Time to Refresh Those Healthy-Eating Resolutions
Countless Americans likely began 2012 committed to consuming a healthier diet, but with New Year’s now a faded memory, those commitments have probably faded as well. Fortunately, March – which is National Nutrition Month – presents an ideal opportunity to refresh those healthy-eating resolutions. Toward that end, Health Net Inc. is sharing tips designed to help people make informed food choices.
“There’s no question that the diets of many Americans are not nutritionally well balanced and can lead to being overweight and at risk for a host of health problems,” says Jonathan Scheff, MD, chief medical officer for Health Net Inc. “Getting and staying on track can be challenging,” he adds, “and that’s why Health Net created a program called Decision Power.”
Decision Power helps Health Net commercial and Medicare members make healthy food choices and provides access to an award-winning weight loss toolkit as well as to Decision Power Health Coaches – nurses and registered dieticians who provide telephonic support to help members reach their nutrition and weight loss goals.
“Health Net’s State Health Program in California has a program in place that is just as significant,” added Scheff. “The Fit Families for Life program offers a variety of tools to help members live well – everything from five-week home-based interventions that help promote healthier lifestyles, to community classes and telephonic coaching.”
Get your plate in shape
The theme of this year’s National Nutrition Month – which is sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – is “Get Your Plate in Shape.” In an effort to do just that, the Academy suggests the following steps:
>>Devote half your plate to fruits and vegetables—Favor vegetables that are dark green, red, and orange. If buying canned vegetables, opt for “reduced sodium” or “no-salt added.” All forms of fruit – fresh, frozen, dried, or canned – are fine; if canned, make sure the liquid is water or 100 percent percent fruit juice.
>> Go for whole—Whenever possible, select 100 percent whole-grain breads, cereals, crackers, pasta and brown rice.
>> Switch to free or low—Fat-free and low-fat milk are equal in calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but contain less fat and calories. For those who are lactose intolerant, options include lactose-free milk and calcium-fortified soy beverages.
>> Vary protein choices—Eat a variety of foods from the protein food group each week, including seafood, nuts, beans, lean meat, poultry and eggs.
>> Avoid sodium and empty calories—Water is always a preferable choice over sugary drinks, and fruits should trump sugary desserts. Sodium (salt) should be avoided as much as possible; instead, get in the habit of seasoning food with spices and herbs.
>> Control is key—Not only should you closely control what ingredients are in the food you consume, but you also should closely control the portions on your plate. To determine the number of calories you should consume daily, go to ChooseMyPlate.gov and use this number to guide your dietary choices.
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