National Nutrition Month: Eat Right, Bite by Bite
By Dr. Markel, March 17th, 2020
“The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.” Does Mark Twain’s quote reflect your feelings about nutrition and healthy eating?
What is a nutritious diet?
A healthful diet includes a variety of fruits and vegetables of many colors, whole grains, starches, good fats, and lean proteins while avoiding foods with high amounts of added salt and sugar.
How would you rate your daily nutrition on a 1-10 scale with 10 as the best? If you are hovering around 4 or 5, you may want to think about ways to improve. There are many benefits for you to take action. These include:
- Improve your sense of well-being and self-control
- Improve your ability to fight off or recover from illness or injury
- Reduce the risk of some diseases
- Enhance mood, memory, and energy
- Lose weight
- Contribute to better bones and teeth
What are negative consequences of poor eating habits?
There are negative aspects of poor nutrition and becoming overweight. It is easy to add a few extra pounds each year, but even 10 pounds makes a difference for your physical health. For example, being overweight increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, can make you more likely to develop high blood pressure and heart disease, and, what about those knees and arthritis? Experts estimate that for every 1 pound of weight, your knees feel the force of 3 pounds of pressure when you take a step. Losing 10 pounds can make a difference of nearly 55 million pounds of pressure on your knees each year.
Interested in some tips for improving nutrition?
1. Be creative: Use sites like Pinterest for new recipes, get simple recipes from family and friends, take a cooking class, or watch a few cooking shows.
2.Find an expert such as a dietitian to discover a meal plan that is aligned with your tastes and lifestyle.
3.Cook a healthy, tasty meal with friends or family once every week or two
4.Pay attention to time management. Schedule a specific time to shop, perhaps with a friend. Once in the store, concentrate on produce, meat, and dairy located outside the supermarket’s other aisles. Schedule 20 minutes a week to plan meals and snacks.
5.Make water your drink of choice. Perhaps using waters with electrolyte additives.
6.Pack your lunch and snacks to control the size and type of food. Put on an alarm to have healthy snacks and avoid being so hungry that you just grab a high calorie snack.
7.Reduce portion size. Since portion sizes in many restaurants are enormous, consider sharing meals when eating out.
8.Stop impulsive and mindless eating. For example, carry healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, while cutting down on processed and junk food containing excess fat, sugar, and salt.
9.Include herbs and spices to enhance tastes. Some herbs such as ginger and turmeric have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects
10.Include exercise, both lifting weights and aerobic exercises. This helps your body, brain and hormones function optimally.
11.Cook in larger portions (soup) and freeze for easy, quick access.
12.Pay attention to food labels and restaurant calorie counts. For example, a regular coffee has 15 or so calories, whereas at Starbucks, a Caffe Mocha has 260 calories and a Caramel Brule Latte has 360 calories. At Panera, a Bear Claw is 500 calories and a Vanilla Cinnamon Roll is 620. On the other hand, a Quaker Apple Cinnamon Rice Cake is 50 calories.
13.Get more sleep. This provides the mental energy to stop and think and plan for nutrition eating.
14.Stop scarfing down your food. Allow the time to enjoy the favor and texture of foods.
You can find more tips at https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/27-health-and-nutrition-tips
How to start?
Why is it so difficult to do? Few of us get actual training about nutrition and how it effects our lives. Nutrition may seem boring and irrelevant, time consuming and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Adapt a step-by-step approach and change one thing at a time. For example, start with breakfast. If you are skipping this meal, carry a late morning snack of a protein bar or stop for a healthy smoothie. If you are rushed in the morning and just grab the wrong foods, try cooking a pot of oatmeal for the week, boil a few hard-boiled eggs, or make an egg dish, such as a Frittata that can be portioned out for the week. Sign up for the Managing Your Mind Newsletter and get a great Frittata recipe.
Vegetables and salads were at most meals when I was growing up. The veggies were always tasty—usually roasted with a bit of garlic and oil. Just throw the veggies on a pan with a bit of olive oil and garlic. For extra flavor, sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan cheese. You can make a pan of different veggies and use them throughout the week in combination with salads, soups or rice dishes.
What are complicating factors?
If you have ADHD, the symptoms may trigger serious weight problems. Research shows a strong correlation between ADHD and obesity. Brain chemistry, poor impulse control, and erratic sleeping habits all contribute to unhealthy eating. In addition, some medications for depression can lead to weight gain. Plan ahead to avoid unhealthy eating or drinking when you are especially fatigued or stressed.
Hippocrates said, “Let thy food be thy medicine.” Don’t fail to keep in mind some of the best ways to be productive is to enjoy good nutrition and healthy eating habits. It helps you to maintain mental energy and focus.
Distractions and poor time management contribute to a lack of nutrition awareness—and action. Every year, the National Nutrition Month stresses the importance of a balanced diet and exercise. A national awareness month is an excuse to refocus and reset eating habits. When you eat nourishing foods, you gain the vitamins and minerals that support healthy internal function, and give skin, hair, and nails an extra glow.
Contact Dr. Geri for continued discussion and ways to support healthy changes in your lifestyle. You can gain greater work/life balance. Are you interested in greater satisfaction and productivity? Contact Geri at Geri@ManagingYourMind.com