How to shape up for spring

Maybe we should do a diet and physical activity checkup to find out if our lifestyle needs to be refreshed.

Luella Morehouse

During the spring, we may feel like refreshing our home by cleaning and organizing closets. Maybe we should do a diet and physical activity checkup to find out if our lifestyle needs to be refreshed.

Eating a healthful diet and being more active can help lower your risk for heart disease, cancer and diabetes. You can have fun and feel more energetic in the process! However, be sure to check in with your health-care professional before making major changes to your lifestyle.

Track Your Eating Habits

For a couple of days as a starting point, write down what and how much you eat and drink. Use a journal, log your intake on your calendar, keep track on your phone or use an online tool. Don’t forget to include beverages, sauces, spreads and sides. It all counts.

Diet checkup:
Are you missing any food groups? Many people are short of fruits and vegetables in the diet. Adults should aim for 4½ cups of colorful fruits and vegetables each day.

Try These Tips to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables:


  • 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.

  • Pack a clementine, banana or grapes in your lunch.

Track Your Activity

For one week, write down the physical activities you do. Log each activity that you do for at least 10 minutes at a time. Use a phone app or a journal, or mark a calendar.

Physical activity checkup:

Are you getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity on five or more days of the week?

Try These Tips to Stay Active:

  • Set some “exercise dates” and write your plans on a calendar. Check it off after you do the activity.

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

  • Check out community classes. Does your community have a “fun walk” or “fun run”? Pull together a team and train together.

  • Take regular breaks from technology. Turn off the TV or computer and put away phones and other devices. Go outside and enjoy a park or walking path.

Visit for more tips to increase fruits, vegetables or other food groups and ideas to be active.

Question: I was cleaning my refrigerator and I noticed some food that has been in there for a while. How long can I keep ground beef, eggs and leftovers? How about mayonnaise?

For best quality and for safety, use perishable foods within several days or freeze. Uncooked eggs in their shells last for three to five weeks, while separated egg yolks or whites should be used within four days. Use leftover casseroles within four days and deli meat within five days. Use opened, refrigerated mayonnaise within two months.


Be sure your refrigerator and freezer keep your food at a safe temperature. Use a refrigerator thermometer to check if your refrigerator is maintaining the temperature of your food at 40°F or below. Your freezer should be set at 0°F and should maintain the foods solidly frozen.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, NOURISH newsletter, Issue 39. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email .

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