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HEALTHY EATING PLAIN AND SIMPLE

The nutrition challenge for each of us is to have an eating routine that is healthy, yet tastes good, enables us to enjoy food, fits into our lifestyle, and can be maintained over time. Often easier said than done, especially since we are bombarded with food information that can be confusing and conflicting…eat more, eat less, eat this, don’t eat that. No surprise that the diet food and weight loss industry is booming as desperate people trying to improve their health are driven to try whatever fad is currently being promoted, yet results are often short-lived. At our gym – Empower Fitness – we promote lifestyle changes with regards to exercising and eating.  To keep everyone focused on the same framework for healthy eating, I reviewed an extensive amount of current literature to identify a few indisputable guidelines. The intent was to keep it plain and simple, and encourage small steps that could be maintained over time and become a new habit. So here are our 6 healthy eating key points to keep as you construct healthy and enjoyable food choices…

1. More Water

Hydration helps with energy and cell nourishment. Aim for 70 ounces or half of your body weight per day; keep track by your container size. Flavor your water naturally with fruits and veggies and try not to use powdered mixes. Sorry but coffee, tea, juice, and soft drinks don’t count as your water intake.

2. Control Portions

Studies show that we actually consume way more calories than we think we do, due to uncontrolled portion sizes and other denial techniques, like eating out of the bag or eating from the refrigerator (pretending these calories don’t count)! The trick is to read labels carefully and use measuring cups and spoons. You can also try a smaller size plate and package out portions ahead of time into baggies or small containers.

3. Eat Less Sugar

Many experts believe that sugar is the biggest contributor to obesity and poor health in this country. It is so important to think beyond the “common” sugary foods like candy, soda, cake, and cookies and learn about “hidden” sugars. Some common foods with hidden sugars include cereals, canned fruits, condiments, alcohol, yogurt, nutrition bars to name a few. Hidden sugars go by different names, like high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, raw sugar, honey, agave nectar, and cane syrup. Where to begin? read ingredient labels closely and look at grams per portion. The aim is to eat below 25 grams of sugar per day.

4. Eat Less Processed Foods

When you eat less processed food, you ingest less chemicals and toxins. Processed foods have higher shelf life and a longer list of ingredients than “whole” foods. A great point to begin to eat less processed foods is at the Deli counter, since most lunch meats and cheeses are highly salted and have chemical preservatives.  Try instead the store-roasted turkey/chicken (or roast your own) and buy chunks of cheese.

5. Eat More Vegetables

Eating more vegetables is a single step you can take to improve your health immediately. The best option for veggies is fresh and in season; the second best is frozen without sauces. Aim for 5-6 half-cup servings per day. Preparation of your vegetables is key: cut up raw, steam, saute in oil spray, roast with healthy additions like lemon, olive oil, Mrs. Dash seasoning, or fresh herbs.

6. Get Your Fiber

A healthy gut represents 80% of your immune system.  The recommended daily amount of fiber is 20-30 grams, but 32 grams is ideal (most people get half of that). There are two kinds of fiber – soluble (slows down your digestion like beans and nuts) and insoluble (adds bulk to your stool, like dark green leafy veggies).  Think non-grain sources also to increase your fiber intake, since processed grains affect your insulin level and can cause bloating; some good non-grain fiber sources are peas, berries, almonds, flax, chia seeds, vegetables, and sweet potatoes.

For more ideas to eat healthy, check out these sites:  www.fullplateliving.com;  www.sparkpeople.com; and www.greatist.com/health/cheap-healthy-recipe-collection

1 Comment
  1. thanks Joan,
    dishes look yummy, will try them,but no spices for me.

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Lawrence Shopping Center
(near Burlington Coat Factory)
2495 Route 1 at Texas Ave.
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648

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phone: 609.882.4500
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