Part Three: Removing the mystery of what to eat.
I passed this fork in the road one morning and it got me thinking about choices.
You got to be careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there.- Yogi Berra
- The first question is "How much?" In the first post of this series, I included a link with a chart of the total number of calories needed in a day based on gender, age, height, weight and activity level for the average person. This post doesn't cover body-building or sports nutrition.
- In addition, we need to break down the total number of calories into their various categories based on our nutritional needs. Check out this chart for the breakdown of vitamins and minerals needed. I suggest printing it and laying out a plan for your family. Then begin choosing whole foods that meet the criteria.
It can be overwhelming putting together a menu which includes everything our bodies need for healthy living. The Harvard School of Public Health's version of Heathly Eating Plate is a great visual resource to keep in mind. The USDA also has a good version here. The only difference is that the Harvard version emphasizes whole grains and alternative resources for calcium other than dairy.
Remember DO something rather than nothing and forget the whole perfection idea!
- Just get started! Learn portion sizes. ANSWER this QUESTION: How many fruits and vegatables do you need? and then TAKE ACTION! Here is fruit and veggie calculator. Here is a chart for protein intake.
- Set weekly goals. Add up the daily portions from the link above to set weekly goals, which is a more realistic first step. Don't get discourage on Monday when soccer practice comes too soon and the fast and easy meal doesn't include veggies. Make it up on another day, but try to get it in before the week's end.
- Be creative! Check out my blog post (coming soon.) on practical ways to get your family on board with eating more fruits and veggies.
- Choose nutrionally-dense foods over those with more additives, sugars and fats! Shop the outside of the grocery store, choosing whole foods rather than convenience foods. Read labels on packages items and learn the nutrional values of whole foods.
- Limit fat and sugar intake and choose healthier fats.
Bottom Line from this blog series:
Eating and physical activity patterns that are focused on consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices, and being physically active can help people attain and maintain a healthy weight, reduce their risk of chronic disease, and promote overall health. - Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010
Choose the path and take one step at a time!