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Small steps can make lasting results while making healthy life changes

Make small changes over time in what you eat and the level of activity you do. After all, small steps work better than giant leaps. When it comes to making healthy changes in your life, the road to success is paved with small changes made a step or two at a time.

But the payoffs are huge! Forming new healthy habits helps you to look good and feel good now, and keep you running strong for years to come. So, start slow. Remember, small steps add up to long-lasting results.

Eating at least two cups of fruits and two and a half cups of vegetables each day helps you to stay healthy and reduces the risk of cancer. If you fall short, build to this goal by enjoying an apple and a handful of raisins, some crispy baby carrots, a bowl of vegetable soup, or lots of lettuce and tomato on your sandwich today.

For delicious, lower-fat tacos, chili or spaghetti sauce, place one pound of cooked ground beef in a strainer and rinse with one cup hot water. Drain well and continue with your recipe.

To cut calories and fat the easy way, use a cooking spray instead of oil to saute foods. Trim visible fat from meat and remove skin from poultry, too.

Fiber keeps your digestive system running smoothly so irregularity won't slow you down. Boost fiber intake with whole grain bread and breakfast cereal. Make today's lunch sandwiches with whole wheat, seven-grain or oatmeal bread.

Add more fiber-rich beans and peas to your meals. Canned chick peas are a delicious addition to a salad. Canned lentil or split pea soup is a satisfying centerpiece for a fast lunch.

Need to lose weight? Ditch those "magic" diet plans, potions and products - they don't work long term. For lasting results, trim calories and increase activity a step at a time. Start by trimming portions a little bit and moving your body a bit more. Even losing five or 10 lbs. over the next few months can improve your health and help you feel great.

Know a teenage girl? Most don't get the iron they need for energy and growth. Pump up their iron levels by serving fortified cereals, hearty black bean soup or tasty beef fajitas.

Fluid check! To run right, your body needs at least eight cups of fluid each day. Boost your total by drinking a glass of water with each meal. Other fluids, such as milk, juice and herbal tea count, too.

Web posted on Thursday, May 14, 2009

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