A catalyst to promote nutrition education, National Nutrition Month falls in March every year. The campaign emphasizes the necessity of learning to make healthy food choices and ensure proper eating and physical fitness habits.
Do you feel like your eating habits are out of control and can’t be redeemed? You may have spent much of your life eating whatever strikes your fancy and now you fear you can never make a change. Have you put on weight, and wonder if you can ever get back to healthy habits?
The National Nutrition Month theme this year is “Put Your Best Fork Forward”, to remind us that every bite counts. If we can change our habits even in small ways, those choices can make a big difference over time. Starting small and making adjustments to eating habits can prompt long and lasting results. Begin making wise food selections one forkful at a time. Sweeping change doesn’t have to happen all at once. Trying to switch to a whole new diet drastically is a recipe for failure as most who choose a radically different food regimen end up cheating by indulging their cravings.
National Nutrition Month encourages incorporating change, a little at a time. Begin adding healthful foods to your everyday meal plans and reduce your intake of unhealthy foods, day by day. Weekly meal and snack planning in advance is a good way to avoid eating poorly when you feel the urge. As you include small healthy changes every day, proper eating soon becomes a habit.
FOCUS ON THESE THREE GOALS AS YOU ADD HEALTHY FOODS TO YOUR DIET
• Increase your consumption of fresh fruits, colorful vegetables, and whole grains.
• Cut out fatty meats and milk. Include lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, fat-free or low-fat milk and dairy products.
• Minimize intake of salt, added sugars, trans and saturated fats.
As you continuously add healthy foods to your diet, you may come to realize that your body craves meals that are nourishing. Seek variety and try new things. Search for recipes that utilize superfoods and give them a try.
If you need professional help with your meal plan, consult a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). An RDN is an expert who will guide you in a personalized diet plan suitable just for you. These experts provide plans that match your health related needs, preferences and lifestyle because, no one plan is right for everyone.
1. Prepare Meals at Home
Cook your own meals as often as possible so that you can control which ingredients go into your food. You will be able to select healthy and fresh ingredients. Also, cooking your meals will help you avoid processed foods which are often high in all the wrong ingredients such as sugar and sodium. When you do eat out, ask for the dressing or sauce to be served on the side as they may contain far more salt and sugar than you want to consume.
2. Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes
As you alter your diet, be sure to add healthy foods to replace unhealthy ones. If you have a sweet tooth, avoid snacks like candy, cakes, and chocolate. Add healthier choices like fruit, which is naturally sweet, and natural peanut butter. Check labels and choose products low in sugar and sodium.
3. Eat a Rainbow Diet
The more colorful your diet, the healthier it is. Deeper colored vegetables and fruits have higher levels of healthy nutrients. Different colors have different nutritional profiles. Colored fruits and vegetables have higher levels of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Find your favorite of these colored foods and add them liberally to your diet.
4. Keep It Simple
If you are focused on counting calories, planning a healthy diet will get rather complicated. Counting calories might be ideal for the strong willed and very determined, but if you don’t want to give up, think of your diet regarding color, freshness, and variety. Make sure these qualities are present in good measure in what you eat, and you will be eating healthy.
5. Moderation is Essential
Do not stuff yourself with food. Eat until you feel full but not stuffed. Concentrate on a healthy balance. If you feel you’ve eaten more calories than you would want, balance the indulgence with something healthy and low in calories at another meal. Adjusting your diet ensures you still get to eat your favorite foods while getting sufficient nutrients.
6. Think About Your Feelings After You Eat
You may have heard about sugar blues. This is when your mood plummets after eating sugar. Healthy food makes you feel better after eating it, while unhealthy food can make you feel sick. Too much junk food can make you feel drained of energy, uncomfortable and even nauseous. If you feel almost sick after meals, you need to add healthy alternatives to your diet.
7. Stay Hydrated
Water aids your internal organs in proper functioning. It also helps flush toxins from your body. Drink plenty of water. Being well-hydrated helps you make healthier food choices.
8. Avoid Mindless Eating
Eat as a family whenever possible. Whenever you take time to share a meal, you will engage others in ways that prevent you from eating mindlessly. Eating while giving little regard to what you are consuming is what happens when you eat in front of a television or computer. If you focus on something else instead of enjoying the taste and flavor of your food, you may eat too much without even realizing it. Chew properly and don’t rush through your meal.
9. Reduce Portions with Plate Size
It goes without saying that if your plate is large, it will look empty unless you fill it with a significant amount of food. Use a smaller plate, and you will take smaller portions.
Incorporate these recommendations to establish a lifestyle that emphasizes nutrition. While on your path to a happier and healthier life, be sure to remember that Urgent Clinics Medical Care is here to help you with your healthcare needs. Our clinics are open from 8 am to 9 pm and are conveniently located in Champions Forest, The Woodlands and 3 locations in League City: Creekside, Marina Bay and Tuscan Lakes. Our Pearland Clinic is open 8 am to midnight. We offer friendly, experienced and licensed medical professionals ready to help you and your family get back on track to health again.