Lifestyle Family Fitness

Little Steps to Healthy Living — for the Whole Family

by Amy Alexander

Living a healthy lifestyle starts with one decision and builds little by little over time until you reach your family goals.

Here are some simple steps to guide you down the road to better health – when you’re at home or out and about.

Little Steps When Eating Out

• Before heading to the restaurant, choose your entrée and look up the nutritional information – this helps control calorie intake.

• Split a meal with someone. Most entrees at restaurants are big enough for two people.

• Skip the appetizers and bread. Instead, go for a side salad to hold you over before your meal arrives. Hint: for fewer calories, ask for dressing on the side and leave off the bacon and cheese.

• Drinks count! Order low calorie beverages like unsweetened tea or go with water; it’s always the best option.

• If you opt for dessert, split it with everyone at the table.

Little Steps When Cooking at Home

• Find low calorie recipes. Many cookbooks and recipe sites list the nutritional information for their recipes, including calorie count.

• Go lean. Choose lower fat options such as leaner cuts of meat, low fat cheese and vegetarian dishes.

• Use cooking spray instead of greasing your pans with butter.

• Measure everything. Don’t eyeball it — be exact.

• Use smaller plates and bowls. If you’re still hungry, go back for seconds.

• Eat early. This eliminates the “before dinner snack” and helps you digest your food easier.

• Take a cooking class. Many of these classes can show you fun and flavorful ways to cook healthier.

Little Steps When Exercising

• Park further away and take the stairs. Every extra step burns a couple of extra calories.

• Take a 10 minute walk on your lunch break – walk the mall and get some shopping in too!

• Play with your kids. Hopscotch, jump rope, Wii — anything that gets you and them moving.

• Go for a family walk before or after dinner. Take the dog too! This could become a great activity for all of you.

• Try a group fitness class like cycling, yoga, Zumba or Pilates.

Remember, little steps add up to big results!

Amy Alexander is an ACSM certified Personal Trainer and RPM instructor at Lifestyle Family Fitness.

Gulf Coast Family Publications - Encouraging families along the Gulf Coast in Pinellas County