At Empower Health Services, we care about the health and wellness of you and your family. Each of our Health Hub Newsletters will share attainable ways to maintain healthy habits and improve your overall quality of life. Our first issue kicks off the new year with tips for balancing your diet, understanding heart health, and achieving your 2021 goals all year round.
New Year, New Healthy Habits
New year, new goals? A new year can signify a fresh start, but healthy goal-setting can be a challenge. Often, when we first set our goals, they are lofty or unattainable because we are shooting for the stars (i.e., going to the gym six days a week or getting eight hours of sleep every night). Goals that we make may start strong, but by February, it’s easy to feel that there is little hope of sustaining motivation through the end of the year.
Rather than focusing on 2021 goals, try and focus on 2021 healthy habits. The idea behind healthy habits is that you evaluate where you are now and determine the small steps that will make these daily habits part of your long-term lifestyle. In doing so, these habits become sustainable. Let’s go back to the example of sleeping eight hours per night: What if you are currently only sleeping five hours per night? Jumping up to eight hours right away may not be realistic, but beginning to increase your nightly sleep by 15 to 20 minutes over time will successfully help you achieve your goal of eight hours total.
How can we ensure we are successful? Begin with these three steps: Firstly, make goals small enough that you can achieve them daily. This is how habits are formed. Instead of getting down on yourself when this small goal is missed, consider it an opportunity to reset the next day. Secondly, surround yourself with supportive people to maintain momentum. Finally, always remember to celebrate your successes!
Go Red For Heart Health
February is Heart Health Month. The three major risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. However, it does not have to be this way. There are simple habits that you can implement into your daily life that significantly lower your risk for heart disease!
Get Your Numbers: Participate in an annual wellness screening and review results with your doctor.
Own Your Lifestyle: Stop smoking, maintain a healthy weight, eat well and pursue an active lifestyle.
Realize Your Risk: Understand your current health status and where you may need to make lifestyle modifications.
Educate Your Family: Discuss how you, your friends, and your family can make healthier choices together!
Don’t Be Silent: Help spread education and awareness on the importance of keeping your heart healthy.
Hungry? Celebrate National Nutrition Month!
March is National Nutrition Month®, which reminds us to be mindful of what we consume and why it is imperative to make smart nutritional decisions. Eating well can help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other conditions. Rather than giving up the foods you love and dieting, follow these tips to balance your meals and begin sustainable healthy eating.
Foods to include in your diet:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Beans and legumes
- Nuts and seeds
- Fish (oily fish with omega-3 fatty acids)
- Lean poultry and animal or plant-based proteins
Foods to limit or consume in moderation:
- Sweetened drinks
- Salty foods
- Saturated fats
- Fatty or processed red meats
- Full-fat dairy products
- Trans fat and partially hydrogenated oils
Put These Tips to Practice:
- Watch your calories – To maintain a healthy weight, it is important to eat only as many calories as you burn through physical activity. Looking to lose weight? Take in fewer calories or burn more calories!
- Cook your meals at home – By cooking food at home, you are in control of how your food is prepared, the ingredients included, and portion size.
- Focus on nutrition labels – Aim for items with the lowest amount of sodium.
- Control your portions – Rather than eliminating food you enjoy, try to eat these foods in moderation as this is more sustainable than restricting yourself completely.
Recipe Hub: Take-a-Break Snack Mix
Ingredients (Servings: 10)
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 1/4 cup sliced, unsalted, unoiled almonds
- 1 tbsp. light brown sugar
- 2 tsp. water
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 2 cups whole-grain oat cereal
with yogurt-flavored coating
- 2 cups whole-grain wheat
and bran flakes with raisins
- 1/2 cup unsweetened, dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup unsweetened, dried blueberries
- Put a piece of aluminum foil about 12 inches square on a platter or baking sheet. Lightly spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a small non-stick skillet, dry-roast the almonds over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly golden brown, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the brown sugar, water, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated and the almonds are coated with the mixture, stirring constantly. Transfer to the foil. Let cool completely for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients.
- Add the cooled almonds to the cereal mixture, stirring to combine. Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.