By MSU Extension

OSCEOLA COUNTY — With March being National Nutrition Month, MSU Extension wants to help local residents begin or keep a healthy lifestyle through nutrition. Every week through the month, the Herald Reviewwill publish a selection of tips recommended by MSU Extension health educators and nutritionists.

Work up a sweat

Vigorous work-outs — when you're breathing hard and sweating — help your heart pump better, give you more energy and help you look and feel best. Start with a warm-up that stretches your muscles. Include 20 minutes of aerobic activity, such as running, jogging or dancing. Follow-up with activities that help make you stronger such as push-ups or lifting weights. Then cool-down with more stretching and deep breathing.

Balance your food choices

Don't eat too much of any one thing. You don't have to give up foods like hamburgers, french fries and ice cream to eat healthy. You just have to be smart about how often and how much of them you eat. Your body needs nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, fat and many different vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C and A, iron and calcium from a variety of foods. Balancing food choices from MyPlate and checking out the Nutrition Facts Panel on food labels will help you get all these nutrients.

Water — the beverage of choice!

Drink water every day. Lots of it! This should be the beverage of choice, not juice, sports drinks, pop, coffee, etc. Water is an essential nutrient that hydrates you without giving you any extra calories from added sugar,caffeine or additives. If this is the only option between meals that children are given, they will grow up wanting just water, rather than feeling like their water has to be sweetened.

Get fit with friends or family

Being active is much more fun with friends or family. Encourage others to join you and plan one special physical activity event, like a bike ride, sledding or hiking with a group each week.

Eat more grains, fruits and vegetables

These foods give you carbohydrates for energy, plus vitamins, minerals and fiber. Besides, they taste good! Try breads such as whole-wheat, bagels and pita. Spaghetti and oatmeal are also in the grain group. Bananas, strawberries and melons are some great tasting fruits. Try vegetables raw, on a sandwich or salad.

10 minutes at a time is fine!

The CDC recommends a goal of 150 minutes of physical activity a week for adults. We know 150 minutes each week sounds like a lot of time, but it's not. That's two hours and 30 minutes, about the same amount of time you might spend watching a movie. The good news is that you can spread your activity out during the week, so you don't have to do it all at once. You can even break it up into smaller chunks of time during the day. It's about what works best for you, as long as you're doing physical activity at a moderate or vigorous effort for at least 10 minutes at a time.