Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated — just making a few simple changes in your lifestyle can improve your overall health and well-being. During National Nutrition Month (March) and beyond, the American Dietetic Association and the registered dietitians at Lincoln Trail District Health Department encourage you to improve your health by following these recommendations:
- Make a plan: For example, add one piece of fruit to your diet each day, switch one soft drink per day for water or drink 1 percent milk instead of 2 percent milk. It is easier to make a few specific changes to your meal plans rather than huge changes. Vowing to never eat fast food again, give up all candies, cookies, cakes and other treats and eat only non-fried foods is unrealistic.
- Focus on your food: Plan your meals ahead of time so you are not forced to choose unhealthy foods in a pinch. Deciding what to have for dinner during the drive from work to the grocery store (or local drive-through restaurant) usually results in a less-than-healthy meal, and usually one that is more costly.
- Make the calories count: Choose foods that are rich in nutrients, not calories. Read food labels to make sure your choices are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients and low in calories, fat and sodium.
- Play it safe: Make sure you follow food safety rules. Keep your hands and all food preparation utensils and surfaces clean, separate raw and cooked foods to avoid cross contamination, cook foods to the proper temperature, refrigerate leftovers promptly and don’t allow perishable food purchases to remain unrefrigerated for longer than two hours.
- Be aware of special needs: As we age or our health changes, so do our nutritional needs. The nutrient needs for a person with diabetes, a pregnant woman or an older adult are all different. Making an appointment with a registered dietitian is the best way to ensure you and all members of your family are receiving the correct nutrients and in the proper amounts.
Through National Nutrition Month, the ADA promotes healthy eating by providing practical nutrition guidance and focusing attention on making informed food choices. National Nutrition Month also reminds consumers that registered dietitians are their most valuable and credible source of timely, science-based nutrition information. Josey Crew is a clinical dietitian for Lincoln Trail District Health Department. Nutrition counseling is available for children and adults by appointment at the Hardin County Health Center. Monthly classes are offered for weight loss and people with diabetes. For further information, call (270) 765-6196.
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