Tag Archives: healthy eating

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.

Have A Heart Healthy Valentine’s Day

If you’re planning to give away your heart on Valentine’s Day, make sure it’s healthy!

What better way to say I love you than preparing a healthy homemade meal for the one you love? Make this Valentine’s Day extra special by cooking at home. You will not only spoil that special someone, but you will also keep your heart and body happy by including heart healthy foods.

10 Heart Healthy Foods to Include in your Valentine’s Day plans

  1. Fish
  2. Nuts
  3. Flax Seed
  4. Red Wine
  5. Dark Chocolate
  6. Tofu
  7. Berries
  8. Tomatoes
  9. Beans
  10. Oats

5 Healthy Valentine’s Day Tips

  1. Cook at home: Preparing a meal at home not only keeps your wallet happy but also keeps your body happy. Restaurants add lots of extra fats and salt to foods; when you are the cook you control the ingredients used.
  2. Share Your Sweets: Don’t overindulge in candy and chocolates given by loved ones. Remember there aren’t many nutritious benefits in these treats so watch portion sizes and eat only a small amount. If you need to, share with others to avoid going overboard.
  3. Plan an active date night: Instead on planning your date night around food and treats, do something fun like taking a romantic hike or going on a scenic bike ride.
  4. Think Red: Red is not only the color of love but red foods are good for your heart. Full of antioxidants, fiber, and key vitamins; including red foods can be a great way to celebrate love for each other and your heart.
  5. Don’t Deprive Yourself: Remember that the day is supposed to be focused on spending time with those you love. Enjoy the day and don’t be afraid to eat a small treat to celebrate. Dark Chocolate has been shown to have nutritious properties through its antioxidants benefiting our health.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Make Halloween SAFE and HEALTHY

halloween_socialKids love Halloween – dressing up, going to parties and, of course, eating yummy treats. But parents need to keep some guidelines in mind to make sure the day is full of treats, not tricks. Use these tips to make the festivities SAFE and HEALTHY.

Swords, knives and other costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible.

Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.

Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.

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Hand out some healthier treats for trick-or-treaters such as low-calorie treats and drinks. For party guests, offer a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Exercise can be part of the fun. Use party games and trick-or-treat time as an opportunity for kids to get their daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity.

Avoid walking areas and stairs that aren’t well-lit and free of obstacles that could cause someone to fall.

Look both ways before crossing the street. Use crosswalks wherever possible.

Test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.

Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you.

Yes, a little candy is OK, but limit the sweet treats beyond the holiday.

For more ideas on safe, healthy Halloween fun, check out these pages:

 

New 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

By Shorus E. Manning, RD, LD, SNAP-Education Dietitian, DHEC Professional and Community Nutrition Services

Dietary Guidelines are released every five years by the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Health and Human Services. These recommendations influence various federal nutrition programs and the day-to-day lives of Americans. The vast majority of the recent report is similar to previous guidelines, but there are some key differences.

What You Need to Know

  • Cholesterol – The new guidelines no longer include a limit of 300 mg a day. Instead, just focus consuming as little as possible. Remember that we don’t need cholesterol from outside sources, since we make our own.
  • Overall Healthy Eating Pattern – Instead of focusing a great deal on individual components, the new guidelines emphasize an overall healthy eating pattern. So don’t look for specific foods to reduce your risk of chronic illnesses. Consider your whole diet. Your overall diet has the greatest potential to make you healthy instead of specific foods.
  • Sugar – This is one of the biggest changes in the new guidelines. We need to limit our added sugar to just 10 percent of our calories. On a 2,000-calorie diet, that is about 50 grams of added sugar per day.
  • Protein – The lean protein recommendations stay the same. However, there is an emphasis on incorporating 8 oz. of seafood into your weekly protein consumption. A single serving of fish is 3 oz., which is about the size of your checkbook. When it comes to eating too much protein, there was a specific focus on over consumption of protein by men and boys. The average amount should be between 5 to 6 oz. per day. A lower intake of processed meat like bacon, sausage and sandwich meats are encouraged, but this is a part of the whole healthy eating diet plan.

Click here to read the full content of the Eighth Edition of the 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.