7 Healthy Foods to Keep At Your Desk

Healthy Foods to Keep At Your DeskSpending long hours at the workplace means less time eating healthy meals and more time trying to find unhealthy snacks to satisfy your hunger. Unhealthy snacks are high in calories and make us pile on the pounds. The key to breaking this habit is to stock healthy items to snack on at your desk.

The first and foremost step towards healthy eating is to make sure you eat full meals. This will help you stay healthy. If you can’t get a full meal, munch on healthy snacks that provide energy in the middle of the day and prevent tiredness and fatigue. Eating small and nutritious snacks every 2-3 hours is also a great way to avoid overeating at meal time. The key benefits of healthy snacking at the workplace are:

  • More focus and productivity during the workday
  • Increased energy levels and less bloating
  • Less sick days from work
  • Reduced risk of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease

Here are some simple and healthy snack ideas for your desk:

  • Nuts: Being a perfect food to beat hunger pangs, plain nuts deliver a great combination of protein, fat and dietary fiber. This snack boosts energy levels, protects the heart, and improves brain health. Healthy options include almonds, walnuts, pistachios, brazil nuts, cashew nuts and macadamia nuts. Roast a variety of these nuts and keep them in a handy jar on your desktop. However, as they calorie-dense, take care to snack on nuts in moderation.
  • Fruits and Dried fruits: You can either keep fresh fruits or dried fruits at your desk. Fruits such as bananas, apples, oranges, peaches, grapes, and any other fruit do not require peeling and cutting. A single serving of any of these fruits is high on fiber and vitamins.You can also keep dried fruits at your desk. A good source of energy, vitamins and minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidants, dried fruit is a great alternative to sugar-rich foods. Healthy options include dates, raisins, dried apricots and prunes.
  • Protein bars: Protein-packed bars supply energy boosting protein that keeps you active through the day. They are available in different flavors.
  • Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt fills up the stomach with good bacteria and stocks up high on protein, probiotics, calcium and magnesium. Sodium content is much lower than normal yogurt.
  • Popcorn: Munching popcorn, especially air-popped, is a great snackable option. Popcorn is a whole grain and a great source of fiber, which helps to fill your palate. An air-popped 100-calorie bag of popcorn or three cups of air-popped popcorn can satisfy your hunger in a much healthier way than salty chips.
  • Roasted chickpeas: Replace your unhealthy store-bought chips with roasted chickpeas. Power-packed with dietary fiber and plant protein, chickpeas are a crunchy, low-fat and low GI (glycemic index) snack option. You can store them in an airtight container in your office drawer for almost a week.
  • Dark chocolate: Rich in antioxidants, eating dark chocolate in moderation helps keep you fresh and energized. The magnesium present in it act as a natural stress-reliever, as it lowers the level of cortisol, a stress hormone and induces a feeling of relaxation. Treat yourself to good quality dark chocolate that has 98% cocoa content and the least milk and sugar.

Always keep always a bottle of water near you and drink lot of water. Sometimes, hunger could just be your body telling you are dehydrated.

Celebrate Whole Grains Month in September

Celebrate Whole Grains Month in September
Each year, September is observed as Whole Grains Month by Whole Grains Council (WGC) to celebrate the goodness of whole grains. Though WGC recommends whole grains all the year round, the month of September is specifically dedicated to encouraging companies and consumers to pay attention to the health benefits of whole grains. WGC features a different whole grain on its website every month. September is being also celebrated as the 20th anniversary of National Rice Month.

This year, WGC embarks on “Whole Grains: the World Tour!” to take grain enthusiasts on a culinary excursion, exploring the traditions, flavors, and ingredients of the four beloved regions of the world – the Mediterranean, Asia, Latin America, and the African diaspora.

Whole grains have always played a vital role in the lives of humans. Unlike refined grains which lose valuable nutrients in the refining process, whole grains offer a “complete package” of health benefits such as lower risk of diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

All whole grain kernels contain three parts -bran, germ, and endosperm-in the original proportions.

  • The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer that supplies B vitamins, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.
  • The germ is rich in healthy fats, vitamin E, B vitamins, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. It is the core of the seed where growth occurs.
  • The endosperm is the interior layer that holds carbohydrates, protein, and small amounts of some B vitamins and minerals.

