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Public Health Corner: Small changes matter when it comes to your health

With spring coming and gardening plans being made it is a good time to think about how we can all make informed food choices and develop sound eating and physical activity habits that we can follow all year long. Check out these 10 tips:

Eat Breakfast. Start your day with a healthy breakfast that includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables. Fruits and veggies add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber to your plate. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal.

Watch Portion Sizes. Use half your plate for fruits and vegetables and the other half for grains and lean protein foods. Complete the meal with a serving of fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt.

Be Active. Regular physical activity has many health benefits. Start by doing what exercise you can. Children and teens should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day, and adults at least two hours and 30 minutes per week.

Get to Know Food Labels. Reading the Nutrition Facts panel can help you choose foods and drinks to meet your nutrient needs.

Drink More Water. Quench your thirst with water instead of drinks with added sugars. Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water, especially if you are active, an older adult or live or work in hot conditions.

Get Cooking. Preparing foods at home can be healthy, rewarding and cost-effective. Master some kitchen basics, like dicing onions or cooking dried beans.

Enact Family Meal Time. Plan to eat as a family at least a few times each week. Set a regular mealtime. Turn off the TV, phones and other electronic devices to encourage mealtime talk. Get kids involved in meal planning and cooking and use this time to teach them about good nutrition.

Reduce Added Sugars. Foods and drinks with added sugars can contribute empty calories and little or no nutrition. Review the new and improved Nutrition Facts Label or ingredients list to identify sources of added sugars.

Slow Down at Mealtime. Instead of eating on the run, try sitting down and focusing on the food you’re about to eat. Dedicating time to enjoy the taste and textures of foods can have a positive effect on your food intake.

Check out this link for more information on how you can incorporate healthful habits into your day to day routine: https://www.myplate.gov/

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