Healthy Lifestyle Tip ~ Is It Time to Start Eating Healthy?

How do you start eating healthy and, keep doing it day in and day out?

“The hardest part about eating healthy is being consistent,” says Emma Willingham, clinical dietitian at Houston Methodist. One of the biggest challenges to achieving this consistency is that many people view a “healthy” or “nutritious” eating plan as one that’s very restrictive. Willingham stresses, “No foods are off limits. All foods fit, there are just some foods we want to choose more often and other foods we want to consume in moderation.” “Thinking about food through an all-or-nothing lens makes it harder to establish consistent habits.” She also warns that relying on a scale to measure progress is another common blocker to sticking with a healthy eating pattern. “The number we see on the scale serves as a single snapshot, not the full picture. You can use the scale as a data point, but make sure to assess the way your clothes fit, the way that you look in the mirror and the way that you feel.” Eating healthy also means choosing these whole foods over processed, packaged ones more often than not.

Healthy eating emphasizes:

  • Nonstarchy vegetables, such as dark leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, onions, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, fresh herbs, carrots
  • Whole fruit, fresh or frozen, as well as canned fruit packed in water or its own juice
  • Whole grains, such as whole wheat bread and pasta, whole oats, brown rice and quinoa
  • Lean proteins, including poultry, seafood and lean cuts of meat (tenderloin, round, chuck and sirloin)
  • Calcium-rich foods, such as low-fat milk products
  • Protective, unsaturated fats, like avocados, nuts, seeds, oily fish, and olive or canola oil


Healthy Lifestyle Tip ~ Plan to Eat Healthy on Your Next Flight

I recently returned from a trip that required two long flights with plane changes. I brought protein bars with me. The protein bars were great but I wished I packed a few more snacks. I don’t care to buy airport food besides the outrageous prices, the healthy eating options are limited. So, I asked the AI program ChatGPT about healthy eating options while flying. Here’s what ChatGPT said:

When traveling by air, it can be challenging to maintain a healthy diet due to limited food options and the temptation to indulge in unhealthy snacks. However, choosing the right foods can help you feel better during the flight and reduce the impact of jet lag. Here are some of the healthiest foods to eat when traveling by air:

  1. Fresh fruits: Pack some fresh fruits like apples, oranges, berries, or grapes. They are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, providing a healthy and refreshing snack option.
  2. Raw vegetables: Carrot sticks, celery, cucumber, and bell pepper slices are great choices. These crunchy snacks are low in calories and high in nutrients.
  3. Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, cashews, and pumpkin seeds are excellent sources of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. They can keep you satiated and provide essential nutrients.
  4. Whole grain snacks: Opt for whole grain crackers, rice cakes, or granola bars. They are healthier alternatives to regular refined snacks.
  5. Yogurt: Greek yogurt or other low-fat yogurt varieties are good options as they are rich in probiotics and protein.
  6. Hummus: Hummus is a nutritious dip made from chickpeas, tahini, and olive oil. Pair it with raw vegetables for a delicious and wholesome snack.
  7. Sandwiches with lean protein: Prepare sandwiches with whole grain bread and fillings like turkey, chicken, or tofu. Add some veggies for extra nutrients.
  8. Salad: If you have access to fresh salad options, go for it. Load up on leafy greens, vegetables, and lean protein for a light and healthy meal.
  9. Water: Staying hydrated during the flight is essential. Drink plenty of water and avoid excessive consumption of sugary or carbonated beverages.
  10. Herbal tea: Consider carrying some herbal tea bags to enjoy during the flight. Herbal teas like chamomile or peppermint can help relax and soothe your stomach.
  11. Avoid or limit processed and high-sodium snacks, as they can contribute to bloating and discomfort during the flight. Additionally, alcohol and caffeine intake can lead to dehydration, so it’s best to consume them in moderation.

Today’s Health Tip ~ Is What You are Eating Aging You?

What you put on your plate might affect what you see in the mirror. But a few tweaks to your dining habits can go a long way to keeping your skin youthful and your body healthy.

