by Kristen Day, Dietetic Intern, University of Houston
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a challenge, no one will argue that point. Somewhere amongst all our other daily obligations we have to figure out what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, and, on top of that, throw in some exercise for good measure.
Phew, it’s overwhelming just thinking about all that. But don’t raise that white flag in surrender just yet. The key is to make small changes here and there throughout your day which will multiply over the weeks and months to make a big difference in your overall health. So, in honor of National Nutrition Month®, I want to share with you some small steps you can take to help take a “bite into a healthy lifestyle”:
- Meals Away from Home – Eating out is fun and should definitely be enjoyed, but should also be considered a treat and not an everyday occurrence. When you do take pleasure in dining out, divide your meal in half, half to eat there and half to take home for another time.
- Liquid Calories – Sodas, juice, alcohol, and coffee beverages are just some of the liquid sources of calories we consume. And while these all can fit into a healthy lifestyle, too much isn’t good for us, either. Replace one of your calorie-containing beverages a day with water.
- Snack Preparation – Getting hungry in the afternoon is common and a snack can help hold us over until dinner time. The key is to be prepared for when hunger strikes. Have easy-to-eat fruit and vegetables ready to go, like an apple, clementine or carrot and celery sticks. If you like to snack on cookies, crackers or chips, this can still fit into your healthy lifestyle as long as the quantity doesn’t get out of hand. Prepare in a plastic zipper storage bag an amount that is equivalent to 100-150 calories. That way you can still have your sweet or salty fix, but will know when you’ve had enough.