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You Are What You Eat!
In today’s media frenzy world, people are bombarded with conflicting information from various sources on what to eat to stay healthy and control their weight. To start, remember that all food preferences and eating habits are learned. It takes several exposures to a new food to learn to like it.
The following information will offer simple guidelines to “not just eat, but eat RIGHT!”
A key to eating well is to avoid becoming to hungry. When you become hungry, the concern of choosing a healthy food is minimized. The focus shifts to the elimination of the uncomfortable feeling of hunger.
Here are some simple and no cost recommendations that will lead to developing a healthy diet and permanent weight management.
- Eat five times daily. If you are not hungry in the morning, you have consumed too many calories the night before. Divide the calories evenly throughout the day.
- Include a protein food at each meal or snack. Examples of protein foods include string cheese, yogurt, eggs, turkey, peanut butter, tuna and sunflower seeds
- Make half your plate veggies and fruit.
- Include three foods each from a different food group for each meal or snack. This encourages variety and improves the quality of your diet.
- Limit sugar intake. Read labels to check the amount of sugar in foods. The sugar content is high many cereal bars, fruit roll up, cookies, cake, donuts, and breakfast strudels. Sugar will stimulate your appetite.
- Switch to whole grain products and limit refined white flour.
- Drink low fat milk before a meal to decrease your appetite.
- It can take 15 to 20 minutes to feel satisfied once you eat or drink. Eat slowly; taking sips of water between bites of food.
- Avoid drinks that contain a lot of sugar. These include juice, fruit punch, pop, sport drinks. Drink water.
- Choose foods in their natural state. Instead of potato chips or French fries consume a baked potato.
- Limit the extra fat added to food. One suggestion is sprinkle parmesan cheese on broccoli instead of a cheese sauce.
- Use a cooking spray instead of oil to grease the pans
Many people need suggestions on how to change their behavior when dealing with eating foods. Below are some suggestions:
- Use a smaller plate. This will help portion control.
- Never eat when watching TV, working on the computer, talking on the phone.
- Always be seated when eating.
Becoming more active is an important component of being healthy. Establish goals that you can achieve. Consider getting a friend to join in the challenge and set goals. Start with three days per week for 20 to 30 minutes and increase the number of days and duration. As physical activity becomes part of your daily routine, it will help reduce your appetite, release your stress, create a stronger heart and decrease risk of osteoporosis. You will also have more energy.
Enjoy food and the experience, but remember that when you eat, MODERATION is key!
Ann Rooney is an outpatient dietician for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and is an active member of CAN.