Wheat, brown rice, oats, barley, quinoa, buckwheat, bulgur, whole-wheat couscous, sorghum, rye are some of the whole grains to include in your daily diet. The United States Dietary Guidelines recommend 3 full servings, or 3 ounces, of whole grains a day for adults and two servings for children.

To add more whole grains to your diet and boost the dietary fiber content of your meals, change your cooking style to include more whole grains. Here are some tips to help:

  • Switch from white flour to whole wheat flour in your regular recipes
  • Eat oatmeal for breakfast as it has a powerful effect in lowering total cholesterol
  • Replace one third of the flour in a recipe with quick oats or old-fashioned oats
  • Try brown or wild rice instead of white rice, or whole-grain pasta
  • Use whole-grain bread
  • Add half a cup of cooked bulgur, wild rice, or barley to bread stuffi
  • Munch on popcorn instead of chips and pretzels
  • Add half a cup of cooked wheat or rye berries, wild rice, brown rice, sorghum or barley to your favorite home-made soup
  • Use whole corn meal for corn cakes, corn breads and corn muffins
  • For quick crunch, put a handful of rolled oats in your yogurt

Remember to soak whole grains overnight to speed up the cooking process.

Get in Shape with a Summer Nutrition Plan

It’s summer and time for a glass of cold fruit juice or ice cream instead of hot soup! The shift from winter foods to summer foods is an interesting aspect of the season. For many people, summer vacations mean family outings and picnics that are heavy on food. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on your diet. Developing and following a healthy nutrition plan this summer will shape up your diet and body so that you have more energy for summer activities and can also survive the sweltering heat.

Get in Shape with a Summer Nutrition Plan

Fuel your summer diet with nutrient-rich foods like whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk and cheese, seafood, lean meats, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds. There’s also an abundance of fresh, delicious and healthy summer fruit and vegetables this amazing time of the year. Here are important summer time nutrition tips to stay healthy and get in shape:

  • Snack on Summer Fruit: Summer fruits are full of nutrition and natural sweetness. Fruit provides nutrients vital for health, such as potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate. Focus on whole fresh fruits instead of juice because the sugar naturally found in fruit does not count as added sugar. Instead of overloaded sweet desserts, snack on healthy natural produce whenever you want.

    Summer fruits include apples, avocados, bananas, lemons, plums, peaches, strawberries, watermelons and so on. These summer fruits are also low in calories.
  • Eat plenty of veggies: Include summer fresh vegetables such as greens, green beans, squash, peppers, and snap peas in your diet. These foods support good health with their vitamins (ranging from Vit A to Vit K), minerals, and anti-inflammatory capabilities.

    Brighten your plate with vegetables that are red, orange, or dark green as they are full of vitamins and minerals. Try acorn squash, cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, or collard greens, all of which taste great and are good for you too.Eat a fresh vegetable salad with a delicious dip like beetroot hummus or spicy guacamole.
  • Cut down extras from your diet: While eating for summer energy, reduce or cut down on the extras that may weigh you down, like too much added sugar and alcohol. Maintain a balanced diet with whole foods like vegetables, fruits, plant-based or lean proteins, and healthy fats.
  • Indulge in healthy, cool snacks: Create some cool snacks – freeze berries, grapes, sliced bananas and sliced kiwi. These snacks not only cool you down, but are also nutritional and healthy. You can make ice cubes with fresh herbs and use it in your water or tea.
  • Too much of barbeque is a big “NO”: Summers is known for partying, beaches and barbeque. But don’t overdo BBQs as too much of it is not healthy. Include vegetables and fruits in BBQs and eat in moderation.
  • Avoid overdoing: The key to healthy dieting is eating in moderation and knowing when you’re full. Fill your plate with healthy stuff such as fruit and fresh, green salads.

In addition to following these nutritional tips, remember that hygiene is the key to a healthy body. You are prone to get bacterial infections from the utensils in restaurants and even at home. Make sure that whatever you eat or drink is clean and prepared hygienically.

Nutrition Tips to Ease Common Summertime Woes

Nutrition Tips to Ease Common Summertime Woes
Good nutrition is crucial to weight management and maintaining good health, but do you know that a healthy diet can also soothe certain summertime woes? Sunlight, in moderation, offers several health benefits such as production of vitamin D in the body, which in turn supports bone health, enhances immunity, regulates blood pressure, and promotes well being. However, over-exposure to the sunlight can cause dry skin and hair, eye damage, and other ailments.

