Energize your day with these simple steps

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Summer is almost here, and there are easy ways to look and feel better before the season. (WLS)

Summer is almost here, and there are easy ways to look and feel better before the season. Sleep, diet and fluids will get you started on the road to where you want to be. If you're surprised that activity isn't on the list, that's because lack of sleep, a poor diet and dehydration all leave you too tired for any added activity. High-quality protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains help maintain stable blood sugar levels; which leads to less overeating, mood swings, and fatigue. Dehydration, or lack of fluids leads to fatigue, lack of focus, and mindless nibbling. Whether you want to drop some weight, train for a race, or just pull out of the winter doldrums, registered dietitian Pat Baird has some tips to feel better.

Focus on Sleep:
- National Institutes of Health cites stress as a factor in sleep deprivation
- That sets a viscous cycle of added stress, less sleep; more stress, less sleep
- They recommend 7-9 hours of sleep for benefits like improved memory and learning, stress reduction and heart health
- Cover digital clocks and cable boxes that disrupt sleep patterns, wear a sleep mask, mediate to prepare for sleep

Power Up with Protein:

- Protein helps boost focus and concentration, strengthen the immune system and keep muscles strong
- Have smaller portions of "high-quality" protein (all the essential amino acids) and choose lean meat and seafood
- Be sure to include protein in snacks

Nature's Superfoods: Fruits, Veggies and More!
- Over 75 percent of Americans don't eat the recommended amounts the of fruits & veggies say latest Dietary Guidelines; most fall short of whole grains too
- These foods provide vitamins, minerals and fiber for health and energy
Give your health an extra boost with legumes - beans, peas, lentils
- They pair well with whole grains and are an excellent source of protein and iron

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
- Hydration has a host of health benefits; heated homes and offices airplane travel are among the things that dehydrate us
- The Institute of Medicine replaced the 8-by-8 rule several years back
- Men now should have 13 glasses of fluid per day; women shoudl have nine
- Water from foods like fruits, veggies, meat counts
- However, 75 percent of Americans do not consume the recommended amount of fruits and veggies
- This dietitian says drink more fluid
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