A Springboard to Better Health: How Healthy Eating Makes a Difference

father and son making a salad

It’s National Nutrition Month, and what better time to celebrate the incredible power of food?  The choices we make on our plates don’t just affect our taste buds; they have a profound impact on our overall health and well-being.

This month, let’s ditch the fad diets and focus on building a sustainable, healthy relationship with food. By prioritizing nutritious choices, we can empower ourselves to prevent chronic diseases and live life to the fullest.

Healthy Eating for a Healthy You

  • Disease Prevention Powerhouse: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These play a crucial role in reducing the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

  • Weight Management: Filling your plate with nutrient-dense foods keeps you feeling fuller for longer, reducing cravings and aiding in healthy weight management.

  • Energy Booster: Processed foods and sugary drinks might give you a temporary spike, but they often lead to crashes and leave you feeling sluggish. Healthy meals provide sustained energy to power you through your day.

  • Sharper Mind, Stronger Body: The right nutrients nourish your brain and nervous system, improving cognitive function and focus. Additionally, a balanced diet supports a strong immune system, keeping you protected from illnesses.

Making Healthy Choices Easier

  • Plan Your Meals: Taking some time each week to plan meals and snacks helps you make healthy choices in advance and avoid grabbing unhealthy options when you’re short on time.

  • Get Cooking: Experimenting in the kitchen allows you to control ingredients and portion sizes. Plus, it’s a fun way to explore new flavors and get creative!

  • Stock Up on Staples: Keep your pantry and fridge stocked with healthy essentials like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources. This makes it easier to whip up nutritious meals on the go.

  • Read Food Labels: Don’t be fooled by marketing! Understanding ingredients and portion sizes allows you to make informed choices.

  • Make Small Changes: Start by incorporating small changes into your diet. Swap sugary drinks for water, add a side of vegetables to your lunch, or choose whole-wheat bread instead of white. Every healthy step counts!

National Nutrition Month is a springboard, not a finish line. By embracing healthy eating habits, you’re investing in yourself and your future. Remember, food is more than just sustenance; it’s a powerful tool for living a long, healthy, and fulfilling life. So, this month and beyond, celebrate the joy of healthy eating and fuel your body to reach its full potential.

Leap into Happiness and Health: Uncas Health District’s Guide for Leap Day 

Little boy jumping over hurdles on running track

Leap Day, that extra day on February 29th, is a day to celebrate the unexpected! Why not use it as a springboard for launching a happier and healthier lifestyle? Here are some tips from Uncas Health District to help residents of Eastern Connecticut make the most of this special occasion:

Fuel Your Body:

  • Leap into a new recipe: Explore a local farm stand or farmers’ market for fresh, seasonal ingredients. Try a recipe bursting with fruits and vegetables, or experiment with a new protein source like lean fish or beans.
  • Pack a healthy picnic: Take advantage of the expected mild weather Leap Day and enjoy a delicious, nutritious lunch al fresco. Pack whole-wheat sandwiches, veggie wraps, fruit salad, and homemade trail mix for a satisfying and healthy feast.
  • Hydrate for happiness: Carry a reusable water bottle and sip throughout the day. Staying hydrated improves energy levels, cognitive function, and even mood!

Move Your Body:

  • Leap out and explore: Lace up your walking shoes and embark on a new adventure. Eastern Connecticut is full of scenic trails, parks, and historic sites to discover. Challenge yourself to a longer walk than usual, or try a new route.
  • Get active indoors: Invite friends and family for a fun game of indoor basketball, badminton, or jump rope. Even a dance party in your living room can be a great way to get your heart rate up and have a laugh.
  • Join a local fitness class: Many gyms and community centers offer free or discounted introductory classes on Leap Day. Try something new like Zumba, yoga, or Pilates to discover an activity you enjoy.

Nourish Your Mind:

  • Start a gratitude journal: Take a few minutes each day to write down three things you’re grateful for. This simple practice can boost your mood and improve overall well-being.
  • Connect with loved ones: Schedule a phone call, video chat, or in-person visit with friends and family. Social connection is essential for mental and emotional health.
  • Get lost in a good book: Dedicate some time to reading a book that inspires, educates, or simply brings you joy. Curling up with a good read can be a relaxing and rewarding escape.


  • Small changes add up: Don’t feel pressured to overhaul your entire lifestyle at once. Start with small, sustainable changes that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine.
  • Find what works for you: There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to happiness and health. Experiment and discover what activities and practices make you feel your best.
  • Celebrate your progress: Acknowledge and celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. This will help you stay motivated and on track toward your goals.

Uncas Health District is committed to supporting the health and well-being of Eastern Connecticut residents. We encourage you to use Leap Day as a springboard for a happier and healthier you!