Slathering on sunscreen might block the UV rays, but you should know that a nutritious diet is also a critical element in your sun-protection routine. Adding the right foods to add to your daily diet can prevent or ease the following common summertime woes:

  • Muscle cramps: Outdoor exercises or too many games in summer can result in overexertion, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance. This can cause muscle cramps. Drink plenty of water and restock electrolytes with sports drinks that contain sodium, calcium, and potassium. Include potassium-rich foods such bananas, raisins, potatoes, and spinach, in your diet.
  • Dry or irritated skin: In summer, our skin tends to be less supple because we sweat more. Moreover, even as you enjoy the sea and swimming pools, you should know that the salt and chlorine in water can have a drying effect which can dry out and damage your skin. Sunburns and bug bites also sabotage healthy skin.
  • Eating nutritious foods that are rich in antioxidants, Vit C, and protein such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, lean meats, beans, nuts, and seeds can heal damaged skin. Drinking lots of water can prevent dehydration and help keep skin dryness at bay. Consume calcium-rich low-fat dairy products like skimmed milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese is important to replace calcium loss though sweating.
  • Parched hair: Overexposure to the sun rays, chlorine water in swimming pools, and humidity can wreak havoc on your hair, causing limp hair, hair fall, dry or rough hair and sunburn on scalps. A healthy diet with proper ingredients that stimulate healthy hair growth is important. For shiny and lustrous hair and healthy skin, make sure that your diet supplies vital vitamins and nutrients such as keratin, vitamin B-5, calcium, zinc and vitamin B-8.
  • Yeast infections: Many women find summer as the most common season for yeast infections. Sitting around in a wet bathing suit provides a perfect environment for yeast overgrowth. An ideal way to ward off yeast infections is consuming more probiotics. Avoid sugary foods because yeast thrives off sugar, especially processed and simple sugars, as well as grains and other glutinous foods. Those who suffer from frequent yeast infections should also avoid consuming excessive amounts of alcohol and starchy vegetables as well as meat and dairy products.
  • Asthma attacks: Summertime can be a dangerous time for kids and adults with asthma. Smog and air pollution, high pollen levels and increased mold growth due to high humidity can cause asthma attacks.

According to Mayo Clinic, there’s no diet that can eliminate asthma symptoms, avoiding allergic foods, avoiding sulfates (triggers asthma). However, eating fresh fruit and vegetables (that contain a good source of antioxidants such as beta carotene and vitamins C and E) and consuming Vitamin D-rich items such as milk, eggs and fish such as salmon, can help.

Know the Top Food Sources of Vitamin D

Know the Top Food Sources of Vitamin D One of the many nutrients we need, Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which builds and keeps the bones strong and healthy. As it is produced by the body in response to skin being exposed to sunlight, vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin. Regardless of its name, Vitamin D is not actually a vitamin and is considered a pro-hormone.

Vitamin D plays a role in muscle function and the immune system (the body’s defense system). It helps protect against infections and other illnesses. It also aids diabetes management by regulating insulin levels and also supports lung function and cardiovascular health. Taking vitamin D every day has been shown to reduce the risk of falling in older individuals. On the other hand, vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to cardiovascular disease and mortality, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. In children, deficiency of the sunshine vitamin causes rickets.

According to an article in Medical News Today, recent studies suggest that a substantial percentage of the global population is vitamin D deficient. Sunlight is the best natural source of vitamin D. You can also increase your Vit D levels through dietary changes. The Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for people age 1-70 is 600 IU and age 71 and older is 800IU of vitamin D per day from foods. Here are 10 top vitamin D rich foods:

