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Think about these five tips to eat more nutritionally

FLORENCE, S.C. – Once you know the changes you are going to make to your fitness in 2018, it is time to start looking at your nutrition.

A common misconception many people have when starting to increase their fitness is that they can off-set whatever unhealthy food choices they make with enough cardio and time in the gym. No matter how much or how often you work out, you will never be able to work off a bad diet.

Plus, as contestants in Florence's Biggest Loser 2018 competition are being told, poor nutrition means you are not properly fueling your body, and that will only serve to limit your physical activity. All in all, nutrition is extremely important to living healthier, and if you need help improving your healthy eating habits, try using some of the following tips.

>> 1. Record your food intake: Before you start to create healthy food habits, you need to understand what your current food habits are. Do you tend to eat out more than you cook? Are you eating a lot of processed foods? How much soda do you drink in a day? What food groups are you eating the most from and which are being neglected? In order to answer these questions, you need to record your food intake. For one week, record everything you eat or drink. Then, look over the week and start to find areas you need to address. You might not even realize what unhealthy eating habits you have until it is written out for you to see.

>> 2. Do not give up your favorite non-healthy foods : You read that right. You do not have to give up your favorite non-healthy foods. Many people assume that to eat healthy, they have to say goodbye to any products that are not nutritionally beneficial. However, how many of us can truthfully say they would never eat dessert again? This is why many all-or-nothing diets tend to fail. People try to go 100 percent healthy with their foods, and when they cannot resist the call of the doughnuts or french fries, they give up and go back to their normal eating habits. So instead of giving up the foods entirely, you just have to learn to eat them in moderation. For example, many nutritionists and dietitians recommend following a 90/10 or 80/20 rule when it comes to your nutrition. That is, 90 percent or 80 percent of the time, you eat healthy meals. Then, the other 10 percent or 20 percent of your meals are dedicated to foods that are not as healthy. This balance means you are still eating healthy the majority of the time, but it still allows you the occasional treat.

>> 3. Do not eat things you hate: If you don’t like kale, don’t force yourself to eat kale. Is kale a great option to incorporate more vegetables into your meals? Yes. But does that mean you have to eat it? No. People think that eating healthy is limited to certain well-known healthy foods (such as kale or skinless chicken breasts), but what if you do not like the taste of those well-known options? Sure, you maybe can force yourself to eat it for a little while, but can you truthfully say you would eat something you hate for the rest of your life? Instead of making yourself eat certain products you do not like the taste of, go to your local grocery store and find new food to try. Or, if you are determined to incorporate certain products into your diet, try cooking the products a different way or using different spices to change the flavor.

>> 4. Keep healthy snacks & foods on hand: Keeping your new healthy habits is going to be difficult, but you can help yourself stay on track by setting yourself up for success. One way to do this would be keeping a healthy food option on hand at all times. This could be done by meal-prepping healthy meals ahead of time and keeping them in your fridge at home or at work. You can also stash healthy snacks anywhere you think you might be when you get hungry; such as in your car or in your desk at work. That way, the next time you get hungry, you know you have a healthy option available to eat and you will not be tempted to go to the nearest vending machine or fast food drive-thru.

>> 5. Listen to your body: How often do you listen to your body during or after a meal? For example, have you ever eaten to the point of feeling stuffed? Or are there certain foods that you know will cause stomach pains or heartburn, but you eat them anyway? Many of us tend to ignore these signals, but these feelings only happen because we are eating in a way that is negatively impacting our bodies. To avoid these negative impacts, you need to start noticing and reacting to how your body feels after meals. Start eating slower and more mindfully, so you know when you are starting to get full and do not risk over-eating. When you feel full, do not hesitate to stop, even if that might mean throwing away food. If you notice discomfort or indigestion issues after eating certain foods, you might want to eliminate those foods from your diet or consult a registered dietitian/nutritionist about other options. By listening to what your body is telling you, you will live healthier and also feel healthier as well.

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