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Posts Tagged ‘healthy choices’

Meat substitutes, such as tofu or soy protein, have existed since the 1960s and often resemble the meat they are replacing. However, plant-based meat alternatives have become more common on your grocery store shelves and often do not resemble meat. As they are more widely available, you might be curious about adding them to your menu rotation. Here are a few suggestions for trying a meat substitute:

Consider making your own. Often these plant-based “meats” are made of familiar ingredients such as cauliflower, beans, mushrooms, or tofu. You can make your dishes meatless by substituting things like chicken for chickpeas. Or you can try making your meatless burger by combining vegetables you enjoy with black beans and rice.  This lentil burger from Celebrate Your Plate is easy and full of simple ingredients.

Read the labels on meatless products carefully. Meatless products are often higher in fiber, calcium, and iron compared to traditional meat. Some of these products may also be hiding more sodium than regular meat. Also, some meat alternatives are prepared with coconut oil, which is higher in saturated fat. When looking at the label you will need to consider your personal health goals. Whatever your nutritional goal maybe, be an informed consumer and check the label.

Trying a variety of brands and products may help you find a meat substitute you enjoy. Brands will have different tastes and textures.

Don’t forget other meatless options. Foods such as eggs, lentils, beans, tofu, nut butters, cottage cheese, edamame, noodles made from legume flour, and some mushrooms can also be a good substitute in dishes for meat.

Start with recipes you like and consider small swaps. Try lentils instead of meat in your favorite chili.  A meatless crumble that resembles the look and feel of ground beef could be used in a taco recipe. Trying a new substitute for a familiar food may help make the transition to meatless alternatives easier.

Written by: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Miami County. Barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Amanda Bennett, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Ohio State University Miami County. Bennet.709@osu.edu

Sources:

Curtain, F., & Amp; Grafenauer, S. (2019, October 30). Plant-based meat substitutes in the Flexitarian age: An audit of products on supermarket shelves. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved April 27, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6893642/

Is meatless meat worth a try?  (2022). Strive, Spring 2022, 4.

Lentil burgers. Celebrate your plate.  Retrieved April 27, 2022, from https://celebrateyourplate.org/recipes/lentil-burgers

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cartoon image of sleeping moon

I have always struggled with getting enough sleep. I feel like there is so much I want to get done in a day, but I don’t really have the time for. As I become busier with my work schedule, wedding planning, and wanting to spend time with family and friends, I am learning just how important sleep really is.

Sleep helps recharge your body and mind. When you get enough sleep, you should wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day. When there is an inadequate amount of sleep, it causes your brain to function improperly. This will make it more difficult to concentrate and think clearly. When someone is getting less then the amount of sleep needed, it is called sleep deprivation.

Stages of Sleep

It is important to remember that there are four stages of sleep. The first three are NREM (non-rapid eye movement). The final stage is REM sleep( rapid-eye movement).

  • State 1 NREM: This stage marks the transition from wakefulness to sleep and consists of light sleep. This typically lasts several minutes
  • Stage 2 NREM: This stage is considered a deep sleep. This is the longest of the four stages of sleep.
  • Stage 3 NREM: This is the stage that helps you wake up feeling refreshed. Stage 3 NREM is longer at first but decreases through the night.
  • REM: This stage begins 90 minutes after you fall asleep. The duration of the REM stage decreases the older you get. You will eventually spend more time in the NREM stages.

The four stages repeat, in order, throughout the night with each stage lasting around 90-120 minutes. That means you will spend roughly 75%-80% of your sleep in the NREM stages.

How Much Sleep Do We Need?

Different age groups require different amounts of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation provides a chart with the recommended amount of sleep for different ages per day.

Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation

Lack of sleep can affect how someone feels and acts. Symptoms vary depending on the person and the seriousness of their sleep deprivation.  Some of the symptoms of sleep deprivation include:

  • Slowed thinking
  • Reduced attention span
  • Worsened memory
  • Poor/risky decision making
  • Lack of energy
  • Mood changes

Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep

If you have trouble sleeping, try these tips:

  • Get up at the same time each day, even on the weekends
  • Go to bed when you are sleepy
  • Put away electronics 2 hours before bed
  • Create a comfortable sleep environment
  • Limit caffeine
  • Avoid or limit alcohol
  • Stick to a routine with meals, exercise, and other activities

Additional habits that can interfere with your sleep are smoking and naps. Naps interfere with a good night’s sleep if they are longer than 30 minutes. Avoid taking naps in the late afternoon. In some cases, you may want to avoid naps all together.

