Healthy eating is the way to go|
Commentary by Master Sgt. Marcos Malacara
65th Medical Operations Squadron, Nutrition Program Manager
4/13/2012 - LAJES FIELD, Portugal -- Doctors say healthy eating is the way to go these days, but what actually is healthy eating? According to www.eatright.org eating the proper servings from each food group is important to a balanced diet. Eating a balanced meal will ensure that your body receives the needed vitamins and nutrients necessary for your body to perform physical activities, daily tasks, and work.
As the Lajes Nutrition Program Manager, the two most popular questions asked are, "How can I lose weight quickly and what can I do to make sure I am consuming a healthy diet?" People are usually looking for a magic pill or a quick way to get to their goal, but the best way to get there is by eating a balanced diet and incorporating it with a great exercise program. Together they will produce great weight loss and excellent health management results.
Eating food choices from each of the five food groups will provide health benefits. We gain nutrients and vitamins from all of the food groups, but two that are under-consumed are the fruit and vegetable groups. Some interesting points about these two groups are that they are naturally low in fat, sodium and do not have cholesterol. Some selections in the fruit and vegetable groups are bananas, oranges, strawberries and carrots, broccoli and tomatoes. According to the CDC website www.fruitsandveggiecsmatter.gov vegetables provide dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium which are all necessary for a healthy body. Another great benefit of eating fruits and vegetables is that they will reduce the risk of some chronic diseases.
Many people are really busy with work, school, and family activities that eating a balanced diet is hard to accomplish. Some great tips to help reach your weight loss and health management goals are:
1) Plan your dinner meals for the week ahead so that you know what you are going to eat for every meal. This will prevent those impulsive stops at the local fast food restaurant on your way home from a long day at work. Just by doing this, you can surprisingly prevent the addition of excessive fast food calories that add up quickly.
2) Now that you have meals planned out, make a list of items to purchase at your grocery store. A list is a good way to keep from sporadically shopping, which will result in the many unhealthy food items ending up in your grocery basket.
3) When you grocery shop, do not shop on an empty stomach. Doing so will result in you shopping with your eyes and your empty stomach, and you will purchase a lot of ready to eat snacks and frozen meals which are high in fat and sodium.
4) Finally, when you are sitting at your table ready to eat, be aware of your portion sizes. People tend to serve portion sizes that are double to triple than what proper portion sizes really are. This will add up to what I call weight-creep and before you know it, you're asking yourself, "How did I gain all this weight in just one month?"
People are living fast lives and are looking for ways to save time. Many people try to compensate for this time loss by purchasing food items that can be warmed up in 10 minutes or by making quick convenient stops at fast food restaurants. This may save you time now, but in reality it can take time off your life. Make great food choices now, and feed your body nothing but the best fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy products and whole grains.
To get more information on nutrition and your calorie level, you can visit Supertracker at www.choosemyplate.gov, a USDA interactive website that offers you a way to track and plan your daily food intake. For more information, contact the Health and Wellness Center at 535-1035 or 295-57-1035 if you live off base.