What we put into our bodies definitely does more than affect our weight; it affects our mood and overall health as well. However, it can be difficult to find the right balance of caloric intake and activity in our increasingly busy lives as well as knowing how we should even fill our plates.
In honor of National Nutrition Month, we are here to help. Below are four strategies that you can use toward nutrition success:
- Reduce your portion sizes. Eat smarter and still enjoy what you eat by decreasing your portions. People tend to consume more when their plate is fuller, and this may happen without even realizing it. Many foods can be equal to a day's recommended intake. (Yikes!) Your meal portions don't need to be specific but enough to stay within your energy needs. Food is, after all, meant to be fuel for your body. For instance, because one slice of bread equals one ounce of grains, you would count both slices of bread of a sandwich you eat for lunch toward your total daily intake of grains in a day. Also, if you're ingesting high-calorie items, you will definitely want to decrease how much you devour not only in a day but also in one sitting.
- Be active. Having a healthy balance of calories in and calories out means maintaining regular physical activity. It is often difficult to know how much activity you should be doing per calories consumed, but Gatti came across this handy calorie calculator for you that helps you measure how many calories you need to lose weight as well as your current exercise levels.
- Eat fewer empty calories. Empty calories are calories from solid fats and/or added sugars. These add calories to the food but offer little to no nutrients. These include sodas, desserts and candy. One 12-ounce can of soda contains about 10 packets of sugar. Skip that carbonated beverage next time and opt for water.
- Make more home-cooked meals. Planning ahead and eating at home not only helps you make better choices in your food, but it also helps to save you money.
Your food can be a great source of energy or a health-sucker. By filling half of your plate with fruits and veggies, choosing low-fat dairy products, including lean protein sources and following the above tips, you are well on your way to nutrition success.
What are your biggest challenges in your diet?