Three simple food suggestions related to yogurt, art, and ice cubes will improve your eating habits, according to Intermountain Healthcare experts looking for ways to improve health and fitness in children and families.
Nearly one in four Utah children is overweight or obese. "This is an issue for children, parents, and families that contributes to poor health and decreased quality of life," says Tamara Sheffield, MD, spokesperson for Intermountain's LiVe public service campaign. "It's a complex issue, but one that can be tackled with small habits at home." LiVe encourages children and families to have healthy diets and to be active.
Here are three simple food habits to improve your health:
1. You Go Yogurt!
Always eat breakfast — and make it healthy. Yogurt spoons up great health in lots of ways. "For one thing, yogurt's balance of carbs and protein is satisfying and helps maintain a steady flow of energy," says Dr. Sheffield. "It's high in calcium, delicious mixed with fruit, and yogurt with "live cultures" contains probiotics — helpful for digestion and immunity."
Look for the following in your yogurt:
- Six or eight ounces in serving size
- 200 calories or less
- Six or more grams of protein
- Four grams of fat or less
- 15 grams of sugar or less (even plain yogurt contains about 12 grams of sugar)
- Contains enough calcium to meet 20% or more of your Recommended Daily Allowance
- Look for brands that feature "Live & Active Cultures" or the words "Lactobacillus (L. Acidophilus)" or "Bifidobacterium (B. Bifidum)" in the list of ingredients
2. Eat Like an Artist
Eat more fruits and vegetables by aiming to eat as many colors as you can each day. Eating a rainbow of foods — green, orange, yellow, purple and red — is a great way to ensure you are getting a variety of health benefits.
Why are colors so good for you? "Because the compounds that color fruits and vegetables are what's known as "bio-active compounds." Not only do they contain vitamins and other nutrients, but these foods also contain phytonutrients (plant-based chemicals) that help boost immunity and fight disease, and they're also rich in fiber," says Dr. Sheffield.
3. Chill H20 with Funky Ice Cubes
Water is the best 'high-octane' beverage. And, you should limit or eliminate sweetened drinks. For added color and taste, toss in ice cubes in fun shapes, funky colors and infused with fruits, herbs and other flavors (like chocolate, vanilla and coconut).
To add color, make cubes with bright-colored, healthy juices, such as pomegranate, blueberry or purple grape or drop in slivers of brightly colored fruit, like blueberries or slices of lemon, lime or orange peel. To add flavor, run soft fruit (watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries and raspberries are great choices) through the blender and add a bit of water.
You can find more expert advice on diet, activity, and attitudes about weight management, online at intermountainlive.org
or at Facebook.com/intermountainlivewell