Resources

Pacheco, D. (2022, March 11). Why Do We Need Sleep?. Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/why-do-we-need-sleep

Suni, E. (2022, March 11). Healthy Sleep Tips. Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/healthy-sleep-tips

Suni, E. (2022, March 18). Sleep Deprivation . Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-deprivation

Bertisch, S. (2018, November 5). No More Counting Sheep: Proven Behaviors to Help you Sleep. Harvard Healthy Publising. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/no-more-counting-sheep-proven-behaviors-to-help-you-sleep-2018110515313

Written by: Megan Zwick, Program Assistant, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County.

Reviewed by: Amanda Bohlen, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County.

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Going on vacation may seem like a great excuse to overindulge, but just because you are going on vacation does not mean you should take a break from your health. A healthy vacation allows you to enjoy your trip and be physically, mentally, and emotionally restored.

Here are a few areas to keep in mind as you plan for a healthy vacation.

Meals/Eating   

Healthy meal of salmon and vegetables

Try to stick to your normal routine, including normal number of meals and snacks. Try to eat at your usual times; consuming your typical portion. Most restaurants post their menus online so you can plan ahead to find restaurants that have healthier options. Pack or stop at a local store to keep healthy snacks on hand, or even visit a local farmers market for fresh produce. If you are staying at a hotel with breakfast opt for healthier options like eggs, yogurt, and fruit. If your vacation rental or hotel has kitchen appliances, stock with healthy snacks and breakfast items can save both your waistline and your wallet.

Did you know if you are thirsty that your body is already dehydrated? Dehydration can lead to mood changes, headaches, and feelings of fatigue. Stay hydrated during travel and throughout each day, especially when visiting warmer climates, when being more active, or indulging in alcohol. Make accessing water easier and reduce waste by add an empty water bottle to your packing list.

Activity/Exercise

Depending on your vacation style you may need to have a plan to be active. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of activity each day. Explore the town on foot, rent a bicycle, look up local hikes, or utilize the hotel gym. During your travel days find time to stand up, stretch, and move. Walk the concourse during layovers, stroll around a rest area, or stretch throughout your journey.

Sun safety gear, hat

Sun Safety  

Wherever you are traveling be sure to prioritize sun safety. Pack water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF (Sun Protection Factor). Apply 30 minutes before heading outside and reapply every 2 hours, especially if swimming or sweating. There is no such thing as a safe or base level tan. Avoid tanning beds and long unprotected exposure to the sun. Pack or buy a fun new hat and try renting an umbrella if spending the day at the beach.

Sleep/Rest

Prioritize sleep and rest during your trip, not every second of every day must be filled. Allow for the recommended eight hours of sleep each night and capitalize on being away. Enjoy some down time during your trip to help restore your mind and body.

 When you prioritize your health and include these tips in your vacation plan you will find your mind and body more rested and restored when you return from your healthy vacation.

Written by: Laura Halladay, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Greene County.

Reviewed by: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Miami County.

Sources:

Brinkman, P. (2016, February 18). Keeping sun safe. Ohioline. Retrieved March 2, 2022, from https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hsc-7

Harvard Medical School. (n.d.). Consequences of insufficient sleep. Consequences of Insufficient Sleep | Healthy Sleep. Retrieved March 2, 2022, from https://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/consequences

Moser, M. (2012, May 30). Don’t let vacation go to waist. Chow Line. Retrieved March 2, 2022, from https://u.osu.edu/chowline/2012/05/30/dont-let-vacation-go-to-waist/

Poitras, C. (2012, February 21). Even mild dehydration can alter mood. UConn Today. Retrieved March 2, 2022, from https://today.uconn.edu/2012/02/even-mild-dehydration-can-alter-mood/

Photo Credit:

Marijana1 via Pixabay – Summer-Sun protection items https://pixabay.com/photos/summer-summer-flat-lay-flat-lay-3490611/

YenniVance via Pixabay – Healthy meal with salmon and veggies  https://pixabay.com/photos/salmon-food-healthy-dinner-meal-1312372/

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fresh strawberries and flowers

Join the “Spring Into Wellness” Email Challenge Now!

