Monday, March 8, 2010

A Personal Food Revolution

I am so excited for ABC’s new show, Food Revolution! Jamie Oliver, a British chef, will tackle the obesity epidemic in Huntington, West Virginia; the unhealthiest city in America. In six episodes, he will try to change how America eats, in our home kitchens, schools and jobs and make people more aware of their personal nutrition. I can’t wait until March 26!

When people hear the word nutrition, they often only think of it in terms of weight loss. Nutrition isn’t just for those who want or need to lose weight, but it’s also important for daily functioning. Since I don’t eat red meat, I have to make a conscious effort to incorporate other sources of iron into my diet. If I don’t, I find that I get tired more easily.

I find it really hard to make time to make sure that I’m eating a proper diet, especially when it is so much easier to grab a meal from a fast food restaurant. Here are five tips that I’m using to try to eat a little bit healthier each day:

Try new ways to eat fruits and vegetables. I find it very hard to remember to get all of my servings in one day. Instead of picking up a daily cup of coffee, try a fruit smoothie. If you’re always on the go, try Fruit 2-Day. One bottle counts as two servings of fruit. I also like V8 Fusion; an 8-ounce serving gives you one serving of fruit and one serving of vegetables.

Shop at a farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets are the best places to get local and sometimes organic produce. The best times to shop are early weekend mornings, or mid-day during the week. Don’t forget to bring cash and a re-useable shopping bag!

Go meatless! It may seem drastic, but try skipping meat for one day a week. Research shows that going meatless once a week can lower rates of heart disease and help maintain a healthy weight. There are lots of great meatless recipes, or switch your usual meat with another protein such as salmon, soy products or lean cuts of chicken and turkey.

Grow a garden. I love the way fresh herbs taste! Cilantro, thyme, basil and mint can help spruce up your cooking and are relatively easy to grow your own herb garden on your windowsill. Besides helping flavor foods when cutting back on excess salt, fat and sugar, herbs may offer additional benefits of their own. Researchers are finding many herbs have antioxidants that may help protect against cancer and heart disease.

Splurge in moderation. Eating healthier doesn’t mean that we should cut out all of the things that make us happy. Try substituting your favorite comfort food for something healthier. For example, instead of having tubs of cookies and cream in my fridge, I try to always have fruit sorbet on hand.

This week, have a personal food revolution and try one of my tips for eating better. For more ideas and information on nutrition, check out the American Dietetic Association’s website. Happy healthy eating!

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