Eating a healthy, balanced diet is good for your waistline and your overall health
Every day we are faced with eating choices. When fast food is so easily available and relatively inexpensive, it can be hard to pass up the drive-through window on the way home from school or work.
But there is much to be gained from getting a hold of your diet and making an effort to eat nutritious heart-healthy foods. Eating a good diet can help you avoid problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even type 2 diabetes.
The Harris-Casel Institute, located in Melbourne, Florida, is a career training school that is committed to preparing students for jobs in the field of healthcare. We care about the health of our students and community, and have put together a list of 8 healthy eating tips for you. Join us in promoting healthy eating!
Tip One: Go for variety in your fruits and veggies
You have probably heard it since you were a young child. Eat your vegetables! Well, it’s true. Fruits and vegetables are so important for your diet, because they contain the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body needs. When choosing your fruits and vegetables, try for a variety of colors. Think of the colors of the rainbow, and choose items like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, yellow peppers, spinach, kale, broccoli, and blueberries.
Tip Two: Get enough fiber
Fiber is important for your digestion, cholesterol levels, and glucose levels. Make sure you are choosing foods that are high in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, beans, and nuts. In breads, look for “whole wheat” to be the top ingredient. Choose brown rice instead of white rice. Eat oatmeal instead of processed cereals. And try to limit processed snack food, as well as white sugar and white flour.
Tip Three: Choose white meats and fish
Red meat and pork both contain relatively high levels of saturated fats. Try to limit those meats and instead, eat more chicken, turkey, and fish. Most types of fish have an added benefit of containing omega-3 fatty acids, which are considered heart-healthy fats. If you do eat red meat, try to pick lean cuts and prepare it healthfully.
Tip Four: Know the good fats versus the bad fats
Knowing which fats are good for you and which fats are bad for you can be confusing, especially with terms like monosaturated and polyunsaturated. Generally speaking, if the fat comes from a plant or fish, it tends to be better for you. These “healthy fats” include olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, avocados, nuts, fish, and fish oil. Fats that come from other animals tend to be the unhealthy saturated fats. Limit your consumption of beef, lamb, pork, butter, cheese, whole milk, and cream. Also avoid trans fats. Trans fats are in shortening, as well as processed products that list “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated” oils.
Tip Five: Tame the sweet tooth!
Lots and lots of foods have added sugar in them, and it’s hard not to develop a sweet tooth. Eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain, unhealthy glucose levels, and even diabetes (not to mention tooth decay). Try to cut back by choosing healthier alternatives to sugar. When you are craving sweets, try having fruit instead of junk food. Cut out the sugary drinks and sodas, and stick with water or unsweetened seltzer water.
Tip Six. Watch your salt intake
Salt is one of the easiest spices to grab when you want your food to have more flavor. Processed foods and baked goods are notorious for having high salt/sodium content. A diet that is too high in sodium can lead to high blood pressure. When you eat packaged or canned foods, be sure to look at the labels and choose low-sodium alternatives. When you cook for yourself, go easy on the salt, or try using other spices to liven up your food.
Tip Seven. Portion sizes make a big difference!
No matter how healthy your diet is, the portion sizes matter. Overeating even the healthiest of foods can lead to weight gain. Be extra careful when you eat out at restaurants, because their portion sizes tend to be very large. Try cutting your meal down to size before eating it, and bringing the leftovers home in a takeout bag. At home, try limiting yourself to one reasonable plate, and don’t go for seconds.
Tip Eight. Make it fun!
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring or tasteless. In fact, trying a new way of eating is the perfect time to get out of your routine and experiment with new recipes. Try out these suggested recipes from the American Heart Association. You might find that healthy eating isn’t as hard as you thought!
This article was provided by the Haris Casel Institute in Melbourne, Florida. We are committed to health and healthcare education, offering programs for Home Health Aides, Nursing Assistants, Practical Nurses, and more.