March is Good Nutrition Month
Everyone’s nutrition journey is different when it comes to losing weight, boosting energy and improving your own health. Which strategy is best for you?
To maximize your body’s true potential, it pays to develop consistent, healthy eating habits that will continue to fuel your body, mind and spirit. According to one study from the USDA Healthy Eating Index, active women who reported eating two or more snacks per day had higher fruit and vegetable intake than study participants who did not snack.
Your Nutrition Journey Starts Right Here
Read full guidelines from the USDA’s Center for Nutrition
“It helps to focus on establishing the foundation for healthy and accessible food habits that employ moderation and flexibility with a focus on nutrient-dense foods, like vegetables,” says registered dietician Paul Salter, M.S., nutrition editor at BodyBuilding.com. He also suggests avoiding meal skipping and late-night eating as smart ways to start eating better right now.
6 Ways to Eat Clean and Lean
1 Nibble More Raw Snacks
The power of fruits and veggies can’t be overlooked when it comes to your diet and making healthier food decisions. One 2017 study found that eating (and snacking) up to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day may reduce nearly 8 million deaths worldwide due to obesity, diabetes and other chronic conditions associated with body weight.
2 Eat Good Fats, Drink Water
To improve or build a foundation of healthy eating, focus on nutrient-dense foods, specifically lean animal and plant-based proteins (like fish or tofu) and high-fiber carbohydrates (like grains). In addition, says Salter, healthy unsaturated fats (such as nuts or avocado) are still required in smaller amounts in your diet for better brain function and stamina. “And don’t forget to drink adequate water intake and other calorie-free beverages, such as tea, during the day,” says Salter. Exercising most days of the week is a given, he says.
3 Maintain Trim Body Weight
It is not all for vanity, folks. Staying lean, fit and muscular at your ideal body weight is the cornerstone of your long-term health and wellness plans. The famous Harvard Medical School “Nurses’ Study” tracked thousands of women for decades to track long-term body weight changes affiliated with chronic diseases and mortality. The largest study of its kind, in time, discovered discovered that the middle-aged women and men participants who steadily gained the most weight – up to 11 -22 pounds over two decades – were three times more likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and gallstones than study participants wh only gained 5 pounds or less two decades later.
4 Eat Good, Low-Glycemic Carbohydrates
You’ll eat for energy and stamina if you recognize the difference between your sugary high-index glycemic carbohydrates (such as cereal) versus your low-glycemic index foods (such as brown rice). Other foods with high-fiber and low-glycemic index foods include whole grains, beans and fiber-dense fruits such as raspberries and blueberries. Make them the mainstay of your daily calorie intake.
5 Learn to Buy Smarter
How do you pull it off? Navigating the grocery stores and farmers’ markets can be overwhelming to even the savvy eater. First, head to the whole food and outermost produce aisles and buy the bulk of your food along the perimeter.
Food products most commonly found on the inner aisles — think cookies, crackers, soups, cereal bars — tend to be more processed and packed with sodium, extra sugar, preservatives, artificial sweeteners which you want to avoid.
6 Shop Farmer’s Markets
It is the season to enjoy farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, so start snacking. “The greatest tips for navigating farmers' markets is making sure you have a healthy plan, a budget and a strategy you can stick with,” says Rebecca Goodrich M.S., R.D, of New Fitness Territory. “This is a great time of year to explore local foods from growers, while reaping the benefits of raw snacks, more vegetables and whole, nutritious foods.”
Don’t ever be afraid to ask shopkeepers or farmers any food questions, either - they are usually very proud of the raw or healthy products they grow! Growers often suggest the best cooking methods and other ways to spice or highlight their organic or natural foods.
Finally, never be afraid to ask our personal trainers or other certified experts about exercising and eating right in order to fuel your gym workouts, and beyond. A lot of solid nutrition information is far better than none.
All information provided by California Family Fitness (CFF) is of a general nature and is furnished for entertainment purposes only. CFF does not provide medical services or opinions. CFF makes no guarantee regarding the accuracy, timeliness or relevance of any text, video or audio content. This video is not medical or other health advice pertaining to your specific health or medical condition.