With springtime in full gear and summer right around the corner, attending gatherings with family, friends and delicious food is most likely on your agenda. Like many others, you may be wondering how to maintain a healthful lifestyle throughout the many get-togethers you plan to host or attend. If you’ve asked yourself this question, try a few 5-2-1-0 tips in order to enjoy a healthier spring and summer.
Start with 5 (Fruits and Vegetables a Day)
When planning the meals for your parties, be sure to include lots of fruit and vegetable options. Remember, when you can’t buy fresh, frozen and canned — with no salt or sugar added — are just as good. Adding steamed or boiled dishes such as broccoli, squash, turnip, peas, carrots, onions or steamed apples with cinnamon to your feast will help boost your intake of these essential foods. When selecting what to put on your plate, divide it into quarters. Recommendations on how to divide your plate include one quarter for meat or other protein, one quarter for starchy foods such as potatoes and corn, and the other half for fruits and veggies. If you are attending a gathering, remember to fill up on fruit and vegetable essentials.
Think 2 (Hours or Less of Recreational Screen Time)
Minimize the amount of time you spend watching television or in front of a computer monitor. Screen time may be an essential part of your workday, but when the “closing bell” rings, step away from the screen. Take advantage of the warmer weather and get outside. Whether it is to take a walk, cultivate your garden or relax in a comfortable chair with a good book or magazine, take it outside.
Number 1 (Hour of Physical Activity)
Don’t worry – this doesn’t have to be in one chunk. You can do 10 or 15 minutes of moderate physical activity throughout your day to add up to one hour. For example, once everyone has finished eating at your gathering, suggest a walk around the block before dessert is served. Take a ball out in the backyard and have a family game. Remember what you used to enjoy as a child during the summer, such as throwing a Frisbee around or a fun game of tag. Reintroduce these activities at your event and get everyone moving while having a good time.
And 0 (Drink Less Sugar, More Water and Low-Fat Milk)
Try water or low-fat milk rather than sugar-sweetened beverages. If you do enjoy summertime drinks, consider those with fewer calories and fat. Hydration is important during those hot summer days. It is a great idea to keep a bottle filled with water with you at all times. Quench that thirst with good old fashioned water.
Have a happy and healthful spring and summer season.
Lee Averill and Martha Bell of Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems are the regional administrators of the statewide Let’s Go! program, aimed at combating obesity in young people.