Tag Archives: healthy

Boost Your Healthy Eating Habits This National Nutrition Month

By Adrianna Bradley

March is National Nutrition Month and DHEC has tips to help you make healthy food choices today.

“If you want to make the move toward eating healthier, choose one or two things to change,” said Phyllis Allen, MS, RD, state director of Public Health Nutrition. “Don’t instantly try to change everything you eat. When you make too many changes it will make it harder to stick with new habits.”

With this year’s theme, “Put Your Best Fork Forward,” DHEC is continuing its efforts in our communities teaching various age groups the importance of eating a well-balanced meal and living a more active lifestyle.

Healthy eating can help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, and reduce the risk for a number of chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. DHEC is actively working to decrease the number of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease with programs like Cooking Matters. The program teaches adults how to prepare and shop for healthy meals on a limited budget.  Currently, the economic cost of obesity in South Carolina is an estimated $8.5 billion per year and growing.

“Parents are important role models for their children,” Allen said. “Set a good example by eating healthy and your children will eat healthy too.”

Tips to help develop better habits

Here are some tips to help you develop sound eating and physical activity habits. Remember, making small changes in your food choices can lead to better health.

  1. Eat breakfast: Start your morning with a healthy breakfast that includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.12003
  2. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Fruits and veggies add color, flavor, and texture plus vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your plate. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal. Experiment with different types, including fresh, frozen and canned.
  3. Watch portion sizes: Get out the measuring cups and see how close your portions are to the recommended serving size.
  4. Be active: Start by doing what exercise you can for at least 10 minutes at a time. Children and teens should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day, and adults should get two hours and 30 minutes per week.
  5. Fix healthy snacks: Healthy snacks can sustain your energy levels between meals, especially when they include a combination of foods.
  6. Get to know food labels: Reading the Nutrition Facts panel can help you eat or drink smarter.
  7. Get cooking: Preparing foods at home can be healthy, rewarding and cost-effective. Resolve to learn some cooking and kitchen basics.
  8. Dine out without ditching your goals: Plan ahead, ask questions and choose foods carefully. Compare nutrition information, if available, and look for healthier options that are grilled, baked, broiled or steamed.
  9. Drink more water: Quench your thirst by drinking water instead of sugary drinks.
  10. Cut back on added sugars: Foods and drinks with added sugars equal empty calories and little or no nutrition. Reviewing ingredients on the food label helps identify sources of added sugar.

It’s Game Time: Healthier Super Bowl Food

By Adrianna Bradley

The Super Bowl, coming up this weekend, is often a time to indulge in chicken wings, pizza and alcoholic beverages.  While tasty, many of these foods are high in fat, sugar, salt and calories. We have some nutritious alternatives to satisfy your taste buds, and still walk away a winner.

Also, here’s some healthy tips from our Office of Nutrition to help you enjoy game day.

  • Start your day with exercise: It is easy to skip exercise on game day. Score a touchdown by starting the day off with a little exercise. Go for a brisk 30-minute walk, jog or run, or pop in an exercise DVD.  It does not matter what you, just that you do it!
  • Eat before the party: Take a timeout to eat a healthy meal before the party. If you show up hungry you are more likely to overeat.
  • Focus on fruits and veggies: Intercept calories from fat and sugar, and reduce your salt intake by filling your plate with fresh fruits and veggies. If you are hosting, provide healthy alternatives to your guests to provide balance on the plate.
  • Monitor your portion sizes: Stay inbounds with your calories for the day.  Make a plate of snacks and walk away from the table. Avoid mindlessly eating more than you need.
  • Remember beverages count too: Drink water or provide a fruit-flavored water to your guests as an alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda and sweet tea. If you are consuming alcoholic beverages, practice proper portion sizes: Limit your alcoholic beverages to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men.

Strive for a safer, healthier life in 2017

In 2017, be purposeful about changing habits, taking precautions and instituting preventive measures aimed at improving your health and quality of life. Making the right decisions could make 2017 your healthiest yet.

A few tips to consider

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you:

  • Be smokefree. If you are ready to quit, call the S.C. Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), or for services in Spanish, call 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569). Read this blog post to learn more. For more information on the S.C. Tobacco Quitline, visit the DHEC website.
  • Protect yourself from injury or disease by wearing a helmet when biking, using sunscreen when outdoors and insect repellent to protect yourself from mosquito-borne illnesses.
  • Make an appointment for a check-up, vaccination or screening. Regular health exams and tests can help find problems early or even before they start.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water to prevent the spread of infection and illness.
  • Make healthy food choices. A healthy eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts, and is low in saturated fats, transfats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugars.
  • Be active to improve overall health. Exercise. Also, try simple things such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Get enough sleep. Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression.

More information is available

For more assistance in making 2017 your healthiest year yet, visit the CDC website.