Challenge Dates: April 4 – May 15, 2022

Topics Covered:

  • Financial Wellness
  • Social Wellness
  • Intellectual Wellness
  • Creative Wellness
  • Environmental Wellness
  • Emotional Wellness
  • Physical Wellness
  • Occupational Wellness
  • Spiritual Wellness
  • Balance

What is the cost? It’s FREE!!

Who can participate? Any adult with an email account.

How do I sign up? Look at this chart and find your county. Go to the link beside your county and register before March 28, 2022.

County Registration Link
Belmont go.osu.edu/LHLWBelmont
Brown go.osu.edu/LHLWclermontbrown
Butler go.osu.edu/LHLWButler
Carroll go.osu.edu/LHLWCarroll
Champaign go.osu.edu/LHLWChampaign
Clark go.osu.edu/LHLWClark
Clermont go.osu.edu/LHLWclermontbrown
Coshocton go.osu.edu/LHLWCoshocton
Darke go.osu.edu/LHLWdarmerpreb
Defiance go.osu.edu/LHLWnwohio
Fairfield go.osu.edu/LHLWFairfield
Franklin go.osu.edu/LHLWFranklin
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Hancock go.osu.edu/LHLWHancock
Hardin go.osu.edu/LHLWHardin
Henry go.osu.edu/LHLWnwohio
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Holmes go.osu.edu/LHLWHolmtusc
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Licking go.osu.edu/LHLWLicking
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Mercer go.osu.edu/LHLWdarmerpreb
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Morrow go.osu.edu/LHLWMorrow
Ottawa go.osu.edu/LHLWOttawaSandusky
Paulding go.osu.edu/LHLWpauputvw
Perry go.osu.edu/LHLWPerry
Pickaway go.osu.edu/LHLWPickaway
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Preble go.osu.edu/LHLWdarmerpreb
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Trumbull go.osu.edu/LHLWTrumbull
Van Wert go.osu.edu/LHLWPauputvw
Warren go.osu.edu/LHLWWarren
Washington go.osu.edu/LHLWWashington
Williams go.osu.edu/LHLWnwohio
Wood go.osu.edu/LHLWWood

If your county isn’t listed, you may register with this link:

go.osu.edu/lhlwopen

For more information, contact Lisa Barlage, barlage.7@osu.edu or Roseanne Scammahorn scammahorn.5@osu.edu. 

Spring into Wellness with Extension!

Sponsored by Ohio State University Extension

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As a Registered Dietitian, I love when February rolls around! I break out my wardrobe of red and heart themes to raise awareness of heart disease and best practices to take care of your heart in honor of American Heart Month

In January of this year, we learned of a new study led by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health revealing people who consume higher amounts of olive oil may lower their risk of premature death overall from specific causes including cardiovascular disease.  According to this study, swapping out the butter or other artery-clogging fats in your diet may add years to your life. 

This study revealed that individuals consuming more than a ½ tablespoon of olive oil daily are less likely to die from heart disease, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or lung disease when compared to people who consume less of this healthy fat.

Researchers encourage individuals to pay attention to their overall diet quality and lifestyle. A key factor is to add olive oil into the diet as a substitution for other, unhealthier fats. Olive oil is rich in healthy antioxidants, polyphenols, and vitamins and is a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

After this study was revealed, a great discussion was held with my colleagues.  We were encouraged by the results of this new information and began examining how to add more olive oil into our diets.

We determined that replacing a fat is different from adding one to your diet, and one of the easiest ways to replace butter and other animal fats is with olive oil. To make an easy transition and introduce olive oil into our diets, if a recipe contains butter, cut out half the butter and replace it with olive oil. Introducing more olive oil into our diets can also be accomplished with using infused olive oil to flavor whole grains, vegetables, and proteins, or by  dipping bread into olive oil bread dip. This easy and healthy dip is made by combining high quality extra virgin olive oil (richer in flavor and intended for dipping) with spices such as garlic powder, oregano, rosemary, basil, or crushed red pepper flakes. Use a crusty bread or Artisan loaf for dipping.

Living heart-healthy involves understanding your risk, making choices, and taking steps to reduce your chances of getting heart disease. By taking these preventive measures, you can lower your risk of developing heart disease and improve your overall health and well-being.

