Posts Tagged ‘Eating healthy’

March is National Nutrition Month.  With over 117 million U.S. adults having at least one chronic disease and spending $316 billion in medical costs on diet-related chronic diseases, we need to eat healthier. Aligning our eating habits with the Dietary Guidelines reduces the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.  Thus, it is time to challenge ourselves to make one change to improve our health this month by practicing a change and trying one new healthy recipe. Pick one of these examples to practice this month to start the change toward better health:


Water bottle

  • Consume no more than one soda or sweetened drink per day. If you have already been limiting it to one a day, try one a week.
  • Make your dinner plate half vegetables and fruit.
  • Eat breakfast every day.
  • Limit your sodium consumption.
  • Drink water.
  • Choose whole-grain foods.
  • Eat/drink at least two servings from the Dairy Group every day.

    fruit 2


  • Eat fruit for snacks.
  • Eat some nuts for snacks.
  • Eat fish at least twice a week. (Check out Fishy Fridays on our Facebook page.)
  • Try a new vegetable or fruit each week.
  • Follow the DASH or Mediterranean Diet.
  • Park farther away from the entrance.
  • Engage in some physical activity most days of the week.
  • Practice mindfulness or mediation.
  • Take three deep breathes when you feel stressed.

I am participating in a challenge at work to pick a less sugary drink everyday this month. You might challenge your co-workers, friends, or family to join you in a similar challenge.

The second part of my challenge is to try a new recipe.  Often times a new recipe will increase our interest in healthy eating.  Check out these websites Dinner Tonight, Food Hero and Recipe Central for some easy, delicious recipes.  Many of the recipes have videos or pictures to show how to make them. The websites also have kid friendly recipes.


Veggie Tots

I tried Veggie Patties and Veggie Tots recipes.  Both are delicious and easy to make if you have a food processor.  If you like cheese you will enjoy the Veggie Tots.  I also tried Brownie Batter Hummus.  I thought the idea of cocoa and hummus was strange, but it’s wonderful on fruit and tastes like a brownie.


Breakfast cupcakes

A super easy recipe for breakfast is the Microwave Breakfast Cake.  If you regularly eat cereal for breakfast this one is a tasty substitute.

Let us know what recipes you try and how your challenge goes.  Let’s make this March a healthier one.  Hopefully, the weather will get warmer in March and make it easier for physical activities outside.

Author: Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, brinkman.93@osu.edu

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, harmon.416@osu.edu


Mayo Clinic Staff. (2019).  Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan.  Available at https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801

National Institute of Health. (2018). DASH Diet.  Available at https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/dash-eating-plan

Oregon State University Extension.  (2019). Food Hero.  Available at https://foodhero.org/

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. (2019).  Dinner Tonight.  Available at https://dinnertonight.tamu.edu/

University of Nebraska Lancaster Extension. (2019). Recipe Central.  Available https://food.unl.edu/recipe-central

USDA. (2019).  Let’s all Eat Healthy. Be Healthy. Save.  Available at https://choosemyplate-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/tentips/DGA-Infographic-2018%20%281%29.pdf

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While ringing in the New Year, many of us also resolve to make THIS the year that we finally realize our goals. Unfortunately, many of us find ourselves off the resolution wagon before January has ended. Every year people say they are going to exercise more, be healthier, quit smoking, get organized, lose weight, manage money, etc. By the time February rolls around, those ambitions have gone by the wayside. Well, FEAR NOT! Using some scientifically proven steps, lasting change is achievable.

Researchers have identified distinct stages of change that people who are able to achieve success progress through. The Transtheoretical Model (TTM) was developed in the late 1970’s by James O. Prochaska, PhD and Carlo C. DiClemente, PhD, when they contrasted the experiences of people who were able to quit smoking on their own, versus those who needed additional treatment. People quit smoking when they were ready to quit. The TTM operates on the assumption that people do not change behaviors quickly and decisively. Rather, change in behavior, especially habitual behavior, occurs continuously through a cyclical process.1

The Transtheoretical Model

  • Pre-contemplation: Someone may realize there is a problem and they may be thinking about changing it, but they have not yet made a commitment to do anything about it. People can be stuck in this phase for many years.
  • Contemplation: Someone plans to make some changes in the relatively near future. They have started to think about the good and bad things associated with making these changes.
  • Preparation: Someone is going to take action soon. They may start taking small steps toward the change.
  • Action: Someone has recently started making some changes in their behavior to make progress toward their goal.
  • Maintenance: Someone has been continuing with the behavior changes for a period of time and they plan to stick with them.
  • Termination: Someone no longer has any desire to revert back to their previous behaviors. Most people don’t get to this point, so it is often not part of many programs.

People do not succeed in achieving their New Year’s resolutions or other goals because they are unaware of these stages. In addition to this, the professionals people seek for help, may also be unaware of what stage of change the someone is actually in. They assume since a person has come to them asking for help, that they are in the action phase, when this may not be accurate. Consider whether the stage of change that you are in right now is appropriate for the expectations you may have set on January 1st. If not, adjust your timeline and your goals accordingly.

So, if achieving your goal weight, exercising more, eating better, quitting smoking, managing finances, or whatever has slipped by the wayside, you can still be successful in 2017!

Author: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

Reviewer: Amanda Bohlen, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University, Washington County.


Boston University School of Public Health http://sphweb.bumc.bu.edu/otlt/MPH-Modules/SB/BehavioralChangeTheories/BehavioralChangeTheories6.html

Research Gate https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285796052_Applying_the_Stages_of_Change

SAGE Journals http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.4278/ajhp.140627-QUAL-304

Medline Plus https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_162833.html

Medline Plus https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_162820.html

Harvard Business School http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5-new-year-s-resolutions-you-can-keep-with-the-help-of-behavioral-science-research

Case Western Reserve University http://www.centerforebp.case.edu/stories/stages-of-change-co-creator-carlo-diclemente-discusses-practical-applications-of-his-transtheoretical-model-for-health-wellness-and-recovery

University of California, San Francisco https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2016/12/405201/scientific-reasons-keeping-your-new-years-resolutions

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/behavior.htm

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