A diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains is an excellent defense against many chronic diseases — even some cancers — but routinely including them in your diet can seem challenging. University of Michigan dietary experts advise this approach: Include them for just one day. One day of healthy lifestyle choices, they reason, can give you the perspective and direction needed to stay the course. Erica Wald, registered dietitian for the University of Michigans health promotion division, provides the following suggestions for eating healthier and removing many processed foods from your diet:
- "Prepare. “The most important thing you can do is sit down and create a plan of what you are going to eat,” says Wald. Create a list when you go to the grocery store, package healthy snacks in small baggies for work or school, and take the time to pack a lunch instead of eating out. Try cutting up fruits and veggies and separating them up into individual portions, and buy frozen vegetables so that you will have healthy options around that won’t rot away.
- Eat breakfast. Eating breakfast will keep you from feeling famished, which means you will be less inclined to splurge on junk food later. Fruits, nuts and individual containers of yogurt are all whole foods that can be eaten on the go.
- Snack wisely. Processed foods are the worst offenders at snack time. By planning out what you eat, you can avoid processed foods and cut out calories. For example, instead of a snack pack of cookies, try eating 10 medium strawberries with one tablespoon of whipped cream. This is only around 50 calories, and the fiber in the fruit will keep you feeling full. Craving something salty instead? Eleven dry roasted peanuts are around 60 calories, as opposed to a grab bag of potato chips that is around 200 calories.
- Have a fruit and/or vegetable at every meal. Fruits and vegetables will keep you fuller longer. Wald suggests that a healthy plate at every meal should include a source of calcium, a fruit and a type of healthy fat along with half of your plate being filled with vegetables, one-quarter with grains and one-quarter with a source of protein.
- Watch out when you eat out. Checking a restaurant’s Web site beforehand is a great way to plan what you are going to eat, says Wald. Look for words on the menu like baked, grilled, broiled and roasted. “And when it comes to the bread basket, just ask your waiter to not even bring it out,” she says.
- Beware of beverages. A major source of calories can be from what you drink. Stick with low-calorie and no calorie beverages to avoid unnecessary calories and sugar. Try a glass of water or sparkling water with a lime, lemon or orange instead of reaching for a can of soda."
Previously on the DC Metro Area Medical Malpractice Law Blog, we have posted articles related to:
- New evidence that a whole grain diet can prevent high blood pressure
- A study indicating that even the elderly even benefit from healthy lifestyle changes
- Dietary supplement safety tips
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