Delicious Tips to Build a Healthier YOU!

A nutritious and well-balanced diet, along with physical activity, is the foundation of good health and it may surprise you to learn that it’s easier than you may think to get started!

By taking small steps to improve your nutrition, one bite at a time, will help you to move towards a healthier you!

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PLAN AHEAD OF TIME

Before you sit down to eat, or truly before you even begin to prepare your meal, think about what foods should be on your plate. Learning to plan your meals ahead of time would help you to eat healthier, shop more efficiently, save money, and share more time with your family.

When planning your meals for the week, consider the time you have available to prepare meals, look at the foods available in your kitchen, write down the meals, and make a shopping list.

Including variety of nutritious and balance meals can be a challenge. However the USDA has developed a helpful visual to remind us to include a variety of foods at each and every meal. If you haven’t seen it, click here!

Planning ahead of time not only benefits your eating habits, but it also improve your qualify of life allowing you to invest more time in activities that promote a healthier you.

 

BUILD A HEALTHY PLATE

Aim to add more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein foods. These foods have the nutrients that you need without adding too many calories.

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Eat a colorful plate—including vegetables and fruits in your main dishes, side dishes, and desserts.
  • Make at least half your grains whole: Choose 100% whole grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, and pasta.
  • Vary your protein food choices: In addition to meets make sure you include plant protein sources such as beans, lentils, nuts, chickpeas, tofu, quinoa, and hemp.
  • Switch to skim or 1% milk: They have the same amount of essential nutrients, but less fat and calories.
  • Limit Prepackage foods: Choose unprocessed foods when you can —wholefoods, fruits, vegetables, seafood, local meats, seeds, grains, and nuts.
  • Read the labels: If you have to consume few packaged foods make sure you read the labels to understand what you are fueling your body with. When reading the label pay attention to the following: Serving size, calorie amount, trans fat, sodium, carbs and added sugars.

Here are a few tips to help you decipher the food label:

  • Limit foods and drinks with added sugars: Choose drinks with less than 10 calories per serving, and choose fruits instead of desserts load with sugar.
  • Stick with short ingredients list.
  • Minimize high sodium products.
  • Get your fiber on.
  • Eat fewer foods that are high in solid fats: Use healthy oils such as extra-virgin olive oil, canola oil, walnut oil, and grape- seed oil.
  • Look out for salt—it all adds up: When shopping, compare the sodium levels between foods in the market. Instead of salt, season your food with herbs and spices.

Not paying attention to what you put in your plate can be detrimental for your health. When we fuel our body with the best product in the market we are more likely to maintain proper function and health.       

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EAT THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF CALORIES FOR YOU

Calories are personalized—everyone has their specific amounts. Eat according to your activity level, age, and gender.

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less: Know your calorie limit; make sure there is not a positive balance in your calorie intake.
  • Cook more meals at home: Cooking at home allows you to control the quality of foods that you eat and serve to your family.
  • When eating out, choose the best options: Choose dishes that include vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Remember the USDA MyPlate referenced earlier? Keep this in mind as you make your choices.

BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE

Choose physical activities that you and your family will enjoy. Spend at least 30-60 minutes of physical activity per day. Remember each minute adds up, and health benefits increase as you spend more time being active.

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Before and after a healthy meal, get up and play! Physical activity is just as important as a nutritious diet.

Being healthy shouldn’t be complicated; let’s make it easy and simple. Make small, slow changes in your eating habits and physical activity patterns. Remember, you are what you eat, so don’t be fast, cheap, easy or fake.

Now, what one small change will you start today?

 

BY MAYELIN LORA-WILLIAMS, DIETETIC INTERN

Learn more from Mayelin @stayfit_eatrealfood!


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