Tag Archives: habits

Boost Your Healthy Eating Habits This National Nutrition Month

By Adrianna Bradley

March is National Nutrition Month and DHEC has tips to help you make healthy food choices today.

“If you want to make the move toward eating healthier, choose one or two things to change,” said Phyllis Allen, MS, RD, state director of Public Health Nutrition. “Don’t instantly try to change everything you eat. When you make too many changes it will make it harder to stick with new habits.”

With this year’s theme, “Put Your Best Fork Forward,” DHEC is continuing its efforts in our communities teaching various age groups the importance of eating a well-balanced meal and living a more active lifestyle.

Healthy eating can help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, and reduce the risk for a number of chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. DHEC is actively working to decrease the number of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease with programs like Cooking Matters. The program teaches adults how to prepare and shop for healthy meals on a limited budget.  Currently, the economic cost of obesity in South Carolina is an estimated $8.5 billion per year and growing.

“Parents are important role models for their children,” Allen said. “Set a good example by eating healthy and your children will eat healthy too.”

Tips to help develop better habits

Here are some tips to help you develop sound eating and physical activity habits. Remember, making small changes in your food choices can lead to better health.

  1. Eat breakfast: Start your morning with a healthy breakfast that includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.12003
  2. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Fruits and veggies add color, flavor, and texture plus vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your plate. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal. Experiment with different types, including fresh, frozen and canned.
  3. Watch portion sizes: Get out the measuring cups and see how close your portions are to the recommended serving size.
  4. Be active: Start by doing what exercise you can for at least 10 minutes at a time. Children and teens should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day, and adults should get two hours and 30 minutes per week.
  5. Fix healthy snacks: Healthy snacks can sustain your energy levels between meals, especially when they include a combination of foods.
  6. Get to know food labels: Reading the Nutrition Facts panel can help you eat or drink smarter.
  7. Get cooking: Preparing foods at home can be healthy, rewarding and cost-effective. Resolve to learn some cooking and kitchen basics.
  8. Dine out without ditching your goals: Plan ahead, ask questions and choose foods carefully. Compare nutrition information, if available, and look for healthier options that are grilled, baked, broiled or steamed.
  9. Drink more water: Quench your thirst by drinking water instead of sugary drinks.
  10. Cut back on added sugars: Foods and drinks with added sugars equal empty calories and little or no nutrition. Reviewing ingredients on the food label helps identify sources of added sugar.

Strive for a safer, healthier life in 2017

In 2017, be purposeful about changing habits, taking precautions and instituting preventive measures aimed at improving your health and quality of life. Making the right decisions could make 2017 your healthiest yet.

A few tips to consider

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you:

  • Be smokefree. If you are ready to quit, call the S.C. Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), or for services in Spanish, call 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569). Read this blog post to learn more. For more information on the S.C. Tobacco Quitline, visit the DHEC website.
  • Protect yourself from injury or disease by wearing a helmet when biking, using sunscreen when outdoors and insect repellent to protect yourself from mosquito-borne illnesses.
  • Make an appointment for a check-up, vaccination or screening. Regular health exams and tests can help find problems early or even before they start.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water to prevent the spread of infection and illness.
  • Make healthy food choices. A healthy eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts, and is low in saturated fats, transfats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugars.
  • Be active to improve overall health. Exercise. Also, try simple things such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Get enough sleep. Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression.

More information is available

For more assistance in making 2017 your healthiest year yet, visit the CDC website.