Healthy Monday


  is part of "The Monday Campaigns" in association with Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, and Syracuse University.

May 26 - Give Dinner Time a Makeover

Is dinner anything but relaxing? Perhaps it's time for a change!  Studies show that a relaxing dinner experience is beneficial to everyone, whether you’re eating alone or with your family. To create a positive dining atmosphere, turn off all technology and eat at a table with place settings.

This week, schedule at least one relaxing dinner to enjoy time with your family and/or friends. The dinner doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as you’re enjoying the meal.

May 19 - Be Smart About Counting Calories

Do you pay attention to your caloric intake? Although 2000 calories is the average recommended daily intake for adults, you may need more or less depending on your physical size and activity level. Having a general idea of what your body actually needs, can be used as a measuring stick.

Get started here, by calculating your Basal Metabolic Rate(BMR).


May 5 - Stay Fit While Traveling

Business and family trips don't have to derail your workout routine! All it takes to stay active is a bit of research and forward thinking. Plan ahead by looking into your fitness options for your next trip.


April 28 - Cut Your Meat Consumption

How often do you eat red meat?  Eating large amounts of red and processed meat (like bacon, deli meats, and hot dogs) has been linked to an increase in colon, rectal, and prostate cancer.

This week, start off with a Meatless Monday. See if you can swap red and processed meats for leaner sources of protein like beans, lentils or tofu.

April 21 - Healthy Food at a Healthy Price

Who says healthy food has to be expensive?  Legumes are one of the cheapest ingredients you can buy. They are packed with fiber, protein, iron, potassium, magnesium and are tasty in a variety of dishes.

This week, try out chickpea falafel, or other legumes, to eat healthy while saving money.

April 14 - Stress Less for a Healthy Heart

Chronic stress may increase your risk for heart disease. 
When your body is stressed, it releases the hormone adrenaline, which increases your heart, breathing, and blood pressure rates.

This week, try to identify stressful activities and then reduce the frequency of these behaviors to stay heart healthy.

April 7 Snack Smart and Simple

Snacking can boost nutrients and help you eat less at mealtime, or it can add unnecessary fat, calories and sodium; it all comes down to what you choose.

This week, opt for healthier snack choices like fresh fruit, raw veggies, nuts, raisins or fat free plain yogurt.

MARCH 31 Don't Forget to Wash Produce

Washing fruits and vegetables before eating them reduces the risk of food borne illness.  If fruits and veggies have a ridged or uneven skin, use a scrub brush to remove dirt from the grooves. Even produce with inedible skin should be washed first.

This week, get into the habit of washing all produce thoroughly before serving.

March 24 - Get Creative

Recent studies show that creative and cultural activities increase happiness and mitigate stress, while decreasing depression and anxiety.  Activities that involve being active in the creative process are more beneficial than passive and receptive activities.

This week, experience your creative side!

March 17 - Talk It Out

Although it can be hard to discuss stressful situations, carrying a burden on your own is usually not the answer.  Part of moving forward and remaining calm is finding a solution.

This week, ask friends or family to lend an ear. They may be able to offer insight that you wouldn't have seen otherwise.

March 10 - Get the Kids in the Kitchen

Kids who help prepare healthy meals are more likely to enjoy the finished product.  When parents eat healthy, so does the rest of the family.

This week, let your children discover that veggies don't come from Planet Gross, by inviting them to join you in the kitchen.

March 3 -Stress Less This Week

Long-term stress can trigger existing health problems and create new ones.  Talking to a doctor, about the symptoms you’re experiencing, can help determine if they’re due to stress or the result of another health problem.

If the diagnosis is stress, reduce it with these methods:
• Take five; find a place to sit down comfortably, and breathe in deeply.
• Reach out; a great support system can go a long way. Talk to a loved one.
• Walk it off; even 10 minutes of exercise can help relieve stress.

February 24 - Shape Up Your Mood

Physical activities, like brisk walking or lifting weights, release hormones that improve mood, while offering the opportunity to de-stress.

Whenever you feel frustrated or stressed, exercise for 30 minutes to boost your mood.

February 17 - Choose Whole over Processed

Nutrients are most concentrated when foods are in their natural state. By choosing whole over processed food, you can avoid additives and reap the benefits of eating naturally.

This week, cook your own meal entirely with ingredients from whole products.

February 10 - Kick Soda to the Curb

Soft drinks are the single largest contributor to Americans’ intake of empty calories, and numerous studies have linked increased intake of sweetened beverages to rising American obesity rates over the past few decades.

This week, kick your soda habit to the curb by trying unsweetened tea, which is fancy and delicious. Don't forget to keep those pinkies up.

February 3 - Moderation is Key

Giving up your favorite food can lead to gorging on something else. You don't have to completely cut out your preferred dish, as the drastic change can have a negative impact.

This week, aim for moderation by eating your go-to meal just once.

January 27 - Shake your Salt Habit

Did you know that you can train your taste buds to enjoy less salt? When you gradually cut back on sodium in your diet, your palate will adjust too; plus you'll experience all the subtle flavors that you’ve been missing.

Start reducing your salt intake this week. Simply cut back or substitute with spices and herbs.  

