Making better nutrition choices for a healthier you

Making better nutrition choices for a healthier you

Are you ready to make changes for a healthier you?  Do you feel overwhelmed where to start?  A healthier you can start with a few small changes to your eating and cooking habits. You can still eat sensibly  while including occasional treats.

Start building a smarter plate by choosing fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy—foods that are packed with the nutrients you need without all the added sugars and solid fats. In addition, you can help reduce your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke by eating less sodium. 

Limit solid fat intake

  • Opt for lean ground beef, turkey and chicken. Remove skin from poultry. Cut back on processed meats such as hot dogs, salami and bacon.
  • Grill, broil, bake or steam foods instead of frying. Enjoy raw vegetables.
  • Cook with healthy oils such as olive, canola and sunflower oils in place of partially-hydrogenated oils or butter.
  • Select low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese. 

Choose foods and drinks with little or no added sugars

  • Switch to water. For additional taste, add lemons, limes or cucumbers.
  • Choose low-fat or fat-free milk or 100-percent fruit juice in moderate amounts.
  • Drink unsweetened carbonated water.
  • Eat fresh fruit for dessert instead of cakes, cookies or pastries.
  • Avoid added sugars in fruits. Get unsweetened applesauce or fruits packed in natural juice or water. 

Cut back on sodium

  • Instead of salt, use herbs and spices to season foods.
  • Do not add salt when cooking pasta, rice and vegetables. Allow the natural flavors to come out during the cooking process.
  • Read the Nutrition Facts label to compare the sodium content of high-sodium foods such as pre-made foods, frozen meals, bread, canned soups and vegetables.
  • Remember, the upper safe limit for sodium for most adults, without high blood pressure or heart disease, is 2,300 mg; the average daily sodium intake for most Americans is 3,400 mg.
  • Choose wisely.

When looking to make healthy changes with your lifestyle, start slow and make choices that will satisfy, not deprive you. Discuss lifestyle changes with your doctor for further recommendations. And always remember, small changes today make for big changes in your health.

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Heather Venoy, RD, LD, CDE

Heather Venoy is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator for Marshall Health’s Bruce Chertow Diabetes Center in Huntington, W.Va. Heather is a graduate of Marshall University and has 20 years of experience in dietetics.