Suggestions for Eating Healthier
By Brandie Girmann, Physician Assistant
Thanks to poor eating habits and physical inactivity, millions of Americans, including children as young as three and four years old, face the risk of developing obesity. As a national health concern, obesity creates a greater risk for chronic diseases such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancer.
Don’t be a statistic! Instead, jump on the opportunity to make some positive changes in your life today.
With obesity reaching epidemic proportions, Your Wellness Center wants to help people develop healthy eating habits for life. This week, what can you do to eat healthier?
Eat a variety of foods, including plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole foods.
For example, instead of making a sandwich on white bread, choose a lettuce wrap or high fiber/whole grain bread (I prefer Ezekiel bread). Instead of snacking on candy or chips, grab a handful of baby carrots, celery sticks or ¼ cup of raw almonds/ walnuts, or even make your own healthy homemade trail mix. Go to our Facebook page to find the recipe or check out our blog on summer produce.
Know what a serving size looks like.
For example, three ounces of meat equals the size and thickness of a deck of playing cards. One serving of vegetables is a fist full, I personally recommend two fists full at a minimum. Weighing or logging foods in a fitness tracker can help self-education on portion control. I like to use myfitnesspal.
Learn to read food labels.
These nutrition facts can help you make informed food choices. For example, choose foods that have more protein than sugar. Look at the ingredients listed, avoid trans fats and bad saturated fats hidden in words like hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated, as well as foods with high fructose corn syrup. If you find any of those listed words in the food label, I suggest not even putting that item it in your cart. As they say, “out of sight out of mind”, and on to a healthier you.
Besides helping to curb your appetite, water helps regulate your body temperature, lubricate your joints, carry nutrients to cells, and aid in digestion. So, instead of reaching for a diet cola, pour yourself an ice-cold glass of zero-calorie water. Be fancy and add cucumber slices or lemon slices to your refreshing water. Did you know that most American can’t distinguish between hunger signals and thirst signals? Often times we can misinterpret our bodies signals which mean we reach for food to “satisfy” our signals, when in reality a large glass of water would suffice, and yield a zero calorie impact.
Watch the way you cook.
How you prepare your food can mean the difference between a healthy meal and an unhealthy meal. For example, to preserve nutrients and reduce unneeded calories, steam or poach foods rather than fry them. Also, be mindful of the condiments that you use, try using low salt seasonings over sauces. Sauces can contain added sugar, fat, and higher sodium levels.
If you can make just a few of these simple changes, you’re on the road to healthier eating. If you’d like to learn more about how to make healthy eating a lifelong habit, consider tapping into the expertise of Your Wellness Center. In addition to providing expert advice for your unique health needs, we can provide support and personal attention. To learn more, call Your Wellness Center 513-791-9474.