Bonus Tip: Share your Leap Day wellness activities on social media using #UncasHealthLeap and inspire others to join the movement!

Together, let’s make the Uncas Health District a healthier and happier place to live!


More than a Resolution: Embrace Mini Habits for Year-Round Well-Being

couple jogging

Let’s be honest: most of our New Year’s Resolutions fizzle by February. Gym memberships gather dust,  the kale wilts in the refrigerator, and initiatives such as “Dry January” fade like a forgotten dream. But what if, instead of crash diets and drastic reforms, we embraced mini habits for lasting healthy change?

Forget the all-or-nothing approach. Tiny, sustainable tweaks to your daily routine can have a powerful cumulative effect on your physical and mental well-being. Think of it like building a brick wall; each small brick laid consistently contributes to a strong, lasting structure.

Here’s how to ditch the January-only mindset and cultivate healthy habits year-round

  1. Start Small, Start Specific: Don’t overwhelm yourself with ambitious goals. Begin with one tiny change you can realistically incorporate into your day. Instead of vowing for daily gym visits, commit to a 10-minute walk during your lunch break. Choose a habit that excites you, not one that feels like punishment.
  2. Track & Celebrate: Keep a simple habit tracker (bullet journal, app, etc.) to visualize your progress. Seeing those checkmarks adds up and fuels motivation. Celebrate your mini-victories, no matter how small. Reward yourself with a healthy treat, a relaxing soak, or anything reinforcing your positive choices.
  3. Focus on Progress, Not Perfection: There will be slip-ups. Don’t let them derail you! View setbacks as learning opportunities, not failures. Forgive yourself, recommit to your mini habit, and move forward. Remember, progress, not perfection, is the key to lasting change.

Simple Habit Ideas for Year-Round Wellness

  • Hydration Hero: Set reminders to sip water throughout the day. Infuse it with fruits or herbs for added flavor.
  • Movement Minute: Take the stairs, do some stretches during breaks, or park further away to add movement to your day.
  • Sleep Sanctuary: Establish a relaxing bedtime routine and aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep.
  • Mindful Meals: Savor your food, chew slowly, and avoid distractions while eating.
  • Tech Timeout: Schedule times to disconnect from screens and reconnect with yourself and your loved ones.
  • Gratitude Glow: Reflect on three things you’re grateful for daily. Start a gratitude journal to boost happiness.
  • Nature Nurture: Spend time outdoors, even just a few minutes in your backyard. Breathe in the fresh air and soak up the sunshine.

Remember, minor changes add up to significant results. Embrace the journey, celebrate your progress, and cultivate healthy habits that last a lifetime. You deserve to feel your best all year round!


School is Back — Let’s Have a Safe, Happy, and Healthy School Year

father sending young son off to school

School is back in session! With a new school year upon us, it’s essential to prioritize safety. Here are some valuable safety tips to help parents, guardians, and caregivers ensure their children’s safety as they embark on a new academic journey.

Safe Transportation: Whether your child walks, bikes, or takes the bus to school, it’s important to prioritize their safety during their commute. Remind them to use designated crosswalks, follow traffic signals, and wear helmets while biking. If they take the bus, educate them about proper behavior at the bus stop and on the bus, such as staying seated and wearing seat belts if available.

two boys in a crosswalk

Backpacks: Heavy backpacks can strain a child’s back and shoulders. Ensure your child’s backpack is appropriately sized, has padded straps, and is worn with both straps to distribute the weight evenly. Encourage them to only carry what’s necessary to lighten the load.

Cyber Safety: In the digital age, cyber safety is paramount. Teach your children the importance of not sharing personal information online, being cautious about the content they view, and being respectful in their online interactions.

Healthy Eating: A balanced diet contributes to overall well-being. Pack nutritious lunches and snacks that include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein. Avoid sugary snacks and beverages that can lead to energy crashes later in the day.

Ensure your child’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Vaccinations play a crucial role in preventing the spread of infectious diseases within the school community.

Emergency Contacts: Update your child’s emergency contact information with the school. Provide accurate phone numbers and alternative contacts in case you’re unreachable.

Mental Health Check-ins: Starting school can be exciting but also stressful. Check-in with your child’s emotional well-being, and let them know it’s okay to talk about their feelings. Teach them healthy ways to cope with stress.

As we gear up for another school year, let’s prioritize the safety and well-being of all school-aged children. By following these safety tips and fostering an environment of open communication, we can help make the academic journey not only educational but also fun and safe.


To find when the Uncas Mobile Health Team will be coming to your neighborhood, check out our calendar

For a listing of immunization requirements for students enrolled in Connecticut schools, click here.

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