Field Editor Nancy Brown, featured in My Healthy Life on page 62 of the June/July 2010 issue of Healthy Cooking, shares her no-nonsense secrets to a healthy lifestyle and hints to promote her family's health, too. Here are a few "bonus" tips you can try at home!
Keep exercise fun
"I tend to be serious about everything I do, so I deliberately chose the mini-trampoline to feel like a kid again. It somehow makes my workout seem like child's-play. I sometimes grab a hula-hoop and turn on a song for the same reason. My kids like to join in and soon we're all dancing, laughing, having fun and getting a good workout."
"I do a lot of baking on the weekend so we have healthy treats throughout the week."
Share the wealth
"My children are sometimes surprised when a classmate has never heard of one of their favorite vegetables. Their friends have all been introduced to new foods at our house. Usually they like what we feed them and go home and ask for it. People have said they didn't like a certain vegetable (turns out it was from a can) and then are pleasantly surprised when they tried it fresh."
Keep it simple
"Instead of elaborate sauces, just use a sprinkling of herbs."
"I try to make meals eye-appealing by choosing a rainbow of colors for the side dishes. It helps me to slow down and really enjoy the food, which makes me feel more satisfied."
Have a well-stocked pantry
"The closest grocery store is 20 miles away, so it's important to keep the pantry stocked. I keep olive and canola oils, whole grain organic cereals and a variety of potatoes, garlic and onions in the pantry. I always have lots of frozen vegetables for quick and colorful sides. I keep whole grains like quinoa, bulgur, brown rice, flours and nuts in the freezer to keep them fresh. I watch for frozen wild-caught fish and all-natural chicken to go on sale at the grocery store and stock up on that."
Make a change
"I've recently switched to white whole wheat flour as a substitute for white flour. It has four times the fiber! It's great in pancakes, breads and most baked goods."
Work it in
"I try to plan at least two servings of fruits or vegetables at each meal. We also have fruit for dessert and snacks to ensure we're getting enough each day."
Get the kids involved
"My best trick is to let them help plan, shop for, cook or serve the meal. We're always talking about the beautiful quality, flavor and health benefits of foods as we do these things. My kids take pride in choosing and eating the best!"
Teaching your kids
"I've tried to teach the value of one's health without being too rigid. 'Everything in moderation,' I say. When we fall off the wagon, we talk about why we want to be healthy and buy lots of fresh fruits and veggies. They're so tempting, we get back on track effortlessly. I've noticed how much happier everyone is when they have energy from good food choices."
"When I'm gone all day, I take an insulated mug of tea and trail mix with me. I pack fresh fruit and whole grain crackers and keep organic granola bars in my car in case a drive-thru window tempts me. I fit in exercise by leaving my car parked when possible and take the stairs when I can."