Your Family’s Guide to Hassle-Free Healthy Eating

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By Karen Weeks

Please check out

Elderwellness.net and contact her via karen@elderwellness.net

These days, we’re surrounded by sodas, ice cream, and fast food restaurants. Those things can be fun and convenient. However, it’s also good to get into the habit of eating healthy foods, especially if you’re a budding entrepreneur and dealing with the potential for burnout of managing your business and employees. So if you want to help your kids and yourself eat better and feel better, here are some tips from Dr. Stacey Naito to help.

What Is Healthy, Whole Food?

You may be wondering what “healthy” really means when it comes to your family’s food choices. Most health professionals agree that the healthiest foods contain adequate micronutrients and are unprocessed. A better way to think about this is to aim to choose whole foods or natural foods that have not been processed.

For example, chicken breast, spinach, quinoa, yams, and nuts are all whole foods because they have not been processed. On the other hand, cereal, white bread and french fries are not whole foods. Try to incorporate more whole foods into your family’s diet and try to get more gut-healthy probiotics from surprising sources like garlic and onions in order to boost your family’s digestive and mental health, as well as their immune system. Also, make sure to fuel your family for the day with a nutritious breakfast.

Why Eat Whole Foods?

By eating foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and healthy fats, your family will be getting the energy they need to survive and thrive. By avoiding processed food that is high in sodium, sugar, trans fat, and saturated fats, your family will also be protecting themselves from the dangers of obesity, heart disease, and even tooth decay. In addition to the physical ramifications of a poor diet, eating highly processed foods can impact your family’s mental health and make them feel more stressed, depressed and anxious. 

In essence, what we eat affects brain function, biochemical pathways and even the size of certain areas of the brain that regulate mood and emotion. Foods high in unhealthy fats and sugars are also highly addictive; the more we eat, the more we want. If you want your family to be healthy (both physically and mentally), you can counteract these effects by encouraging a diet that is rich in whole foods. 

In addition to health benefits, eating foods in their natural or whole state cuts down on the environmental impact of plastic food packaging. When you eat a banana, there is no waste. The peel decomposes, leaving no trace behind. Adversely, the plastic bag carrying banana chips adds to the problem of packaging waste pollution.

How Can Families Get Started? 

One of the easiest ways to ensure your family is getting enough healthy whole foods is to prepare food at home. Get your entire family involved in cooking – not only is there an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables in season, but you likely also have more time to spend preparing meals. Plus, kids who cook tend to eat healthier as adults. 

Another way to ease your family into healthier habits is to add veggies to your favorite comfort foods. Avoid trying to trick your children into eating veggies and take the time to explain to your children why having zucchini with macaroni or spinach on pizza is good for them. Smoothies can also be an easy way to get kids into eating more fruits and veggies. Blend up bananas with leafy greens or even pineapple with cabbage. 

If you plan on taking a road trip, you have an extra chance to get your kids to eat healthy. Instead of stopping for fast food, try bringing some healthy snack options, like dried fruit, popcorn or low-sugar cereals. 

Finally, be patient as your kids pick up new healthy food habits. You may need to serve veggies alongside old favorites for a while, and don’t get discouraged if your loved ones go after the occasional indulgence. The process may be gradual but eventually, your entire family will begin to see the benefits of eating those healthy foods. 

Dr. Stacey Naito is a board-certified family practice physician, artist, and fitness model. Check out her blog for fitness and wellness tips, inspirational stories, and product reviews. 

Tips for Seniors Who Want to Burn Body Fat and Get Better Sleep

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Please check out this fantastic article by Karen Weeks of Elderwellness.net on optimizing sleep in older individuals.

By Karen Weeks

karen@elderwellness.net

It’s a well-known fact that we burn calories while we sleep. Therefore, the higher the quality of our sleep, the more fat we will burn throughout the night. But sleep and body fat are even more intertwined than that. Lack of sleep, which is common among seniors, can lead to weight gain, and excess body fat can impede your quality of sleep. It’s a vicious cycle.

If you’re a senior, there are steps you can take to maximize the calories you burn during sleep, and there are also practical things you can do throughout the day that will help you reduce body fat and get better sleep. Here’s what you need to know.

Eat Better

Eating well is a cornerstone of healthy living. And yes, it can even help you sleep more soundly.  If you’re super busy and fast food is a part of your normal routine, consider getting an electric pressure cooker. That way, you can cook fast, healthy meals at home and avoid the consequences of fast food. Before you buy anything, check out reviews of various pressure cookers to compare quality, prices, and ease of use.

It’s also worth considering that there are certain foods you can eat late at night that will give your metabolism a boost, which will help you burn more calories in your sleep. Protein shakes, pistachios, plain yogurt, strawberries, and cheese are just a few examples of healthy late-nightsnacks. Just be sure to keep the portions under control so that your body isn’t working too hard to digest, which can keep you from falling asleep.

Get a Move on It

Exercise is another thing that can help you lose body fat and get better sleep. Not only that, but it also comes with a number of mental health benefits, such as improved self-confidence and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression.

There are many types of exercise that are safe and beneficial for seniors. Many older adults opt for low-impact movements like swimming, cycling, brisk walking, and using the elliptical. The important thing is that you find something you enjoy and that you do it for at least 30 minutes a day, even if you need to break it into 10- or 15-minute segments.

When you have a solid exercise routine, you will have more energy throughout the day and it will help you feel more tired by bedtime. Morning and afternoon routines tend to work best for improving sleep, as exercising in the evening can make it difficult to fall asleep.

Establish a Killer Bedtime Routine

If you want to get better sleep and burn off more calories, you need a bedtime routine. This can include anything that helps you fall and stay asleep. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (even on weekends). Also, try a variety of activities that help you wind down and get ready for sleep. Taking a warm bath, listening to soft music, practicing yoga, meditating, and reading a book are all things that can put you in the right frame of mind to drift off.

Make Your Bedroom Dark, Quiet, and Cool

Your bedroom is also important when it comes to healthy sleep, so make sure this space promotes relaxation by keeping it dark and quiet leading up to bedtime and throughout the night.

Keeping the temperature a little cooler can improve sleep as well. Moreover, consider removingthe use of electronic devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets, TVs, etc.) from your bedtime routine, as the blue light emitted from the screens can be a sleep disrupter.

If you want to reduce your body fat and get better sleep, make sure you’re following a healthy diet and exercise routine. Also, create a good bedtime routine and turn your bedroom into a sleep haven. Just because poor sleep is common among seniors doesn’t mean you have to accept it as your fate. Making little changes like these might be all it takes to help you improve your overall health and well-being.