Staying on track: 3 ways to spring into a healthy summer

(BPT) - Lacking culinary inspiration? Telling yourself that you will start going to the gym “next week?” Binge-watching TV rather than tackling a crossword puzzle?

We can often be our own biggest hurdle when it comes to making healthy decisions. But sometimes all it takes is a gentle nudge from a friend or a fun new idea to spark your motivation. Below, find three simple ideas to help you live your best life and boost your mental and physical health.

Staying active: Squats

Squats are one of the most important exercises we can do. And most of us do squats multiple times a day — think sitting down to dinner or standing up to get a drink of water. Squats help ensure both your leg and stabilizing muscles stay strong and your range of motion stays wide, so those mindless daily activities, stay that way.

1. Stand tall and place your feet shoulder width apart.

2. Squeeze your glutes and lower yourself down and back toward the ground. Try to drive your knees out slightly as you squat down.

3. Straighten back up to standing and repeat.

To take a more active role in your health, some health plans, including UnitedHealthcare, offer gym memberships at no additional cost. To learn more, visit UHCMedicarePlans.com. Consult your doctor prior to beginning an exercise program or making changes to your lifestyle or health care routine.

Staying healthy: Sheet-pan roasted salmon with vegetable hash

Salmon is one of the best foods we can eat to keep our brain healthy. Enjoy this delicious recipe; best of all, there is only one pan to wash!

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups butternut squash, cubed (1/2 inch)
  • 1/2 cup red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 (6-ounce) salmon fillets

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 450 F. Spray a large rimmed baking pan with cooking spray.

2. Arrange the butternut squash and onion in pan. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper; toss to coat. Bake for 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the Brussels sprouts, 1 tablespoon oil and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

4. Remove vegetables from the oven and add Brussels sprouts to the pan.

5. Stir to combine. Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

6. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard and brown sugar until smooth. Brush mustard mixture over both pieces of salmon.

7. Remove baking pan from oven. Move the vegetables over to one side of the pan and place the salmon (skin side down) on the other side. Bake for another 12 to 14 minutes, or until salmon is cooked to desired doneness and vegetables are browned.

Health facts: calories: 579; total fat: 31 grams; saturated fat: 4.5 grams; cholesterol: 105 milligrams; sodium: 904 milligrams; carbs: 39 grams; dietary fiber: 6 grams; sugar: 13 grams; protein: 45 grams

Staying mindful: Word scramble

Keeping your mind active and engaged is one of the best ways to help fend off memory loss. Brain games, like word scrambles, are fun ways to help keep your memory sharp.

Try unscrambling the words below. Hint: Summer.

IUHNSSNE

CAOVATNI

WFOSELR

GNLSAUSSES

CCNIIP

HFGINSI

Plans are insured through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or one of its affiliated companies. For Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans: A Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract and a Medicare-approved Part D sponsor. Enrollment in these plans depends on the plan’s contract renewal with Medicare.

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