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Living a healthy lifestyle is central to maintaining wellness throughout your lifetime. In fact, healthy habits not only help you to feel good and manage illness today, they can also help prevent future disease. There are many behaviors that influence your health - what you eat, how you sleep, if you smoke, how active you are, how you manage stress - to name just a few. You can improve your quality of life by making simple, positive changes to your daily routine.
Where to start?
We've collected useful facts and tips to inform, motivate and support steps towards a healthier lifestyle. Remember, small changes are powerful. Start today!
Each March, the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and dietitians around the country celebrate national nutrition month. This year, we celebrate through YOU putting your best fork forward. Every day is a fresh start to a healthier you.
WhatPositive changes start with YOU, one forkful at a time. This March, let’s focus on making healthy choices easy for YOU, and your fork, to maintain.
Kick each day off right with the right fork in hand. Every meal and snack is an opportunity to make a positive change that, with time, will become an easy-to-maintain lifestyle.
Whether at home, dining out, or on-the-go, healthy eating is always possible.
Make healthy food a habit.
At home, give ‘meal prep’ a try to set the stage for a healthy week. Carve out time to put yourself and your loved ones first by thoughtfully preparing nutritious meals and snacks.
This can be as easy as pre-washing and bagging fresh berries with a non- or low-fat yogurt or pre-cutting vegetables like bell peppers and celery to pair with a serving of hummus or nut butter!
On the go, keep healthy foods accessible! Swap your favorite potato based, oil-laden chips for a natural or baked option – nuts (pistachios, walnuts) or baked bean & kale chips. Full of healthy fats and loads higher in fiber, this simple swap will keep you energized and ready to tackle the busy day ahead.
When dining out, order smart. Opt for veggie-based entrees to be paired with lean protein to fill your body and nourish your mind.
When it comes to appetizers, snacks, and side orders, load up on veggies! The added fiber will keep you feeling full without excess calories and fat. Try an appetizer portion of whole wheat pasta with a side salad or give lean protein with roasted or steamed veggies a chance! Of course, feel free to savor the flavor, by taking home leftovers to enjoy later or to share with loved ones!
In the long term, thoughtfully & creatively planning meals ahead of time can save you time, money, and stress of thinking about what goes on your fork and into your body.
Improve your diet before you turn to supplements. Nutrients in food are the most potent and are accompanied by many nutrients such as carotenoids, flavonoids, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber that work together and cannot be found in most supplements.
Supplements are meant for exactly what their title suggests and should be used primarily to fill in small nutrient gaps in your diet, not as a substitute for a healthy whole-food diet.
More is not necessarily better. Moderation is important as vitamins in large excess can actually be toxic for your body.
Common nutrient deficiencies are vitamins B, C, D, and iron.
Where can you fork these supplements?
Vitamin B: Lean beef, turkey, tuna, sunflower seeds, spinach, leafy greens, and eggs
Vitamin C: Dark leafy vegetables, kiwi, broccoli, yellow bell peppers, oranges, tomatoes, and papaya
Vitamin D: Fish-liver oils, mushrooms, egg yolks, liver, and fortified milk
Iron: Liver, oysters, lean beef, chickpeas, beans, lentils, and sesame seeds
Mother nature can be unpredictable, but with March upon us – we hope the end of winter is near!
This seasonal transition will undoubtedly bring a change in fresh produce available at your local farmers market. While we love fresh fruits and vegetables, do not forget about frozen goods. Have your favorite fruits, vegetables, and even protein on hand when they are not in peak season!
There are many advantages to frozen foods – beyond being able to enjoy your favorite foods all year round!
Frozen foods are picked at peak freshness for optimal flavor and texture to be frozen by food companies. Similar to canned foods, in being financially favorable, frozen foods can be enjoyed without the preservatives.
Choose wisely! Opt for natural, frozen fruit, veggies, and traditional, pre-prepared meals. Be wary of added sugars, sauces, and preparation method (were looking at you, fried and breaded options!) that can rack up sodium, fat, and calories. Once thawed, feel free to get creative and add your own favorite sauces to the mix.
Enjoy the convenience of buying frozen! Having some storage space in your freezer allows for seamless access to healthy foods. Keeping healthy foods at your fingertips will set you up for positive decision making, even at your hungriest!
Healthy eating and sustainability go hand-in-hand. Develop sustainable eating practices with these 3 easy tips:
1.Eat Seasonally and Locally - Focus on foods that are available in season where you live and buy locally from farmers markets. By choosing local, seasonal produce you are keeping your money spent within your community.
2. Minimize Meats - Livestock is a large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Raising and transporting livestock requires more food, water, land, and energy than plants. Opt for non-meat proteins such as legumes, beans, lentils, and nuts.
3. Tap Into Your Tap - Not only do plastic beverage bottles create almost 1 billion dollars’ worth of package waste per year, liquids are some of the heaviest to ship and require large amounts of fossil fuels to transport them. Buy a reusable water bottle and opt for tap water instead of sugary sodas and unnecessary packaged water drinks.
4. Compost food scraps - Composting is a great way to recycle left over food. Keep them frozen in your freezer to prevent any odors.In New York city there are 42 different locations that collect your food scraps. Click here to see your neighborhood compost collection.
The month of March brings awareness to colorectal cancer prevention. Paired with recent discoveries by the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer has made its way to the headlines of our news.
According to recent research, the majority of colorectal cancer cases are found in older adults, but prevalence among those in their 20s and 30s are on the rise. Explanations addressing this increase by roughly 3 percent in young adults remain inconclusive. However, the association of a healthy lifestyle and prevention of colorectal cancer is notable.
Increasing fiber intake is essential in combatting colorectal cancer. Current recommendations set optimal fiber intake at 25 grams per day, which most Americans do not meet. Fiber promotes healthy digestion and more complete and frequent bowel movements. The fiber is able to bind with toxins and other waste products to be excreted, promoting a healthy microbiota.
Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle are associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer. Follow these healthy lifestyle tips to combat colorectal cancers:
- Incorporate high amounts of fiber through fruits and vegetables
- Add lean fish or plant-based protein sources that are low in saturated fat
- Increase physical activity levels – start small, aim for 30 minutes per day
- Minimize smoking and excessive alcohol consumption – 3 or more drinks per day
For more information on ways to improve healthy nutrition habits for recovery and prevention of colorectal cancer, check out our Nutrition Tips for Colorectal Cancer booklet. These booklets are free of charge. Please contact the Nutrition Services Department of GLWD for book orders.
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What is Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT)?