Are you still focusing on the health and nutrition goals you set for yourself for 2018? Let's take this opportunity to check in on our eating habits, as we should all do periodically. The theme for National Nutrition Month this year is Go Further with Food
. One of the key messages to "Go Further with Food
" is to make the most of the access to food that we have and to not be wasteful. For example, buy only the amount of food that can be eaten or frozen within the next few days. Place foods that will spoil more quickly in sight so that you don't forget to eat them. Store your produce properly. Plan meals based on foods that you already have available, and find ways to use them up. Similarly, if you know you have food at home, don't be tempted to stop for carryout, instead go home and use the foods you already have available (save money AND calories). Be mindful of portion sizes, don't be wasteful by eating more than needed when you could actually get two meals from that one. All of these points are solid ways to take your food further, but there are more.
I recently completed a continuing education course in which the instructor, Registered Dietitian Julie Langford, said "Every time you eat, see it as an opportunity to promote your health." I love that! Every time you decide what you are going to put in your mouth, you have the chance to improve your health and well-being by eating something nutritious. This is another way to Go Further with Food
. Good food will take you further in your day by helping wake you up and allow you to better concentrate. It will take you further in your athletic performance by giving your cells the nutrients they need to perform (and recover). It will take you further in life by preventing illness, keeping your mind sharp, your organs functioning as they should, and supporting a healthy immune system.
Bear with me for a quick story. I was with a friend last week, and she was eating a 100-calorie snack pack. It was made with enriched flour and added sugar. She said she was "so hungry," so I offered her an RX Bar (210 calories) from my bag. The ingredients were dried fruit (dates and blueberries), nuts and egg whites. That's it, no added sugar, oils, colors or preservatives. She quickly declined, claiming she shouldn't have that much sugar. I'm sorry, what? Sure, there were double the calories than the snack pack, and there IS sugar in an RX Bar because of the fruit (that's ok!), but there is also 4 grams of fiber, 12 grams of protein, and heart healthy fats from the nuts. The fruit sugar (fructose) comes packed in nutritious little cells containing plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The bar would have been so much more satisfying that I'm pretty sure it would end up saving her calories in the long run. There is so much more to eating healthy than just choosing the low calorie option, or the one that looks like it has fewer grams of sugar. Pay attention to the ingredients, and therefore the quality of the calories. The real
foods with more nutrient density are the ones that are going to allow you to Go Further with Food
. Next time you take a bite, ask yourself if that bite will help promote your health. If not, swap it for some fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, lean protein, omega-3 rich fish, or whole grains, to name just a few solid choices.
If you are interested in learning more about eating healthy for weight loss, consider our Eat, Move, Lose!
class that combines nutrition and exercise for long-term success.