Practicing healthy eating habits and having good nutrition can make a significant difference in helping you obtain a healthy and productive life. In fact, studies have shown that a healthy diet is linked to increased energy and brain function and a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, among other diseases.
What’s a better time to start improving your diet than during National Nutrition Month? Registered Dietitian and Clinical Nutrition Manager at Washington Adventist Hospital, Aida Hitti-Zeidan, shares the following tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to help you make informed food choices so that you can start reaping the benefits of a healthy diet.
1. Aim for increased immunity – certain foods like salmon, broccoli, eggs, and blueberries can boost your immunity against illness.
2. Be a super diet star! The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says the most important focus of a healthful eating style is the total diet, not just one single food.
3. Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate or in your cup or bowl. Foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein foods contain the nutrients you need without too many calories. Visit www.choosemyplate.gov for helpful information on eating right.
4. Stress less without eating more – stress is one of the biggest causes for overeating and making poor food choices. Rather than reaching for food, try to find ways to relax and recharge.
5. Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated and prevent overeating – and because water is calorie-free, you can consume more calories from food rather than high-calorie beverages.
6. Have a good morning breakfast. Did you know that without proper nutrient intake at the start of the day, your ability to problem solve and focus during the workday is hindered? Try to prepare simple meals for the next morning’s breakfast the night before.
7. For breakfast, add a lean protein source to stay satisfied longer. Choose healthier options such as turkey bacon, vegetarian sausage, and egg whites that are typically lower in fat and calories.
8. Eat and enjoy! Eating in a fast, distracted manner is unsatisfying. Instead, take time to focus on your meal to enjoy the aroma, flavor, and texture while giving your body time to register fullness so that you don’t overeat.
9. Make every calorie count. Foods like candy and soda provide empty calories, meaning they are lacking nutritional value. Make the most of every calorie by consuming foods with healthy nutrients that benefit you.
10. Trade empty calories for nutrient dense food at least once today. Try substituting a can of low-sodium vegetable juice for a can of soda, or a bag of trail mix for a bag of chips.