celebrate national nutrition month
march is national nutrition month
We all know that nutrition is key to a healthy lifestyle, but there is so much conflicting information available to guide you to better food habits. While some of this information is helpful, most of the time it's hard to decipher what advice is worth following. We believe that nutrition shouldn't be overly complicated, and we live by five guiding principles to help us eat a better diet.
1. think diet, not dieting
This is most important. There are thousands and thousands of diet plans available, each claiming to the best way to lose weight. While dieting might be an effective way to lose weight in the short term, it's more important to find holistic lifestyle changes that affect your diet permanently. While it's great to use a diet plan to jump-start weight loss, make sure to focus on lasting changes that are sustainable over a long period of time. Shift your goals from short to long-term, and develop a diet that works with your needs and likes so you can commit for the long haul.
2. know your calories
Knowing exactly how many calories you should be eating is critical to achieving a healthier overall lifestyle. While the USDA states that the average, healthy intake is about 2,000 calories, it's very important to remember that this is just an average. Weight and height have a profound effect on this. For example, if you're a 5'5" woman, if you eat 2000 calories, you will simply maintain your current weight. In order to lose weight, you need to be at a calorie deficit, meaning to lose a pound a week, you would need to eat 1500 calories a day. If you are trying to lose or maintain your weight, there are tons of great online resources that will help you calculate your optimal caloric intake.
3. don't over process it
While processed food offers a number of convenience-based benefits, the disadvantages often outweigh these. Often times, processed foods are high in fat and carbs, and low on beneficial nutrients. Beyond being packed full of preservatives, artificial flavors, colorings, and sugar substitutes, processed food also simply doesn't possess the benefits of eating fresh produce. If you're looking for a simple snack to pack in your bag, reach for a piece of fruit like an orange, apple, or banana. Not only are they healthier, they also come in their own, natural packaging, which means one less piece of plastic in the trash!
4. fiber is key
Fiber has become a nutritional buzz word of sorts, but for good reason. Fiber helps keep you moving, and promoting good bowel health is key to an overall healthier lifestyle. Food high in fiber is also more filling, so when you're extra hungry and want to feel satiated, look for food that is high in fiber to help you feel fuller while eating less. Finally, fiber is great for helping lower both cholesterol and blood sugar. Set a goal to consume 25 grams of fiber a day!
5. look at those labels
Learning to read nutritional labels is by no means easy, but once you have learned how it can greatly help you to make healthier food choices. Luckily, the FDA has taken a number of measures to make nutrition labeling easier to read and understand. Make sure to look out for serving size, which is easy to overlook, and look at things like the sodium, fat, and sugar. The lower the better! If you're looking for foods that fill you up, pay attention to protein and fiber content.