January 20 -  Exercise is Key to a Healthy Life

Physical activity isn't just a way to lose weight; it’s an essential step towards a long, vibrant life! Work on your fitness routine, this week. Start out with smaller amounts of exercise at lower intensities and gradually progress to moderate-intensity activity to reduce your risk of injury. And don't be intimidated - hiking is just walking with a better view.

January 13 - Believe in Your Buds

Did you enjoy long naps, nice cardigans, yoga or tax rebates as a toddler? Probably not. But how many of those do you enjoy now? 

Time changes us, and our taste buds, as we grow older.

Embrace your adulthood this week by trying a vegetable that you wouldn’t have touched as a child. Start slowly by adding it to a favorite dish. If it’s still not love at first bite, congratulate yourself for giving it a try anyway.

January 7 - Strategize to Cut Stress

There are many ways to beat stress, but you’ll find that some work better than others.
• Keep a positive attitude,
• Step out of the situation,
• Enjoy a laugh,
• Accept that there are things we cannot control, and
• Assert your feelings instead of becoming angry or passive.

This week, consider which tools have worked for you before and perhaps try out some new ones. Having a few “go-to” stress-reducing techniques up your sleeve can make all the difference.

December 30 - Keep Monday on Your Mind

Congratulations on a full year of healthy habits! Even if you still have a ways to go on your goals, now’s the time to celebrate all your progress. As you look to the coming year, think about the weekly habits that worked best for you and the areas where you could have used a little extra help. Remember to check in with yourself every Monday to stay accountable and see results!

This week, think about what has worked for you in the past and what you’d like to achieve in 2014. Set your resolution and determine the steps you need to take to be successful.

December 23 - Off Limits Can Lead You Off Track

Forbidding certain foods is a common weight-loss strategy, but studies have shown that this can actually lead to overeating. Restricted dieters often satiate cravings for their forbidden food by eating other high-calorie items, which can lead to weight gain. Learning how to effectively cope with trigger foods will leave you feeling in control and improves your chances of maintaining healthy eating habits.

Instead of fearing your favorite foods, figure out how to budget a small portion into your week. Simply removing the “forbidden” label from a food can greatly reduce cravings for it!

December 16 - Tune In, Tone Up

Make the most of TV time by adding exercise. Use weights and resistance bands while watching, or get off the couch during commercials for cardio activities like running in place and jumping jacks. Even if you only watch a few shows a week, you’ll be adding a good bit of exercise to your routine!

Try a workout routine during your favorite shows this week. You can even choose different routines for different shows, or use each commercial break to try and beat your last record!

December 9 Mantra

Do you feel that junk food is a forbidden, guilty pleasure?  Would you still be tempted if you thought of it as fat-laden, overly processed, or disease-promoting?  Perhaps if we thought of whole foods as nutritious and tasty – rather than “healthy” or “weird” - we would be inclined to eat more of them.  The psychology surrounding food can have a huge sway on our preferences!

Reconsider your food beliefs this week. Instead of thinking “that’s pretty good... for a healthy food” enjoy the flavors and think about the nutrients you’re getting.
Instead of saying “I can’t try that...” have at least one bite!

December 2 - Control the Controllable

It’s important to remember that the reason you’re stressed might be out of your control. Don’t let factors such as the weather or another person’s actions cause you to worry.  Instead, focus on the things you can control, such as your reaction to the stressor. 

By sorting out what is manageable and what is not, you can work on the issues that are within your capacity and, hopefully, reduce your stress overall.  Whenever you feel stressed this week, pause and think about whether or not the issue is within your control.  Acknowledging that you’re not at fault can help you relax and plan your next step.

November 25 - Think Small, Save Big

The size of our plate plays a large role in how much we eat.  Studies have shown that the bigger the container, the more we are likely to consume. The bottom of the bowl is a useful mental cue for us to stop eating and check if we’re full. Turns out smaller portions can be just as satisfying!

This week, enjoy your meals on a salad plate or in a small bowl. If eating food out of a package, put it on a plate first. This simple step can make all the difference in calories consumed!

November 18 - Shape Up Your Mood

Physical activity sets off physiological and psychological mechanisms that improve your mood.  Exercise releases hormones that can leave you feeling calmer and happier, while offering the opportunity to release stress, meet new people and boost self-confidence.

When you feel sad, frustrated or stressed this week, blow off some steam with a 30–minute exercise session.  You’ll feel refreshed and happier for it!

November 11 - Have Homemade Health

Home-cooked meals take all the guesswork out of eating.  Preparing your own dishes ensures a properly portioned, balanced meal with fewer calories, sodium and saturated fat than packaged or fast-food options. You can also easily incorporate whole and unprocessed foods into your diet and save yourself a bit of cash!

Aim to prepare at least half of your meals at home this week. Make it easy by coming up with a few meal ideas on Monday and heading to your local supermarket.Eat healthy (and save money) by bringing your leftovers for lunch.

November 4 - Care for the Caregiver

Caregivers play a crucial role in our community - they tend to loved ones who are ill or have disabilities. This task can become stressful over time; it can be lonely and mentally draining to watch a loved one deteriorate. Thankfully, there are local support groups available for caregivers at churches, hospitals, online and through other organizations.

