12 Days of Healthy Habits

In honor of the holidays, the FoodInsight team is counting down their favorite tips for 12 days of healthy living. Sing along and give yourself the gift of health this season!

On the twelfth day of healthy living, my health guru gave to me...

12 times a' swimming

11 cardio workouts

10 minutes of motion

9 blocks of walking

8 essential amino acids

7 small changes

6 yoga poses

5 servings of whole grains

4 yells of “Fore!”

3 doses of dairy

2 servings of fruit

1 sensible splurge

swimming-healthy

12 times a' swimming

After I finish “decking the halls,” I plan to swim 12  laps per day. Swimming is great for your metabolism, and helps burn off those extra calories! - Matt Tarka

cardio-healthy

11 cardio workouts

Those 11 pipers piping need tremendous breath control. Even though I haven’t played a band instrument in years, I still try to get as much cardio as I can—in my case, typically an elliptical machine. It can take a little dedication, but the benefits are enormous—not just to your overall health, but to the way you feel, even just during daily activities like climbing stairs. - Matt Raymond

dance-healthy

10 minutes of motion

This holiday season, add 10 extra minutes of physical activity to your day. Whether that is taking a walk at lunch time, adding a dance move to your dishes, or even adding a workout to your day, the extra activity will keep your heart healthy and help burn a few extra calories from all the holiday treats.- Jenny Martin

walk-extra-blocks

9 blocks of walking

Since I’m too cheap to join a gym, I get my share of physical activity with at least 9 blocks of walking daily.  That’s to and from work and an occasional walk to the neighborhood bar for a drink or two.- Tony Flood

amino-acids-dairy

8 essential amino acids

(Or 9 if you are an infant or child!)  Amino acids (essential and nonessential) are the building blocks of protein. Essential amino acids must be obtained from consuming foods because our bodies can’t make these amino acids. Protein sources that contain the 8 essential amino acids in the right amounts are labeled as “complete” while protein sources that do not contain all essential amino acids are labeled as “incomplete”. How might this influence your diet? Pairing incomplete proteins with different amino acid profiles is a great way to ensure you are getting the amino acids your body needs. Also, consuming a variety of protein sources throughout the day is another great strategy to provide your body with essential amino acids. Check out our cool infographics on protein pairing! - Megan Meyer, PhD

days-week-change

7 small changes

We all have 7 days a week to make small changes! Making big changes can be tough and daunting but health experts find that the biggest changes come when we start small. A small change could be try 1 new vegetable at your holiday meal to incorporate more health benefits into your meal.- Liz Sanders, RD, MPH

yoga-poses-healthy

6 yoga poses

I do yoga every day, but I am trying to master more advanced poses like one-legged Sage Koundinya's pose and handstands. Poses like these take a lot of time to learn and master. By practicing poses that challenge my upper body strength, I can (hopefully) accomplish more advanced yoga poses that have eluded me. - Kamilah Guiden

whole-grains

5 servings of whole grains

The USDA recommends at least 3-5 servings of whole grains per day and I like to maximize my grains to get the most health benefits possible. Whole grains keep me full, help with weight management, and keep my digestive system moving smoothly. Holidays always entail a WHOLE lot of food so why not make some of them WHOLE grains! - Sarah Romotsky, RD

golfing-fore

4 yells of “Fore!”

You can yell this all day if you’re lucky enough to live in a climate that can support golf as an outdoor activity this time of year. Give your legs (and your lungs) a workout by walking instead of taking a cart. So if you enjoy a “good walk spoiled,” hit up the links and enjoy some down time while linking up with good company. - Kris Sollid, RD

yogurt-dairy-serving

3 doses of dairy

What is out of site should not be off your mind. To ensure your bones get their proper dose of calcium, include 3 dairy servings in your diet daily. What is a serving of dairy?  One cup of low-fat or fat-free milk, 1 cup of yogurt or 1.5 ounces of your favorite cheese. How difficult can that be during this festive holiday season! - Lisa Katic, RD

fruit-servings

2 servings of fruit

Most adults need about 2 servings of fruit per day, but this can vary based on age, gender and how much you exercise. Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts as part of the Fruit Group. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut-up, or pureed. For more information about fruit, check out MyPlate. - Laura Kubitz

cupcake-splurge

1 sensible splurge

Ok, what are the holidays without a hot cocoa, a sugar cookie, or an eggnog here and there? Keep your splurges sensible, so that you can balance your holiday joy with your calorie budget. - Liz Caselli-Mechael