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Healthy Living: Eat Right and Be Active

This article covers Eating Right and Being Active

Print the whole article here!

Para ver en español, haga clic aquí. Upang tingnan sa tagalog, mag-click dito.

Having a disability does not mean you cannot be healthy. Everyone can stay healthy by doing two important things every day:

  • Eat healthy foods, and
  • Be active, move your body every day.

Eating right and being active:

o   Increases your chances of living longer,

o   Helps you keep a healthy weight,

o   Keeps bones and muscles strong,

o   Makes you feel good!

Activity helps prevent serious medical conditions. It can help prevent diabetes, heart problems, and other serious medical conditions. It is all good! So let’s get started!

Eat Right  

To eat right follow these simple tips:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat whole grains such as whole grain breads, whole grain cereals and pasta or brown rice.
  • Cut back on foods high in fat and sugar, like:

            cake        cookies        ice cream       candy   

            pizza       sausage       hot dogs         bacon          

  • Drink water instead of sugary sodas.
  • Enjoy your food, but watch how much you eat.
  • Use less salt. Be aware of added salt in foods.
  • Eat or drink fat-free or low fat milk, yogurt and cottage cheese.
  • Eat smaller amounts of lean meat like chicken without the skin and fish.
  • Beans and nuts are good sources of protein.
  • Eat out less often. Cook at home.

To learn more about eating right click on Learn to read the “Nutrition Facts” labels on foods and drinks. Find out about calories, fats, sugar and salt in foods you buy. Be aware of what you are eating now. Keep a record of what you eat for a few days. Use it to find out where you can make changes.

Get started on a healthy diet by making simple changes. If you are having trouble getting started, ask someone to help. You can ask a friend, family member, or supporter. Here are some other tips:

  • Don’t try and do everything all at once.
  • Choose one thing and stick to it.
  • Small changes can make a big difference.
  • Eat three healthy meals each day.
  • Don’t skip meals. Have healthy snacks such as fruit, vegetables or nuts.

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables - Fruits and vegetables provide important vitamins, minerals and fiber. All are important for good health. They are good for you and low in fat and calories.

How many fruits and vegetables do you eat each day? Probably not enough, three out of ten Californians say they eat fruits and vegetables less than one time a day! To find out more about how many fruits and vegetables YOU should eat, click on Based on your age, sex and how active you are each day, you will be told how many cups of fruits and vegetable you should eat each day.

Get Free Fruits and Vegetables from a Food Bank - Food banks are community agencies that give out food people with low incomes.  If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you are eligible for free food from your local Food Bank. To find a food bank in your area go to

Get Fresh Fruits and Vegetables at Farmers Markets – For fresh fruits and vegetables find your local Farmers Market. Farmers let you taste foods and give out healthy recipes and tips. Fruits and vegetables bought at Farmers Markets are often less expensive than at supermarkets. To find a local Farmers Market go to

Preparing Fruits and Vegetables - Wash fruit and vegetables before eating. Most fruits and vegetables should be stored in the refrigerator to keep them from spoiling.  For tips on safe handling and storage of fresh fruit and vegetables go to

Be Active – Move Your Body Every Day

Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving, Here are some tips for getting started:

  • Take a walk, work in the garden, ride a bicycle, go swimming – do something that you enjoy!     
  • Start at your comfort level. Don’t do anything that hurts you or that you are uncomfortable with. If you have been inactive and you do too much you can hurt yourself.
  • Start out slowly and add new activities little by little. After a few days or weeks, increase your level of activity – exercise a little longer and more often.
  • Build activities into your normal daily routines. Take a walk at lunch. Look for ways to be more active each day.
  • Don’t be a couch potato! The more television you watch - the more you sit - the more likely you are to be overweight. You can exercise and watch TV at the same time. Get up and dance while you are watching American Idol! Or better, turn the TV off and go for a walk.
  • Find a friend. Join a team. Take a class. Have fun!

Exercise at least 30 minutes a day.

If you can’t exercise for 30 minutes, exercise three times a day for ten minutes each. Time adds up.  You should exercise at least 150 minutes a week.

Things to watch out for

  • Don’t let yourself get thirsty! Drink lots of water when you exercise. It is recommended that you drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes.
  • If you feel pain, feel faint, or are short of breath, stop and tell someone.
  • Talk to your doctor before you start to find out what is best for you. There are special rules about exercise for people with diabetes and other health conditions.
  • If you are away from home, take some identification. A bus pass will do. You might need it in case you fall or are hurt. If you have diabetes, you should wear a medical ID bracelet.

For tips on walking safety click here

Set Goals for Eating Right and Being Active

Setting goals will help you get started and stay on track. Here are some sample goals for healthy living:

  • Eat 5 fruits and vegetables each day.
  • Reduce time watching TV to 60 minutes each day.
  • Get 30 minutes of exercise each day.
  • Drink no more than one sugared drink a week.

Set you own goals and get started. Celebrate your success – big and small. Eat Right! Be Active! Take good care of yourself!

Set Goals for Eating Right and Being Active

Setting goals will help you get started and stay on track. Here are some sample goals for healthy living:

  • Eat ______fruits and vegetables each day.
  • Reduce time watching TV to _______minutes each day.
  • Get______ minutes of exercise each day.
  • I will drink no more than ______sugared drinks each day.

Just fill in the blanks and get started. Celebrate your success – big and small. Eat Right! Be Active! Take good care of yourself!

[1] Excerpted from: The 2005 Surgeon General’s Call to Action To Improve the Health and Wellness of People with Disabilities,



Last updated on Fri, 04/25/2014 - 20:00