Weekly Feature

2014-01-09 / Business

Tops advises on wellness tips

Tops Friendly Markets recently released a few wellness, smart eating and food shopping tips to ease the transition to a healthier 2014.

“Despite good intentions, the majority of Americans give up on their New Year’s resolutions within the first few weeks of the new year,” said Gail Marchese, wellness coordinator at Tops. “For those making health-related resolutions, there are simple ways to make smarter food and lifestyle choices that can be easily incorporated into your daily lives.”

• Plan and prepare meals in advance. Organize meals in advance to save time and avoid grabbing takeout or snacking on unhealthy foods. Put aside a few hours per week to shop and prepare meals for the upcoming week.

• Make nutrition a priority. At Tops, it’s easy to trade up for healthier food options with the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System. NuVal ranks all foods on a scale of 1 to 100 — the higher the score, the more nutritious the food. Look for NuVal scores on shelf tags throughout select Tops stores to make smarter and healthier choices.

• Stock up on staples. Keep a lot of healthy essentials in the cupboards, like whole-wheat pasta, wraps or pitas, brown rice, canned beans and albacore tuna. Make sure to have plenty of nutritious snacks on hand, including vegetables, fruits, low-fat cheese, and nuts.

• Avoid skipping breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It kick-starts the body’s metabolism and provides the energy needed to tackle the day. Try healthy breakfast options like lean protein and high-fiber foods, including eggs or whole grains.

• Make a double batch. To save time when cooking food items like chili, soup or sauce, make two batches and freeze the extra. Click here for a vegetable beef barley soup recipe ideal for freezing.

• Drink plenty of water. According to the Mayo Clinic, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells, and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. Make sure to drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day. And avoid carbonated, caffeinated or sugary drinks whenever possible.

• Get up and get moving. Schedule at least 30 minutes of physical activity into the day. Use the stairs instead of the elevator, take a brisk walk during lunch breaks or try joining a gym.

• Schedule “me” time. Take time out each day to relax and de-stress. Read a book, take a bath or try a new healthy recipe. Making time to unwind decreases high blood pressure and fatigue while improving energy levels and concentration.

• Be aware of health issues. It’s never been more important to be aware of unrecognized health problems, as stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Tops has partnered with Life Line Screening — the nation’s largest provider of community based vascular screenings — for its Groceries to Good Health program.

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