Written by:       Beth Stefura, RD,LD, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Mahoning County,                The Ohio State University, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:     Jenny Lobb, RD,LD, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County, The Ohio State University, lobb.3@osu.edu

References

American College of Cardiology (2022). Higher olive oil intake associated with lower risk of CVD mortality. Science Daily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220110145249.htm

American Heart Association (2021). Saturated Fat. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/saturated-fats

Gordon, B. (2021). Choose Healthy Fats. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/dietary-guidelines-and-myplate/choose-healthy-fats

Palmer, S. (2011). Olive Oil California Style! This Golden-Green Liquid Is Fragrant, Flavorful, and Bursting With Heart Health Benefits. Today’s Dietitian. https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/100111p30.shtml

Webb, D. (2013). Phytochemicals’ Role in Good Health. Today’s Dietitian. https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/090313p70.shtml.

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At a recent conference, the guest speaker said, “I have the power to change my own weather and so do you.” Meaning, we each have control over our emotional and behavioral reactions to our thoughts creating either a nice breezy day or a stormy day.  Let’s face it, we can’t stop every thought that pops into our heads.  However, we can pause and ask ourselves four things:

  • Is my thought rational or irrational?
  • What am I feeling because of this thought?
  • What is this feeling telling me about how I view this situation?
  • How do I want to react to this feeling?

It is through these questions that we have the power to change our own weather. Many times, we have created our own go-to pattern which results in stormy weather.

For example, someone cuts us off in traffic:

  • Thought: “What a jerk!” “They could hurt someone!”
  • Emotion: Anger and Fear
  • (Go-to) Reaction: Become irritable, yell, or worse, road rage!

Here is where we can choose to change our weather:

  • Thought: “What a jerk!” “They could hurt someone!”
    • Is my thought rational or irrational? We don’t know why they cut us off. Maybe they are on their way to an emergency and are distracted. Maybe we were in their blind spot (it has happened to all of us). Or maybe they are that bad of a driver.
    • NEW Thought: “WOW, that wasn’t any fun, but I am glad I have cat-like, smooth driving skills!”
  • Emotion: Anger and fear
    • What am I feeling because of this thought? The need for safety is at our core, hard-wired into each of us, think fight, flight, freeze response. Typically fear and anger arise when our safety is feeling threatened, so it wouldn’t be uncommon to identify anger as the emotional, and logical reaction, to this situation.
    • What is this feeling telling me about how I view this situation? This anger may be telling you that you feel afraid. It may also be some residual fear from a negative driving experience from your past and really doesn’t have to do with the current experience.
    • NEW Emotion: That was really scary, but I am OK.
  • Reaction: Become irritable, yell, or worse, road rage!
    • How do I want to react emotionally or physically? Becoming irritable, yelling at the other driver, or displaying road rage might immediately make us feel like we have taken corrective action, but in the long run, has it created stormy weather? Will this situation matter in 5 hours, 5 days or 5 weeks from now? Have we just endangered others because of our reaction?
    • NEW Reaction: I let it go and move on with the rest of my drive, thankful that I am safe.

WE do have the POWER to change our own weather, by choosing how we will react to our thoughts and emotions. Although it will take some practice to not rely on my “go-to” reactions, I think my future forecast is less ‘partly cloudy with a chance of rain’ and more ‘warm temperatures and sunshine!’  

Written by: Roseanne Scammahorn, Ph.D., Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Darke County

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

Sources

Golden, B. (2021, March 20). Fear and Anger: Similarities, Differences, and Interaction. Psychology Today.  Retrieved on January 6, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/overcoming-destructive-anger/202103/fear-and-anger-similarities-differences-and-interaction

Governors State University. (nd). Rational Vs. Irrational: The 3 Key Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Beliefs. Retrieved on January 6, 2022, from https://www.govst.edu/uploadedFiles/Academics/Colleges_and_Programs/CHHS/Departments/Addictions_Studies_and_Behavioral_Health/Recovery_Coaching_Rational_vs_Irrational_3_questions.pdf

Mayo Clinic. (2019, March 16). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Retrieved on January 6, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cognitive-behavioral-therapy/about/pac-20384610

Trauma Recovery. (nd). Fight, Flight, Freeze Responses. Manitoba Trauma Information and Education Centre, Retrieved on January 6, 2022, from https://trauma-recovery.ca/impact-effects-of-trauma/fight-flight-freeze-responses/

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2022

Do you pick a resolution each year? I know I do. This year I chose to create a healthier life for myself. After about two weeks or so, I tend lose focus and step off course. If you are anything like me, it can be difficult to get back on track. I am going to share a few tips and tricks that I find helpful to sticking with my new year resolution.

