Healthy living can mean different things to different people. To most, healthy living means both physical and mental health are in balance or functional in a beneficial way for the person.
This article is not meant to be all inclusive but will include some major components that are considered to be parts of a lifestyle that lead to good health. In addition to the tips about what people should do for healthy living, the article will mention some of the tips about avoiding actions (the don’ts) that lead to unhealthy living.
Pick and set a date for quitting. If you can, plan to have a friend quit smoking with you or to hold you to word and be a support. It’s best to pick a day within the next month. A date too far off in the future will give you a chance to procrastinate and postpone, while a date too soon may not allow you to make a plan for medications or support systems.
Watch yourself. Notice when and why you smoke. Try to find the things in your daily life that you often do while smoking (such as drinking your morning cup of coffee or driving a car).
Change your smoking routines: Keep your cigarettes in a different place. Smoke with your other hand. Don’t do anything else when you are smoking. Think about how you feel when you smoke.
Healthy eating (diet and nutrition)
All humans have to eat food for growth and maintenance of a healthy body, but we have different nutrition requirements as infants, children (kids), teenagers, young adults, adults, and seniors. For example, infants may require feeding every 4 hours until they gradually age and begin to take in more solid foods. Eventually, they develop into the more normal pattern of eating three times per day as young kids. However, as most parents know, kids, teenagers, and young adults often snack between meals. Snacking is often not limited to these age groups because adults and seniors often do the same.
Eat three healthy meals a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner); it is important to remember that dinner does not have to be the largest meal.
Do not eat excessively late, before bedtime.
The bulk of food consumption should consist of healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk products.
Incorporate lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts (with emphasis on beans and nuts) into a healthy diet.
Choose foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars; look at the labels because the first listed items on the labels comprise the highest concentrations of ingredients.
Control portion sizes; eat the smallest portion that can satisfy hunger and then stop eating.
Healthy snacks are OK in moderation and should consist of items like fruit, whole grains, or nuts to satisfy hunger and not cause excessive weight gain.
Avoid sodas and sugar-enhanced drinks because of the excessive calories in the sodas and sugar drinks; diet drinks as well since they make some people hungrier and increase food consumption.
Think of it not as a diet but as a lifestyle change
Avoid eating a large meal before sleeping to decrease gastroesophageal reflux and weight gain.
If a person is angry or depressed, eating will not solve these situations and may make the underlying problems worse.
Avoid rewarding children with sugary snacks; such a pattern may become a lifelong habit for people.
Avoid heavy meals in the summer months, especially during hot days.
A vegetarian lifestyle has been promoted for a healthy lifestyle and weight loss; vegetarians should check with their physicians to be sure they are getting enough vitamins, minerals, and iron in their diet.
Cooking foods (above 165 F) destroys most harmful bacteria and other pathogens; if you choose to eat uncooked foods like fruits or vegetables, they should be thoroughly washed with running treated (safe to drink) tap water right before eating.
Avoid eating raw or undercooked meats of any type.
Tips for special situations:
People with diabetes should use the above tips and monitor their glucose levels as directed; try to keep the daily blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible.
People with unusual work schedules (night shifts, college students, military) should try to adhere to a breakfast, lunch, and dinner routine with minimal snacking.
People who prepare food should avoid using grease or frying foods in grease.
People trying to lose weight (body fat) should avoid all fatty and sugary foods and eat mainly vegetables, fruits, and nuts and markedly reduce his/her intake of meat and dairy products.
Seek medical advice early if you cannot control your weight, food intake, or if you have diabetes and cannot control your blood glucose levels.