NDSU Extension - Benson County


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Balance Food and Exercise for a Healthy Body

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

While there are thousands of different diet options, the best way to lose or maintain your weight is simply calories in verses calories out.  Trying to lose weight through certain dieting programs can leave your body lacking in key nutrients, which can be damaging in the long run.

If you are wondering how many calories you burn on a typical day, go to www.choosemyplate.gov and you will quickly be able to determine how many calories you should eat to be at your goal weight.  Your daily calorie intake will vary based on your height, gender, age, and level of physical activity. 

It is recommended that children get 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week, and that adults get 30 minutes of physical activity most days.  This is of course a minimum recommendation, with more exercise always being welcome.  For those that are working to reduce their weight, it is recommended to exercise for at least 60 minutes daily.

Just like it is recommend to eat a variety of different foods, because of their varied health benefits, it is also recommended to do different exercise to strengthen your whole body.  While taking a daily walk is healthy, it may be wise to add in other exercises, as well. 

Some ideas for exercise include yoga, walking your dog, hiking, biking, stretching, basketball, swimming, or aerobics.  If exercising is not on the top of your priority list, consider finding a friend to exercise with, and it will help to keep you accountable when you feel like you would rather sit on the couch.

Here is a recipe for a macaroni chick-pea soup.  It combines ingredients from the grain, vegetable, and protein group to provide a delicious, nutritious, and warm meal for your family.  Enjoy!

Macaroni Chick-Pea Soup


  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth, fat-free, low sodium
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 3/4 cups whole grain macaroni, dry
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery flakes (or onion powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 cup stewed tomatoes, no-salt
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 can chick-peas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions: In a large saucepan, bring the broth and water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Add macaroni, celery flakes, and oregano. Simmer 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the stewed tomatoes, green beans, chick-peas (drained), and garlic powder. Simmer 5 minutes, or until macaroni and beans are tender.

Makes: 4 servings.  Each serving contains 340 calories, 5 grams of fat, 500 mg of sodium, 59 carbohydrates, 9 grams dietary fiber, and 17 grams protein.



  • University of Connecticut, Family Nutrition Program, Senior Nutrition Awareness Project (SNAP) Newsletters
  • NDSU Extension Service: Exploring My Plate Find Your Balance Between Food and Physical Activity, August 2016
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