Want to improve your health without “dieting”? There are a few great habits you can incorporate into your daily nutritional intake that will reap huge benefits for your body!
Number one? Eat less processed food! Too much processed or packaged foods can increase your chances of chronic diseases, like diabetes. It can also contribute to weight gain. Look for foods that contain only a few ingredients such as frozen vegetables or 100 per cent whole grain crackers.
Eat more veggies and other healthy carbs! Try to eat a variety of colorful vegetables. Eat more beans, lentils, peas and whole grains.
Create a healthy plate during mealtime. Make half your plate veggies and fruit. Make one quarter a protein food, like meat, chicken or fish. Make one quarter of your plate a whole grain, like brown rice. And start your meal by eating your veggies first. They will fill you up. Then eat your protein food and lastly, your starch.
Eat your largest meals earlier in the day. A recent study found people who eat most of their food earlier in the day lost more weight. It also helped them show improvements in their blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
If you need to limit your salt intake, experiment with a variety of herbs and spices. Try using fresh or dried rosemary on chicken, oregano on pasta dishes, and a squeeze of lemon on your veggies.
Try a new dish every week or so. There are thousands of free recipes online to give you ideas. For example, google “healthy recipes with kidney beans” or “healthy recipes with kale.”
So start out 2024 with a goal of trying a new food or recipe. Your healthy body will thank you!
Joanne M. Gallivan, M.S., R.D.N. is a registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She served as the Director of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) in the Office of Communication and Public Liaison for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from 1997-2016. Previously, Ms. Gallivan has served as project manager for NIDDK’s Weight-Control Information Network (WIN), a national source of information on weight control, obesity, and weight-related nutritional disorders for health professionals and the public; as Contract Manager for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s National Cholesterol Education Program and Obesity Education Initiative, and as Director of the Prince George’s County Health Department Nutrition Division located in Maryland.
Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic is a free clinic in Charleston, SC, that provides free medical care to uninsured adults. The Free Clinic serves adults with no health insurance living at or below 299 % of the Federal poverty level who live or work across the Barrier Islands and connecting communities. You can sign up for our monthly e-news updates, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.