Here Comes the (Healthy) Bride

I originally wrote this article for Chicago Bride Magazine: http://www.chicagobridemagazine.com/featuredarticles/toc/HereComesTheBride.pdf

Here Comes the (Healthy) Bride

Weddings can be exciting and filled with fun traditions. . . .something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Stress levels can sometimes run high with all of the details, organization and last minute planning that occurs as the big event approaches. To help make sure your special day goes smoothly, apply these traditions to your health. Not only will you look great, but you’ll feel better.

Something old

…As the wedding approaches, take a fresh look at old favorites and challenge yourself to make your menus a healthier. Family recipes passed down from generation to generation often hold special meaning. Enjoy traditional treats “as is” by monitoring portion size and serving a high-fat side dish like macaroni and cheese with a lean entrée like skinless grilled marinated chicken and a leafy mixed green side salad, topped off with a cool glass of low fat milk. This combination is not only pleasing to the taste bud and eye, but the dark greens help with vision and good skin while the low fat dairy and skinless poultry helps with weight management in a variety of ways.

Something new

…If you have been talking about starting an exercise program, now is the time! Exercise helps manage stress, weight control and keeps your heart healthier, too. After clearing your exercise routine with your physician, spend this “special time” as a couple or for yourself – whichever you prefer. Now that the weather is getting warmer, it’s a great time to start adding in activity you enjoy while taking advantage of the season. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, 30-45 minutes of exercise daily is ideal, three to five days per week. If engaging in daily endurance exercise, alternate between weight-bearing activities such as jogging or walking and non-weight-bearing activities like swimming. When starting out, begin slowly – even five minutes a day until endurance is built up. It may be prudent to meet with an exercise professional after talking to the doctor to be sure your activities are going to help you meet your goals. On the flip side, if you have been exercising regularly, now is the time to change up your routine. This will help to avoid plateaus and fight boredom.

Something borrowed

…To help fight boredom in the kitchen, consider a recipe swap with your friends and family. When planning a shower, instead of (or in addition to) the usual shower games, request that guests share a favorite family recipe either by emailing in advance or bringing a hard copy to the event. Once the recipes are gathered at the party, make a game out of revamping them to be healthier by changing an ingredient or two. This will provide a nice set of recipes for the bride, and could make a great shower gift if someone compiles and sends them after the party. If the shower has come and gone, including a family recipe with the wedding gift is a personal touch that makes any gift more special.

Something blue

…did you know that each color of fruit/vegetable provides a different set of nutrients you need? Eating a rainbow of produce every day will help you reduce your risk of numerous chronic diseases including cancer and heart disease. According to www.5aday.com, blue and purple colored produce including blueberries, blackberries, purple asparagus and raisins have nutrients that help with healthy aging, memory function (to help you remember the important details of your special day), urinary tract health, and a reduced risk for some types of cancers.

Apply these beneficial “nutrition traditions” and everyone will be sure to say, “Here Comes the Healthy Bride!”