(BPT) - The promise of spring is right around the corner, and with it comes a sense of rejuvenation. You've probably thought about getting healthy this year, and just like the annual spring cleaning ritual of your home, now is the time to refresh and breathe new life into your daily routine.
But what does healthy mean? We're bombarded with visions of steel abdominal muscles and gazelle-like limbs. For most people, however, achieving health can't be reduced to a lower health club membership deal or a dieting pill. Rather, the road to health is a lifelong journey encompassing mind, body and spirit.
That said, there are manageable steps you can take in your daily life to experience and sustain a healthier, balanced lifestyle. Popcorn, low in calories and high in fiber, whole grains and antioxidants, can help. One of the oldest and most beloved snacks for any age, popcorn is also a treat to lift the spirit.
'Popcorn is a classic American symbol of families joining together,' says Garrett Smith, president of Jolly Time Pop Corn. 'We've been a family owned business for nearly 100 years, and as dieting trends go in and out, we've remained true to our wholesome values and wishing our consumers the entire equation: family, fun and moderation.'
Jolly Time Pop Corn conducted a campaign asking fans for advice on maintaining a healthy lifestyle in celebration of its new popcorn made with the Smart Balance blend of oils, which contains zero grams of trans fat naturally and no hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Here are the most popular tips submitted:
* Everything in moderation - Rather than swing between extremes, try to get into an easy routine and listen to your body. Be active, but also know when to rest. Eat healthy foods, but allow yourself the occasional indulgence.
* Walk daily - Walking burns calories without putting strain on joints. A nice long walk also allows for some quiet time to process your emotions and events of the day.
* Floss your teeth - Flossing your teeth prevents plague, which creates a toxin that your body has to work hard to fight, ultimately freeing up your immune system to fight other ailments.
* Eat a variety of fruits and veggies - Fruits and veggies provide essential vitamins, antioxidants and other nutrients to keep people healthy. Studies have also linked eating more produce with improved mood.
* Drink water - You should drink eight glasses of water per day to stay hydrated, keeping the gears of your body detoxified and in motion.
* Whole grains - Dietary fiber from whole grains or other foods may help reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. And whole grain foods such as popcorn, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and cereals help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.
'While it's very important to eat well and exercise, being healthy doesn't have to mean pushing ourselves to physical extremes,' says Amy Fischl, a registered dietitian at the University of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center. 'There are simple, moderate things we can do to engage our mind, body and spirit, and improve overall health.'
Start your day with this balanced whole-grain toasted berry granola recipe from Jolly Time Pop Corn that is good for both your body and your soul.
Whole-grain Toasted Berry Granola
Makes about 11 cups
10 cups popped JOLLY TIME Butter Light Microwave Pop Corn made with the Smart Balance unique blend of oils
2 cups barley flakes
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons light olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger or cardamom
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup dried blueberries
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 250 F. Line a large-rimmed baking sheet with foil. Mix popcorn (remove any unpopped kernels), barley flakes, oat bran and wheat germ in a large bowl. Mix honey, oil, spices, vanilla and salt in a glass measuring cup until well blended. Pour over popcorn mixture; toss to coat. Pour mixture onto baking sheet in an even layer. Bake about 40 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Stir in blueberries and cranberries. Cool completely; store in airtight container.
To learn more about healthy, satisfying snacking with popcorn and to access exclusive recipes and features, visit www.jollytime.com.