With Spring right around the corner we wanted to start a discussion and share ideas on how to introduce some new, fun activities into our lives. Things we can do other than going to the gym or doing vigorous exercises to help lose some of those extra pounds that tend to creep on during the winter months.
With this in mind, we bring you a new gardening mini-series. We wanted to give you some motivation to join us in gardening, whether you start with a few containers on your porch or windowsill or go for a larger raised bed or plot. And even if you're not a seasoned veteran, gardening is not as hard as you might think and will enable you to enjoy the fruits of your labor — literally!
Here are 5 reasons why gardening is good for weight loss:
Safe and Healthy Food: No additives, preservatives or genetically modified organism (GMO) type of worries happen when you grow your own food. It's a lot easier to eat fresh, healthy food when you can quickly harvest your side dish from your own garden. Instead of running to the store in a pinch or resorting to a highly refined and processed box of something, you will know that what you are about to make is healthy for you and your family. Tip: Try organic methods of pest control to reduce your chemical exposure to pesticides.
The specific number of calories burned will depend on the weight of the individual but here are some approximate numbers per half hour of activity: Planting seeds – 120 to 178 calories, weeding – 139 to 205 calories, and digging or spading dirt – 150 to 222 calories. There's a neat calorie calculator on Fit Day to figure out your calorie burn while weeding or cultivating a garden.
Stress Reduction: In non-formal surveys, people who tended a garden, said stress reduction was one of their primary reason's for gardening. With today's high-tech society where we are always connected to email or the telephone, it's healthy to "walk away" - even for 15 minutes and rejuvenate yourself. This will reduce the likelihood of stress-eating and studies have shown that stress levels can hinder a person's weight loss efforts.
Cost Effective: Cooking healthy food doesn't have to break the bank account. Imagine a garden that keeps harvesting week after week and allows you to freeze some for later? The photo to the left shows a photo of one harvest from JoAnne's garden last year. She was giving it away like crazy and still had more than enough for her family. Has anyone priced out a small package of Basil at the store lately? It's more expensive per pound than the finest steak! You will find that making healthy, flavor food doesn't have to be expensive.
Ease and Simplicity: Making a flavor packed healthy recipe doesn't have to be complicated. With fresh ingredients at your fingertips it will become second nature to make food from scratch instead of grabbing a bag of potato chips that are loaded with fat and preservatives. Just think of making Kale chips instead like we did here – A healthy, flavorful, crunchy, satisfying alternative and oh so easy! Find your new "comfort" food that's healthy also!
We hope you join us for more installments of this Healthy Gardening Mini-Series, where will will cover the basics, good tips and tricks, and healthy recipes to make with your harvests!