Nutrition Tips for Year-Round Success
Just because National Nutrition Month is over doesn’t mean healthy eating is reserved only for March. Below is a compilation of nutrition tips shared by Memorial Medical Center’s registered dietitians on our Facebook page throughout March that you can use year-round:
Choose smaller portions over lower-calorie meal choices when dining out. It’s OK to splurge when you dine out every now and again, but just be sure you aren’t splurging on portion size at the same time. Ideas for keeping portions smaller: Ask for a smaller portion, share a meal with your companion, or take half of your meal home. Also, calorie information is available on some menus; read it and see what the serving portion size is.
Vary your protein choices. Variety is key when consuming protein; your body needs this variety to function properly. Instead of eating the same type of protein every day, switch it up from food groups like seafood, nuts and beans, as well as lean meat, poultry, dairy and eggs. Eat more plant-based proteins such as nuts, beans, whole grains and whole soy foods like tofu and edamame. At least twice a week, make fish and seafood the protein on your plate. And when you do eat red meat, try to limit meat to 6 ounces per day.
Cut back on sodium. Lowering your sodium content helps lower blood pressure. And lowering your blood pressure has many health benefits. Get in the habit of tasting your food before you salt it. Try using herbs and spices to flavor foods. Read nutrition labels on foods for sodium content, and choose the lower-sodium options. Eat plenty of natural foods in place of processed options.
Eat fewer foods that are high in solid fats. Select extra-lean meats such as 93-percent lean ground beef or ground turkey. Grill, broil, bake or steam your foods instead of frying. Use healthy oils in your cooking like olive, canola or sunflower oils instead of partially-hydrogenated oils. And opt for fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese.
Watch out for liquid calories! Fruit juices, colas, sports drinks, fancy coffees, beer — these calories add up fast! And these empty calories leave you feeling full and less likely to eat beneficial nutrient-rich calories. Opt for water, tea and diet soda whenever possible. Flavor teas and water with lemons or raspberries. Or add a cucumber slice to ice water for a refreshing beverage.
Get into the kitchen and stay in charge of what you’re eating. Cooking more often at home will help you to balance what’s on your plate. By preparing food at home, you can control your plate’s portion size, incorporate healthier fats and fiber, limit sodium intake, and monitor the calorie content in your diet.
Avoid oversized portions by using smaller plates, bowls and glasses. Switch to 8- or 9-inch plates — your portions will be smaller without feeling deprived.
Follow MyPlate guidelines. Divide your plate in four sections for these foods: whole grains, protein, vegetables and fruit. Then round out your meal with a cup of low-fat milk or yogurt. For more information on MyPlate, the new “food pyramid,” and how it helps overall nutrition, read what a Memorial Registered Dietitian has to say here.
Be mindful of calorie needs. Calculate what your body needs versus what you are actually consuming. Numbers do help. (And, if you have a smartphone, MyNetDiary is a good—and free!—app to help with this.)