Foods That Age Your Skin

  1. Potato chips and french fries. Anything that’s deep-fried in oil can add to inflammation throughout your body. Especially avoid trans fats. It can raise your LDL “bad” cholesterol and lower HDL “good” cholesterol, which increases your risk for heart disease. Check food labels on baked goods and crackers, and avoid “partially hydrogenated oils” and “vegetable shortening.”
  2. Doughnuts and sugary pastries. They’re packed with sugar, which Giancoli says may be linked to the development of wrinkles.
  3. Hot dogs, bacon, and pepperoni. Processed meats are usually high in saturated fats and have nitrates in them. Both of those can lead to inflammation.
  4. Fatty meats. These are also high in saturated fats. The key with meat is to keep it lean. Tenderloin cuts tend to be leaner. Look for ground beef that is at least 95% lean. Ground turkey breast and chicken breast are other lean options.
  5. Alcohol. Moderate drinking may be good for your heart, but heavy drinking can rev up the aging process. “Moderate” is one drink per day for women (such as a 5-ounce glass of wine or 12-ounce glass of beer) and two drinks for men.

Foods that Make You Look Good

Go for a Mediterranean-style diet, Harlan says. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein can help fight inflammation and keep you looking your best, he says.

Eat whole foods that are closest to their natural state as possible, says Giancoli. For example, instead of apple sauce, try a fresh whole apple.

  1. Romaine lettuce. It’s high in vitamins A and C, which curb inflammation. Also try broccoli, spinach, arugula, watercress, escarole, and endive.
  2. Tomatoes. They’re rich in a nutrient called lycopene. So are watermelon, grapefruit, guavas, asparagus, and red cabbage.
  3. Lentils and beans. These are good sources of protein and are loaded with fiber and nutrients. Try black beans, split peas, limas, pintos, chickpeas, and cannellini beans.
  4. Healthy Protein. Your skin is essentially made of protein, so if you don’t get enough healthy protein in your diet, your skin will reflect that,” Giancoli says. “Along with fish, beans are a great way to get it.”
  5. Oatmeal. Whole grains such as oatmeal, whole wheat breads and pastas, brown rice, and quinoa help curb inflammation.



Today’s Health Tip ~ What Foods Should You Eat Daily or Often?

Most Important Foods to Eat Often for Good Health

  1. Salmon. This oily fish, known for its bright pink color, is rich not only in healthy protein but also in omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit both your heart and your brain. It also provides you with bone-building vitamin D. Still, serving up salmon every day would be a stretch for most people. Aim instead to eat it at least once a week to reap the health benefits, says Fung.
  2. Brussels sprouts. These crunchy little green balls, which look like mini-cabbages, are nutrient-dense and low in calories — only 28 in half a cup. They offer up a well-rounded group of vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and folate. Like other cruciferous vegetables, Brussels sprouts feature bioactive compounds, such as antioxidants, which are chemicals that help prevent cell damage inside your body. . . . You can reduce the bitterness of Brussels sprouts by roasting them with a spritz of olive oil. Add some chopped nuts to the top for a little extra crunch and flavor (as well as extra benefits; see below).
  3. Blueberries. These dark-colored little berries are high in antioxidants, particularly vitamin C, says Fung. Weighing in at 56 calories for 100 grams, blueberries also offer up a good dose of vitamin A and fiber. While most grocery stores will stock blueberries year-round, feel free to substitute another dark-colored fruit — like pomegranates or cherries — if blueberries aren’t in season. Or for some variety, swirl up some frozen blueberries, which taste good at any time of year, with plain yogurt (see below) to make a smoothie.
  4. Nuts. Crunchy and satisfying, nuts not only are filling but also provide an infusion of healthy oils, protein, and vitamin E. Choose any type of nuts: almonds, walnuts, even peanuts (technically a legume), or grab a handful of mixed nuts. Just make sure they’re unsalted.. But keep in mind these are a high-calorie treat. Depending on the type of nut you choose, an ounce can ring in at 200 calories or more — so limit daily intake to a sprinkling to get the benefits without packing on any extra pounds.
  5. Plain yogurt. This creamy treat gives you a dose of probiotics, which are healthy bacteria that help keep your gut working properly and contribute to better overall health. Yogurt is a nutrient-rich food that fuels your body with protein, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B12, and some key fatty acids that your body needs to stay healthy. And if you choose a high-protein yogurt, it can keep you feeling full, which may help you trim your waistline. . . . Plain yogurt too tart? Toss in some blueberries for added sweetness, says Fung, or add nuts for some crunch.


