Get Hooked on Eating Healthy

In a world where images of skinny women and men with huge muscles rule the media, it is easy to catch yourself wondering what it actually means to be healthy. Making good nutritional choices should be about more than trying to look good for a class reunion or feeling pressured to eat salads at every meal. Healthy eating should incorporate foods that are good for you, as well as foods that you love, to help your body get all of the nutrients that it needs to stay healthy.

Making good nutritional choices with a hectic schedule can be difficult at times, but it is well worth the extra effort. Like any new routine, it may take a couple of tries to find out how to make healthy eating work for you. Since every person is different, what might work well for some may not work well for others. Keep trying new ways to eat healthy; you only have one body and you are worth the extra effort.

Here are some tips for eating healthfully:

Check out the new USDA MyPyramid menu tracker. It is a free government program that is an excellent resource for tracking your eating choices. The website creates a personalized plan of what nutrients you need for your specific age, height, weight, etc and allows you to enter in the foods that you eat in a typical day so that you can see how your food choices affect your overall nutrient intake.

Snack healthy. If you tend to eat when you are stressed or fall into the habit of reaching for the potato chips when you need a boost, look for healthful snack options to replace empty calories. One trick to satisfying your cravings is to find foods with textures that are similar to what you are craving (ie. Crunching on carrots instead of potato chips or frozen orange slices instead of an icepop). Also, it is a good idea to plan out your snacks before you go grocery shopping. Sales on your favorite chips or desserts can lead even the most dedicated healthy eaters astray, so make a list before you go shopping and stick to it. Examples of healthy snack ideas can be found on this blog.

When you eat at a dining hall or restaurant, know yourself and your eating tendencies. During lunch, people tend to navigate towards whatever is fastest. Don’t let yourself reach towards the hamburger and fries because it’s ‘more convenient’. Take a few moments to look around and see what there is to eat. Restaurants and dining halls are becoming more health conscious, and there is usually a healthier option just around the corner. If you are dining at UNH, try checking out the deli section to make a quick wrap, the grill for chicken or fish, or the mainline’s whole wheat pasta and sauce. Eating healthfully when you are out not only is better for you in the long run, but it also keeps you feeling better throughout the day and can help keep you focused. Eating healthy in dining halls is easier than you think!

Photo: Courtesy of Pixomar