March is National Nutrition Month, so what better time to talk about FOOD! Dr. Google can tell us a lot about the food we eat, but it can be hard to decipher fact from fiction. Use these tips below to slice through the mess and get started with a healthier eating style!
Eating meals while watching television, working, or with other distractions prevents us from recognizing our “hunger sensors” and can lead to mindless eating and long term weight gain. Paying attention to portion sizes can help you control how much food goes into your body. Have you considered the difference between a serving size and a portion size? A serving size is the recommended portion of a food to be eaten according to the nutrition facts label. A portion size is what you actually eat. Do you typically stick to the recommended serving, or are your portions 2x or 3x what is recommended? Take a look at the portion size guide to gauge your personal eating habits.
Your food is your fuel! Make sure you are putting food in your body that will help you, not harm your wellness goals. Ingredients are a key piece of the nutrition facts label and can give you great insight into the food you eat. Look for foods that contain 5 or fewer ingredients, all of which you can pronounce. Better yet, look for foods with no nutrition facts label… (think produce section and meat counter in your grocery store). One way to make sure you are getting wholesome foods into your diet is to buy foods you can completely recognize without even needing to read a nutrition facts label. Don’t overcomplicate healthy eating!
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are a few of the professional agencies responsible for ensuring the food we eat is safe and we (the consumers) are educated about our nutrition options. Check out the attached document to read about nutrient recommendations, vitamins, minerals, and find out how maintaining a healthy diet can lower your risk for chronic diseases. For some more light reading, check out the latest version of the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans.