April 24 2015 – ROBERT FIUMARA
With so much controversy surrounding dieting, exercising, and eating healthy, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the advice on the market. What should you take to heart, what should you ignore, and what should you really pay attention to? When it comes to healthy eating and nutrition, we’ve got some real-world advice from a practicing Doctor!
- Get most of your nutrients from unprocessed foods. Unprocessed food includes fresh or frozen fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, and eggs – so long as none of these items have been processed or contain preservatives. Avoid purchasing anything that’s been changed or altered in any way: whole grains over refined, as an example. Instead of grape juice, which contains loads of sugar, eat a handful of fresh grapes. This also means avoiding processed foods as much as possible without going to extremes. While you’re probably not going to make your own pasta, you can limit yourself to eating less pasta, which is processed. Eating less processed foods means you’ll avoid stuffing yourself with cookies, cakes, and breads- all a source of extra calories you simply don’t need.
- Cook for yourself as much as possible. This rules goes hand in hand with Rule number 1: when you cook at home you’ll be able to avoid processed foods easily. Most meals prepared in restaurants (especially fast food) use processed ingredients and while you can’t avoid eating out all the time, less is more, in this case. If you do have to eat out, try to select restaurants that use local, unprocessed ingredients as often as you can.
- Avoid salts, fats, butter, and oil when preparing food. You’ve heard the old adage that moderation is key but in the case of fats, it’s really true. Use what you need to prepare your food and make it taste appealing but don’t over indulge. If you need to season your vegetables to make them appealing, go ahead – but don’t go crazy with the salt and seasonings.
- Limit your alcohol and coffee intake and increase your water consumption. While many doctors will tell you to avoid caffeine entirely, it’s not possible for most people. Instead, try and limit yourself to two or three cups of coffee per day while increasing your water intake. If you want a glass of wine, have one, but stop at one and don’t make it a habit. Again: moderation is key!
- Avoid treating food like the enemy! If you start thinking of food as the enemy, you’ll take the fun out of cooking and eating and might drift back into old bad habits. Instead of avoiding everything that’s bad for you, try to eat more of what’s good for you while limiting yourself on the bad stuff. Want a cookie? Have a cookie but limit yourself to one and go for a walk afterwards.
Being more aware of what we eat will make it easier to avoid consuming more than we need. While we all have different requirements for nutrition, these general rules can make it easier for you to avoid the bad stuff and take control of your diet. Adding low impact exercises to your daily routine, like a walk around your neighborhood, will help you maintain activity or will help with easing yourself back into a workout routine. Check with your Doctor for more advice, based on your specific healthcare concerns and age.
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