Pro Tips: How to eat healthy and stay in shape

Long winters like the one we've had don't encourage healthy lifestyles. It's been too cold to go outside, and let's face it – those Christmas cookies we all ate too many of were just really good. However, professional dietitian Justine Miller has some tips to help.

Posted on March 7, 2014 at 7:00 a.m.

This week's Pro Tips was written by Justine Miller, a registered dietitian nutritionist and clinical dietitian who works for IU Health Goshen. 

Miller has agreed to answer any questions you have related to diet and nutrition on Monday, March 10, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Leave them in the comments below over the next few days, and she'll answer them on Monday.


1. Eat breakfast every day

Breakfast is really the most important meal of the day and can take less than 5 minutes to make. People who eat breakfast tend to make healthier food choices during the day, have more energy and are in a better mood.

2. At each meal, make half your plate fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals our bodies need each day. They also contain many cancer-fighting chemicals to help prevent cancer and are high in fiber, which is heart healthy. Aim for at least five servings each day of fruits and vegetables!

3. Get at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of physical activity each week or 30 minutes daily

Being more active can help you feel, look and sleep better. It may also help prevent or manage chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

4. Drink at least 64 ounces, or eight cups, or water every day

Water not only keeps us hydrated, but it also keeps our bodies functioning properly.

5. Take at least 20 minutes to finish each meal, making sure to chew thoroughly

Our stomachs need this time to send signals to our brains telling us that we're full. If meals are finished in less than 20 minutes, there is not enough time to send this signal, which could lead to overeating.

6. Be mindful of portion sizes

Eating too many calories can lead to weight gain, which can lead to obesity. Try using a smaller plate, smaller utensils and smaller glasses. Also cut out second helpings.

7. Eat healthy 90 percent of the time (roughly)

The majority of our diets should be from nutrient-dense foods like whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy. Try to limit less healthy, high-calorie foods and have them rarely – not at every meal every day.

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