Health & Nutrition
What is a "healthy diet"
The US Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion plans to release updated Dietary Guidelines in 2015. Until then the 2010 guidelines remain in place and they describe a healthy diet as one that:
- Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
- Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
- Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars
- Limits the consumption of refined grain foods.
Tips for healthy eating
- Increase vegetable and fruit intake.
- Increase whole-grain intake by replacing refined grains with whole grains.
- Increase intake of fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, or fortified soy beverages.
- Choose a variety of protein foods, which include seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
- Increase the amount and variety of seafood consumed by choosing seafood in place of some meat and poultry.
- Choose foods that provide more potassium, dietary fiber, calcium, and vitamin D, which are nutrients of concern in American diets. These foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and milk and milk products.
- Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. In particular, select from all five vegetable subgroups (dark green, orange, legumes, starchy vegetables, and other vegetables) several times a week.
- Consume three or more ounce-equivalents of whole-grain products per day, with the rest of the recommended grains coming from enriched or whole-grain products. In general, at least half the grains should come from whole grains.
- Consume three cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products.
- Use oils to replace solid fats where possible.
When you are finding it hard to cut out bad habits
- Choose salads or fruit/vegetables instead of french fries.
- Choose water over soda.
- Remove the breading off of fried chicken before you eat it.
- Ask for low-cal or fat free reduced dressing.
- Order smaller lunches when you're out to eat. Save half of your dinner or lunch for tomorrow.
- Ask for ketchup, BBQ, salsa or mustard instead of your favorite dipping sauce.
- Look for healthy choices menus at restaurants.
Tips to combat stress
- Eat breakfast: skipping breakfast makes it harder to sustain blood sugar levels throughout the day.
- Try green tea instead of coffee: caffeine is hard on your body and green tea has a lot of antioxidants.
- Keep healthy snacks around like granola or trail mix.
- If you eat when your stressed try carrot sticks, celery sticks or popcorn (without the butter and salt!).
- Do not drink caffeine after 2 p.m., caffeine stays in your system for six hours after you drink it and will not allow you to sleep well.
- Changing stressful eating behaviors by doing yoga, write in a journal, exercise, laughing and meditation.
The benefits of exercise
- Improves your chances of living longer and living healthier
- Helps protect you from developing heart disease or its precursors, high blood pressures and high cholesterol
- Helps protect you from developing certain cancers, including colon and breast cancer
- Helps prevent or control type two diabetes (what was once called adult-onset diabetes)
- Helps prevent the insidious loss of bone known as osteoporosis
- Reduces the risk of falling among older adults
- Relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety and improves mood
- Controls weight
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends 30 minutes of activity most days of the week.
Here are some tips to keep moving!
- Go for a 15-30 minute walk outside with a friend on your lunch break or in the afternoon.
- Take the stairs up and down in buildings instead of the elevator.
- Go dancing.
- Take a yoga or pilate's class two or three times a week.
- Do crunches or sit ups while watching TV.
- Clean your closet or room that is in desperate need of cleaning or dusting.