AARP is passionate about helping our St. Louis members and all Missourians 50+ live life to the fullest. We work on important issues like health care and financial security - and we like to have fun too! We’re proud to help the St. Louis community become the best it can be. We invite you to find out more about what we’re doing in your community by visiting aarp.org/stlouis. AARP in St. Louis – Living Actively. Connecting Locally.
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Week 1: Health Benefits of Meatless Meals
When people hear that they should try to substitute a meatless meal or two in their daily diet, some might tend to think “how can I do that?” Removing meat from your diet may sound hard; however, if done in moderation the process can be eased. By starting with replacing one meal per day with a meatless meal, you are taking one step forward in living a healthy lifestyle. Research shows that people who eat red meat are increasing their exposure to suffering from heart disease, stroke or diabetes. Processed meats also increase exposure to those diseases.
Eating more fruits and vegetables or having a vegetarian or plant-based diet can help support heart health, increase your body’s antioxidants and vitamins, and help with weight loss. Planning out your meals for the week can help you think of dishes that are meatless. Good examples are lasagna, soup, or pasta salad. Or try replacing the following protein-rich foods for meat in your favorite recipes: Beans and legumes are great in casseroles and salads. Vegetarian refried beans are a good substitute for meat in burritos and tacos. To help with meal planning ideas, visit recipes.aarp.org.
Week 2: The Importance of Gratitude
A New Year always brings about change and reflection. When setting personal goals for the New Year, a person may think about what took place in the previous year, which will cause them to do something different in the New Year. As you are reflecting about your life, you will start to think about all of the good things that have taken place and the new things that you are looking forward to. In thinking about the good things that have happened in your life, you begin to experience a feeling of happiness and gratitude. Being thankful for the small things helps you to receive more out of life. Being grateful that you are breathing, able to smell the flowers, enjoy your family and friends, and etc., allow you to stay in a positive state of mind that will allow you to stay focused on your goals.
A gratitude journal will help you keep the big picture in perspective. To start the journaling process, pick out a notebook to capture your thoughts. Next select a time that works best for you to reflect upon your day. Finally write down what you are thankful for. Don’t allow the concept of journaling daily to feel overwhelming. This exercise is supposed to be peaceful. Maybe start off with journaling for 5 to 10 minutes about what you are thankful for. The more often you journal you will start to spend more time with the process because it will help you with planning out your New Year goals at the same time!
AARP St. Louis is all about Living Actively and Connecting Locally visit aarp.org/st.louis to learn what we are doing in your community.
Week 3: Benefits of Cross-Training
Cross-training exercising is a good way to add variety to your workout routine. You may be wondering what is cross-training. Cross-training is doing a variety of exercises that engages more than one muscle group at the same time. The exercises don’t just consist of lifting weights. The exercises could be as simple as taking a walk, bike ride, running, dance class, or etc. One of the benefits of cross-training is to allow yourself to experience new ways to get your body moving and start enjoying the benefits of exercising.
As stated earlier, walking is a great form of cross-training and one of the easiest things to incorporate in your daily routine. AARP Wellness Ambassador, Denise Austin, has provided some great tips and benefits on walking. To learn more about what Denise has to share, read her article.
If you are looking for new ways to start moving, AARP hosts a variety of active living events in St. Louis. We invite you to join us later this year for Boomers and Bikes or Trail Trekkers! For more information on these and other AARP activities in your community, visit aarp.org/stlouis. We look forward to connecting with you!
Week 4: How to Rethink what You Drink
Making healthy lifestyle changes can be overwhelming. There are a lot of things for a person to consider changing. The changes can range from what to eat, how to exercise, and what to drink. When it comes to what liquids we should fuel our bodies with, a lot of health experts will recommend water. Of course that should be the natural drink of choice because the average human adult body is made up of 50% – 60% water, and we need water to help replenish our bodies.
However, what are you supposed to drink if your thirst is not quite craving the taste of plain H2O (water)? Sometimes you may reach for a nice sugary beverage. That could consist of soda, flavored teas, juices, or alcoholic beverages. Health experts will say that having a healthy non-water beverage is okay, as long as it’s in moderation. But what are you to do if you just can’t make the shift to non-sugary drinks? You can learn the facts about sugary drinks. Knowing the facts may help shift your beverage choices when getting something to drink. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is a good resource for educating yourself about sugar-sweetened beverages and consumption. Click here to learn more about what the CDC has to say.
Finally, if you are looking for new ways to start moving, AARP hosts a variety of active living events in St. Louis. We invite you to join us later this year for Boomers and Bikes or Trail Trekkers! For more information on these and other AARP activities in your community, visit aarp.org/stlouis. We look forward to connecting with you!
Week 5: Incorporating fish into your healthy diet
The foods you eat can either advance your healthy lifestyle change or defeat it. There are numerous studies that show that adding fish to your diet can be healthy for you. Fish is a low-fat high quality protein. It is filled with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins such as D and B2 (riboflavin). These essential nutrients keep our heart and brain healthy. AARP Staying Sharp recently published an article about the health benefits of fish. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times per week as part of a healthy diet.
You might be thinking I like fish, but how do I incorporate it into my diet. Below are three steps that you can take to help you incorporate more fish into your diet.
Visit the Seafood Department in your local grocery store. Normally the people working in the seafood department are trained to know about the seafood they are selling. Ask the employee what fish is fresh and what fish has a mild or bold taste. Knowing what your food palette prefers will help you to start incorporating fish into your diet.
Skillet, Oven, or Grill? Fish can be prepared a variety of ways. Be open to trying out different preparation methods. Grilled fish is delicious but pan seared fish taste just as good!
Fish tacos anyone! Fish typically pairs well with any type of vegetable. Think about the type of flavors you like and do not be afraid to add fish as one of the ingredients. The Healthy Living section on AARP.org has a great recipe tool to will help you find recipes that use fish.
For more information and resources about healthy behaviors and active lifestyles, visit aarp.org/health.