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Supplementing your exercise routine with proper nutrition and hydration plays an integral role in maintaining and enhancing your total fitness and boosting your body’s ability to perform at its maximum capability.

Eat the rainbow! Eating a variety of healthy and colorful foods is key to maintain the right energy levels.  To receive the proper amount of nutrition, it is vital that you consume at least three meals per day. Snacking on nutritious foods between meals can even contribute to a healthy diet, increase metabolism, and prevent overeating during the next meal.

Eat high-protein, low-fat items such as fish, beans, whole wheat pasta, egg whites, skim or 1 percent milk, and low fat yogurt. Try to avoid items such as fried foods, high fat meats, egg yolks, and whole milk.

For a good source of vitamins, eat a diet rich in raw or steamed vegetables, green leafy romaine, whole grain breads, and fruits with skin. Avoid fried vegetables, iceberg lettuce—containing no nutrients, white bread, and canned fruits in syrup.

There are good and bad fats? Try to choose non-trans fat bread spreads and heart-healthy margarine. Cook with olive oil or sunflower oil, and omit lard and meat fat. Limit or omit creamy salad dressings high in fat content, cookies, cakes, pies, and pastry goods. Likewise, avoiding fast food is always a good way to cut down on your fat intake.

Before a workout, you should eat a small serving of complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits (apricots, oranges, plums, pears, grapefruits, prunes), vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, potatoes, yams, corn, carrots, onions, etc.), legumes (lentils, kidney beans, black beans, peas, soy beans, etc.), dill pickles, soy milk, low-fat yogurt, or skim milk. After a workout, stick with the standard fruits, vegetables, and of course, water.

The proper amount of water can help regulate your body temperature and combined with the proper fuel it can help you reach your fitness potential. During exercise your body reacts to the increase in temperature by sweating in attempts to cool you off. Since sweat is primarily water you must replace it by drinking more water. If you do not replace the water you have lost, it can lead to poor performance and possible injury. It is recommended that you drink water before, during, and after exercise to prevent dehydration and help improve performance.

“I don’t have time to cook nutritious meals.” We have all said this at one point; however, if you can manage to take some time the night before or even on the weekend to pre-cook some nutritious meals, you, your family and your wallet can greatly benefit. You can even utilize that overflowing Tupperware drawer that everyone seems to have—cook up some meals and then stock up the fridge for the week. This leaves you with plenty of meal options to choose from if you are crunched for time. By preparing these meals ahead of time, you are less likely to grab something unhealthy. It also allows more time for your workout—no excuses!

Whether you want to learn how to shop better for your family at the grocery store or find a way to a healthier diet, Fort HealthCare offers nutrition programs among the many health and wellness classes offered throughout the year. Additionally, registered dietitians are available for private consultation to assist both adults and children with healthy eating, living with dietary restrictions and creating personalized dietary programs. A referral from your doctor is needed for insurance coverage.

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Is it time to ditch the diapers? It probably seems like just yesterday you were changing your toddler’s first diaper, and now you are wondering if it is time to start potty training.  Potty training is a big step, and it can be a difficult and frustrating process for both children and parents alike.  No child is alike, so mothers, new or experienced, may be wary about where and when to start and unsure about how to tackle the daunting task. These basic tips will get you started on the right track and help you and your little one find potty training success.

Wait until your child is ready.
There is no magic age to start potty training, however, most children are ready between 2 ½ to 3½ years old.  It is a process, so start slow, and to pique interest, place the potty chair you’ve chosen in the bathroom, make it part of your regular routine at bath time, bedtime, or even before leaving the house, and encourage good hand washing afterward.

Look for the signs.
When is it time to start potty training?  It is different for every child, so it is important to look for signs that may indicate your child is ready.  Some good indicators are:

  • You’re changing fewer diapers which may be dry after a nap, or even overnight
  • Your child’s bowel movements are predictable or regular
  • Your child understands bathroom lingo
  • Your child can perform simple undressing

Choose the right toilet-training potty.
Here is how to pick one to guarantee toilet-training success:

  • Shop for a potty in person and take your child with you
  • Perouse the store’s stock, let your child sit in any that they seem interested in, and look for one’s that fit them comfortably
  • Check for features like a removable bowl and splash guard
  • Let your child decorate the potty with markers or stickers—let them make it their own

Be patient—every child is different.
Potty training is a normal process that is different for each child.  It is important to begin when you believe your child is ready, be active and aware throughout the process, and be patient.  If you push the process too hard, you may end up back at square one.

Motivate with rewards.
For most kids, kisses, hugs, tickles, and praise is motivation enough, but some toddlers may need a little extra incentive.  Some parents swear by sticker charts, while others use other small treats for motivation, but whatever road you take, be sure to emphasize what the child accomplished rather than the reward.

Understand accidents.
A few toddlers start using the potty and never look back; however, for most, accidents are bound to happen.  At such a delicate phase of development, there are many things that can be an obstacle or cause a setback.  Chances are your toddler will be upset after an accident, so the more subdued your reaction, the better.  Offer comfort and reassurance, and help restore your child’s sense of control.  Dealing with the causes of such accidents is instrumental to putting potty training back on the road to success, so be aware of the common triggers such as stress, fatigue, parental pressure, excitement, and other major changes.

For more information about toilet training, consult with your Fort HealthCare family physician, visit, or check out this video about toilet training your toddler.

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