  1. Oily fish: Popular fatty fishes such as salmon, sardines, swordfish are a great source of vitamin D. Sockeye salmon is also a great source of vitamin B12, niacin, and thiamin. In addition to being rich in omega-3 fatty acids, sockeye salmon is packed with numerous minerals, including selenium and phosphorus.
  2. Shrimp: This popular type of shellfish contain a good amount of vitamin D – 152 IU per serving, or 25% of the RDI. However, it also contains useful omega-3 fatty acids, although at lower amounts than many other vitamin D rich foods.
  3. Egg Yolks: This protein-rich food, especially the yolk, is also a great source of Vit D. Pasture-raised or free-range chickens that roam outside in the sunlight produce eggs with Vit D levels 3-4 times higher.
  4. Cod Liver Oil: An excellent source of Vitamin D, cod liver oil is a popular supplement. A non-fish eater can take this supplement to obtain certain nutrients unavailable in other sources. Cod liver oil contains 450 international units (IU) per teaspoon, which is 75 percent of a person’s recommended daily allowance (RDA).
  5. Fortified Milk: Fortified cow’s milk is a good source of vitamin D and many nutrients including calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorous and riboflavin. One cup of milk can cover around 30% of your daily value of vitamin D.
  6.  Cheese: This is another source of vitamin D for vegetarians. Cheese is also a great source of vitamin A, riboflavin, and numerous minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.
  7. Yogurt: Highly nutritious and enriched with Vitamin D, yogurt is a super food. This dairy product provides different amounts of this important nutrient, depending on the brand. It also contains vitamin B, calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals.
  8. Fortified Foods: Some manufacturers add vitamin D or other nutrients to many commercially available foods and label them ‘fortified’. Common foods enriched vitamin D and other nutrients include cow’s milk, orange juice, various breakfast cereals, and soy milk.
  9. Oysters: In addition to being delicious, low in calories and full of nutrients, oyster also provides 53% of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for vitamin D.
  10. Mushroom: These are the only plant source of vitamin D. Like humans, mushrooms can synthesize this vitamin when exposed to UV light. Only wild mushrooms or mushrooms treated with UV light are good sources of vitamin D.

Eating plenty of these foods can increase your vitamin D levels. However, along with dietary changes, make sure to spend some time out in the sun, as it is the best source of vitamin D.

Six Top Diabetic-Friendly Foods

Diabetic Friendly FoodsA chronic disease, diabetes can lead to many serious medical conditions if not managed properly. There are three types of diabetes – type 1, type 2, and gestational. Type 2 is the most common type and develops when an issue within the body makes blood glucose levels rise higher than normal, causing the body to not use insulin properly. People with diabetes need to control the sugar level in their blood through diet and regular exercises. Eating certain foods while limiting others can help control blood sugar level, improve overall well-being, and prevent future complications.

A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and healthful proteins can have significant benefits for people with diabetes. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that people who have diabetes should aim to:

  • Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables
  • Consume lean protein
  • Eat foods with less added sugar
  • Avoid trans fats

Here is a list of the best foods for people with diabetes to eat and foods to limit or balance in their diet.

  • Green leafy vegetables: Green leafy vegetables are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Leafy greens, including collard greens, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, spinach and kale are a rich source of potassium, vitamin A, and calcium as well as protein and fiber. According to a MedicalNewsToday article, researchers say that eating green leafy vegetables is helpful for people with diabetes due to their high antioxidant content and starch-digesting enzymes. Kale is considered to be a superfood for those with diabetes because it contains chemicals called glucosinolates that help neutralize cancer-causing substances and is also packed with potassium, which can help manage blood pressure levels.
  • Non-starchy vegetables: These vegetables contain fewer calories and carbohydrates per serving, which will satisfy your hunger and boost your intake of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals. They include everything from artichokes and asparagus to broccoli and beets. According to a Healthline article, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) identifies most non-starchy vegetables as low GI foods with a ranking of 55 or less.
  • Citrus fruits: Fruits such as oranges and grapefruit are a great source of fiber and some studies have found they have antidiabetic effects. One study found that eating citrus fruits could lower the risk of diabetes in women, but drinking the fruit juice could increase that risk. To maximize the antidiabetic effects of this citrus fruits, eat whole fruits rather than drink the juice.
  • Fatty fish: Fat is an important part of healthy diet as it’s a major source of energy that helps your body to absorb some vitamins and minerals. According to the ADA, a diet rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can improve blood sugar control and blood lipids in people with diabetes. Fish that are rich source of such fats include salmon, mackerel, sardines, albacore tuna, herring and trout. They are also full of vitamin D and selenium which is good for healthy hair, skin, nails, and bones. Since fish does not contain carbs, it won’t increase blood sugar levels. Moreover, fish oil is another source of omega-3 fatty acids. If you want to take supplements, ask your doctor for advice on which is best for your condition.
  • Whole eggs: Whole eggs can help you get all the nutrients you need on a calorie-restricted diet. Eggs are rich in high-quality protein, fats and essential nutrients like vitamin D and choline. They improves risk factors for heart disease, promote good blood sugar control, protect eye health and keep you feeling full. The Healthline article reports on a one study which found that people with type 2 diabetes who consumed 2 eggs daily saw improvements in cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
  • Whole grains: Eating whole grains may help decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as it is full of antioxidants and soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps to metabolize fats and keep the digestive track healthy. But this works only if you choose the right type of whole grains. According to a Readers Digest article, people who eat 10 grams of grain-based fiber (oatmeal for breakfast or quinoa in your lunch salad) reduce their risk of diabetes by 25 percent.

