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Get your utility bill under control

Dear Heloise: With prices on nearly everything going up and wages not improving, it’s important for all of us to save where we can. I have some hints on utility bills that will help keep some of your utilities at a reasonable monthly rate:

— Wash dishes and laundry only when you can wash a full load. If you have clothing that’s not filthy but needs to be freshened, wash it on a “quick setting” if your machine has such a setting. You’ll use up less water and electricity.

— Check that your outdoor faucets aren’t leaking. I had two faucets outside that were dripping, and I didn’t know until my water bill of $305 came in the mail.

— Change your furnace filter every month. Buy cheap ones, but change them monthly.

— Don’t let your toilet tank keep running. This can add up quickly and increase your water bill.

— Don’t run water when you wash dishes by hand or when you brush your teeth. You’re wasting water.

— If your house is chilly, put on a sweater. If it gets too warm in the summer and you live in a warm climate, invest in ceiling fans that will keep air moving in your home. If you have air conditioning, set the temperature between 76-79 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, plant trees that can block the sun’s heat around your property and home.

Let’s all economize a little to save a lot of money. — Ava M., Beaverton, Oregon

SUPERFOODS

Dear Heloise: What exactly are superfoods, and what are they supposed to do? — Douglas B., Sugar Land, Texas

Douglas, “superfoods,” as they are called, are foods that provide people with nutrients such as folate, zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C and fiber. You’ll find these in abundance in dark, leafy green vegetables. Other examples of superfoods are:

— Fresh coconuts

— Avocados

— Eggs

— Almonds

— Flaxseeds

— Berries

— Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, radishes, kale, etc.)

— Salmon

— Carrots

Besides providing us with vitamins and minerals, these foods also have antioxidants and fiber, both of which our bodies need to function properly. — Heloise

HOW MUCH FRUIT IS TOO MUCH?

Dear Heloise: My kids love fruit and hate vegetables. Is there such a thing as too much fruit? — Sophia C., Sparks, Nevada

Sophia, while fruit is an important part of every healthy diet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim that only about 12% of Americans are eating enough fruit. The United States Department of Health and Human Services recommends that the average American eats about 2 cups of fruit per day.

If you follow a fruitarian diet, where 55% to 75% of foods eaten are fruit, you will have to diversify your food intake to avoid malnutrition. If you feel your children are eating too much fruit, you’ll need to set boundaries on how much they are allowed to eat and insist that they eat other foods, such as vegetables and meat.

Believe me, I know how difficult that can be, but developing healthy eating habits early in life usually helps people keep up a healthy, balanced diet throughout life. — Heloise

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Hints from Heloise run occasionally in Lifestyles. Readers may send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE, or email: Heloise@Heloise.com. Letters won’t be answered personally.

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