When I am choosing my resolution, I choose something that has smaller targets to push me to accomplish the end goal in mind. If I chose to live a healthier life, that is my end goal. I like to set up list of objectives to accomplish each month, that will get me closer to the end goal. The objectives that I incorporated into my monthly plan are:

            1. Don’t buy soda for a month

            2. Go to the gym, take a walk, or any physical activity three-four times a week

            3. Write a journal entry three nights a week

When you break down your resolution into smaller sections, it does not look as intimidating. The above objectives cover three months out of the year. With just 12 objectives in mind, you can reach your end goal, without realizing it. There are several other tips and trick to help you stick to your New Year’s resolution.

Steps for making your New Year’s Resolution Stick:

  1. Dream big
  2. Understand why you shouldn’t make a change
  3. Commit yourself
  4. Give yourself a medal
  5. Learn from the past
  6. Give thanks to what you do

Something to keep in mind is that you want a goal that will be realistic. Have you ever heard of a S.M.A.R.T. Goal? This is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time. This means that you want to set specific goals that can be watched and measured. It also needs to be something that can be achievable and relevant to your life. Keep the time frame realistic and accurate to fit your lifestyle. Take a closer look to help you understand how to create S.M.A.R.T. Goals that fit your life.

Something that works for me, may not work for someone else. This case is true in almost every situation. Test new ways to do things, until you find the right fit for yourself. Even though it may take a while, it is important to remember the reasons why. Why am I doing this? Why should I do this? Remembering the reasons why can help keep you motivated.

Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, shared information on S.M.A.R.T. Goals on Extension Today. Watch the video below to learn more!

Check out the resources below to learn more about sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions!

Author: Megan Zwick, Family and Consumer Sciences Program Assistant, OSU Extension Washington County

Reviewer: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, M.Ed., OSU Extension Washington County

Resources:

Miller, J. A. (n.d.). How to make (and keep) a new year’s resolution. The New York Times. Retrieved December 17, 2021, from https://www.nytimes.com/guides/smarterliving/resolution-ideas

Seven Steps for Making your New Year’s Resolutions Stick. Harvard Health. (2020, November 24). Retrieved December 17, 2021, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/seven-steps-for-making-your-new-years-resolutions-stick

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This time of year, people are reflecting on the previous year and making resolutions. Most of the time, those new resolutions only last a few days or weeks, and they are forgotten by February. The start of a new year is the perfect time for a fresh start and an opportunity to change bad habits, that can help you grow emotionally, socially, physically, or psychologically. 

Take your time planning and choosing your resolution. Creating a detailed plan will assist you in sticking to your goal. Write down the strategies you will implement, the steps you will take, and why you want to do it. This will help keep you on track. 

Remember to be realistic when making your resolution and make one change at a time.  Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to change everything at once. Take control of one habit and then move to another. For example:  If your resolution is to change an eating habit, take one small simple step at a time. Step one: Drink more water. Step two: Start the day by eating a healthy breakfast. Step three: Add more activity each week. Focusing on one small change instead of big changes will help you accomplish your goal. 

Reward yourself. Set little rewards for meeting your goals or steps along the way to help you stay motivated. Make the reward something that will encourage you to stay on track and motivated to keep moving toward your goal.

Sometimes, changes involve setbacks. Don’t give up on your goal. If you mess up and stray from your plan, think about the reasons you want to change. Get back on track and make it happen. 

Sources:

Clear, J. (2021) How To Start New Habits that Actually Stick.  https://jamesclear.com/three-steps-habit-change

Kliff, S. (2014).  The Science of Actually Keeping Your New Year’s Resolution.  https://www.vox.com/2014/12/29/7434433/new-years-resolutions-psychology

The Ohio State Univeristy. (2021, June 28). Creating Healthy Habits that Last. Retrieved on December 15, 2021, https://recsports.osu.edu/articles/creating-healthy-habits-that-last/

Written by:  Kellie Lemly M.Ed., Family Consumer Science Educator, OSU Extension, Champaign County, lemly.2@osu.edu

Reviewer: Roseanne Scammahorn, Ph.D. Family Consumer Science Educator, OSU Extension, Darke County, scammahron.5@osu.edu

