Staying healthy is not only about exercising, but includes a healthy diet. No matter how hard you workout, if you're not practicing good nutrition you will not see the results you're looking for. They key is to balance the two, and good nutrition will keep you healthy for many years. This includes choosing a balanced diet with a variety of different foods from each level of the Food Pyramid. Its no secret that foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins contain the nutrients you need and are great for your health.

However, It's also important to educate yourself on foods that are harmful to your body. Avoid diets that are high in refined and processed foods, such as fast foods, candy and soda. These can lead to obesity and other diseases. Below are some helpful resources and tips to help get you started.

Decisions, decisions, decisions

Juan Martinez of San Angelo has blogged an interesting article on decision-making and weight loss, and how it can affect our goals. His main topic will be to discuss how having too many options and making too many decisions will affect us negatively and may deter us from reaching our goals. The remedy for too much flexibility is structure and the remedy for too much flexibility is structure, so we must find that sweet spot just like with anything else in life to have the most success. To read on, click here.

Eating slower

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A lot of times when you eat, you probably feel rushed or you may be so hungry you scarf down your food in five minutes. The problem with this is not only are you not able to enjoy your meal, you may be hindering your weight loss efforts. Eating fast leaves you still feeling hungry and you’re more likely to eat too much before your body can signal your brain to stop eating. The end result can be eating to the point of feeling stuffed instead of eating until you’re satisfied.

Eating slower on the other hand will help keep us satisfied longer. You are able to taste your food and experience more of the flavors, textures and smells. Your food will become more interesting. You will also fill more satisfied and won't overeat. This will be beneficial for weight loss. So slow down, chew your food and savor every bite.

Farmers Market 

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Why farmers market over grocery stores? Fresh seasonal fruits and veggies, more variety, cheaper prices. By shopping at the local farmers market, you will eat seasonally, fresh and ripe. Enjoy fruits and vegetables, all fresh and from local area farms. In addition to the fresh produce, the market also features flowers, plants, herbs and more.

Who: Concho Valley Farmers Market (farmers within a 75-mile radius)
What: Fresh produce
Where: Farmers Market Pavilion, 609 S. Oakes St.
When: 7 a.m.-noon, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from May 13 through the fall
How much: Typically $1 per bowl or bundle
Contact: 325-245-3338

Healthier Choice program

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What is the Healthier Choice program?

The Healthier Choice program is a a partnership between the San Angelo Restaurant Association and the Shannon diabetes management program. The initiative focuses on healthier dining options at restaurants and has a criteria consisting of nine guidelines that requires a restaurant to meet at least three items to be a part of it. You will find a healthier choice decal at those restaurants that have fulfilled the requirements for the program. They will help you find a way to eat within your daily routine.

The criteria consists of:

  • Offers the ability to substitute half of a plate for non-starchy vegetables.
  • Customers are able to substitute a salad for a non-free item on their plate.
  • Limits meat/protein portion on plate to 3 ounces (size of a deck of cards), and may box extra portion before serving for customers to take home.
  • Will offer a low-carb dessert.
  • Have the ability to provide carb count for meals served.
  • Meal served on a plate with a 9-inch serving area.
  • Meal that includes at least one complex carbohydrate or one fruit serving.
  • Meal that contains no fried foods.
  • Offers the ability to substitute a whole-grain bread.

For a list of participating restaurants, click here.

Guidelines to eating and living well

The food we eat is not the only factor that contributes to our health and wellness. Our sleeping habits and stress level also affect how we feel, physically and mentally. This guide shows you how to save money while eating well and living fully. It also includes some special tips for three groups of people who often find it hard to find the time to eat well and get enough sleep: college students, parents and children. To read more on this, click here.

Kick that sugary drink habit

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Just one soda a day could equal 15 pounds a year! The calories in soda come entirely from added sugar, and you are not getting any nutrients whatsoever. All the sugar in a soda makes the blood-sugar skyrocket and causes insulin reaction. Too much sugar in your diet can lead to obesity, diabetes and other health problems.

