Attaining a healthy lifestyle isn’t as complicated as it may seem. It comes down to two things: what we put in our body and how physically active we are. However, being aware of this and actually putting this knowledge into action are two very different things.
Eating healthy isn’t easy — fatty, sugary and salty foods are delicious. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that you don’t have to radically alter your diet to become more healthy. By committing to small changes in your diet, you can slowly improve your overall health. Here are five simple steps you can take toward a healthier diet:
1. Cut Out the Soda
You may have heard this from your dentist already, but soda is just sugary syrup and carbonated water. One can of your average soda has about 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar. That means that if you’re drinking just two cans of soda a day, you’re consuming more than 2,300 grams of sugar a month from soda alone!
Replacing soda with unsweetened tea or water is an easy change to your diet that you can start today; and drinking more water and being more hydrated has its own benefits. The U.S. government recommends drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water every day… so trade that bottle of Coke for a bottle of water!
2. Go Light on Salt
Cutting down on sodium can have an immediate positive impact on your health, especially if you have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for developing heart disease so one’s salt intake is a serious thing to consider.
You could currently be consuming too much sodium without even adding table salt to your foods and not realize it. For this reason, it’s important to check nutrition labels, which clearly state sodium content, and try to limit the salt you consume to no more than 6 grams a day.
3. Eat Kosher Food
Dieting fads come and go, but some diets, like the Mediterranean diet and eating kosher, endure for a simple reason: they work. Eating Kosher food has numerous benefits, which starts with the way in which kosher foods are differentiated from non-kosher foods.
Determining what is and isn’t kosher begins with the types of animals, and the manner in which they’re slaughtered and brought to the supermarket. Meat is inspected for any diseases or broken bones that could cause infections, making it unsafe to consume, according to kosher law. In fact, kosher inspections reject about three times more meat than what the USDA does, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Additionally, crab, lobster and shrimp, often referred to as “bottom feeders,” are forbidden in kosher law. However, salmon and other types of fish are allowed, which leads us to…
4. Choose Fish
Being low in fat and high in protein and nutrients, fish is the ideal protein to consume if you’re looking to make incremental, healthy changes to your diet. One should aim to have at least two portions of fish a week, including one portion of oily fish. Oily fish, which are high in omega-3 fats, may lower your risk for heart disease. They include:
Something to keep in mind when eating fish is that it’s okay to consume fresh, frozen or canned fish, but be aware that canned and smoked fish may be high in sodium.
5. Fruits and Vegetables
As the old adage goes… an apple a day keeps the doctor away. There isn’t much that hasn’t already been said about the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, but many adults still don’t consume the five portions of fruits and vegetables that are recommended to be eaten per day.
However, getting your 5 A Day is much easier than it sounds. Whether you cut a banana over your breakfast cereal, add a couple of vegetables to your smoothie or swap your usual mid-morning snack for an orange; there are plenty of ways to slowly improve your diet and overall health. Bon appétit!
With fresh, chef-prepared meal options available for breakfast and dinner, Hoffman SummerWood residents can enjoy delicious and nutritious dishes every day of the week. Learn more about the luxurious amenities available to the independent and assisted living residents at Hoffman SummerWood by visiting http://www.hoffmansummerwood.org/amenities.
For more information on healthy eating, please visit Nutrition.gov.