Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Eat Right, Future Bright!

Conditions linked to a poor diet caused 11 million deaths (1 in 5 globally) in adults in 2017, according to a new studyEating right is not complicated but it does take some planning. If you are struggling with where to begin, CHS’s St.Charles Hospital’s Nutrition Manager Gwen Degnan, RD, CDN, CDE, offers you tips on what healthy foods and beverages you should incorporate into your diet.

1.   Eat More Vegetables
Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. To start, add vegetables such as broccoli and spinach to soups, casseroles, omelets, sauces, etc. With summer months approaching, you can also grill colorful vegetable kabobs packed with red, green and yellow peppers, mushrooms and onions. For a heartier meal, shred 
carrots or zucchini into meatloaf, casseroles, quick breads and muffins. When you have the urge to snack, keep precut vegetables handy to add to side dishes or as lunch box additions. Ready-to-eat favorites to keep on hand include red, green or yellow peppers, broccoli and cauliflower florets, carrots, celery sticks or snap peas.

2.   Focus on Whole Fruits
Fruits are sources of many essential nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, Vitamin C and folate. As an added bonus, most fruits are naturally low in calories and fat. Make a fresh fruit salad by mixing apples, bananas or pears with acidic fruits like oranges, pineapple or lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. Fruit also tastes great with a dip or dressing. Try fat-free or low-fat yogurt as a dip for fruits like strawberries or melons. For fun, this spring and summer make fruit kabobs using pineapple chunks, bananas, grapes and berries. Also, fruit can double as a dessert option. Have a baked apple or pear with no sugar added for a sweet treat.

3.   Eat Whole Grains More Often
Whole grains pack nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, B vitamins and fiber. Choose whole grains like brown rice, whole grain pastas, breads and cereals. Look for foods that list whole-grain on the packaging including whole wheat, whole oats, whole-grain barley, brown rice and oatmeal. However, be aware of foods labeled with the words “multi-grain,” “100 percent wheat,” “seven-grain”, or are brown in color which are not whole-grain products.

4.   Go Lean with Protein
Protein functions as building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. They are also building blocks for enzymes, hormones and vitamins. The leanest beef cuts include round steak and roasts (eye of round, top round, bottom round, round tip), top loin, top sirloin and chuck shoulder and arm roasts. Choose lean ground beef. To be “lean”, the product has to be at least 92 percent lean and 8 percent fat. The leanest pork choices include pork loin, tenderloin and center loin.

5.   Choose Seafood at Least Twice a Week
Seafood contains omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA supports the healthy regulation of cellular inflammation, while DHA is important for maintaining nerve cell structure and function. Seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, trout and herring. Consuming two, four-ounce servings of oily fish per a week can contribute to the prevention of heart disease. These fish can be cooked a variety of ways to keep it interesting. Try poaching fish in an orange juice and herb mixture, or bake fish with vegetables wrapped in foil.

6.   Reduce Sodium Intake
Many already prepared foods and meals you consume at restaurants and grab-and-go items at the grocery store have sodium because it’s an inexpensive way to add flavor and is an effective way to preserve foods. However, high sodium intake can result in high blood pressure and can lead to stroke, heart disease and heart failure. One trick is to remove the salt shaker from the dinner table and cooking. While cooking, substitute salt with herbs such as basil, bay leaf, dill, rosemary, parsley, sage, dry mustard, nutmeg, thyme and paprika for additional flavor. Pepper, red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper can also add spice to your meals without adding sodium.

7.   Keep Bones Strong
Calcium is important as it builds bone and teeth strength. The best way to include calcium in your diet is to consume three cups of dairy products, per day. If you’re a milk drinker, drink fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk. If you currently drink whole milk, gradually switch to lower fat versions as the change will reduce the saturated fat and calories consumed but does not reduce the amount of calcium. For cheese lovers, choose a cheese with low in fat. Look for “reduced fat” or “low fat” on the label; however, consume cheese in moderation. When recipes such as dips call for sour cream, substitute it with plain yogurt. You can also use fat-free evaporated milk instead of cream, and low-fat or fat-free ricotta cheese as a substitute for cream cheese.

8.   Add Fiber to Your Meal Plan
Soluble (viscous) fiber helps lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — or the “bad” cholesterol” that, if high, can lead to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries. Insoluble fiber aids in laxation and prevents constipation. Try to eat 2-30 grams of total fiber each day, and 5 -10 grams of soluble fiber each day for optimal health. Add fiber to the foods you already eat by adding almonds to your salad or oat bran on cereal. You can find soluble fiber in brussels sprouts, acorn squash, broccoli, cabbage and carrots.

9.   Stay Hydrated
Drinking water maintains the function of every system in your body. Therefore, it’s very important to stay hydrated and to drink approximately 64 ounces of water, per a day (8, 8 ounce cups). If water is too boring, y
ou can add a little bit of excitement and flavor by steeping fresh fruit (grapefruit, strawberries, lemon), veggie slices (cucumber, ginger, celery), and herbs (basil, mint, lavender) in your carafe. The longer you let it steep, the tastier each cup will be. A trick to staying on track is that every time your glass or bottle is empty fill it back up. You're more likely to keep drinking if the glass is full.

10. Preplan Meals
Planning ahead will most definitely help you stay on track. To prepare, sit down once a week and plan a menu for the coming days. This will help you avoid stress by knowing what’s for dinner each night. It will also help you stick to a grocery list and avoid purchasing unhealthy food products. Plus, as an added bonus, you can start to build a recipe book of healthy meal options that can be shared with friends and family too.

For more information about CHS, call 1-855-CHS-4500/1-855-247-4500.

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