Shape up for spring

Some advice on dieting and physical activity.

Although recent weather may have us thinking otherwise, spring is here. During springtime, many of us feel like refreshing our homes by doing some spring cleaning and organizing. Spring is also a good time to do a diet and physical activity checkup on ourselves to find out if our lifestyle could use some refreshing as well.

Eating healthy foods and engaging in regular physical activity can help lower your risk for many health concerns, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes. If you can find a physical activity that you enjoy, you can have fun and feel more energetic in the process. Just be sure to check with your health care provider prior to making any major health changes to your lifestyle.

If you are thinking a “spring cleaning” of your health habits is in order, consider these tips:

Keep track of your eating habits for a couple of days. Write down what and how much you eat and drink, including all beverages, sauces, spreads, and sides. It all counts. After a couple days of tracking, look it over to see if you are missing any food groups. Many people do not get enough fruits and vegetables (the recommendation is about 4 ½ cups a day for adults).

Plan some meals around a vegetable-rich main dish, such as a stir-fry or soup.


Include a green salad with your dinner every night.

Make a fruit smoothie for breakfast or a snack

Keep track of your physical activity for about a week. Log each activity that you do for at least 10 minutes at a time. Then, check to see if you are getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity on five or more days of the week.

Set some exercise dates for yourself – mark it off in your calendar or on your phone to help keep yourself accountable.

Plant a garden in your backyard or in a community garden. Raking, planting, pulling weeds, and harvesting all count as physical activity.

Check out events and classes that are offered in your community, such as fun runs/walks, recreational sports, and fitness classes.

Take regular breaks from technology. Turn off the TV or computer, put away phones and go outside to enjoy a park or walking trail.

For more information on healthy eating and physical activity, visit the North Dakota State University Extension website at You can also contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at (701) 252-9030 or

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