Balanced Diets

March may be coming to a close, but National Nutrition Month is not over just yet and it has signaled a reminder that “dieting” and eating well are not necessarily the same thing.

Why is nutrition important? What you eat affects how your body works your ability to fight off infections and diseases. It's impossible to separate your eating from your health and fitness.

Healthy eating can seem like a time consuming and costly endeavor. Consider these easy tips to improve your health and fitness:

  • 1. Start your day with a healthy breakfast
    Breakfast starts-up your metabolism and refuels both your body and mind after a good night’s sleep. Eating breakfast also reduces hunger and prevents eating binges.

  • 2. Have pre-prepared healthy snacks with you to the office, school or on-the-go
    If the body goes without food for longer than four to six hours, its metabolic rate may slow down along with the rate at which you burn calories. However, avoid snacking on the wrong foods or snacking on too much food.

  • 3. Don’t rely on “willpower”
    Instead, arrange your environment so that you can be successful without relying on willpower alone. If the junk food isn’t around to tempt you then no willpower is required! Also, try enlisting the help of family and friends.

  • 4. Drink water when you feel hungry
    Drink a glass of water, wait for a while, and then see if you're still hungry. A glass of water might be just what you needed.

  • 5. Finish your last meal two hours before you sleep
    When you sleep, you don't need too many calories, and food is more likely to be stored as fat.

  • 6. Try to consume more high-volume, low-calorie foods
    Foods like pizza can contain enormous amounts of calories in small unsatisfying portions. This causes you to exceed your recommended caloric intake and still be hungry! The same amount of calories in foods like apples will satiate your hunger much, much faster. This is because fat has three times as many calories as protein or carbohydrates.

  • 7. Train yourself with paired associations
    If you're having a hard time replacing those high-calorie, low-volume foods with a healthier alternative, try training yourself to expect the healthy alternative as a reward. If you finish a workout, don’t reward yourself with chocolate and pizza. Instead, try a light yogurt or a fruit smoothie. You'll come to associate and crave these new healthy rewards in no time!

  • 8. Boost your fiber intake!
    Fiber works wonders on your digestive system and can also lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Some forms of fiber also lower blood cholesterol and sugar levels. This is a great way to improve your health and aid in weight loss!

You may also try adding some of these wonderful high fiber foods to your new healthy eating habits: Raspberries, Pears, Apples, Strawberries, Banana, Raisins, Split Peas, Lentils and Beans.