Add Years To Your Life With These Nutrition Tips
A recent study by the American Heart Association found that 80 percent of the Americans surveyed struggle to eat enough fruits and vegetables, get enough exercise, or brush and floss their teeth on a regular basis. The reason? They don’t have the time. We all wish we had more hours in the day. But, I wonder, even if we could add a few hours here and there, would we use that time to take better care of ourselves?
Ninety percent of the AHA respondents that were surveyed did express a desire to improve their health. If you’re one of the 80% – or know someone who is – you can jump start your nutrition goals by joining the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Get Your Plate In Shape” campaign.
National Nutrition Month
March is National Nutrition Month and the Academy has a web site that provides tons of resources to motivate you and your friends and family to make some changes that will improve your health. Making changes to your diet today might not add hours to your day, but it very well may add years to your life.
Here are some steps you can take right away to “Get Your Plate In Shape”:
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. The more colorful your plate, the healthier it is. Making a salad with bright green and purple lettuces in place of iceberg, for example, will considerably increases the nutritional value. If you need an idea for something easy and nutritious, click here for a delicious Asparagus Salad recipe.
- Make at least half your grains whole. Try some whole wheat pasta or brown rice in place of white for a more nutritious meal that’s higher in fiber. This Pesto Pizza Salad recipe uses a whole grain pita as the crust.
- Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk. Switching to 1% or fat-free milk gives you a double bonus. Not only is the fat and calorie content lower than in regular milk, the calcium content is higher. Using skim milk in coffee drinks can reduce the calories and lower the risk for osteopenia.
- Vary your protein choices. We tend to think that the best source of protein is meat. But beans, lentils, nuts, seed, tofu, eggs and fish are all high in protein and other vitamins and minerals.
- Cut back on sodium and empty calories that come from solid fats and sugars. Sodium, fat and sugar and abundant in processed foods. Reading food labels and trying to stay with foods that have five or less ingredients on the label is one way to avoid all three.
- Enjoy your food but eat less. Americans have been super-sized for so long it’s hard to know what a true portion is. Check out portion control and size guide from Web MD. You can print the guide and put it on your refrigerator or keep in your wallet to use when you’re away from home.
- Be physically active. Add ten minutes of physical activity to your day and work your way up from there. Two and half hours of physical activity a week is recommended for adults. Children and teens need 60 minutes or more a day.
By incorporating several of the items on the bulleted list, you’ll be on your way to making some positive, healthy behavior changes and you won’t have to spend a lot of time.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has additional resources including printable PDFs on a variety of topics: Power Up With Breakfast, Smart Snacking for Adults and Teens, and Healthy Eating On The Run, plus family friendly games, videos and quizzes.
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