Healthy Holidays: Stay Physically Active this Holiday Season
Well, fear not! You will be surprised to hear of the many ways to incorporate physical activity into your pre-existing holiday rituals to make this a year of healthy holidays.
Whether exercise enthusiast or couch potato, physical activity is imperative to maintaining healthy muscular and cardiovascular systems.
Weight bearing exercise is particularly important for developing and maintaining bone density throughout your lifespan. Weight bearing exercises are achieved when your body is working against gravity. This can include jumping, jogging, walking, dancing, gardening, or climbing among other activities.
People of different ages may have different recommendations for weekly exercise, but for most adults it is recommended that you get at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. That is only 2.5 hours every week, which is less time than it will take to watch a movie at the theater.
If this seems like a huge chunk of time, just break it down and spread it out. Physical activity can be done in as little as 10-minute increments!
Also remember you can burn calories doing lots of things! If you put intention into it almost anything can become physical activity.
You can burn 200 calories just by...
- Taking your dog on a brisk walk for 25 minutes
- Cleaning house for 35 minutes
- Cutting a rug dancing for 35 minutes
- Window shopping for 36 minutes
- Giving your car a good wash for 40 minutes
- Building a snowman (given that we get snow) for 44 minutes
- Working in the garden for 55 minutes
- Laughing and giggling for 1 hour
- Singing or caroling for 1 hour and 20 minutes
- Going grocery shopping for 1.5 hours
- You can even burn calories while fidgeting, toe-tapping and smiling!
Stealth Health Cooking Tip
Reducing daily sodium intake has become a national health initiative. Over time, excessive sodium intake can cause high blood pressure as well as a host of other chronic illnesses. Having said that, it is important to remember that sodium is a vital electrolyte that our bodies need and that occur naturally in fruits and vegetables.
Decreasing excessive sodium intake in your daily life may not be as difficult as you think!
The majority of American’s sodium intake comes from consuming processed, shelf-stable, ready-to-eat foods. Only a fraction of average sodium intake comes from salt and seasonings that are added during the cooking process and at the table. Therefore, making homemade dishes can dramatically reduce your overall intake.
Fresh fruits and vegetables contain naturally-occurring sodium. A fresh tomato has only 6mg of sodium, while “No-salt-added” canned, diced tomatoes have around 20mg, and regular canned diced tomatoes have around 200mg of sodium. What a difference!
Buying fresh ingredients and rinsing canned foods can easily reduce your sodium intake.
Using fresh or frozen vegetables is ideal, but if you buy a canned product, shoot for the lower sodium option. You can reduce the sodium of regular canned products by approximately 40% by thoroughly rinsing and draining the contents.
Holiday Stealth Health Recipe:
Low Sodium Oven-Baked “Fried” Chicken
This recipe is low in fat and sodium, with a boost in protein, plus it is crunchy and delicious!
Serving size: 4 ounces
Yield: 12 servings
- 1/2 cup low fat plain Greek yogurt
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs (or crushed corn flakes)
- 1/4 cup fresh thyme, chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 pounds bone-in (or out) skinless chicken pieces
- 1 can jalapenos, chopped (4 ounces)
If you do not have fresh herbs on hand you can substitute with dried herbs.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil. Spray with a non-stick spray.
- In a medium mixing bowl add the panko, jalapeno, and seasonings. Stir to mix.
- Spoon the Greek yogurt into a different bowl.
- Coat the chicken pieces with Greek yogurt and then cover with the breadcrumb mixture. Place evenly spaced on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes or until the internal temperature of the largest piece reaches 165 degrees. You may need to remove the smaller wings and thighs before the breasts so that they do not overcook.
- Serve with your favorite southern-style meal or over a bed of vegetables.
Adapted from the following recipe: