By Guest Columnist Dr. Stephanie Duguid
"Eat Right: Bite by Bite." The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' (AND) has adopted that as its theme during National Nutrition Month.
"There is no one food, drink, pill, or machine that is the key to achieving optimal health,” AND says. In your overall daily routine, consume fewer calories, make informed food choices and exercise daily. Make life-long commitments, not a limited changes. Start by:
Drinking water as much as possible. The optimal intake should be half your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 200 pounds, your daily water intake goal should be 100 ounces. That may sound like a lot, but the key is to start somewhere. If you do not consume any water, begin with one bottle this week, and work your way up to two next week.
Getting a full range of nutrients. Eat fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors throughout the week. Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other natural substances that boost your health. When you plan a meal, try to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, plenty of dark green, orange, and red vegetables. Microwave them in a small amount of water, steam them or stir-fry them to retain the most nutrients. Avoid boiling or frying.
Making sensible snacks part of your healthy eating plan. Eating properly between meals can be your biggest challenge. Snacks can be fun and are essential to a healthy eating plan, but they can add unneeded calories, sugar, sodium, and fat if you are not careful. If you plan ahead, however, sensible shacks can prevent overeating at meal times and throughout the day. They are a way to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, and low-fat dairy. In fact, they can supplement meals. When children are active and are still growing, they need to eat more often to get the calories they need. For adults, healthy snacks can provide an energy boost and satisfy your mid-day hunger, and for some, help bring blood sugar levels to the appropriate level for optimal energy.
Here are some “Eat Right: Bite by Bite” tips:
Plan to make fresh fruit, air-popped popcorn, whole-wheat crackers, dried fruit and nut mixes, or fat-free yogurt as snacks
Find nutrient-rich snacks that make snack calories count.
Go easy on high calorie snacks. like chips, candy and soft drinks.
Snack when you are hungry, not because you are bored, stressed, or frustrated.
Snack on sensible portions-focus on single serve containers
Quench your thirst first before reaching for a snack. You often feel hungry when your body is dehydrated and thirsty.
For more information and suggestions about eating healthy, visit http://www.eatright.org.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Stephanie Duguid is Dean of Academic Instruction at Co-Lin. She is also an athletic trainer and nutrition specialist and has been teaching courses related to those two areas as well as practicing what she preaches for more than twenty years.