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The holiday season is here!  Holiday celebrations often center around food.  We plan to manage our healthy meal plan during the holidays and avoid weight gain yet find ourselves in the office breakroom with a tray of cookies, opening the door to your neighbors’ famous peanut butter fudge or get an invite to go out with friends.   Here are some tips to help maintain weight over the holidays:

  • Eat your fruits and vegetables.  Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits.  They will satisfy your appetite and induce fullness.
  • Keep moving.  Manage your daily physical activity.  Be active daily!
  • Treat yourself just once a day!  Enjoy that one item daily.  Take a smaller serving.  Cut out an extra 100 calories later in the day.
  • Control the risk of temptation.  Clear your home and office of tempting holiday goodies. Share any gifts of foods.
  • Balance protein intake.  Holiday meals tend to be higher in carbohydrates and low in protein. Include protein with every meal.
  • Never go to a party hungry.  Eat a serving of fruit, yogurt, or raw nuts before you leave for the party. Don’t linger over the buffet table.
  • Get plenty of sleep.  Those who do not sleep adequately tend to be hungrier, consume more calories and exercise less. 
  • Manage stress.  Holidays are often stressful and stressed individuals have higher cortisol levels which is linked to increased hunger and weight gain.

Socialize with friends and family at holiday gatherings and limit access to buffet and dessert tables.  Choose from the crudities tray. Happy Holidays!

Written by Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator, Mahoning County stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:Michelle Treber, OSU Extension Educator, Pickaway County  treber.1osu.edu

References:   

Holiday Eating – Today’s Dietitian Magazine (todaysdietitian.com)

https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/1215p20.shtmlMay Your Holiday Season Be Light: How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain (todaysdietitian.com)

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Although living in the moment and planning for the future might sound like a contradiction, research shows the value of both. In defining mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn specifically says that it is “in the present moment.” How can I be mindful and also plan ahead for a successful future?  

In 2020, researchers found that during the pandemic lockdown, those who used proactive coping were able to avoid additional stress, or at least reduce its negative impacts. Proactive coping is when people make plans and take steps to change or reduce potential stress for future events. Researchers recommend continuing to make informed plans, even in uncertain times. Other studies highlight the positive role that anticipation plays when we are looking into the future, waiting for a pleasing event like a vacation. Anticipation for a positive event can bring us enjoyment while proactive coping for a potentially negative event may help reduce stress.  

Sometimes future events are very large such as starting a new school or job. Other times, future events are as basic as daily routines. In a previous Live Healthy Live Well blog, titled My Future Self, the author described how the things we do today affect who we are tomorrow. Some basic examples of daily routines that shape our successful future could include meal planning, family decisions, and scheduling exercise.

The goal is to not spend time and energy worrying about the future. We cannot control future events, but there is value in anticipating positive results. When making future plans and putting action steps into place, it’s worth asking:

  • Am I preparing for future success or am I worrying about future things I cannot control?
  • Am I taking pleasure in looking forward to future events?
  • Am I being present, now, in this moment as I take appropriate steps for future success?

Here are a few life examples of plans and action steps now for a successful future later:

  1. Practicing the musical instrument now to be able to pick up and improvise a jazz performance
  2. Practicing mindfulness now for additional benefits later
  3. Packing now for a week-end trip
  4. Choosing flower seeds now for next year’s garden
  5. Choosing a greeting card or gift now to share later with a loved one
  6. Reading and studying now to test later
  7. Childproofing living room now for toddler grandchildren to visit later
  8. Buying groceries now for meals later this week
  9. Prayers of gratitude now for unknown future blessings
  10. Reading this blog now with plans to use the information sooner than later

What steps are you taking now in planning for success in the future?

References:

Kumar, A., Killingsworth, M., and Gilovich, T. (2014, August 21). Waiting for merlot: Anticipatory consumption of experiential and material purchases. Psychological Science.

Marrison, E. (2019). My Future Self. Live Healthy Live Well. Ohio State University. https://livehealthyosu.com/2019/12/12/my-future-self/

Pearman, Hughes, Smith, & Neupert, 2020  https://web.ncsu.edu/accolades-magazine/2020/10/15/quiz-pandemic-stress-busters/index.html

Polk, M., Smith, E.,  Zhang, L.,  and Neupert, S., (2020). Thinking ahead and staying in the present: Implications for reactivity to daily stressors, Personality and Individual Differences. Volume 161. 2020 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886920301604

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Photo credit: Pixabay

Written by: Patrice Powers-Barker, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Lucas County

Reviewed by: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Perry County

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