Spring into Health with BCHC

As the seasons change, and spring kicks into full gear, don’t limit your spring cleaning to just your house- use this time to break old habits, and start new healthy habits.

Here are a few ways to spring into health: 

1.      Drink More Water.

  • Switch your sugar-sweetened beverages for cold water to keep cool during the warm days ahead. Drink plenty of water before you go outside, while you’re outside or working out. Not a fan of plain water? Try adding fresh fruit or cucumbers to cold water for a refreshing, low-calorie treat. Try these combinations: lemons/limes, lemons/orange wedges, watermelon/cucumber, kiwi/strawberries. Simply put in a large beverage container with water and keep in the refrigerator.

2.      Try to get more sleep. Aim for 8-9 hours per night. 

  •  People who get less sleep tend to have a higher incidence of obesity, chronic diseases and are at an increased risk for Alzheimer’s Disease. Your brain needs time to detox at night, so don’t deprive yourself of this vital process! Aim to get up earlier during the spring and summer when it is light out, to be more in tune with nature.

3.      Revamp your diet with more Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.

  • Here’s what’s in season in PA right now:  Arugula, Chard, Spinach, Asparagus, Broccoli, Carrots, Peas, Scallions
  • In season fruits/vegetables are cheaper, fresher, may have higher nutritional content as you are consuming them sooner after they’ve been harvested.
  •  Vegetables: aim for 3-5 servings per day
  • Fruits: aim for 2-3 servings each day.
  • Check out nfmd.org to find local farmer’s markets. (National Farmer’s Market Directory). The Penn street market opens June 1st. Located at 6th and Penn. 10am-2pm.

4.      Get rid of that winter weight, and start an exercise routine.

  • The weather is warm, and the sun is out longer, so you have no excuse! Walk, go to the park, find a free class, or join a gym and get some help learning how to use strengthening machines.
  • The American Heart Association recommends that individuals do exercise for at least 150 mins per week, or about 20-30 mins per day.

5.      Get a health check-up.

  • If you haven’t seen your health care provider in over a year, schedule an exam today to see if you need any bloodwork or screenings for Diabetes, Hypertension or high Cholesterol. Having routine medical care can help prevent you from developing chronic diseases.

6.      Set aside time for you.

  • Don’t overbook your schedule. Setting aside some time for your own hobbies can help you feel energized and more focused.

7.      Incorporate stress-reducing activities into your life.

  •  Do breathing exercises, take a relaxing walk, or sit and be in nature. Find a yoga class, or get a meditation/yoga dvd.
  • The 4/4 breath: breathe in for 4 slow seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, then wait 4 seconds before you breathe in again. Do several repetitions.

8.      Do a kitchen make-over. Clean out the unhealthy snacks and stale foods from your kitchen.

  • Are you guilty of having your “junk drawer” overflow out into your counter? Do you have mail and old newspapers on your countertops? If you don’t have a nice, clean space for cooking, you’re not going to want to be in your kitchen!
  • If you haven’t eaten it in the past 6 months, chances are it needs to be thrown out. And, you don’t have room for new, healthy foods, if you’re hanging on to old junk food. The quiz below will help you determine whether your kitchen needs a makeover.

If you answer “NO”

to 1 or more,

you need a kitchen makeover!

 I have enough food in the kitchen right now to make meals for the next 2 days.

 My knives are sharp enough to cut a tomato and big enough to cut a melon.

 I have a big, clean cutting board that doesn’t slip.

I have enough room on the counter right now to make dinner without shuffling things.

My freezer is full of foods that can play a role in healthful meals.

  • What to include in your kitchen makeover??

FOOD: If you don’t have enough to get through 2 days of eating healthfully in your kitchen, stock up on healthy pantry/freezer items.

TOOLS: Make sure you have a slow cooker (crockpot), microwave and nonstick pans all in working order. Using a slow cooker is a great way to save time cooking after work, and you can use the microwave in a pinch to microwave frozen veggies or defrost frozen meat. A nonstick skillet is your most versatile pan as you can whip up a quick stirfry with veggies easily.

SPACE: Make sure you have enough space for preparing meals, cooking and cleaning. Do not store things on your cooktop! Keep your cooking area clear, so you are able to move about your kitchen and not have to clear areas while you cook.

SLICE: Make sure you have several sharp knives, so you can use separate knives for cutting meat and vegetable/fruits. There is a higher risk of injury using dull knives, so make sure you have a good chef’s knife, serrated knives, and paring knife. Also, have several cutting boards accessible so you can use a separate cutting board for raw meat.

FUN: If you have cups, plates, serving pieces you like, you may be more tempted to cook. Have a few seasonal pieces that encourage you to cook throughout the year.

  • Spruce up your kitchen and make it into an inviting space. Clean off the countertops, freshen it up with some new paint or new hand towels. 

The article above is derived from foodandhealth.com by BCHC's Registered Dietician/Nutritionist, Dori Goulden. Dori joined the staff of BCHC in the Fall of 2015. She has established the health center’s nutrition support and education program, which adds significantly to BCHC’s ability to provide multi-disciplinary care for our patients. Ms. Goulden offers individual counseling for patients working to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, as well as for those with chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in social work, Ms. Goulden earned her master’s in nutrition from Bastyr University in Seattle, and completed her dietetic internship at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Her experience includes providing clinical dietitian services and management in outpatient, inpatient and long-term health care settings in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

To learn more about Dori or any of our other providers, click here.