LOGAN — Now is a great time to focus on the basics of a healthy diet and setting goals to be healthier. It is important to keep in mind that a healthy lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight.
If a person picks one or two goals to work on now, they can focus on them for several months. Then, when the person feels those goals have been mastered, one or two more goals can be selected to work on.
The following five tips for setting healthy lifestyle goals comes from USU Extension “Eat Well Utah” blogger Candi Merritt.
1.) Eat a variety of healthful foods from all food groups. MyPlate tells people that everything a person eats and drinks matters. When a person eats from the five food groups, they are more likely to get the nutrients their body needs.
If a person finds themselves eating the same handful of meals and snacks every week, it would be good to try expanding the range of food choices by making it an adventure. When grocery shopping, select a fruit, vegetable or whole grain that is new to the family.
2.) Discover the benefits of a healthy eating lifestyle. There is more than one way to eat healthfully. A healthy eating lifestyle should take a person’s preferences, schedule, culture, traditions and budget into consideration.
Start by making half of the dinner plate fruits and veggies. Then add preferred foods from the grains, protein and dairy group to fill the plate. (See: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/what-healthy-eating-style)
3.) Choose healthier options when dining out. Eating out doesn’t mean a person has to throw their nutrition goals out the window. There are plenty of ways to make healthy choices at restaurants.
Planning ahead is the best way to stay on track. Choose which restaurant to visit and eat at and review the menu before going there. (See: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/ten-tips-eating-foods-away-home)
4.) Be mindful of portion sizes. Serving sizes and portion sizes don’t always align. Become familiar with the differences. Children and teens may enjoy exploring more about the program “We Can” from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute website. (See: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/eat-right/distortion.htm)
Once a person understands proper portion sizes, then pull out measuring cups or a food scale to see how the portions add up. Getting the right amounts of the right kinds of food is an important part of a healthy eating plan.
5.) Keep it simple! Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated. If a person is new to the world of nutrition and creating a healthy eating style, they may feel overwhelmed. It is recommended that those who are new start by following MyPlate and seeing how simple it can be.
MyPlate is built on six simple principles centered around the five food groups. (See: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/start-simple-myplate#resources). There is no fancy diet name for this plan and it is science-based from the USDA.
For more information from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, visit: https://www.eatright/org.
There are many excellent resources for learning about nutrition and health. There are also at least as many that tout fad diets and extreme weight-loss programs. Search for information by topic and include distinguishing website extensions such as, site: “extension,” “edu” or “gov.” For example, type in the search bar: “healthy cooking and snacking, site: gov.”