Blue Zones Project North Hawaii

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Residents living in the original Blue Zones areas share common lifestyle habits, or what we call the Power 9. Eating wisely is one of them.


Residents living in the original Blue Zones areas share common lifestyle habits, or what we call the Power 9. Eating wisely is one of them.

People who live in Okinawa, Japan have a strategy when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight — they call it “hara hachi bu,” which means to stop eating with you are 80 percent full. Studies show that cutting back on calories can lead to better heart health, longevity and weight loss. In fact, losing just 10 percent of your body weight offers significant health benefits, such as lower blood pressure and cholesterol, which can reduce the risk of heart disease.

In addition, we encourage smart snacking strategy. Often times, its not only meals, but the unhealthy snacking in between that adds unnecessary calories to your day. Well-chosen snacks can offer nutrients and an energy boost to power you through your day. They can also satisfy hunger so you can keep your meal portions in check. The next time a snack attack strikes, refuel with these tasty, nutrition-packed snacks:

• Peel a banana, dip it in low- or non-fat yogurt, roll it in crushed cereal, and freeze.

• Spread celery sticks with a tablespoon of peanut butter and top with raisins (for the keiki, we call this “bugs on a log”).

• Stuff a whole-grain pita pocket with ricotta cheese and apple slices. Add a dash of cinnamon.

• Mix cereal, dried fruit and nuts in a sandwich bag for an energy-filled on-the-go snack.

• Smear a thin layer of peanut butter on apple slices.

• Blend low- or non-fat milk, frozen strawberries, and a banana for a deliciously sweet smoothie.

• Dip baby carrots and cherry tomatoes in low- or non-fat ranch dressing.

• Eat a handful of nuts.

• Wash your healthy snack down with a glass of water, or two.

Source: The American Dietetic Association

5 Ways to Eat Less and Shed Pounds

1. Downsize your dinnerware.

The size of the plates and glasses we use has an impact on how much we eat/drink. Try using smaller plates and tall, narrow glasses. You’re more likely to eat significantly less without even thinking about it.

2. Enjoy soup-er nutrition.

Nutritious soups can boost your health and your weight-management efforts. Fiber-rich veggies help you feel fuller so you eat less, while giving your body the nutrients it needs.

3. Snack on nuts.

Enjoying a handful of nuts is healthy. They’re a source of important vitamins, minerals and heart-healthy fats. Studies have shown that eating nuts may reduce your risk of heart disease and increase your longevity.

4. Eat an early, light dinner.

Eat a light dinner early in the evening to give your body plenty of time to digest the food before going to bed. This practice promotes better sleep during the night and lowers your BMI.

5. Slow down and be mindful of your food.

Many of us eat on the run, sitting in front of a TV or rushing in-between meetings. This often means we don’t notice what we’re eating or how fast we’re consuming it. Make a habit to sit down and savor the tastes and textures of what you’re eating. You’ll slow down, eat less (hara hachi bu), and enjoy your food more.

Want to learn more about healthy habits and Blue Zones Project events such as cooking demonstrations? Contact me at or call me at 202-4958 and get started with the Blue Zones Project Individual Pledge.


For more information on Blue Zones Project, visit

Blue Zones Project — North Hawaii involves dozens of community volunteers from Waimea, Waikoloa, North Kohala, Kawaihae, Puako and Hamakua who are dedicated to helping us all “Live Longer, Better.” To join, go to to learn more. North Hawaii is one of only eight communities in the state selected as a Blue Zones Project demonstration site. Blue Zones Project by Healthways is brought to Hawaii by HMSA.