By Brittany Hennessy and Rebecca Watson
March is National Nutrition Month and our goal is to arm you with as much information as possible so you will know your stuff in the grocery store, in the kitchen and at the restaurant!
Everyday Eating For A Healthier You
If you’re trying to be a healthier person in 2013, the first thing you need to do is balance your calories with physical activity. And that doesn’t mean if you run on the treadmill you can have donuts for lunch, you’ll still need to eat healthy. Try to eat more whole grains, vegetables, fruits and seafood. These groups will help you feel full without turning to less healthy options. Did you know that Americans attribute more than one-third of their calories to solid fats and added sugars? Try to reduce your intake of solid and trans fat and replace them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Liquid vegetable oils like canola, peanut, olive, and snack foods like olives, avocados, nuts and seeds are loaded with good fats. Snack away!
Healthy Is The New Skinny
Some women just look at the scale and are either happy or unhappy about the number they see. But the number doesn’t tell the whole story. What if you’re on the lighter side but your body is 65% fat? Making nutritional changes in your lifestyle will help you have a healthy body composition and will contribute to your overall well being.
One big change you can make is creating healthy and realistic goals and having a plan for lifelong health. In the end, this is more important than short-term weight loss. Eating at least three full meals a day and planning your meals ahead of time are also important. This will help make sure you don’t “forget” to eat breakfast or only eat carbs all day. For your meals, try to start with fruits, vegetables and salads. Not only are they the most important part of your meal, but it’s better to fill up on these food groups than on breads and pastas. And when eating, make sure you are focusing on your food. Eating dinner while multitasking can cause you to eat more than necessary. It may also keep you from realizing you’re full since it takes your brain 20 minutes to learn you are eating. If you follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to a healthier lifestyle!
All of you dieters out there are more than familiar with the Nutrition Facts, however, not many of you know what to make of the entire panel. Most of us take a quick glance at the calories and maybe the total fat, and ignore the rest of the panel! Though limiting calorie and fat intake is crucial for weight loss, they do not tell us everything we need to know about our favorite foods. It is important to take serving sizes into consideration, and compare it to your own portion. The Nutrition Facts are not accurate if you are eating three times the serving size!
Another frequently overlooked part of food labels is the daily value percentages. It is important to remember that 5% is low, and try to keep fats, sodium and cholesterol at around 5% to avoid heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. 20% is high, and you should aim high in vitamins, minerals and fiber to maintain good health and avoid osteoporosis and anemia. Other nutrients like carbohydrates and sugar must be watched closely. For your carbohydrate intake select whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Also, try to stick to natural sugars (fructose) as opposed to sucrose. Finally, check the ingredients to avoid an allergy episode!