These tips can improve your diet and help lead to an overall healthier lifestyle.
March is National Nutrition Month, which makes it a great time to think about lifestyle choices that can improve your diet and lead to a healthier you. Here are eight dietary tips to help you live a healthier lifestyle:
Eat breakfast. According to a study from Johns Hopkins, eating breakfast can boost brain power; fight fatigue; improve mood, memory, and problem-solving; help you maintain a healthy weight; and aid in heart and bone health, metabolism, and more. Start your morning with a healthy breakfast that includes lean protein (like eggs), whole grains (like oatmeal), fruits, and vegetables.
Keep a colorful plate. Fruits and veggies add much-needed antioxidants and phytochemicals that help protect your cells. When you keep a “colorful plate” that covers the full rainbow of nutrients, you can better fight off illness and help your body be its best. Round off your plate with dark green veggies like kale and spinach; deep orange and yellow fruits and veggies like carrots, sweet potatoes, and oranges; and red, blue, or purple varieties of berries, beets, and tomatoes.
Hydrate. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, drinking about 11 cups of water a day helps regulate body temperature, lubricate the joints, deliver nutrients to the cells, and keep your organs running smoothly. It also assists in sleep quality, mood, and brain function. That’s more than enough reasons to fill up your cup.
Read labels. Some say you are what you eat, so it’s important to really know what you’re putting in your body. The National Institute on Aging suggests that you read the labels on any product you consume to familiarize yourself with the expiration date, ingredient list, and nutrition facts from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Practice portion control. When it comes to food portions, size matters. Research shows that when offered larger portions, people will consistently eat more food. This isn’t necessarily surprising, but it’s fixable. The FDA suggests following the serving sizes indicated on product labels and keeps up-to-date information on its website about the preferred portion sizes for most major food groups.
Slow down. Eating slowly has been shown to decrease the amount of food consumed during the meal and to suppress the hormone ghrelin, which controls hunger. By practicing mindful eating, you can take the time to savor your meal and be fully present in your eating experience. This will help stop you from gobbling up your food, which might cause indigestion, heartburn, and weight gain.
Prep, prep, prep. Preparing for the week ahead with a grocery list, selection of recipes, and simple, healthy snacks can make a world of difference in helping you eat healthy. Meal prep can also save you money and time, manage weight and portion control, reduce last-minute decision-making or rushed preparation, and help you observe a more balanced diet.
Consult with a registered dietitian. A registered dietitian can be an invaluable partner on your journey to a healthy lifestyle. Whether you want to lose weight, lower your health risks, or manage an illness or disease, consulting with an expert is a sound first step. Dietitians can give you easy-to-follow advice and guide you through wellness plans tailored to your unique health needs.
If you have medical coverage through the Board of Pensions, consultations with a network registered dietitian are covered, and there’s no cost to you if your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or more. Regular plan provisions (copays, deductibles, and/or copayments) apply if your BMI is less than 30. And when you visit a registered dietitian, you can receive 100 Call to Health* points. Just log on to the Call to Health website and complete the Registered Dietitians Consultations challenge.
*Call to Health is available to employees and their spouses with medical coverage through the Board of Pensions; it is not available to members enrolled in Triple-S, GeoBlue, or the Medicare Supplement Plan.