January has arrived and the New Year’s resolutions chatter is everywhere. When it comes to health-related goals, it can be difficult to sift through all the studies and information out there on how to live a healthy lifestyle, especially when it comes to nutrition and diet. The sea of dietary information can sometimes be impractical and don’t take into account all of our body’s needs. SFBFS’ Health & Nutrition team is here to help you navigate! We’ve put together a list of guidelines based on the MyPlate guidelines from the USDA.
1. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Fruits and veggies offer a cornucopia of nutrients and are an excellent source of fiber! Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is a smart and efficient way to make sure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals, which studies suggest may prevent cancers, lower risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure.
Budget Tip: Frozen fruit is often cheaper than fresh produce, doesn’t contain any additives and has the same nutrition content. You can also freeze your own produce! Click here for a guide on freezing fresh produce.
2. Drink more water: Most Americans don’t drink enough water. How much water do we need? You might come across different numbers in your research, and there are many factors that go into figuring out your water needs. It’s important to drink water through the day. If you feel thirsty, you’ve waited too long.
Budget Tip: Cutting back on other beverages and replacing them with water is both healthy and budget-friendly.
3. Choose whole grains: Whole grain foods are an excellent source of fiber, B vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. When choosing any kind of rice, pasta and bread, opt for the whole grain options. They can contain double to triple the fiber of their more refined versions. For example, one serving of white pasta has 2 grams of fiber, whereas whole grain pasta has 6 grams of fiber. Fiber helps lower cholesterol, maintains steady blood sugar and may prevent the formulation of blood clots that can lead to strokes and heart attacks.
Budget Tip: Buy grains in bulk to get the most out of your dollar.
4. Vary your proteins. Most Americans turn to processed meats or higher fat meats for their protein sources. Choose lean meats such as turkey or chicken for a healthier option. Incorporating more seafood or vegetarian sources of proteins is also a great idea. Many vegetarian sources of protein such as beans and nuts contain a variety of other nutrients within them!
Budget Tip: Try preparing more meals throughout the week that incorporate vegetarian proteins; they’re often cheaper than animal sources of protein.
SFBFS’ Health & Nutrition team wishes you luck on your journey to a healthier lifestyle. Come to our nutrition classes to learn more about eating healthy! Click here for more information!
Submitted by: Areeba Siddiqui
SFBFS Community Health Educator