2012-08-16 / Family

Reaching Wellness

Easy Tips To Planning A Healthy Diet
By Cathy Snyder

FCMC RD, LDN

In conjunction with “Reaching Wellness: Fulton County Medical Center registered dietitian Cathy Snyder lends her nutrition expertise and invites you to try these simple tips for planning a healthy diet and sticking to it.

Healthy eating is not about strict nutrition philosophies, staying unrealistically thin or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather it’s about feeling great, having more energy and keeping yourself as healthy as possible.

Below are a few easy tips to planning healthy diet:

Set yourself up for success. Plan a healthy diet with small manageable steps rather than one big drastic change.

Simplify. Instead of counting calories or measuring portions, think of your diet in terms of color, variety and freshness. Focus on finding food you love and easy recipes that incorporate a few fresh ingredients.

Start slow and make changes to your eating habits over time. Changing everything all at once usually leads to cheating or giving up. Make small steps, like drinking more water instead of sugary rinks.

Every change you make to improve your diet matters. You don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy. The long-term goal is to feel good, have more energy and reduce your risk of cancer and disease.

Moderation is key. Try not to think of certain foods as off limits. Start by reducing the portion and not eating them as often.

Think smaller portions. When eating out have a starter, appetizer or small plate (tapas) instead of a large entree. Or you can share an entree with a friend or immediately box half the dish to take home with you. At home use a smaller plate, think about serving sizes and start small. It’s not what you eat, it’s how you eat.

Eat with others whenever possible. Eating in front of the TV or computer often leads to overeating.

Take time to chew your food and enjoy meal times. Chew your food slowly and enjoy every bite.

Listen to your body. Stop eating when you feel full. It actually takes your brain a few minutes to tell your body it has had enough food.

Eat breakfast and eat smaller meals throughout the day. A healthy breakfast can jumpstart your metabolism, and eating small healthy meals keeps your energy up and your metabolism going.

Fill up on colorful fruits and vegetables. Some great choices include:

Greens. Try bright dark and green lettuce, like kale, mustard greens and Chinese cabbage.

Sweet vegetables. Vegetables like corn,c carrots and beets can adhesiveness to your meals and reduce your craving for other sweets.

Fruit: Eat more healthy carbs and whole grains. A quick definition of healthy carbs and unhealthy carbs: Healthy carbs include whole grains, fruits and vegetables which are digested slowly, helping you feel fuller longer.

Unhealthy carbs are foods such as white flour,r refined sugar and white rice which digest quickly.

Tips for eating more healthy carbs:

Include a variety of whole grains in your diet. Experiment with whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa and barley.

Make sure you are really getting whole grains.

Try mixing grains as a first step to switching to whole grains.

Enjoy healthy fats and avoid unhealthy fats.

Add monounsaturated fats from plant oils like canola, peanut and olive oil as well as avocados, nuts and seeds.

Add polyunsaturated fats (Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids) found in fatty fish like salmon, herring and walnuts.

Reduce or eliminate from your diet saturated and trans fats. Put protein in perspective.

Try different types of proteins like beans, nuts and soy products but avoid salted or sugary nuts and refried beans.

Downsize your portions of protein, such as meat. Try to move away from protein being the center of your meal. Focus on equal serving of protein, whole grains and vegetables. Add calcium for strong bones.

Good sources of calcium include dairy products, vegetables and greens and beans.

Limit sugar and sodium. Avoid sugary drinks. One 12- ounce soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar in it.

Eat natural sweet food. Try fruit or something like stevia to satisfy your sweet tooth. Avoid processed foods.These foods contain hidden sodium.

Be careful when eating out. Most restaurant foods are loaded with sodium.

Opt for fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned vegetables.

Cut back on salty snacks such as potato chips, nuts and pretzels. Choose low-salt or reduced sodium products.

And try slowly reducing the salt in your diet to give your taste buds time to adjust.

FCMC has taken many of these tips under consideration and beginning August 1, is happy to announce it will begin implentating healthier meal choices for employees and guests in the cafeteria. Along with its wellness programs, smoking cessation programs and nutrition plan, FCMC hopes to encourage healthy lifestyles.

If you have any questions regarding community wellness programs, please contact Patti Hess at 717-485- 6149 or the smoking cessation at 717-485-3155, Ext. 6231 or any questions regarding your nutrition plan, please don’t hesitate to call Cathy Snyder at 717-485-6166. Many of the tips used in this article were taken from www.helpguide.org.

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