Nutrition Do's and Don'ts
We hear about good nutrition principles from just about anywhere. Although many of us know what we should be doing, we find putting it into practice difficult. The question remains "how do we eat healthy?" Here is a practical guide to help you improve your eating habits today!
1. Eat more fruits and vegetables. They are full of antioxidants, which may reduce your risk of certain cancers and other diseases of aging. They also contain vitamins, minerals and fiber.
- Eat 5 fruits and vegetables everyday.
- Select fruit as snacks. Try oranges, strawberries, kiwi or grapes!
- Eat at least one vegetable with lunch and dinner everyday.
- Keep cut-up fruit and vegetables handy in your refrigerator.
- Colorful fruits and vegetables give you more vitamins, minerals and carotenoids. Select tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, pink grapefruit, melon or berries for your next meal.
2. Eat more soluble fiber. It may help lower your total & LDL “bad” cholesterol.
- Eat more oatmeal, oat bran, dried beans and peas, carrots, broccoli, artichokes, sweet potatoes with the skin on, apples, oranges, grapefruits, and barley.
- Add oatmeal or oat bran to your favorite bread or ground beef recipe.
3. Drink more fluids. Adequate fluids are necessary to regulate body temperature, transport nutrients and oxygen around the body and carry waste products away.
- Start each meal off with a glass of water.
- Take "water breaks" instead of "coffee breaks".
- When you walk by a water fountain, take a drink!
4. Eat lean sources of protein.
- Select chicken breast, turkey breast, lean pork, fish, lean beef or beans more often.
- Trim the fat off meats before cooking.
- Bake, broil or grill your meats. Flavor with herbs and spices instead of oil, margarine or butter.
- To tenderize meats, marinate in vinegar or citrus juice or pound with a mallet.
5. Eat vegetarian meals at least twice a week. Be creative, eating vegetarian doesn't have to be boring.
- Try a vegetable stir-fry with tofu, soy nuts or almonds.
- Add a splash of balsamic vinegar to beans and pasta for a great, new flavor.
- Top a garden burger with sautéed vegetables.
- Borrow a vegetarian cookbook from the library.
- Add soy protein to your diet (powdered soy, soy milk, soy cheese, soybeans, soy "meats".
6. Consume more low-fat dairy products. Many people don't get enough calcium.
- Drink 1% or skim milk.
- Try low-fat, low sugar yogurt with your meal or as a snack. Try low fat cottage cheese.
- Try 2% milk, low-fat, or light cheeses. (They taste a lot better than they used to!)
7. Eat more whole grains. They are excellent sources of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- Select whole wheat bread. Look for whole-wheat flour, cracked wheat, whole oats or whole rye as the first ingredient on the package label. Aim for 25-30 grams of total fiber per day.
- Make brown rice instead of white rice. Select whole-grain crackers, pitas, & tortillas.
- Eat whole-wheat pasta. Eat bran or other whole grain cereals.
- Add ground flaxseed to your diet. www.flaxcouncil.ca
8. Avoid Trans fatty fats or partially hydrogenated oils. They increase total & LDL cholesterol levels and decrease HDL.
- Avoid fried foods. Bake, broil or grill foods.
- Avoid chips, crackers, cookies, pastries and other processed foods.
- Use olive or Canola oil instead of butter, margarine or shortening.
- Select a low-fat variety of tub margarine.
- Review ingredient lists on packages and avoid partially hydrogenated oil. Review the nutrition label for the trans fat listing.
9. Achieve a healthy weight.
- A weight loss of 5% can lower cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugars and LDL cholesterol.
10. Eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acids keep the blood less sticky and less likely to clot, lowers blood pressure and keeps the skin of your intestinal tract healthy.
- Eat fish twice a week, or eat walnuts, flaxseed, flaxseed oil, or canola oil daily.
11. Eat more soy.Studies indicate that 25g of soy protein lowers your LDL and total cholesterol.
- Eat tofu, soybeans, soy nuts, soymilk, soy protein powder, soy burgers or other soy products.
12. Don’t get discouraged. Be patient with yourself. Eating healthy isn't always easy. Take it one day at a time and don't get discouraged.
- Try planning meals and snacks ahead of time. This will save you a lot of time in the long run.
- Set aside at least 1 hour every week to plan and shop for your meals. Trust me, you'll be glad you invested the time and energy.
13. Don’t think that “everything good for you has to taste bad”. Healthy foods can taste great!
- Flavor your foods with garlic, onions, celery and herbs.
- Don't forget to season your food with black pepper, garlic powder or onion powder.
- Don't be shy; shake salt-free herbs and spices on your foods generously!
14. Don’t have a negative attitude—think positively!