Nutrition in Daily Life:
The old saying you are what you eat doesn’t tell the whole story; even more important than the food you put in your body are the choices you make every day to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Some nutritionists refer to this as making nutrition a part of your daily life, or NUDL. Here are seven ways to do just that
1) Stop Drinking Sugar
Fruit juice and soda may have healthier-sounding Nutrition labels , but they’re loaded with added sugar—which is incredibly bad for you.
The American Heart Association recommends women consume no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day, which comes out to about 100 calories.
That amount can be packed into one 12-ounce soda or fruit punch serving. (And keep in mind that 100 calories worth of jelly beans would provide almost 14 times that amount).
To start slimming down immediately, just cut back on your intake of sugary drinks and replace them with water or unsweetened tea, advises Largeman-Roth.
In order to take full advantage, you should aim for about eight cups of water daily—that means hitting the bottle twice during your two-hour lunch break!
2) Start Cooking From Scratch
When cooking meals from scratch, it’s important to include ingredients that are Nutrition-dense. But what exactly does that mean?
Nutrient-dense foods are those that have a lot of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants per serving. These can be found in foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.
What you eat will determine whether your body has all of the right tools it needs in order to function at its best. Adding nutrient-dense foods into your diet is one way you can give your body those tools – making sure it functions optimally every day!
3) Have Breakfast Every Day
When your breakfast options are limited, making nutritious choices can be challenging. As long as you have a few minutes to prepare some eggs or bacon, though, you can make sure your day starts off right.
Breakfast should consist of items like protein (meat or eggs), whole grains (oats and/or whole wheat bread) and healthy fats (butter or avocado).
This combination will give you energy, keep you full until lunchtime and aid in muscle recovery post-workout. It may also help prevent overeating later in the day by keeping blood sugar levels steady.
4) Eat More Vegetables
Many people don’t get enough vegetables, which are high in fiber and important vitamins and Nutrition. Eat more vegetables with meals and snacks, or try vegetable-rich recipes that have no meat in them at all.
For example, lettuce cups with rice noodles, zucchini noodles with pesto sauce or quick-pickled cucumbers make delicious meatless meals that will help you meet your daily goal for vegetables.
If you’re looking for recipe ideas or cooking tips, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov/myplate for healthy recipes from real cooks across America who are making nutritious dishes every day.
Check out WebMD’s Healthy Recipe Finder and Healthful Recipes That Take Minutes to Prepare as well as blogs written by nutrition experts like Cooking Light’s Real Food.
5) Choose Whole Grains Instead of Processed Foods
Eating whole grains is a great way to get fiber and B vitamins, which contribute to weight loss by helping maintain energy levels.
Fiber has also been shown to reduce belly fat, while keeping you feeling full and satisfied. When possible, choose whole-grain breads, cereal or pasta over refined options.
Although brown rice may take longer than white rice to cook, it contains essential nutrients and healthy fats that can help stabilize blood sugar levels throughout your day.
Oatmeal made with water instead of milk or yogurt is also an easy grab-and-go breakfast for busy mornings—just remember that instant oatmeal won’t provide any additional nutritional value.
6) Go Dairy Free (or Not!)
Dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt are natural sources of calcium, but eating too much can result in weight gain. One cup of plain, low-fat yogurt contains as many as 200 calories—and that’s just for eight ounces!
If you want to add dairy back into your diet in moderation, opt for smaller portions instead. When trying out new foods, keep an eye on portion sizes and amounts listed on labels.
You might be surprised at how easy it is to overindulge in some seemingly healthy foods. For example, one cup of nonfat vanilla ice cream contains 250 calories and 16 grams of sugar—that’s more than double what you should consume in a day. A serving size is typically defined as 1/2 cup or 4 ounces (one small scoop).
So if you’re enjoying frozen yogurt or ice cream more often than not, it may be time to rethink your strategy. It may seem like there’s no way around it: To eat healthier food, you have to eat less food overall. But that doesn’t mean every meal has to be skimpy.
7) Don’t Be Afraid of Fats
When it comes to fat, most people think of only one thing: cholesterol. But with all those new low-fat foods and media reports on how bad fats are for you, it’s easy to forget that not all fats are bad.
Our bodies need some fat—and certain kinds are necessary for our health. The trick is finding good sources, like olive oil, avocado and fish.
Eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like these has been linked with lower levels of inflammation, which is one cause of chronic diseases including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.