Feature Articles: Eating Well
Ten healthy habits for the new year
Adapted by Jessica Kovarik, RD, LD, former Extension Associate, University of Missouri Extension from materials by Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist in Barton County, University of Missouri Extension
Weight loss is often included in the list of resolutions for the
new year. Instead of going on another diet, choose to adopt
healthy habits for a lifetime. To get started, here are ten suggestions
based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
- Engage in 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
This helps to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. To lose weight
or maintain weight loss, 60-90 minutes of moderate to vigorous
activity is recommended.
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Fruits
and vegetables are high in nutrients and low in fat and calories.
By incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet
on a daily basis, you are decreasing your risk of chronic
diseases, vitamin deficiencies and other health problems.
- Get plenty of fiber: 20-35 grams each day. Fiber
has many health benefits including reducing risks for chronic
disease such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. When you
are increasing fiber in your diet, make sure you increase fluid
intake as well.
- Make at least half your grains whole grains.
Choose from oatmeal, brown rice, popcorn, cereal, tortillas
and bread. To assure the bread is whole grain, make sure the
first grain ingredient listed on the package
is whole wheat or another whole grain.
- Eat three cups of beans every week. Beans are packed
with fiber, vitamins and minerals. One half cup of cooked beans
can have as much as seven grams of fiber.
- Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full.
Extra weight and unhealthy eating habits begin when hunger
and full cues are ignored. Make sure that when you eat it is
because of hunger and not thirst or boredom. If you are not
sure, try drinking a glass of water or do another activity.
If you're still hungry a little while later, you'll know it
probably is hunger.
- Limit total fat to no more than 25-35% of total calories.
For a person consuming 2,000 calories per day, this means about
67 grams of fat per day. Saturated fat should be no more than
10 percent of total calories, or about 22 grams. Young
children (1–3 years) can get about 30–40% of their calories
from fat because they are still growing.
- Eat a variety of foods from all the food groups.
Choose grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy products and meat and
beans because each group provides different nutrients needed
for good health.
- Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. By being
properly hydrated, your body can function at its best. Water
is the best choice, but low-fat milk and 100 percent juice are also good choices
when you're thirsty.
- Be a safe food handler. Keep food safe in your household
by washing your hands often and keeping kitchen surfaces clean.
Cook foods to a safe temperature to kill bacteria and then promptly
refrigerate. Bacteria can grow at temperatures of 40° F to 140° F.
Habits are hard to change. Choose one goal at a time to work on and then move on to the next to ensure you meet your health goals. Soon, you’ll feel better and be healthier!
Last update: Wednesday, December 19, 2012