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    Spring_Cleaning_Just_Ahead

    Spring is here again! The sun is shining and flowers are blooming. Summer is coming soon……….. 

    For a long time, spring has been associated with joy, passion and revitalization. For a lot of us spring means "spring cleaning."  So why not “spring clean” our diets and our lifestyles?  With renewed energy, spring is as good a time as any to do some things differently and make some positive changes to improve our lives. 

    Sometimes, in order to save time in our busy days, we tend to take shortcuts when it comes to preparing meals. Short cuts in the kitchen usually tend to increase the likelihood of making our meals less healthy than they could be.  Canned foods, sauces and frozen pre-prepared items usually have extra sodium, fat and preservatives that we don’t need in our diets.  When we don’t make time for planning meals, it makes it harder to make the healthiest choices.

    We might need to break some old habits in order to be able to make some positive changes to improve our diets and our health. To get healthier, we need to start thinking differently about our diet and lifestyle choices.  Positive changes add up, so making one or two small changes can make a big difference.  Here are a few suggestions we can try in order to “spring clean” our diets and start practicing healthier habits.

     

    Big_Spring_Clean

     

    • Set goals and have a timeframe for changes.  Include the family in this process.  Make it a challenge.
    • Create a profile on MyPlate.com and track daily calories and activity. This will help you see what needs to be worked on.
    • Create a meal plan for the week.  This will make shopping easier and help in preparing healthier meals.
    • Prepare meals: Eating at restaurants/fast food places can add pounds to our waists. We tend to eat more calories and fat when we eat out.
      • By preparing our own meals we have more control over portion sizes.
      • When eating out, choose smaller portions or share a dish.
    • Get excited about cooking again. Include the family in planning and preparing meals.
      • Clean out the pantry and refrigerator. Refill with healthy items.       
      • Try new easy recipes using fresh ingredients instead of using pre-packaged or canned items.
      • Read the labels on food you buy at the store. Pay attention to sodium, sugar and fat.
      • Cook vegetables that are in season.  Try grilling them.
      • Pick one day of the week to go “meatless”.

     

    Fruit_and_Veggie_Matrix

     

    • “Liquid calories” can add up. Soft drinks, milk, coffee creamer, lattes, cappuccinos, juices and alcohol all add calories, sugar and fat to your diet.
      • Replace whole milk/yogurt/cheese with a low fat version.
      • When possible, replace fruit juices with real fruits.
      • Cut down on alcohol. Doing so reduces calories but also helps your body burn fat more easily.
    • When cooking replace unhealthy fats with healthy oils.
    • Reduce the number and types of snacks you consume in a day and make raw fruits and vegetables into snacks.
      • Instead of having soft drinks try a fruit smoothie.
      • Keep a colorful fruit bowl in sight.

     

    Juices
    • Commit to taking a short walk a few times a week.
    • Get plenty of sleep.
    • Exercise if you can!

     

    REMEMBER: EVERY SMALL CHANGE COUNTS!