Today’s Advisor gives you a brief wellness training session to help you recognize National Nutrition Month in your workplace this March.
The theme of this year’s event, sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle.” Visit their website for more detailed information if you have time for a longer training session.
While we all know we should eat right, watch our diet, go easy on the grease and sugar, etc., we don’t always live this way. But what we are eating has a direct effect on our energy levels throughout the day. In today’s session, we’re going to take a brief look at the WHY, HOW, and WHAT of biting into a healthy lifestyle.
Make sure you understand WHY good nutrition is so important. Benefits of good nutrition include helping to:
- Prevent disease;
- Maintain a healthy weight;
- Provide energy for work and leisure activities; and
- Promote healthy aging.
Of course, that might not mean much to some of you, especially to some of the young ones who seem to be managing just fine on a diet of junk food. Are you thinking things like:
“Disease? Not me!”
“Healthy aging? You’ve got to be kidding. I’m only in my 20s or 30s.”
“Healthy weight? I can eat anything I want and not gain weight.”
Of course, the answer to all this is:
“Yeah, maybe not now, but just wait. When you get into your 40s and 50s, disease, weight gain, and healthy aging are all issues that can come out of nowhere and hit you like an 18-wheeler. You have to start eating right now, to avoid problems then.”
You middle aged and older employees know what we’re talking about, right? So let’s move on to the HOW and WHAT of good nutrition.
The HOW of good nutrition includes these healthy eating habits:
- Eating three meals a day
- Consuming reasonable portion sizes
- Being sensible about snacking
- Watching what you eat when you eat out or buy take out
- Avoiding fad or crash diets
- Balancing calorie intake with physical activity
- Making sure you get the most from the calories you consume every day
- Getting most of your calories from low-fat, low-sugar foods
- Checking food labels for nutrition information
The WHAT of good nutrition is constantly being fine-tuned, so it’s important to continually educate yourself about the latest research. For example, in 2011 the federal government switched its model for a nutritional diet from a pyramid to a plate. Visit www.ChooseMyPlate.gov for information on customizing nutritional recommendations for your age and gender. But in general, nutrition experts recommend that you:
- Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
- Make at least half of your grains whole-grain.
- Drink 1% or skim milk.
- Mix up your protein choices, but make them lean protein choices.
- Cut back on foods with solid fats, added sugars, and added salt.
- Eat smaller portions.
In order to accomplish some of these recommendations, you need to learn to read nutrition labels. Visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website for a detailed discussion of how to understand the current labeling system—as well as information about proposed updates to the system.