1. Move more. Look for and create opportunities for incremental exercise. When carrying groceries, lift them 5 times when you load and 5 times when you unload. Use a rake instead of a leaf blower. Walk extra fast when outdoors. Little bits of activity add up to big results.
2. Cut portions. Remember that a healthy portion for most foods is about the size of your fist. Try leaving 3 bites on your plate at each meal; once you’re comfortable with that, consider leaving 6 bites each time.
3. Know your fats and sugars, and try to limit them. Processed foods and restaurant meals are some of the worst offenders. Read the labels on packaged foods; avoid anything with “high fructose corn syrup” within the first 5 ingredients.
4. Understand the food-stress cycle and make your meals work for you, not against you. Foods that are high in fats, refined sugars and sodium can actually exaggerate the stress response (including elevated cortisol, high blood pressure, increased abdominal fat and other factors). Choose healthfully instead.
5. Add 3 servings of fruits and/or vegetables to your weekly menu; buy foods that are in season and experiment. In-season produce is likely to have fewer preservatives and pesticides. Choose organic when you can, especially if it’s something you eat more than twice a week.
6. Choose whole foods rather than processed products. Whole foods have more fiber and retain more of their original nutrients than those that are processed. Look for items that are as close as possible to their original form, for example, an apple instead of applesauce or apple juice. In the words of Michael Pollan, bestselling author of In Defense of Food, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Now it’s your turn — what are some of your favorite ways to bring more good health into everyday life?