Quick Switches For A Healthier Day

A friend of mine asked for ideas of things to switch out to live a more healthful lifestyle.
Here are my suggestions!  (You go girl!)

For Food…

-Cucumber slices instead of tortilla chips.  Dip in fresh salsa for a veggie-full, delicious snack!

-Water (flavored or plain) instead of fruit-flavored drinks and soda

-Low-fat and high protein yogurt or pudding instead of ice cream

-Wheat bread instead of white

-Two slices of low-calorie toast instead of a huge bagel (that’s saving you over a 100 calories easily)

-Corn Tortillas instead of Flour Tortillas

– A Popsicle instead of a bowl of ice cream (it’s 50 calories per serving instead of 120- and that’s for
low-fat ice cream!)

-Grilled veggies or meat instead of stir-fried

-Skip the mayo and try a mustard (plain, spicy or honey flavored) instead

-Apple slices with honey or a little PB instead of cookies

-Egg whites instead of the whole egg

-Darker green salads instead of iceberg- more vitamins!

-Omelettes with lots of veggies instead of lots of cheese

-Oranges, tangerines or grapefruit instead of anything- citrus curbs your appetite!

-Strawberries with fat-free cool whip or a little sugar-free chocolate syrup instead of cake

-Cucumber slices, or grilled zucchini or eggplant with a little salt or Mrs. Dash instead of chips

-A baked potato instead of french fries

-A turkey burger or dog instead of all beef (There are great-tasting substitutes now.  My husband even likes
them and he is a carnivore!)

-Lean chicken on my sandwiches instead of ham (with LOTS of veggies, of course!)

-All veggie lasagna, spaghetti, pizza or manicotti.  Anything with pasta should easily be done meatless because you’re already getting lots of filling food from the grains.

-All veggie taco salad, tacos, burritos.  Another easy entree to do meatless once you’re using beans and cheese.

-Homemade pizza instead of ordered.  Try new toppings- broccoli, pineapple, chicken, fresh tomatoes after it’s done baking.  Make eating interesting!

-Homemade ANYTHING instead of ordered

-All fruit smoothies- no ice cream or added sugar

-Use smaller plates and bowls.  You will see the food take up more space and think you’re eating more.  Also, even if you fill your plate or bowl it won’t be as much food.  You can always get more food on there later if it’s not enough, but if it’s there to start with you are more likely to eat something you don’t need.

-Cereals high in fiber and protein with lots of milk.  Try measuring out the portion size to see how much you are usually eating in comparison.

-Mozzarella cheese instead of cheddar (it’s lower in fat)

– Have dessert once a week or even more occasionally.  If it’s not every day you will appreciate and enjoy
it more when you do have it.

-Celebrate by DOING something with someone you love- watch a movie, play a game, visit…instead of
“treating” yourself to food.

-Even though it can be hard, keep a food journal for a while.  Write down everything you eat to see how much and how often you are consuming.  Most adults need between 1500 and 2500 calories a day.  See how you’re doing.  Is there something you can reasonably cut out from your diet to help you live a more healthful and happy life?  Then do it! 🙂

-Peaches instead of something sweet

-Pickles instead of something salty

Basically, if I get a food craving I ask myself “Is it sweet or salty?”  If it’s sweet I try to satisfy it with fruit first, then yogurt or low-sugar pudding, my chocolate-flavored calcium chew or finally a Popsicle.
If it’s a salty craving, I start with cucumber slices slightly sprinkled or a stick of string cheese, or a few slices of lean poultry sandwich meat.  And if I’m hungry but don’t think I really should be yet, I drink water or have some celery or salad.

For Exercising…these are ways to get some more movement (and therefore burn more calories) during your day! Please remember that I am not a doctor and you should consult yours before beginning any exercise routine.

-Take the stairs 🙂

-Park far away so you have to walk further

-Walk through every aisle when you are grocery shopping (except the chip aisle! :))  You will definitely walk farther and you might discover some healthy food options you hadn’t considered before.

-Do squats, sit-ups, jumping jacks, jog in place, stretch, step up and down on one of those cool exercise steps or anything else while you are watching TV.  I keep hand weights and one of those elastic bands in a basket by our entertainment center.  TV time is often my exercise time, in that I don’t get to watch my show and sit on my butt until I’ve paid the price. 🙂  If it takes time to get used to this, try exercising during commercial breaks or for 5 solid minutes and then resting for ten.  Using that second idea you will get 20 minutes of exercise in during an hour-long program and that ain’t too shabby!  Plus, if you have little ones you are setting a great example for them.  They might even join you!

-Ride a bike or walk instead of driving

-Pushing a stroller?  Jog while you push it instead.

-Don’t have a jogging stroller?  So lunges while you move instead of walking.  This is a great workout and the stroller is there for some support too.  Will you feel dumb doing this? Probably- but ignore that negative inner voice!  Will you look silly doing this?  Maybe to some, but you will also look like you are health-conscious and might inspire someone else!  Will you get stronger from doing this?  Definitely!  So try it out!

-Do squats while you switch your laundry

-Do plies, squeeze your gluteus maximus or stand on your tiptoes while you do dishes or anything else that requires standing for a long time

-Play with your kids (or someone else’s- most parents could use a break!) Play tag, leapfrog, lift them up to work out your arms, run with them on your back, give them a horsey ride, swing them around, push them on a swing…the possibilities are endless and are pretty much all exhausting!

-Jump!  On a trampoline, with a jump rope, on someone else’s bed…lot’s of cities have facilities full of bounce houses for all ages.  We spent Sophia’s birthday at one..now that’s an awesome “activity” in more than one sense of the word!

-Try new classes at the local gym

-Try new fitness workouts on Netflix, on YouTube, rent fitness DVDs from the library or trade with a friend.  Mix it up so your mind and body don’t get bored!  This idea of variation comes from my best high school friend who has been exercising 6 days a week for the past 10 years!

-Go walking with a friend.  Or in other words, go grocery shopping or to the mall with a friend- you will walk much further looking at all the things you both want to see.

-Or walk outside and multitask by getting your vitamin D at the same time.


-Play basketball or soccer with a friend.  You don’t have to be good, just move it! 🙂

-Get in plank position (push-up position) and hold it!  This is working your arms, abs, legs, all of you!

-Get enough sleep and good food for your body.  If your body isn’t rested and fueled properly it will be harder to keep it moving.

-Turn on some upbeat music.  You will probably find yourself moving faster and more motivated!

-Dance!  Have a daily dance party-3 of your favorite songs at least. Dance alone or with your sweetheart or your kids.  Some of our favorite dance songs are Trains “Hey, Soul Sister,” Kris Allen’s “Live Like We’re Dying” and DJ Sammy’s “Heaven”…the extended remix of course!  Movement and good music will get your spirits up, a must for every day, especially if you are trying to live a more health-filled life.

I hope these tips help you get more healthy foods in your diet and movement in your day.  These are the changes I’ve made in the last few months that have made me stronger, slimmer and happier.



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