Moderation and physical activity are keys to healthy eating plan

These steps to a healthier lifestyle may be easier than you think.

Posted on March 16, 2014 at 1:00 p.m.

Most of don’t eat just for nutrition; we eat for all kinds of reasons.

National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign to encourage you to eat healthy. It reinforces the importance of nutrition as a key component of our health, along with physical activity. More of the time we should focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing and practicing healthy eating and physical activity habits.

One key item that you need to keep in mind is that healthy eating is an investment in your health, which helps you get the most out of life. A healthy lifestyle is the key to feeling and looking great and being your best every day. Bottom line is this all begins by having a healthy eating plan.

Many of your individual needs and preferences were determined when you were a child, so needless to say the eating habits you are helping to establish in your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews are extremely important.

Eating a wide variety of foods is also important, as it not only provides some of the pleasurable aspects of eating, it promotes optimal nutrition. Work at expanding your range of choices and exploring new tastes within and among the various food groups, especially vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

Many of you could help yourself by making moderation your goal, myself included. Think of it this way, you decide how much you eat and how often you eat. Healthy eating does not and should not mean feeling deprived or guilty. Learn to look at the big picture: what you eat and how much you eat over the course of several days, not just one day or one meal.

If you are really serious about changing your eating habits you might want to try doing a food journal. A food journal is simply where you write down everything you eat. Adults and children need to match their food choices to their lifestyle and individual requirements, choosing enough to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Besides eating a variety of safe foods in moderation you need to develop a personal fitness plan that fits your lifestyle. We have known for some time the importance of physical activity. Physical activity is more important that most people realize. We need to be physically active so that our bodies will make the best use of the nutrients we get from the foods we eat. So you might begin a plan to walk outside since warm weather is just around the corner.

The key to increasing your physical activity is to find a variety of activities you enjoy and then creating a plan so you do it. You don’t need to have expensive equipment or a complicated fitness program. The bottom line is you just need to move more every day, eat healthy and drink your water.

If you are looking for classes on healthy eating please consider our Dining with Diabetes four-part series in April. This series will provide participants with tasty and healthy recipes for main dishes, sides, snacks and desserts, includes food demonstrations and much more. Pre-registration is required and information can be obtained by visiting our office website or by contacting the office at 574-533-0554.

Mary Ann Lienhart-Cross is county extension director and an extension educator in health and human sciences at Purdue Extension Elkhart County. Reach her at lienhart@purdue.edu or 574-533-0554.


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