March is National Nutrition Month. This month take some time to evaluate your current nutritional habits. We all try our best to eat healthy but sometimes it can be hard to know what exactly “eating healthy” means. Use these tips to help you make better choices while food shopping or dining out.

Calories

Sometimes the number of calories is not always an indicator of how “healthy” something is. Try to focus more on the nutritional value of a food rather than how many calories it is. For example, you could eat 100 calories worth of cookies or you could eat 100 calories worth of vegetables. The vegetables contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals that help your body function, whereas the cookies do not.

Sodium

We are always told to limit our sodium intake but what does that look like? The ideal sodium intake should be no more than 1,500 milligrams per day. While shopping, a good indicator of a healthy amount of sodium in a snack is about 150 milligrams. Another good way to ensure you are not consuming too much sodium is to buy produce and meat fresh and season it yourself at home. This way you know exactly how much sodium you are consuming.

Sugar

Sugar is a huge contributor to a lot of health problems such as weight gain, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The daily recommended amount of sugar is 25 grams for women and 35 grams for men. A lot of the sugar we consume comes from drinks. When people think about nutrition they often forget about drinks and only focus on food. If you are someone who drinks soda or juice often, try to swap one sugary drink for water every day.

Trans Fat

The daily recommended amount of Trans Fat is 2 grams, but it should try to be avoided entirely. Trans Fat is what can cause your levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol to increase and can increase your chances of diabetes and heart disease.

 

Sources: The Mayo Clinic. CDC, NIH, American Heart Association. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.