Real Foods PLUS:  The Big Picture

For the last 12 weeks, you have been reading about and gathering ideas about what “real food” is and how it fits into a healthy, balanced diet. In addition to eating well, here are a few more ideas to help complete the big picture, as you and your family strive for healthier choices.

Adjust serving size.  Do a double check to make sure your serving sizes are appropriate.  Over the years, restaurant serving sizes have grown, and you are often offered more food at cheaper prices. Even at home, it’s hard to know how much is the right amount. You can refer to the chart pictured above to help you gauge what a serving size should look like.  Other simple strategies include sharing a meal when you go out for dinner, eating from smaller plates at home, and repacking supersize bags of snacks. 

Eat with your family at the dinner table. Eating dinner together as a family encourages healthy eating habits and sets an example for your kids as they grow into adults.  Studies show family dinners increase the intake of fruits and vegetables and those who regularly have family dinners also tend to eat fewer fried foods and drink less soda. Family dinners also provide opportunity for the family to stay connected.

Move more.   Sedentary living (prolonged periods of sitting throughout the day) has been linked to a variety of health issues from obesity to heart disease to depression. Adding more physical activity will help you and your kids feel less stressed, keep a healthy weight, and sleep better at night!  Everyone can add more movement to their day by spreading activity throughout the day.  Take the stairs. Park further from your destination.  Walk while talking on the phone. Limit screen time (not just for kids!) and take movement breaks during commercials.  Take family walks after dinner.

Get enough sleep.  Good sleep is one of the pillars of good health.  Lack of sleep is believed to be a contributing factor to weight gain, tied to hormones and lack of motivation to exercise. Poor sleeping patterns have also been linked to impaired immune function and depression. To improve your sleep quality, keep a consistent sleep routine. Decaffeinate yourself. Turn off daytime worries by finishing any next-day preparations about an hour before bed. Make your bed a sleep haven.  Don’t pay bills or write work reports in bed.  No TV.

Clearly, there are many factors that contribute to a healthy lifestyle.  The Rockford Real Food Revolution has been a 12 week effort to bring attention to the small changes you can make every day that will help you move toward a healthier future.  Celebrate every effort. Perfection is not required.  

Choices is proud to support your journey.