Marching Towards Better Health with National Nutrition Month!
By Pam Moore, student, SUNY Empire State College
March 10, 2016
If your health resolutions for the new year have already flopped, now is the perfect time to re-start!
March is National Nutrition Month and Empire State College’s Student Health Weeks are underway at five different locations, offering students a chance to sample healthy snacks, check their body fat and blood pressure, get a chair massage and even skin screenings for sun damage. Themes of the Student Health Weeks are just a small peek at what lies in store for ESC’s fourth annual Health and Wellness Retreat being held April 14-16 in Albany, N.Y. The wellness retreat is open to all students at no cost, with meals provided, and registration is currently open. If you cannot attend the Health Week events or the retreat, here are some fun, free and delicious alternatives to try on your own.
Making appropriate food choices is often difficult and if you have dietary concerns, that frustration can be compounded. A free Pinterest.com account can be a useful tool to search out and “pin” (save) healthy recipes. Paleo, vegan, low-carb, high-protein and sugar-free recipes can be found in abundance along with tips and hints for snacking on the go, quick meals for busy nights and preparing nutritious meals the whole family can enjoy.
Many companies and organizations now provide free meal planning and recipe ideas through their websites and newsletters. The National Institutes of Health offers many free cookbooks to download in PDF format, even several for special dietary needs. Print magazine sites offer subscription-free access to their recipes, including Health Magazine, Eating Well and Cooking Light, to name a few. Even the big-name protein powder and protein bar companies like Quest Nutrition can show you how to turn their products into delicious, healthier treats for free!
A good diet works in conjunction with exercise, yet gym memberships are often pricey and come with lengthy, conditional terms and penalties for early cancellation. If a traditional gym setting is out of your budget, there are hundreds of free exercise videos available on YouTube, including yoga, resistance bands, kickboxing, Zumba and multitudes of other workout styles.
Now that spring is approaching and the temperature is warming, many are motivated to take their exercise routines outside. If you don’t know how to begin, start with the From Couch to 5k training plan to help get you off the couch and into your running shoes. The free 10-week program is a progressive walk, jog, walk routine that can turn a beginner into a running pro! The plan can be printed or, if you prefer the ease of an app, there are free downloads through the app store for your mobile device.
If traditional exercise isn’t your style, geocaching is a real-world game that blends hiking, exploration and treasure hunting into an adventurous activity that is fun even for groups and families. Create a free Geocaching account, then set off for one enjoyable, exercise-filled day using your GPS to seek out mysterious hidden caches in your area.