A Beginner’s Guide to Healthy Eating

When you’ve set a goal to have healthier eating habits, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are a few of our tips to get the most out of your healthy eating goals.

Record Keeping

Record keeping is a vital part of any healthy eating plan. Studies show record keepers who document what they eat and drink each day have significantly more success losing and maintaining their weight.

Record keeping also reinforces behavior. When you had a successful week for weight loss, you can glance back at the work you did that week and continue to use those choices to keep you on the right path.

Finally, record keeping makes you accountable. Seeing what you are eating can help you be accountable to yourself and assist you in making the changes necessary. For increased accountability, show your records to someone else. Meet with a friend once a week and share your food diaries, or even utilize an app like MyFitnessPal.

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

We advise our patients to consume 35 servings of fruits and vegetables per week, or five servings a day. Fruits and vegetables provide vital vitamins and minerals, and when you’re consuming more fruits and vegetables, you are less likely to fill up on high fat and high calorie foods.

This makes it easier to lose weight and maintain that healthy weight, according to recent studies. Prepare your fruits and vegetables in a way that is low in sodium, and reduce the amount of fat in your recipes by steaming, grilling or roasting them instead of frying.

Physical Activity

Physical activity is a strong predictor of weight loss and maintenance. When you are exercising and taking care of your body, you will be more likely to make healthier food choices, reduce your risk of heart disease, and even sleep better. In general, aim for two and a half hours of moderate intensity physical activity per week. This breaks down to about a 20-minute-walk every day.

Environmental Control

In our culture, food is everywhere. It has high calories, comes in large portions and is very enticing. Our brains are hard-wired to crave high-calorie foods, so it’s no wonder we seek them out. Remove tempting foods from your house, out of your desk, and out of your car to ensure your success making healthier choices.

Environmental control doesn’t just apply to food. Set your tennis shoes out every night so you take a walk every morning, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or mow your own lawn to incorporate physical activity into your lifestyle.

Water Intake

Drinking water is a great way to support a healthy diet. By choosing water over high-calorie drinks you are not only saving calories, but some studies show water may help suppress your appetite and boost your metabolism. Aim for eight 8-ounce glasses per day. Some strategies to increase water intake are to carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go, and use fresh fruit like lemon slices to flavor your water.

If you have questions about the right nutrition plan for you, make an appointment with your St. Joseph Health primary care physician. Our experts have the tools to get you to a better state of health, and can recommend nutrition information that’s personalized for you.

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