to be aware of how many calories you're drinking. Minimize your total intake by always alternating high-calorie cocktails with a large glass of water.
Healthy Holiday Eating
The holiday season can wreak havoc on your diet, but with some planning, you can stay on track and still have room to indulge (in moderation). Here are a few tips for keeping healthy eating in check:
- Don't skip meals. Saving calories for later may sound good in theory, but it will likely lead to overindulgence. Eating small meals throughout the day also stabilizes your blood sugar and metabolism.
- Eat your calories - don't drink them. Stay away from high-calorie beverages like eggnog (one cup can contain 400 calories or more!) and opt for water when possible.
- Watch out for portion distortion. When you're filling your plate, be aware that the average portion actually contains numerous servings. Aim for smaller portions of high-calorie, high-fat sides and desserts and don't overload your plate - you'll likely be full even if you eat less.
Nothing beats the taste of homemade cookies, but we all know that sweet treats usually aren't a healthy choice. Create some better-for-you baked goods with these simple swaps:
- Replace at least half, if not all, of the flour in your recipe with whole grain flour.
- Substitute pureed fruit (canned pumpkin, applesauce or mashed banana are good choices) for about one-third of the butter in your recipe.
- Use low-fat or fat-free dairy instead of whole milk or cream.
- Exchange one or more eggs for two egg whites.
You can also reduce the amount of sugar, nuts and chocolate chips in your recipe by up to one half without noticing a significant change in flavor. Consider reducing the size of your treats, too. Use mini-muffin pans and smaller cookie scoops to easily control portions.
Healthy Side Dishes
Turkey may be the star of the show at most Thanksgiving dinners, but it's the side dishes that do the most damage to your healthy eating plan. Gravies and heavy side dishes made with butter and cream can spell calorie or sodium overload in no time. The good news is that with a little planning, you can serve and enjoy healthier side dishes that pack all the flavor of traditional favorites.
- Perk up steamed vegetables with a mixture of your favorite herbs and a squeeze of citrus juice instead of salt.
- Use low-sodium chicken broth instead of butter in mashed potatoes.
- Replace sour cream with low-fat yogurt.
- Use skim or 1% milk instead of whole milk.
- Prepare stuffing with whole wheat bread for a heartier taste and increased fiber.
- Bulk up casseroles with low-cal veggies.
- If recipes call for ingredients such as nuts, sugar, butter or salt, try to cut the amount in half. Chances are you won't even notice.
Keep in mind that heavier dishes - like the candied sweet potatoes - do contain lots of valuable nutrients, so go ahead and indulge in moderation. Keeping portion sizes small is key, especially when there are lots of holiday favorites on the table. And if you splurge on side dishes, think twice about dessert!
Safe Turkey Tips
Before you gobble up that Thanksgiving turkey, check out these food safety tips to make sure your holiday is a happy and healthy one:
- Thaw frozen turkeys in the refrigerator. Leaving them to thaw at room temperature allows bacteria to multiply.
- Always use a food thermometer to check the innermost part of the thigh and wing and thickest part of breast. It's the only way to make sure your turkey reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Color is not a reliable indication of doneness. Meat could still be pink when it is safe to eat.
- Cooking stuffing inside your turkey is not recommended. Because stuffing inside the bird must also reach 165 degrees, food safety experts recommend cooking stuffing separately.
- Pack leftovers in small containers for quicker cooling and refrigerate promptly.
Stock up on Healthy Ideas
Fruits and vegetables are an important part of your diet and MyPlate guidelines recommend filling half your plate with a colorful harvest. By keeping your pantry and freezer stocked with a variety of convenient frozen and canned choices, you can easily add extra nutrition to any meal. Keep the following in mind for filling your day with healthy snacks and sides:
- Canned fruits and veggies may be higher in salt or sugar than fresh varieties. Look for no-salt or no-sugar-added varieties.
- Lycopene, an antioxidant thought to protect against certain cancers, is found in high concentrations in canned tomatoes.
- Canned fruits and vegetables have a long shelf life, but should be kept away from extreme temperatures. Once you open a can, store any leftovers in another container and refrigerate.
This week, look for extra savings on canned vegetables and more during our Gigantic sale. Stock up and save on Healthy Ideas for every meal, every day!
Healthy Ideas Shelf Tag
Fill your cart with healthy choices every time you shop by looking for the Healthy Ideas symbol on thousands of items throughout the store. To qualify as a Healthy Idea, a food must meet the FDA's criteria for healthy, which means it provides at least 10% of the Daily Value for protein, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium or iron and is limited in:
- Total fat
- Saturated fat
Look for the easy-to-spot Healthy Ideas icon and you can feel confident you're making healthy choices for your family.
Healthy Halloween Treats
If you're getting ready to stock up on Halloween goodies, consider cutting back on sugar and filling your trick-or-treaters' bags with healthier treats this year. A few kid-friendly options include:
- Granola bars
- Mini bags of popcorn
- Cheese and cracker packages
- Snack packs of graham crackers, oatmeal cookies or trail mix
- Sugar-free gum
- Small toys and trinkets like Halloween stickers, spider rings, or temporary tattoos
If your kids bring home lots of candy, use it as an opportunity to teach the importance of sharing and enjoying sugary treats in moderation.
Past Weekly Tips
- Healthy New Year
- Surviving Holiday Stress
- Raise Your Glass to Healthy Ideas
- Healthy Holiday Eating
- Slimmed-down Sweets
- Healthy Side Dishes
- Safe Turkey Tips
- Stock up on Healthy Ideas
- Healthy Ideas Shelf Tag
- Healthy Halloween Treats