Hello SOTGC community,
- Getting Vocal
- Surround Yourself with Healthy Eaters
- Keep your Kitchen Stocked with Healthy, “Fast” Foods
- Have the Right Kitchen Tools
This week we finish our Eating Healthy segment with 4 more tips on how to get on the right path to a healthier eating lifestyle.
Visit Your Healthcare Provider: It is wise to make an appointment with your healthcare provider at the onset of your healthy eating journey. Ask your doctor to run blood tests to look for possible nutrient deficiencies and to check your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Knowing your nutrition status up front can help you better plan your food choices and accommodate your personal needs. For example, if your tests results show your iron levels are low, it would benefit to include some foods high in iron to your diet, including dark leafy greens, egg yolks, artichokes, red meat, dried fruit, mollusks, lentils, beans and soybeans, and for better iron absorption, combine them with foods rich in vitamin C, like citrus fruit, cantaloupe, peppers, kiwi, pineapple and berries.
If your lab results indicate you may benefit from a specialized diet, for example controlled carbohydrate and fat intake to manage pre-diabetes, or a low-sodium diet to help reduce high blood pressure, it may benefit you to get professional help at the start of planning your diet. Meet with a Registered Dietitian (RD or RDN), especially when you are dealing with the complication of a health issue(s) that require specialized meal plans, such as diabetes, renal disease, IBS, Celiac, Crohn’s, hypertension, etc. Many healthcare providers have an RD/RDN on staff, or can make a recommendation of one for your needs
If all your lab results read normal, then first off- congratulations! These test results are also quite valuable to your future health, as your doctor can later refer back to them as a baseline, where they are used as a comparison to future tests of yours down the road, (which can be especially helpful if your health status changes).
Hire Help: Simply too busy to prepare every meal? Consider hiring a personal chef. Depending on where you live this sometimes can be a very viable option. There are many personal chefs that specialize in healthy cooking, and having someone else prepare family dinner a few times a week can really be a stress reliever. Pricing and options will vary from chef to chef; some offer meal packages for families where the meals are pre-prepped so all you have to do is toss it in the oven or on the stove.
Be Patient with Yourself: It would be incredibly difficult for someone to go from eating the standard American diet to eating a healthy, balanced diet overnight. Changes that are permanent are best when enacted over time; little could be more beneficial than a lifetime switch to a healthier diet. It is important to set realistic goals and expectations for yourself, and your family, so that you are geared for long-term success.
To get eating healthier by next month, here are some weekly goal ideas you can try:
- Increase your daily vegetable intake by ½ cup, gradually working your way up to a total of 3 cups or more of vegetables daily
- Increase your daily fruit intake by ½ cup, gradually working your way up to a total of 2 cups of fruit daily
- Replace one daily serving of processed grains with whole grains, working your way up to more than ½ of your grains consumed are whole grain products.
- Substitute one of your staple processed foods with a healthier, more nutrient dense alternative
- Each week, cut your sweeteners for coffee and tea by 25%. By next month you will be using less than half of the sweetener.
Most important is to start gaining awareness of what you consume and what is available to you to eat. After all, if you don’t care about your diet, why should anyone else?
Happy healthy eating!
Photo credit: ljayhealth.wordpress.com