The impact of food on overall health is something many people don’t fully understand. The plethora of choices we have today are all engineered to be delicious, with nutrition often taking a back seat. But as you probably know, poor nutrition leads to poor…well, everything else – from diminished educational performance and decreased physical fitness, to higher risk for chronic illness. It’s no wonder there’s been more focus on nutrition in recent times, especially childhood nutrition.
There are so many conflicting sources of information that getting started on a healthier family diet can be difficult. It’s also not time or budget friendly to figure it all out on your own. And while the USDA has created Dietary Guidelines we should all pay attention to, they are quite dense and take some time to read.
Considering that, we’ve decided to do what we can to make healthy eating easier. We’ve compiled a list of straightforward, important tips that aren’t hard to follow, and can easily get your family’s health on the right track.
1. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Let’s start where your parents did, when they told you to eat your fruits and veggies. Maybe you already tell your kids this, but it bears repeating. Fruits and vegetables are an important source of almost every nutrient. Fruits are great for snacks and there are tons of different ways to prepare vegetables. One of the best things you can do is encourage fruits over candy or other unnatural sweets throughout the day, while creating meals that are vegetable-centric.
2. Cut Out Sugary Drinks
A good caveat to the importance of fruit is that fruit juice is a different animal. If you want to give your family a little sweetness in their drinks, make sure the juice is 100% juice. Many fruit juices are just sugar with a picture of fruit on the label. That is not conducive to health.
Of course, soda and other sugary drinks bearing no resemblance to fruit are even worse. The best thing you can do for your health when it comes to sugary drinks is to avoid all of them. Stick to water, all-natural juice, tea and black coffee.
3. Reduce Portion Size
We’re rarely as hungry as we think we are. But because there are a lot of tasty (yet not necessarily nutritious) food choices, Americans tend to overeat. We center holidays around delicious foods and expect large portions to knock us into naptime (if this is something you do, check out our post on how to avoid overeating during holidays). While that may be quasi-acceptable behavior on special occasions, day-to-day you should stay mindful of how much food you and your loved ones are consuming. It’s likely more than you need to be at peak health.
4. Don’t Eat Amongst Distractions
It has become common for families to have a lot of screens in the home. Eating in front of the TV is nothing new, but nowadays each member of the family might be reading or watching something on their own phone at mealtime.
Eating while being glued to a screen can lead to overeating. You don’t pay attention to the signals your brain is sending about being full because you’re distracted. Even if you just enjoy the act of chewing while watching TV, that can lead to poor consumption habits and bad health.
5. Schedule Regular Mealtimes
Classic, but as important as ever. Regular mealtimes allow for regular digesting, appropriate energy consumption, and important time away from food. In short, it prevents overeating. With a consistent three meals a day at the same time and a healthy snack or two, your body has a better chance of staying in shape and at its healthiest.
Following these tips can lead to a very different lifestyle. Give yourself and your loved ones the best chance for their best health. If you’d like some more guidance, then we welcome you to schedule an appointment with Calhoun Spine Care & Wellness Center in Calhoun, GA today!