March is National Nutrition month and it's time to get your plate in shape! Follow these tips for creating a healthy diet:
1) Eat Breakfast
Your mom was correct! Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Studies show that eating a healthy breakfast (not donuts and poptarts!) will allow for a more nutritionally complete diet, improved concentration during the day and more stamina and strength to engage in physical activity. Studies also show that individuals who eat breakfast weigh less than those who don't because it reduces hunger throughout the day.
2) Avoid Trigger Foods
We all have foods that we simply can not stop eating. For me, it's chips and I can easily devour an entire bag at one time! Make a list of these trigger foods for you and avoid buying them at the grocery store. Replace these trigger foods with healthier snack choices.
3) Choose Whole Grains
Studies show that eating whole grains instead of refined grains lowered chances for many chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, asthma and even gum disease! Although refined and whole grains are part of the same food group, their nutritional values are anything but similar. Replace refined grains with whole grains like whole grain wheat, whole oats, brown rice, and whole barely.
4) Eat and Drink Often During the Day
Having high quality small snacks, “mini meals” or fresh juice during the day can help to boost energy and prevent over-eating. Keep healthy snacks like fruit, nuts, juice at your work that can help curb those hunger pains before your next meal.
5) Eat Plenty of Plants
These colorful beauties provide essential phytonutrients, micronutrients, vitamins, minerals and enzymes. These are just as crucial for your health as the macronutrients we often hear about (carbs, proteins, fats). Also, eating a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits will provide your body with different nutrients and vitamins. Aim for at least three colors at every meal!
6) Choose Foods with the Least Ingredients
The FDA's list of safe food additives is now over 3,000! and any of these preservatives, artificial sweeteners and colorings and flavor enhancers could end up on your plate. Do you really know what these chemicals will do to your waistline or health? Of course not. If a 7 year old can't pronounce it, don't eat it!