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Be the Best You Inside and Out

Posted on 3/20/2012 by Patricia Bannan // Filed in Community, Fitness, lifestyle leaders, Nutrition, SnackJoy, Snacks // Leave a Comment


The days are getting longer, birds are chirping and flowers are beginning to bud. This means one thing –  spring!  After the winter months of hearty meals, it’s the perfect time to lighten up your diet for a healthy spring and summer.  Here are some tips that can help:

Work it out: Biking, jogging, swimming, hiking – the weather is warmer, and it’s a great time to get active.  The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults get a minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week—that’s only 21 minutes a day!  If you exercise for long and hard enough, a recovery snack is in order. You want to snack on something with mostly carbs and a small amount of protein.  Try some whole-wheat crackers with a Mini Babybel for a good carb-to-protein ratio.

Pick your produce: In case you didn’t get your fill of fruits and veggies this winter (most people don’t), spring produce is here to tempt and delight you!  In-season produce offers the most nutritional value.  Look for wonderful spring picks like strawberries, artichokes, radishes, asparagus, cherries, peas, fava beans, apricots and morel mushrooms in the produce aisle or at your local farmers’ market.  They are all packed with wonderful nutrients and are low in calories.  A 2-ounce serving of artichokes has about 3 grams of fiber and just 25 calories.  Apricots are packed with beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin C, and fiber in a sweet 50-calorie bundle.  And don’t think radishes are just for show; one cup of sliced red radishes will give you 30 percent of your daily vitamin C requirement in less than 25 calories.

Tune in to you: There are hundreds of things you can do to be good to your body.  This spring I challenge you to pick one of them and do it regularly.  Here are a few common activities that will help you be the best you can be – from the inside out!

  • Get creative. Research shows creativity produces happy brain chemistry, and you needn’t be an award-winning artist to lose yourself in an artistic pursuit. Embracing your creativity can be as simple as singing in the shower, taking photos, coloring with your child or trying a new recipe.
  • Meditate … or not. Meditation is an excellent way to deal with stress, but it’s not for everyone. If you’ve tried this and it didn’t work for you, don’t give up. Try yoga, which enhances the mind-body connection, or a guided meditation CD that will walk you through a progressive relaxation sequence. Or sit quietly in a comfortable position and think of a happy memory or your favorite place to be.
  • Breathe easy. Just focusing on your breathing can immediately reduce tension. As you inhale, concentrate on completely filling your lungs so your abdomen swells like a balloon. Then exhale completely, pulling your belly in toward your spine. Breathe this way for five minutes—even two—and you’ll feel a difference.
  • Volunteer for a cause. Research shows that people who volunteer are happier than those who do not. Volunteering may increase empathetic emotions and help you appreciate what you have.
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