Health News You Can Use

The Big 6

With March being National Nutrition Month, now is a great time to remember that it is possible to incorporate better eating habits into your diet without completely changing your life. Relatively minor changes can bring major long-term benefits, and not just to your health, but also to your overall well being. Here are six healthy dietary tips to consider.

  1.  Go With The Grains

This is a simple switch, once you’re in the habit and have a couple of tools to help. Look for 100 percent whole grain wheat, oat, rice or other grains listed high up in the ingredient list. As grains are refined, they’re stripped of much of their nutrition.

Also, whole grain products, gram for gram, are lower in calories than their refined counterparts. Just by choosing whole grain products you could drop up to 300 calories from your daily diet while gaining the amazing benefits of fiber, vitamins and minerals and phytonutrients.

  1.  Limit the Fats

It is pretty well understood that cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and other chronic diseases are all greatly impacted by a high-fat diet.  Growing evidence indicates the type of fat is almost as important as the amount of fat. Choose a diet low in overall fat, but severely decrease or eliminate the consumption of saturated and hydrogenated food sources, which help promote the development of many chronic diseases.  Examples of these fats include partially hydrogenated oil, lard, margarine, and palm oil.

  1.  Broaden Your Taste in Foods

Within each of the typical food groups — grains, vegetables, fruit, lean protein and dairy — choose different foods each week.  Buy a new vegetable or grain each week and you may discover something delicious to expand your cooking repertoire. Choose new colors, new textures and alternate the way you cook them.

Varying your preparation method is also important. Some nutrients are more readily absorbed by our bodies when activated through cooking; others are destroyed partially by the cooking process.

  1.   Make a Goal for Nine

Most of us can hear our mothers somewhere, sometime, encouraging us to “eat your veggies.” Little did we know then how profound Mom’s advice was. Yet, even today, very few Americans eat the recommended nine servings of vegetables each day.

Think of specific ways to include more produce in your day — veggies in your omelet, cut veggies or fruit for snacks, salad with low-fat or non-fat dressing for dinner.  Add extra veggies to soups, and try several plant-based dinners each week.

  1.  Turn off the TV; Watch What You Eat 

Actively choose and prepare your own food whenever possible. Many meals are consumed on the run, in the car, in front of the TV or at a desk. While it’s unrealistic to expect every meal will be eaten without interruption or without another purpose, taking time to enjoy your food and actively engaging yourself in the preparation process more often than not is very important.  It makes us personally responsible for the food we put in our mouths.  And, when we’re able to couple nutrition knowledge with personal responsibility, we’ll all be empowered to improve our own health.

  1.   Pop Goes the Waistline

The research is undeniable:  People who drink more soda pop weigh more than those who don’t. Americans consume billions of gallons of soda and other sweetened beverages each year, contributing undeniably to our expanding waistlines. And diet pop isn’t a failsafe alternative. Although diet pop does not have any calories, our body does respond in other ways to the highly sweet taste. Bottom line – choose soda, diet or regular, in small amounts and for special occasions.  Plain water with a slice of lemon or lime is a great substitute.