High sugar content is probably the number-one reason to stay away from these drinks, but there are other toxic ingredients in soda that harm your health. High fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, caffeine and phosphoric acid are among other thing inside these beverages. There are absolutely no good benefits of drinking a soda or any other sugary drink. Instead, try these smart swaps over sugary drinks:

  • Sparkling water with a splash of juice (some stores carry these)
  • Water with lemon, cucumber slices, strawberries or peaches
  • Sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon or lime
  • Iced tea with mint
  • Iced coffee with nonfat or reduced fat milk
  • Coffee or tea with honey

 

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Better Living for Texans is a statewide nutrition education program for adults and kids who want to learn how to eat well and save money. You can make friends and have fun while you learn about eating healthy foods and saving money!

Three types of activities are offered through the Better Living for Texas program: (1) “Back to Basic” is a class about meal planning on a budget and food safety; (2) “Get the Facts” is a class about food and nutrition guidelines, including serving size, sodium and fat content, and nutrition labels; and (3) “Walk Across Texas” is an 8-week program that encourages people to walk in groups and complete 830 miles (the distance across Texas).

Check out their monthly newsletters for recipes and healthy tips. BLT newsletter for  August

 

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Each week Community Health Club of San Angelo posts a Working on Wellness (WOW) newsletter that provides fitness and health facts, tips for exercising, a healthy recipe and more. Click here to read the current WOW newsletter

Tips on maintaining weight loss

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Keep up your intake of fruits and veggies. Don't ignore fruits and veggies! Produce is a great snack option at only 25 calories per average half-cup serving. Plus, eating all that disease-preventing, healthy roughage helps fill you up.

Consistency pays. Tell yourself that no matter what, you’ll work out today, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. You don’t have to be  perfect – just being active every day will reinforce the idea that exercise is a habit worth your time.

Clean out your pantry and refrigerator. Get rid of the foods that sabotage your weight loss/weight maintenance efforts. Take these foods to the local food bank.

Cut out liquid calories. Eliminate sugary drinks such as sweetened iced tea, sodas, juices and sports drinks. Liven up the taste of water by adding lemon. Choose skim and 1-percent milk.

Hydrate before meals. Several studies show that drinking a glass of water before meals will help you eat less. Drinking water can boost metabolism by 24 percent to 30 percent over a period of 1-1.5 hours, helping you burn off a few more calories. One study showed that drinking a half liter (17 ounces) of water about a half an hour before meals helped dieters eat fewer calories and lose 44 percent more weight.

Dine out without pigging out. Get salad dressing on the side. It’s best to stick with 1 to 2 tablespoons. Dip your fork into the dressing and then into the salad. Only eat half your meal at restaurants and box up the other half to have for another meal. Avoid high-calorie appetizers and stay away from fried foods. 

Create emergency packs. Fill up snack size zip-lock bags with healthy foods such as nuts, fruits, baby carrots or other sliced vegetables to help you avoid unhealthy temptations. 

Fiber fills you up. Eat a fiber-filled apple before a meal to help you feel full faster. 

Go lean with bean protein. Beans are an affordable and healthy alternative to meats and are wonderfully filling. 

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Recipes and Tips: 

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Dinner Tonight Healthy Cooking School – Recipes, Tips & Tricks Family Mealtime, What’s in Season and Taste of Texas http://dinnertonight.org

ChooseMyPlate.gov – SuperTracker, BMI Calculator, What’s Cooking, 10 Tip Series  http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ 

Texas Beef Council – Recipe Central  http://www.beeflovingtexans.com/ 

National Watermelon Board – Recipes, Carvings, Kids  http://www.watermelon.org/

Recipes and fun with kids: 

Dairy Discovery Zone (presented by Dairy Max, local Dairy Council) – Cooking with Kids, Crafts & Fun  http://dairydiscoveryzone.com/

Best Bones Forever! – Recipes, Get Active!, Fun Stuff  http://www.bestbonesforever.org/ 

K-State Kids a Cooking’ – Video Recipes, Tips & Techniques  http://www.kidsacookin.org/

Let’s Move!  Eat Healthy, Get Active, Take Action *Download 2013, 2014 and 2015 The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Cookbook   http://www.letsmove.gov/kids-state-dinner 

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Submit items for this page to Healthy Communities Coordinator Kristyn Ward.