Healthy fathers make Father’s Day happier

Father’s Day in the United States is always held on the third Sunday of June and people across the country take time to celebrate the contribution fathers and those who serve as father figures make daily in the lives of their children.

While fathers should enjoy the gifts and glory that come with Father’s Day, they also should give themselves and their families a gift in return: a lifelong dedication to healthy living.

Fathers, that means taking good care of yourself. Men are at a higher risk than women for many deadly health conditions and die an average of five years younger than women, so it’s important to be proactive. Eat right. Exercise regularly. Visit the doctor. Stay healthy and strong in mind and body. Maintain a healthy work-life balance. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy being the best dad you can be:

QuitSmokingFathersDay

Live tobacco free

Old habits die hard, but even worse they can get picked up by your kids who look up to you. Tobacco use increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and infertility. Whether you smoke, dip or vape, quitting tobacco today will make a difference you can feel. Call 1-800-Quit-Now or visit www.scdhec.gov/QuitForKeeps for free 24/7 help from trained Quit Coaches.

Make mental wellness a priority

Being a dad can sometimes feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, but you don’t need to feel like you are carrying a burden alone. Depression often goes undiagnosed in male patients and men are four times more likely to commit suicide. Visit your doctor, talk to a trusted friend and ask questions so you can get help feeling your best.

Eat well

Eating right means establishing a daily diet that includes a variety of fruits, dark green, starchy and other vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals. If you have a history of prediabetes or diabetes, limit your starches. Eat a variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds and soy products. Stick to fat-free or low-fat dairy, limit fried dishes and skip saturated fats altogether.

Get moving

Find a new hobby or make time for your favorite one and build up your energy and your strength by doing something you love. Running, swimming, hiking, golf, soccer, fencing, tennis, paddling, walking man’s best friend or even yard work are all great ways to get outside, enjoy some fresh air and get some exercise. Make time for yourself – 30 minutes five days a week is recommended.

Stay on schedule

No one likes going to the doctor, but regular check-ups can actually help you see a doctor less by keeping you healthy before problems start. Follow suggested checkup and screening guidelines.

With proper rest, diet, exercise and other preventive health measures, men can live longer, happier lives. And that, for sure, would make for many more Happy Father’s Days to come.

Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions

By Bryony Wardell

The coming of a new year is an opportunity to make some positive changes, and 2016 could be your best year yet. Here are DHEC’s top 5 resolutions to live better – and we’ll even help you achieve them.

  1. Be A QuitterQuit Tobacco:  No matter how long you’ve used tobacco or what your age is – quitting this year will make a difference you can feel.You don’t have to go it alone!

    The S.C. Tobacco Quitline is a free counseling service that can help you deal with cravings, identify triggers, develop a quit plan and get free resources like nicotine gum and patches to help you quit. You can do it! Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

  2. recycle binRecycle: Recycling is something easy that you can do that helps supports South Carolina’s economy and helps keep the state beautiful and clean.  Did you know that aluminum cans, plastic bottles, paper, glass and a wide variety of other items like motor oil and tires can all be recycled?

    Some communities have curbside recycling programs or you can simply collect your recyclables and drop them off at a location nearby. You’ll be amazed at how many recyclables you collect! To find out what and where to recycle in your community, click here.

  3. Eat Well: Good nutrition plays an important role in helping you live a healthier, fuller life. Make a few easy choices to start your year off eating right:

    eat well apply pear tape-Switch out empty calorie snacks like potato chips with a fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt or carrot sticks with peanut butter or hummus.

    Trade in sodas and sweet tea for unsweet tea, water, or skim milk.

    Skip fried or fatty foods. Choose lean meats that are baked or broiled and dig in on raw, steamed or boiled fresh vegetables and whole grains. Learn more!

  4. Exercise: run on boardwalk air-quality-iStock_000001189470MediumKeeping your body moving can add years to your life and life to your years, and it can help you lose those pesky pounds too.

    Whether you like to walk, ride your bike, go to the gym or dance to your favorite music in your living room – getting your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes a day is a resolution you’ll love to keep.Find inspiration and exercise resources at Let’s Go SC – Move More.

  5. Make a Difference In Your Community: pick up litterLiving in a healthy community with clean air, water and land can improve your quality of life. And, you can help make it happen.

    – Put litter in the trash or recycling bin, not on the ground and help pick up litter in your community.

    – You can improve air quality with energy-saving habits like turning off the lights when you leave a room. Or, look for opportunities to drive less by carpooling or walking / cycling shorter distances.

    – Help keep SC’s rivers and coastal environments clean. Never dump trash, oil or debris of any kind down a drain, storm drain or into a waterway. Get more pollution prevention ideas here.

Whether you pick one resolution or five, 2016 is your opportunity to live better. For more information on helping healthy people living in healthy communities, please visit www.scdhec.gov.