Atlantic County residents can live longer, healthier lives by simply adopting healthy eating habits and active lifestyle choices.
Click on each title below for more information:
Healthy eating includes getting five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Look through these frequently asked questions about the importance of 5-A-Day.
Q: Why are fruits and vegetables important for your health?
A: This year in the United States, more than 1.4 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed and over 500,000 will die of cancer. An estimated 35% of these deaths may be related to diet. Several leading health authorities have urged Americans to eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables -- not only the National Cancer Institute, but also the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the National Academy of Sciences. They all agree that eating more fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of getting cancer and other chronic diseases.
Q: Don't people know that eating fruits and vegetables is a good thing to do and is part of a healthy diet?
A: Yes. However, many Americans do not know that eating a combined total of 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day is the amount recommended for better health. Current data show that only about 39% of Americans think they should eat at least 5 servings every day, which is up from 8% awareness in 1991.
Q: How many fruits and vegetables should be eaten daily to reduce the risk of cancer?
A: The National Academy of Sciences, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Cancer Institute, and the American Cancer Society have determined that 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day are needed depending upon a person's energy intake, to reduce risk of cancer and maintain good health. Many adults should be eating closer to 9 daily servings for maximum health benefits.
Q: What types of fruits and vegetables are promoted by the 5-A-Day Program?
A: All fresh, frozen, dried, or canned fruits and vegetables count towards the 5- A-Day goal, as long as they don't have added sugars or fats. Fruits and vegetables (with the exception or avocados, olives and coconut) are naturally low in fat. Fruits and vegetables in heavy sauces, oils and syrups add lots of extra calories to your diet. Though some people think that fresh fruits and vegetables are more nutritious, there is no need to limit yourself only to fresh produce. Including dried, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious and can make reaching your 5-A-Day goal easier than ever.
It may seem difficult to incorporate five servings fruits and vegetables into your family’s diet each day, but the health benefits are well worth the effort. Take a look at these simple tips for helping you and your family eat 5-A-Day.
- Drink juice
- Eat fruit with cereal or yogurt
- Add berries, apple or banana chunks to pancake batter
- Top pancakes or waffles with peaches or other fruit
- Blend a fruit smoothie
- Mix vegetables into scrambled eggs and omelettes
- Pack and carry "to go" in a briefcase, lunch bag or knapsack:
- fresh or dried fruits
- snack pacs of canned lite fruits
- juice pacs
- cut-up vegetables
- Stuff a pita, tortilla or roll with veggies, low fat cheese and mustard or low fat vinagarette
- Add frozen mixed vegetables to canned or packaged soups and heat in the microwave.
- Eat a large salad with low-fat dressing
- Accessorize your sandwich with leafy greens and tomato slices.
- Double up on vegetable portions
- Add lots of extra vegetables, including beans, to soups and casseroles.
- Add peas or broccoli to low fat macaroni and cheese or rice in the last 5 minutes of cooking.
- Add veggies like broccoli, green peppers, mushrooms, onions (or whatever you'd like!) to pizza before baking.
- Keep fruits and vegetables visible, otherwise what's out of sight is out of mind:
- keep a fruit bowl on the kitchen counter or table
- store fruits and veggies on a refrigerator shelf instead of in one of the lower compartments
- Keep lite canned fruits, low sodium canned or frozen vegetables on hand so you don't run out.
- Buy cut-up fruits and veggies at salad bars, when time is tight.
- Add grated vegetables such as carrots or zucchini or fruit to muffin and bread recipes.
- Microwave sliced apples or pears and sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Snack on fresh fruits or veggies with low fat dip.
- Eat some frozen berries as a dessert.
- Freeze canned fruit, then blend.
- Be adventurous and taste some of the more new and unusual fruits and vegetables.
Healthy living starts with incorporating physical activity into your daily life. Take a look at the following healthy lifestyle tips from the American Heart Association. Once you decide to embrace a healthier lifestyle, you’ll be amazed at how much fun healthy living can be.
What are the advantages of working out at home? It's convenient, comfortable and safe. It allows your children to see you being active, which sets a good example for them. You can combine exercise with other activities, such as watching TV. If you buy exercise equipment, it's a one-time expense and can be used by other members of the family. It's easy to have short bouts of activity in several times a day.
- Do housework yourself instead of hiring someone else to do it.
- Work in the garden or mow the grass. Using a riding mower doesn't count! Rake leaves, prune, dig and pick up trash.
- Go out for a short walk before breakfast, after dinner or both! Start with 5-10 minutes and work up to 30 minutes.
- Walk or bike to the corner store instead of driving.
- When walking, pick up the pace from leisurely to brisk. Choose a hilly route. When watching TV, sit up instead of lying on the sofa. Better yet, spend a few minutes pedaling on your stationary bicycle while watching TV.
- Throw away your video remote control.
- Instead of asking someone to bring you a drink, get up off the couch and get it yourself.
- Stand up while talking on the telephone.
- Walk the dog.· Park farther away at the shopping mall and walk the extra distance. Wear your walking shoes and sneak in an extra lap or two around the mall.
- Stretch to reach items in high places and squat or bend to look at items at floor level.
- Keep exercise equipment repaired and use it!
At the Office
Most of us have sedentary jobs. Work takes up a significant part of the day. What can you do to increase your physical activity during the work day?
- Brainstorm project ideas with a co-worker while taking a walk.
- Stand while talking on the telephone.
- Walk down the hall to speak with someone rather than using the telephone.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Or get off a few floors early and take the stairs the rest of the way.
- Walk while waiting for the plane at the airport.
- Stay at hotels with fitness centers or swimming pools and use them while on business trips.
- Take along a jump rope in your suitcase when you travel. Jump and do calisthenics in your hotel room.
- Participate in or start a recreation league at your company.
- Form a sports team to raise money for charity events.
- Join a fitness center or Y near your work. Work out before or after work to avoid rush-hour traffic, or drop by for a noon workout.
- Schedule exercise time on your business calendar and treat it as any other important appointment.
- Get off the bus a few blocks early and walk the rest of the way to work or home.
- Walk around your building for a break during the work day or during lunch.
Play and recreation are important for good health. Look for opportunities to be active and have fun at the same time.
- Plan family outings and vacations that include physical activity (hiking, backpacking, swimming, etc.)
- See the sights in new cities by walking, jogging or bicycling.
- Make a date with a friend to enjoy your favorite physical activities. Do them regularly.
- Play your favorite music while exercising, something that motivates you.
- Dance with someone or by yourself. Take dancing lessons. Hit the dance floor on fast numbers instead of slow ones.
- Join a recreational club that emphasizes physical activity.
- At the beach, sit and watch the waves instead of lying flat. Better yet, get up and walk, run or fly a kite.
- When golfing, walk instead of using a cart.
- Play singles tennis or racquetball instead of doubles.
- At a picnic, join in on badminton instead of croquet.
- At the lake, rent a rowboat instead of a canoe.