You are what you eat. The question is, are you fueling your body with premium nutrients, highly refined processed junk, or somewhere in between? March is National Nutrition Month, which is the perfect time to develop sound eating habits and increase physical activity that can be sustained long term. Healthy eating is a win win situation. It provides your body with the energy and nutrients needed to maintain optimal health. Eating right decreases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, being overweight and obesity. It also tastes great! For further information, visit Eat Right National Nutrition Month.
How to create a healthy nutrition lifestyle
With access to the internet, so many clients come into the office overwhelmed and confused about what, and how much they should be eating. Everyone has different needs and there is no one meal plan that fits all. Stick with minimally processed whole foods as the base of your meals. A good rule of thumb is you should be able to pronounce the ingredients on the food label! Everyone needs a balance of carbohydrates (from whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy), protein ( lean cuts of meat, seafood, beans, nuts, seeds, low fat dairy, and plant based alternatives) and healthy fats (olive oil, canola oil, avocado oil, nuts, seeds, salmon) daily.
Eating well doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Buy what is in season or on sale. Frozen fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients and the amount needed can easily be portioned out without the food spoiling too quickly. For those who want quick and easy meal planning, I recommend making half the plate non-starchy vegetables with the remaining quarter a lean protein and the remaining quarter a whole grain. Visit here for more information. Anderson’s Nutrition has a meal planning program powered by Living Plate. You can customize and build your menus. It saves time, money, and reduces stress and makes it easier to eat healthier. Click on here for further information.
How much should you eat?
Many people did not grow up eating fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. It can be difficult to know where to start. Eating more produce has many advantages. These nutrition powerhouses provide vitamins, minerals, and the plant based nutrients (called phytonutrients) for good health. Many fruits and vegetables are good sources of dietary fiber. Fiber can help lower blood cholesterol, improve blood sugars, regulate digestion, and keep people feeling fuller longer. These foods are low in calories and provide needed water for a good metabolism. Best of all, they have flavor and texture!
1-½-3 cups of vegetables per day is recommended along with 1-2 cups of fruit for the average adult.
Where to start:
- Have a bowl of fresh fruit sitting on the kitchen counter as a visual reminder.
- Add fresh or frozen fruit on pancakes or waffles in place of syrup.
- Try sliced fresh fruit on a peanut butter sandwich instead of jelly.
- Put out cut up fruit, cheese, and whole grain crackers instead of chips and dip.
- Cut up vegetables and put them in a see through container at eye level in the refrigerator so when you are looking for a snack, you see them.
- Make a salsa or relish with vegetables.
- Add fresh, canned, or frozen vegetables to soups, stews, sauces, or as sides.
- Have a salad with meals or add vegetables to your favorite wrap or sandwich.
Next time you sit down to a meal, see if you have three different colors from the rainbow on your plate. These deeply colored fruits and vegetables are nutrition powerhouses. A sandwich and bag of chips for lunch could be improved by adding lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, or onion on the sandwich. Avocado could replace the mayonnaise. A side salad, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, or bell pepper provides the crunch. Berries, melon, grapes, or an apple add a sweet end to the lunch.
What about forbidden foods?
People often come in worried that dietitians will forbid certain foods. I am a firm believer that no food is off limits. It is just a matter of how much and how often. If you are going to have a treat or a splurge, enjoy it. Sit down and use your five senses to taste and appreciate what you are eating. This practice helps you feel more satisfied and less likely to overindulge. If you don’t do so already, SLOW DOWN how quickly you eat. Avoid eating in front of the TV, computer, or other distracted eating. How many times have you reached the bottom of a box or bag of snacks and don’t really remember (or enjoy) eating it?
Many know that they need to be more active, but feel like they don’t have the time or energy. Getting up and moving will give you more energy. Physical activity can improve one’s mood, leads to better sleep, provide sharper focus, improve blood pressure, and lower blood sugars. Anything is better than nothing at all! Start slow and set realistic goals for exercise.
Make your exercise convenient and enjoyable. You don’t have to join a gym to be active. Go for a walk with a significant other, a friend, a neighbor, or your dog. Dancing is a favorite activity for many. Play your favorite music and dance in the comfort of your home. Bike riding, jump rope, jogging/running, weight lifting, and even cleaning and gardening provide physical activity. Those of you who work in an office, set a reminder to get up and move for three minutes every thirty minutes throughout the day.
Young children should play throughout the day. School age children and adolescents should be getting at least 60 minutes of activity everyday. Visit Fuel Up To Play 60 for details. Adults should be engaged in moderate intensity exercise 2-½ to 5 hours per week.
*If you have a medical condition that might prevent you from exercise, please check with your health care provider first before starting an exercise program.
To celebrate National Nutrition Month think about what your health goals are and what you need to do to achieve them. Contact Anderson’s Nutrition to set up an appointment with one of our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) to help you achieve your wellness goals by calling 602-770-7611 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Anderson’s Nutrition team of RDNs are available to help develop a personalized nutrition plan that works best for you and your family.
We are here to provide sound, easy to follow advice to meet your personal needs based on lifestyle, preferences, and health status. We provide education and resources to improve your overall health and well-being. Many clients remark that tracking intake using the Nutritionix program has helped them understand what and how much they are eating. Anderson’s Nutrition has a comprehensive meal planning program powered by Living Plate. This takes the guesswork and frustration out of meal planning. Please visit click here for more information.
Christine Babey MS, RDN, CDE is a firm believer in balance, variety, and moderation. She has helped many clients to take control of their diabetes and weight. Christine helps her clients to understand that no food is off limits, and it really just matters how much and how often you eat them. She is inspiring, motivational, and supportive. Set an appointment with Christine, here.