Health & Nutrition
What is a "healthy diet"
The Dietary Guidelines describe a healthy diet as one that:
- Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
- Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
- Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars
Tips for healthy eating
- Consume a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables while staying within energy needs. Two cups of fruit and two and one half cups of vegetables per day are recommended for a reference 2,000-calorie intake, with higher or lower amounts depending on the calorie level.
- Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. In particular, select from all five vegetable subgroups (dark green, orange, legumes, starchy vegetables, and other vegetables) several times a week.
- Consume three or more ounce-equivalents of whole-grain products per day, with the rest of the recommended grains coming from enriched or whole-grain products. In general, at least half the grains should come from whole grains.
- Consume three cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products.
When you are finding it hard to cut out bad habits
- Choose salads or fruit/vegetables instead of french fries.
- Choose water over soda.
- Remove the breading off of fried chicken before you eat it.
- Ask for low-cal or fat free reduced dressing.
- Order smaller lunches when you're out to eat. Save half of your dinner or lunch for tomorrow.
- Ask for ketchup, BBQ, salsa or mustard instead of your favorite dipping sauce.
- Look for healthy choices menus at restaurants.
Tips to combat stress
- Eat breakfast: skipping breakfast makes it harder to sustain blood sugar levels throughout the day.
- Try green tea instead of coffee: caffeine is hard on your body and green tea has a lot of antioxidants.
- Keep healthy snacks around like granola or trail mix.
- If you eat when your stressed try carrot sticks, celery sticks or popcorn (without the butter and salt!).
- Do not drink caffeine after 2 p.m., caffeine stays in your system for six hours after you drink it and will not allow you to sleep well.
- Changing stressful eating behaviors by doing yoga, write in a journal, exercise, laughing and meditation.
The benefits of exercise
- Improves your chances of living longer and living healthier
- Helps protect you from developing heart disease or its precursors, high blood pressures and high cholesterol
- Helps protect you from developing certain cancers, including colon and breast cancer
- Helps prevent or control type two diabetes (what was once called adult-onset diabetes)
- Helps prevent the insidious loss of bone known as osteoporosis
- Reduces the risk of falling among older adults
- Relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety and improves mood
- Controls weight
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends 30 minutes of activity most days of the week.
Here are some tips to keep moving!
- Go for a 15-30 minute walk outside with a friend on your lunch break or in the afternoon.
- Take the stairs up and down in buildings instead of the elevator.
- Go dancing.
- Take a yoga or pilate's class two or three times a week.
- Do crunches or sit ups while watching TV.
- Clean your closet or room that is in desperate need of cleaning or dusting.