Wellness Wednesday – Nutrition Tips with Nurse Lauren
Hi there, Nurse Lauren here with your Wellness Wednesday tips! March is National Nutrition Month® so let’s chat today about what it means to eat healthy. Choosing healthy food options should not be something you do only when you are trying to lose weight. It is important to establish good eating habits early on and maintain them throughout your life. You know the old saying – you are what you eat? Well, maybe you are not a big chocolate glazed donut walking down the street, BUT to some degree that old saying is true. Eating right should be a lifestyle choice.
How do I know if I am eating healthy? A good starting point is reviewing the United States Department of Agriculture’s (@USDA) Choose My Plate (@MyPlate) resource. This plan details how much of the five food groups you should be consuming on a daily basis. The amounts are based on your age, gender and daily physical activity. What are the five food groups? Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Proteins, and Dairy. Consult the table on the Choose My Plate website for the amounts of each recommended for you, or download the app and keep track of what you are eating daily.
It is possible to lose weight on some diets by strictly counting calories. While you may achieve the results you want, dropping a few pounds, fitting into your skinny jeans again – you may not making the best choice for your insides! Just because you’re only eating a certain number of calories doesn’t necessarily mean you’re eating healthy. A good article that compares quantity and quality of foods with equal number of calories is What Calories Look Like in Different Foods. One of my favorite comparisons is for 200 calories you could eat 570 grams of baby carrots (basically a large plate of carrots) or 4 tootsie pops, or even 17 gummy bears. Yes, all three are only 200 calories, but I’ll give you a hint – only one option is healthy! Figuring out how many calories you should eat in a day is not an exact science. Factors include age, height, weight, gender, overall health, amount of daily physical activity. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a daily calorie intake of around 2,500 for men and 2,000 for women. For more information on calorie intake, burning calories, food choices, and ideal body weight, check out Medical News Today’s (@mnt) How Many Calories Should I Eat in a Day?
What will happen to my body if I don’t eat healthy? The list of possible outcomes for not eating healthy is long and daunting. Eating a poor diet can lead to heart disease; diabetes; obesity; high blood pressure; stroke; osteoporosis; cancers: cervical, colon, gallbladder, kidney, liver, ovarian, uterine, and postmenopausal breast cancers; leukemia; and even esophageal cancer (after researchers took smoking into account.) An important thing to remember is that your diet is something that is controllable. While you cannot control family history, you can decide how you will fuel your body everyday. Making smart choices cannot and should not be just about fitting into an outfit or a bathing suit. Preventative healthcare (the measures you take to prevent a disease as opposed to healthcare needed to treat a disease) is possible with a balanced nutritious diet. Looking for new ideas for planning meals, improving your eating habits, cutting calories, or healthy recipes? Check out the Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight section on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (@cdcgov) website.
National Nutrition Month® is an awareness campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (@eatright.) This years theme “Go Further With Food,” highlights the effect of being able to go the farthest when you are choosing healthy foods. This is Nurse Lauren, contributor of NursesNOW, signing off with your Wellness Wednesday tips. Follow these tips to have a healthier lifestyle, keep fit, and feel good!