If you didn’t get your fill of green on St. Patrick’s Day, April offers up a whole new reason to “Go Green” with Earth Day on April 22. Let’s also take a look at how you can go green with your weight-management efforts while also improving your overall health:
- Green your diet. Plant-based nutrition from vegetables and fruits has an abundance of health benefits including protection against heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, lowering blood cholesterol and reducing obesity, a factor for cancer and other diseases. Using nutritional ingredients in a green smoothie can also help with weight-management as you reap the easier-to-swallow rewards of multiple fiber-rich vegetables that can help you to feel fuller longer. To help you get started, here is a recipe for a popular green smoothie made with fresh, nutrient-rich vegetables like spinach, romaine and celery, and for more palatable sweetness, fresh fruit including pear, banana and apple.
- Exercise outside. Spring is the perfect time for outdoor exercise. Not so cold that you feel like you’ll freeze, but not hot enough to make you melt, the climate during this time of year is perfect for switching up your fitness routine. Enjoy a hike along a local nature trail or bike along the beach for out-of-the-ordinary, calorie-burning ways to supplement your exercise plan.
- Donate unused electronics to an e-waste drive. Uncluttering your house also helps to unclutter your mind so you can focus more on the things you really want and need and on what you need to accomplish in order to reach your lifestyle goals.
- Take up gardening. Enjoy time connecting with nature outdoors, creating something beautiful. Multiple studies have shown that outdoor activities are proven mood-boosters, stress-relievers and depression-fighters. Aside from these important relaxation benefits, the digging, planting, and pulling of weeds will also serve as low-impact exercise. It’s great motivation to keep your garden in pristine condition while getting yourself in shape at the same time!
- Go a step further and plant your own garden of vegetables. Spring is a great time to plant many vegetables including peppers, peas, onions, lettuce, cucumber, herbs, carrots, and beans. If you’re wary about getting your green thumb going, many professional gardeners recommend getting started with tomatoes, which can be grown in something as simple as a 5-gallon container with holes in the bottom. Easy! Growing your own goods will encourage you to eat healthier and incorporate more of your bounty into your diet, as several studies show that gardeners eat more fruits and vegetables than their non-gardening peers. For a fun challenge, invite friends or neighbors to join you in growing different ingredients for the makings of a great salad and come together to enjoy a meal of your homegrown foods!
I hope these tips for going green inspire you this month to make some fun plans, try new activities and encourage you to keep finding ways to enjoy a healthy, happy lifestyle.
What are your favorite “go green” tips for nutrition, exercise and weight loss?