Ammonoosuc Community Health Services, Inc.

Health Topic of the Month - February

Healthy Eating

Health Topic of the Month - FebruaryFebruary 05 2013 - Press Release


You Are What You Eat! - Victor Lindlahr

Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. A quarter of your plate should be grains, preferably whole grains. A quarter of your plate should be proteins. These include meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas (legumes), eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds. Milk and milk products are part of the dairy food group. These should be fat-free or low-fat.

We all snack now and then. Nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, cut-up vegetables such as carrots and celery, low-fat string cheese sticks are all good choices for snacks. Plan ahead and have snacks with you so you’re not tempted to make bad choices.

Dining out can be a challenge. Drink water or fat-free or low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, or other drinks without added sugars. Choose whole-wheat bread for sandwiches and consider sharing a sandwich or entrée. Start your meal with a salad packed with veggies to help control hunger and feel fuller sooner and ask for the dressing on the side and use sparingly.

Tips for healthy eating when dining out
• Choose main dishes that include vegetables, such as stirfry, kebobs, or pasta with a tomato sauce instead of a cream sauce.
• Choose steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes instead of fried or sautéed.
• Choose smaller portions of appetizers and side dishes.
• Order a menu item instead of the “all-you-can-eat” buffet

.Tips for healthy eating on a budget
• Fast food restaurant meals cost more than the same foods prepared at home and are usually less healthy.
• Make a shopping list and stick to it. Be creative with fruits and vegetables that are on sale or in season. Don’t shop when you are hungry. Shop for one or two weeks at a time. It’s easier to control spending  if you shop less.
• Chop your own fruits and vegetables rather than purchasing precut. Buy staples in bulk. Legumes, like canned or dried kidney, garbanzo and black beans are excellent sources of protein with no saturated fat compared to more expensive meat.

Many foods and beverages we consume contain empty calories from solid fats, like butter, beef fat, and shortening and/or added sugars that add calories but have little or no nutritional value. Sometimes they are added when foods are processed. Added sugars and syrups (high fructose corn syrup) are added during processing to enhance flavors.

Tip for eliminating empty calories
Calculate the number of calories in the beverages you drink over the course of a day—remember to include coffee (with sugar, cream?), soda, juices and alcohol. Try to eliminate empty calories and you will be on your way to a healthier diet.

Become motivated to eat in a healthy way. Think about what is important to you. What would you be able to do or how would you feel if you weighed less and had improved health and mobility? Achieving and maintaining ideal body weight results in improved overall health and reduces the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer. People have improved mobility and endurance when they maintain a healthy weight.
The key to achieving your goals is consistency. People who make healthy food choices every single day are successful. If you make eating healthy a daily routine, the very occasional treat will not cause a major setback.
Only you can make the commitment to make better choices, improve your eating, and if necessary, lose weight. Getting your family, friends and co-workers involved can make the changes easier and more enjoyable and they can enjoy the benefits of healthy eating along with you!

Tips for getting started
• Start with making one dietary change for one week. Evaluate your progress. Then decide on another change you will commit to. Give yourself time to adjust to changes over a period of time.
• Keep a log of everything you eat and drink for 3 days, and include portion size. Look up the calories in each to learn how many calories you consume in an average day. This exercise is a real eye-opener for many.
• Learn what your daily intake of calories should be based on your activity level and age. Use the tools on the website to help.
• Think about the changes you would like to make to improve your diet. Get started by reducing consumption of sugary drinks and snacks, or reducing portion size, or adding healthier foods to your daily routine.
• Use a smaller dinner plate (8-inch rather than 10-inch).  It makes your meal look larger.

There are many websites with healthy, easy-to-follow recipes including those listed to the right, many with photos and videos showing how to prepare the recipes.

For more information, check out the websites and videos listed below:

Search for the following video titles:
• The Benefits of Whole Grain
• How to Develop Healthy Eating Habits

This report was compiled by Ammonoosuc Community Health Services, Inc. (ACHS) clinical staff for informational purposes, and does not replace any advice one might receive from a qualified health care provider.

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