Today’s Health Tip ~ Is Spaghetti Squash a Healthy Food?

Spaghetti Squash is Loaded with Health Benefits

When it comes to eating healthy, it may seem hard to find foods you can get year-round that have many benefits, few downsides and a lot of versatility. But the spaghetti squash is one such food. . . .Like other members of the squash family, the spaghetti squash is high in vitamins and nutritional value. “You’re getting tons of vitamin C, vitamin B6, betacarotene and fiber. . . . It also has antioxidants, which are especially helpful for other reasons. “We talk about free radicals from the polluted air we take in and the damage they can do to your body. But these antioxidants fight them and break them down,” says Beth Czerwony, RD.

On top of these benefits, spaghetti squash is both filling and low in calories. “A cup is a pretty good serving and that’s only about 40 calories,” Czerwony says. “It’s really a great way to cut calories from your meal without sacrificing that mouthfeel you’re looking for.”  Additionally, because spaghetti squash is high in fiber and low in carbs, Czerwony says, it won’t mess with your blood sugar the same way high-carb foods —particularly semolina pasta can. 


Today’s Health Tip ~ Best Foods for Post Surgery Recovery

What foods should you consume to help promote healing after surgery?

After surgery, your priority would be focusing on wound healing and recovery. Eating well and adequately can help you regain strength and recover more quickly. Certain foods can be beneficial after an operation to aid in recovery and healing. As a general rule of thumb, know that you will likely need more calories, protein, fluids, vitamins and minerals during the recovery process (Always consult your doctor and/or dietitian regarding your diet after surgery).

Best Food groups post surgery:

    1. Protein rich foods
    2. Whole grains
    3. Fruits
    4. Veggies
    5. Good fats
    6. Iron-rich foods
    7. Calcium-rich foods
    8. Plenty of water

Today’s Health Tip ~ What Foods Improve Circulation?

Blood is like your body’s superhighway. It carries nutrients and oxygen to everything from your heart and brain to your muscles and skin. A healthy diet is one way to optimize your circulation, or blood flow. Combined with exercise, hydration, weight management, and not smoking, some foods can help improve circulation. Next time you head to the grocery store, consider including these items in your shopping cart.

    1. Cayenne pepper
    2. Berries
    3. Beet juice
    4. Fatty fish
    5. Pomegrantes
    6. Garlic
    7. Walnuts
    8. Grapes


Today’s Health Tip ~ Brown Rice is Good for the Thyroid

Brown rice – High in Fiber, Low in Fat

Low in fat and high in fiber, brown rice is also a rich source of selenium—a trace element essential for thyroid metabolism, DNA health, and proper immune system function, according to the NIH. Brown rice is also a good source of manganese and niacin, which are both important for brain and heart health. Swap in brown rice for white.


Today’s Health Tip ~ Raspberries – Summer’s Healthy Gift

Raspberries are Good for Your Brain and Nerves

Just one cup contains nearly half your daily manganese—important for brain and nerve function, as well as bone and joint health. Raspberries are high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants, and low in carbohydrates.


Today’s Health Tip ~ Want to Lower Your Stroke Risk?

Drink Green Tea

Green tea’s antioxidant compounds have been linked to slower cancer growth, improved blood flow, weight loss, improved liver function, and reduced rates of brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. But black tea’s no slouch in the health department either. It’s been shown to reduce stroke risk and lung damage from smoking. But whether you knock back a cup a week or several a day, you’re doing your body a favor.


Note: I make a large pot of green tea, cool it, and put it in the fridge with a few slices of lemon. It makes great iced tea to cool off the hot south Texas days.

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