Other foods such as berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries), nuts (walnuts), seeds (chia, flax seeds), unsweetened Greek yogurt are also diabetic-friendly foods.

If you have diabetes, you have to learn to balance meals and make healthful food choices while still including the foods you enjoy. However, talk to your doctor or dietitian before you make any changes to your diet to ensure that you’re making the best choices for your health.

8 Common Nutrition Myths Debunked

MythsNutritious food plays an important role in everyone’s life. Maintaining a balanced diet that contains all types of nutrients, vitamins and minerals nourishes your body and keeps you healthy. In this age of information overloaded world, there are a lot of fad diets and nutritional advices which can lead you to get confused as to what is truly healthy. Regardless of what your health goals are, it’s important to separate fact from fiction with regard to nutrition. Here are 8 common nutrition myths debunked:

  • The same diet will work for everyone: One diet plan cannot benefit everyone as each person is unique. As different foods go through different metabolic pathways in the body and they can have vastly different effects on hunger and hormones, each person should aim for personalized diet plans that are recommended by their doctors or nutritionists.
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  • Eggs are bad for you: One of the most nutritious foods available, eggs contain almost all the essential nutrients. But many people believe that eggs are bad for health as the yolks have a lot of cholesterol. According to Mayo Clinic, eggs are high in cholesterol, but the effect of egg consumption on blood cholesterol is minimal when compared with the effect of trans fats and saturated fats. Moreover, as with any food, moderation is the key to healthy eating.
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  • Raw vegetables are healthier: Both raw and cooked vegetables are beneficial for health. Some say that cooking vegetables above a certain temperature may lead them to lose their nutrients and that the natural enzymes in “living” food make it best for the body. But that’s not true. Though in some cases, cooking does cause nutrients to degrade, in other cases cooking vegetables increases the availability of nutrients and also makes it easy for the body to absorb the nutrients and helps with digestion. Ultimately, what you need to do is eat more vegetables, whether raw or cooked. Find a balance that works for you.
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  • Exercise and eat whatever you want: A common assumption is that you can eat what you want as long as you workout. You can occasionally binge on foods, but overeating every day will lead to a calorie surplus. Moreover, nutrition is key to losing those extra kilos and not the other way around. It’s important to eat foods that will benefit your body, especially if you’re engaging in more physical activity than you used to.
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  • Salads help you lose weight: It’s a fact that salad helps lose weight, as fiber in salads are low in calories, which keeps us feeling full for hours. But salads loaded with dressings or toppings such as sugar, unhealthy fats, or too many dry fruits cannot help you lose weight. So if you are looking for a weight loss salad, pick a healthier salad dressing like a low fat or non-creamy dressing over creamy dressings.
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  • Eating fat makes you fat: One common misconception is that eating foods that have fats can lead to weight gain, making many people avoid fats completely. The fact is that fats are an important part of healthy diet and a major source of energy that help the body absorb some vitamins and minerals.
     
    Certain types of bad-fat or fat-like substances can elevate cholesterol levels which can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity. Good fats are considered “heart-healthy” and come mainly from vegetables, nuts, seeds and fish. Eating good fats in moderation to replace saturated or trans fats can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease. So, don’t eliminate fats completely. Know which fats are better than others for long-term health and include them in your diet in moderation.
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  • You will gain weight if you eat late at night: This is not necessarily true because calories are calories and it doesn’t matter what time you eat them. What matters is calorie intake. Excess consumption of calories leads to weight gain, increases risk of obesity and related chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Studies show that people who consume more calories in the evening tend to be more overweight, but this happens because they routinely overindulge after dinner, which sabotages their weight loss efforts (www.henryfordlivewell.com). So work towards balancing your calories throughout the day.
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  • Food is the only way to health: Mental health is very important for overall health and wellbeing. While focusing on maintaining a nutritious diet, keep a check on your emotions as well. As a healthy mind resides in a healthy body, aim to achieve wholesome health.