If you’re a caregiver, take some time this week to learn about the many resources available.If you know a caregiver, reach out to them and see if you can do some household cleaning, food shop- ping, or other small things to reduce their stress.

October 28 -  One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Measure

Keep track of how much you’re eating by living with your food packaging and remains.One study offering all-you-can eat chicken wings found that participants whose leftover bones had been cleared away ate 34% more than diners whose remnants remained at the table. That’s a lot of wings! Visual reminders - like candy wrappers, soda cans and take-out receipts – can help you keep track of how much you’ve already consumed, so you’ll be less likely to overeat.  

This week take the no-throw challenge and keep your wrappers, empty containers, bones and other bits on the table during the entire meal.

October 21 - Watch Your Feed Limit this Healthy Monday

 The recommended daily caloric intake for adults is 2000 calories.

Do the Monday 2000 this week and track your eating habits with a food journal. Evaluate your progress each week and set new goals.

October 14 - Get in the Habit

Is physical activity part of your everyday routine?  Having an exercise habit means you’ll be more likely to keep moving (or start up again if you fall of the wagon).  Make fitness part of your daily life by adding extra steps to your commute or taking an active lunch break.  Stick with it despite obligations by exercising while on the phone or playing fun fitness games with your kids and pets. 

This Monday, think of little ways you can add motion to your busy life. Renew your commitment each week and soon fitness will feel just as routine as brushing your teeth or combing your hair.

October 7 - Pick Proper Portions

Restaurants want to give you more for your money, but the portions they serve are often much more than anyone should eat in one sitting!

Restaurant foods also tend to be overloaded with salt, fat, sugar and calories, which can lead to weight gain.

You can cut calories before they arrive at the table by foregoing the bread basket, asking for a child’s size or half order, or by making your own meal out of side salads, soups, steamed veggies and appetizers.

If you do get a full-size entree, listen to your body’s natural cues and stop eating when you’re full.

 Take steps to reduce your restaurant portions this week. It’s important not to overindulge simply be- cause you’re eating out: enjoy the portions and meal choices that you would normally eat at home.

September 30 - Talk It Out

Although it can be hard to discuss stressful situations, keeping perspective and coming up with potential solutions is an important part of remaining calm and moving forward.

Friends or coworkers - who are often facing similar issues or have advice from past experiences - can provide the perfect support system to help you do just that.  

If you feel stressed this week, ask friends or family to lend an ear. They may be able to offer insight that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

September 15 - Start at the Store

Every year, 1 out of 6 people gets sick from foodborne illness!  Thankfully, you can take action at the grocery store to stay healthy. When shopping, pick up non-perishables first, followed by refrigerated/ frozen items, and deli counter items last. Make sure you’re purchasing food that is fresh, the sell-by date is current, and that it has been kept at the correct temperature. Place cold items together in the cart to retain coldness. Have meat and poultry bagged separately from other food items. Refrigerate all perishable items immediately upon returning home. 

This week, try to plan your shopping ahead of time so that you can make your grocery run quick,  efficient and, most importantly, safe!

September 9 - Fitness on the Fly

No gym membership or fancy fitness equipment at home? No problem!Canned goods make great hand weights, or you can fill milk jugs with sand for someserious lifting. You can also make use of a step stool for step training or try a beach towel as a stretching assistant.

Try some alternative fitness equipment this week. Have fun with your usual workout, or shake it up by using items around your house to try something new.

September 2 - Harness Whole Health

Nutrients are most heavily concentrated when foods are in their natural state. Though many processed foods have health claims on the box, whole foods usually offer more antioxidants, fiber and essential vitamins. Plus, processed foods pack unhealthy extras like sugar, fat, sodium and other additives.

Purify your diet this week by choosing whole foods over more processed options; replace apple- sauce with sliced apples, choose baked potato wedges with olive oil over French fries, or opt for whole grain oats over packaged granola bars.

August 26 - Shake your Salt Habit

Did you know that you can train your taste buds to enjoy less salt?  When you gradually cut back on sodium in your diet, your taste will adjust too; plus you’ll experience all the subtle flavors that you’ve been missing. Keeping your sodium intake under 2,300 mg a day (or less than 1 teaspoon) can also reduce your risk of high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.

It’s easy to skip the salt shaker and opt for low, no and reduced-sodium soups, broths and packaged foods. If your food seems less flavorful, spice it up with herbs and low-sodium seasonings.

Start reducing your salt intake this week. Remember that it can take a few months to completely re- train your taste buds, so be persistent and take it one meal at a time!

August 19 - Set Aside the Soda  

Soft drinks are the single largest contributor to the total calorie intake of Americans, and numerous studies have linked increased intake of sweetened beverages to rising American obesity rates over  the past few decades.While this info may motivate you to reach for a diet soda, there are disagreements over the benefits of artificially sweetened beverages; they may actually increase appetite and encourage weight gain.

Try to kick your soda habit this week. Choose water with a squeeze of citrus, unsweetened tea, or 100% fruit/vegetable juice instead of a soft drink to save calories and reduce your hunger.