With the recent 50th anniversary of 2023 National Nutrition Month in March, it’s a good time to continue to focus on important messages and proactive actions.
Today’s column focuses on some healthful messages and actions that can be taken to help us achieve a better quality of life as well as a note on a diet that can provide us with many-varied benefits and also helps foster more environmental sustainability.
Some general overall health tips that are recommended follows:
1. Eat breakfast
Start your day with a healthy breakfast that includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
2. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
Fruits and veggies add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber to your plate.
3. Watch portion sizes
Use half your plate for fruits and vegetables and the other half for grains and lean protein foods. Complete the meal with a serving of fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt.
4. Be active
Regular physical activity has many health benefits. Start by doing what exercise you can. Children and teens should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day, and adults at least two hours and 30 minutes per week.
5. Get to know food labels
Reading the Nutrition Facts panel can help you choose foods and drinks to meet your nutrient needs.
6. Fix healthy snacks
Healthy snacks can sustain your energy levels between meals, especially when they include a combination of foods.
7. Consult an RDN
Whether you want to lose weight, lower your health-risks or manage a chronic disease, consult the experts! Registered dietitian nutritionists can help you by providing sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice.
8. Follow food safety guidelines
Reduce your chances of getting sick with proper food safety. This includes: regular hand washing, separating raw foods from ready-to-eat foods, cooking foods to the appropriate internal temperature, and refrigerating food promptly. Learn more about home food safety at eatright.org.
9. Drink more water
Quench your thirst with water instead of drinks with added sugars.
10. Make an effort to reduce food waste
Check out what foods you have on hand before stocking up at the grocery store. Plan meals based on leftovers and only buy perishable foods you will use or freeze within a couple of days.
Thanks to District 10s health department in Michigan for the tips provided above.
Eating with sustainability in mind focuses on nourishing ourselves during every phase of life while emphasizing the protection of the environment. Information on one evidenced-based diet that can contribute to one’s health follows.
The Mediterranean diet
One diet that is very promising for achieving a more healthful lifestyle and also focuses on the theme of National Nutrition Month is the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes plant-based foods and healthy fats. You eat mostly veggies, fruits and whole grains. Olive oil is the main source of fat. Research shows the Mediterranean Diet can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and many other chronic conditions.
The Mediterranean Diet is also considered to be a potent intervention for reducing body weight. Several studies investigating this traditional diet have highlighted its importance in preventing and managing non-communicable diseases and mortality.
Improving our quality of life through living a healthy lifestyle is a process, not something that just magically appears. Taking good messages and messengers to “heart” are a key part of this approach. Good luck with taking a more proactive approach to better health in 2023 looking toward a life-long approach to a healthier you. Do it for yourself and your family.
Additional reference sites for science-based resources are provided at the end of this column including information on the Mediterranean diet.
Healthy eating for a healthy weight is available at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov/healthyweight.
A good resource for Information on the Mediterranean diet is available at the following site:my.clevelandclinic.org
Mark A. Mahoney, Ph.D. has been a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist for over 30 year. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: 10 tips and habits to build nutrition and healthy lifestyle
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