Top Nutrition Do’s and Don’ts

Food is the basic necessity of life, but the food you eat should be nutritious. Eating nutritious food and maintaining a balanced diet will help you stay healthy. There is a lot of information and confusion regarding what to eat, how to eat it, when to eat it and so on. Here is a list of simple do’s and don’ts for healthy eating.Nutrition

The Dos:

  • Build a healthy plate by making sure that half your plate is filled with fruits and vegetables, especially more of red, orange and dark green veggies. Keep track of what you eat and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Make whole grains at least half your grain intake.
  • Eat lot of protein, especially for breakfast. This will helps reduce hunger later in the day and also help preserve lean body mass (muscle) to maintain strength for everyday tasks. Protein rich breakfast foods include: eggs, Greek yogurt, milk, protein powder, cheese, nuts and nut butters. Experts recommend 20 to 30 grams of protein at each meal is good enough for a healthy nutritious food.
  • Stick to healthy cooking methods such as steaming, stewing, roasting, or boiling.
  • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of fluids everyday and stay hydrated. Water is the most essential nutrient needed for your body.
  • Control portions and avoid overeating.
  • Practice mindful eating by listening to your hunger cues.
  • Have an early dinner. This will help you sleep better and also prevent heartburn. Having dinner early helps the body to burn off energy instead of storing excess calories.

Don’ts:

  • Never skip your breakfast. Studies have revealed that people who skip breakfast tend to overeat throughout the day.
  • Avoid snacks such as candies, French fries, instant noodles, ice-cream and soft drinks because they contain many calories that not only cause obesity but also affect our appetite and hinder the intake of nutritious food. Switch to healthy snacks like nuts, fruits, or yogurt, which can keep you becoming over-hungry as you approach your next meal.
  • Don’t eat too much of salty, marinated or preserved food such as salted fish, preserved vegetables, and sausages.
  • Cut back on foods those are high in solid fats and added sugars.
  • Don’t eat in a rush or if you’re stressed, as it would be harder for your body to notice food intake when your mind is on other things.
  • Avoid eating too much before going to bed – this will make it harder to sleep since your body has to actively digest the food.
  • Don’t rely on tablets for nutrition unless prescribed by your healthcare provider. According to Cancer Treatment Centers of America, “Supplements should be taken with good food, not instead of good food.”

Eat meals with other people. To quote an article in the Watertown Daily Times: “Studies have shown that older people who eat “in community” instead of alone are less likely to become depressed. And studies around the world find a strong link between sharing meals and longer, more healthful lives.”

Tips to Maintain a Healthy Diet

Healthy DietFood and nutrition play a crucial role in health promotion and chronic disease prevention. A healthy diet is a balanced diet and developing healthy eating habits is very important. Maintaining a healthy diet doesn’t have to be intimidating. Healthy eating is not about strict food restrictions or staying very thin, or sacrificing the foods you love. Instead, it’s about eating well to ensure you have more energy, improve your health, and stabilize your mood.

Here are some valuable tips that can help you maintain a healthy diet:

  • Watch your portion sizes: Portion control is a key factor in healthy eating. Try to eat a lot of variety foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds in moderate portions. By doing so, your meals would be enjoyable, interesting and nutritious. A balanced meal would have a protein source, a grain or starchy vegetable, fresh vegetables, and healthy fat.
  • Consume a Variety of Foods: To full your nutrient requirement, eating the same food continually is not a good idea. Instead, eat a wide assortment of foods that could help you to ensure that you will get all the necessary nutrients. In addition, this will also limit your exposure to any pesticides or toxic substances that may be present in one particular food.
  • Eat Plenty of Food from Plants: Eat more foods from plants such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes (that is, beans and lentils). Such food is loaded with proteins, carbohydrates, fiber and many. The nutrients, fiber and other compounds in these foods may help protect against certain types of cancer and other diseases. If you are diabetic or prone to diabetic then include non-starchy veggies like broccoli, asparagus, bok choy and other types of cabbage, artichokes, onions, garlic, cauliflower, celery, zucchini, turnips, carrots, squash, and all leafy greens. Choose whole fruits over juice for more fiber.
  • Limit Refined Grains, Added Sugar: Refined carbohydrates in white bread, pasta and other snacks foods have little to no dietary fiber and nutrients. Also, sugary foods are high in fat and calorie dense. So limit your intake of these items.
  • Consume More Fish and Nuts: Fat is an important part of healthy diet as it’s a major source of energy that helps your body to absorb some vitamins and minerals. Choose foods that are rich in healthy fats such as nuts, fish high in Omega-3, and avocados.
  • Cut Down on Animal Fat and avoid Trans Fats: Avoid or limit saturated and trans fat as it unhealthy and has no nutritional value. To cut down animal fat choose, lean meat skinless poultry and nonfat or low-fat dairy products and replace saturated fats, with “good” fats, found in nuts, fish and vegetable oils. Fats that are found in processed foods or trans fats can potentially increase the risk of heart disease, so try to avoid or minimize the use of such food products.
  • Choose Food Over Supplements: Always try to get your vitamins and minerals from natural foods, not from supplements (except if your doctor recommended). Food supplements cannot replace a healthy diet.
  • Limit Alcohol: Drink in moderation is a key point to alcohol users, that is, no more than one drink a day for women, two a day for men. Too much alcohol may increase your risk of health problems and damage your heart.
  • Listen to your body’s signals: It’s important you to distinguish between emotional hunger and physical hunger. The main reasons for weight gain are overeating at meals, emotional eating, or excessive snacking when you’re really not feeling hungry. The Hunger Scale can help you figure out when to eat and when not to eat. If you are having a hard time getting rid of those extra pounds, it’s important to check what you eat as well as how you eat.
  • Balance the food you eat with physical activity: Physical activity alongside healthy diet is an important consideration.

Last but not least, enjoy your food and mealtimes in the company of your loved ones. According to research, shared mealtimes, especially during childhood, may act as a “protective factor” for many nutrition health-related problems as well as increase prosocial behavior in adulthood.

March is Nutrition Month – Make Healthy and Informed Food Choices

March is National Nutrition Month and is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Each year in the month of March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics focuses nationwide attention on healthful eating, i.e. making informed food choices and developing good eating and physical activity habits. In 2018, the academy urges everyone to follow the theme “Go Further with Food.”

Healthy Food ChoicesIn March 1973, a presidential proclamation created the first U.S. “National Nutrition Week” to help promote better eating habits. This weeklong informational campaign has become National Nutrition Month, with the strong support of the American Dietetic Association. This year the academy has put together all kinds of resources to help promote good nutrition. Good nutrition can be adopted by making smart food choices. This year’s theme “Go Further with Food” is focused on helping people create an eating pattern and physical activity plan that focuses on:

  • Consuming fewer calories
  • Getting daily exercise
  • Making informed food choices to reduce food wastage

By planning meals and snacks in advance you can also help reduce food wastage while saving both nutrients and money. A registered dietician nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson Cordialis Msora-Kasago, says that “While millions of Americans worry about how to feed their families, the amount of safe food wasted in the United States is on the rise. By making small changes to the way we think about eating, we can help reduce food waste.” The foods you choose can make a real difference in your overall physical and mental condition. By adopting these goals, people can manage their weight successfully and reduce their risk of chronic disease while promoting general health.

Good nutrition is one of the keys to a healthy life. You can improve your health by maintaining a balanced diet that contains all types of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and a source of protein. For smart food choices you have to keep in mind a few things. They are:

  • Breakfast is the first meal of the day, so don’t skip your breakfast. In fact studies reveal that people who skip their breakfast tend to overeat throughout the day.
  • Eat fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and nutrient dense, which means they are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
  • Make healthy choices for snacking and try to make it smaller portions. Instead of unhealthy snacks such as crisps, granola bars, cereal bars and crackers that contain a lot of empty calories try using yogurt, nuts or fruits as snacks. These are healthy and contain lesser calories, keeping you from approaching the next meal over-hungry.
  • To avoid food wastage, look for the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store. Make sure you buy only the amount that can be eaten or frozen within a few days.
  • Be alert of the portion sizes that you eat.
  • Drinking water regularly and hydrating throughout the day helps to flush out all the toxins from your body, and can also help mitigate illnesses such as kidney stones and constipation among others.

Two very basic and important steps toward a healthier diet are eating more fruits and vegetables, and controlling your portion sizes. This nutrition month let us join hands to combat misinformation and adopt healthy eating habits, which in turn will lead to a happier, healthy life for everyone.