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A Healthier Lifestyle is a Matter of Making Better Choices

January is that time of the year when many people step back to evaluate their lives and vow to do better. Are we as organized as we would like to be? Do I spend money wisely? Do I spend enough time with my family? Am I getting enough exercise? Can I do something to improve my overall health?

Nashville, Ark. – January is that time of the year when many people step back to evaluate their lives and vow to do better. Whether it’s exercising more, eating right, or saving money, most people make one of these as their New Year’s resolution.

            We take a minute and reflect on our current lifestyle. Are we as organized as we would like to be? Do I spend money wisely? Do I spend enough time with my family? Am I getting enough exercise? Can I do something to improve my overall health?

            It seems that the busier we get in our everyday routines, the harder it is to make healthy life choices and stick with them. With the New Year, there is an abundance of diet advice, some dependable, research based, and some that is not so dependable.

            When it comes to improving our overall diet, the only thing that will work for long term results is to make smart choices when it comes to nutrition. Combine it with physical activity and you have made a smart choice.

            Many people wonder what they have to give up in order to have a healthier lifestyle. Will it mean not eating out as much or not eating the foods I enjoy? How much do I need to exercise? Committing to a healthier lifestyle is not about denying ourselves; instead it’s more about the choices we make every day.

            It’s about choosing to be active. The more active we are, the more we will improve our overall health. Eating right and exercising can reduce our risk for many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancers and osteoporosis. By choosing to do more than the minimum 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week, we can reduce our risk.

            If we incorporate up to 60 minutes of cardio activity, it may help to prevent unhealthy weight gain or to manage your weight.

            While many people are looking for that “magic” pill or cure, don’t expect results overnight. Start out small and build on your progress every day. One small step may be to reduce the amount of sodas you drink each day. Try cutting out at least one soda a day and reaching for water instead. Try going for a 10 minute walk instead of giving up because you don’t have an hour to devote to exercise. Once you feel comfortable with these “small steps” you can add on another healthy choice.

            The Howard County Extension Service offers many programs to help you eat better and exercise for health. Contact me at 870-845-7517 to see what we will be offering in 2018! You can also visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse. Also check out the website, www.uaex.edu for more information.

Recipe of the Week

            If you find planning meals and/or lack basic cooking skills to help you prepare nutritious meals, you might be interested in attending the “Cook Smart, Eat Smart” class, I will be offering in February and March. Call me to learn more. Here is a recipe from the program. I think you will find it delicious and easy to prepare!

Beef Stew

2 pounds beef stew meat

3 large onions chopped

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon dried thyme

3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

Salt and pepper to taste

            Brown the beef in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Make sure to allow for enough space so that all sides of the beef can brown. May need to do this in two batches. Place the browned beef in a large pot.

            In the same skillet you used to brown the beef, add the oil and sauté the onions until translucent. Add the onions to the beef in the pot. Cover the beef and onions with water and add the bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook uncovered for 2 hours.

            Add the potatoes and carrots and simmer an additional 30 – 45 minutes until vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaf before serving. Yield: 8 servings

Nutrition Information per Serving: 300 calories, 11 g fat, 36 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 453 mg sodium

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517
jince@uaex.edu

 

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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