National Nutrition Month
There’s no time like the present to begin healthy eating and lifestyle habits—especially because March is National Nutrition Month.
Now, eating healthfully in America can present a special challenge, compared to the rest of the world, which is ironic because our country is agriculturally the most diverse and food abundant. Here are some cold hard facts to digest:
- We consume more calories per day than any other place on earth
- We spend 50-100% less per Europeans on food.
- Americans eat more fast foods than any other nation
Do you see the correlation? Eating more + cheaper = fast food. America is the land of cheap, junk food, which many experts believe is the primary culprit behind our obesity epidemic. While we eat more, we really don’t consume that much more calories than Western Europeans (about 15% more). The difference is that much more of our calories comes from processed food including, notably, fast food.
Two related issues, then, are making us fat. The amount of food we eat and the kind of food we eat. Interestingly, one often masks the other. Take, for example, fast-food vendor Chipotle, heralded for its slow-food and organic ingredients. In other words, it gets high points for avoiding processed foods. On the other hand, the typical order at Chipotle has almost 1,110 calories, according to The New York Times, which is more than half of the recommended daily caloric intake for women. Compare that to the Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger from Burger King that weighs in at 820 calories.
Did you know that just one pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories? A typical daily diet suggests women intake approx. 1,800 to 2,000 calories per day and men anywhere between 2,400 and 2,800 calories. When it comes to calories, it’s important to know just what you’re looking at when reading a nutrition label and it is equally important to have some knowledge of the foods and beverages that surround us every day.
Bring juice into your diet – The biggest health benefit of cold-pressed juice is the number of servings of fruits and vegetables in each bottle – up to six pounds of produce in some cases. Someone who might not normally have the desire to eat the recommended servings can consume the same amount (if not more) in an easy, tasty drink. If making your own juice is your thing, take a look of some of these recipes courtesy of The Champion Juicer.
Don’t let restaurants ruin your diet – Surprisingly, “Many chefs use an ounce of butter to make meats look juicier, so ask in advance to go light on the butter and choose a salad already tossed in dressing because it’s usually a much lighter coating than what most people end up dumping on salads themselves, even if you order it on the side.” The NEW! Abs Diet for Women by David Zinckenko (p. 73)
Try to schedule or plan your meals in advance – The timing of when we eat and what we eat can influence our body and weight. Fitness expert Jillian Michael’s suggests three balanced meals, spaced out every four hours — with a snack between lunch and dinner is the ideal meal plan for weight loss. Your body will use your energy stores and burn more fat! Also, try to avoid eating too late at night. Those late night meals don’t give your body enough time to be active and burn off those calories, which means going to bed shortly after eating will result in more calories ultimately being converted to fat.
Need help staying full and healthy? Try these surprising foods with health benefits –
- Iceberg Lettuce – contradictory to popular belief that iceberg lettuce is nutritionally weak, it actually contains significantly more alpha-carotene, a powerful disease-fighting antioxidant, than romaine lettuce or spinach.
- Mushrooms – digesting mushrooms creates metabolites that have been shown to boost immunity and prevent cancer growth.
- Red-Pepper Flakes – half a teaspoon of red pepper just thirty minutes before you eat can reduce your calorie intake by 16 percent. Plus, its active ingredient, capsaicin, may help kill cancer. But careful, they’re hot!
- Full-Fat Cheese – full-fat cheese is one of the top sources of casein protein—one of the best muscle-building nutrients you can eat.
- Vinegar – just 2 tablespoons of basic white vinegar sprinkled on a meal high in carbs can lower blood sugar by 23 percent.
All Sourced From: The NEW! Abs Diet for Women by David Zinckenko (p. 149)
Helpful Nutrition Resources
- Take a look at a Body Mass Index (BMI)calculator. BMI, calculated from your height and weight, provides a reliable indicator of body fat and is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems. You can calculate your BMI here.
- A great book with narrowed down advice and tips to staying fit is New York Times Bestseller, The NEW! Abs Diet for Women by David Zinckenko – nutrition and wellness contributor for Yahoo! Heatlh, ABC Television Network, Men’s Fitness & Shape Magazines, as well as the publisher and editor for “Eat This, Not That!,” both online and print. Although Zinckenko’s Abs Diet book is geared towards women, men can benefit from the advice it provides as well.
- Utilize the USDA approved website Choose My Plate. This is one of the best sources for meal planning, nutrition tips, and physical activities. They even offer printable materials that will help motivate you to stay on track and make those tough steps in a healthier direction.
- You can also find out how many calories you should eat per day, especially if you want to lose weight by using a calorie calculator.
It Comes Down to This
You have all the facts, tips, and guidance at your fingertips.
Your health and nutrition is up to you. You can make it easier for yourself by signing up to a site like Thrivo which offers discounts on health and wellness products including nutrition.
You have to pay attention and you have to take the steps to improve.
Dr. Meshulam, a primary care physician with SignatureMD explains, “Understanding your health habits and not letting them master you is essential to making positive nutritional changes,” he continues, “That understanding is a wonderful bullet in the therapeutic gun.”
- http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/8-ways-to-celebrate-national-nutrition-month/2014/03/04/9c1d0cee-9efe-11e3-a050-dc3322a94fa7_story.html. 8 Ways to Enjoy National Nutrition Month.
- http://www.foodminds.com/. Food Minds.
- http://www.nutrition.gov/smart-nutrition-101/commonly-asked-questions-faqs. Smart Nutrition 101 – Commonly Asked Questions.
- http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Frequently-Asked-Questions-FAQs-About-Nutrition_UCM_305740_Article.jsp. Frequently Asked Questions About Nutrition.
- http://www.nationalnutritionmonth.org/nnm/. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- http://www.webmd.com/diet/estimated-calorie-requirement. Estimated Calorie Requirements.
- http://www.choosemyplate.gov/NNM.html. My Plate – USDA.
- http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.html. BMI Calculator – CDC.
- file:///C:/Users/Tyler/Downloads/NNMhistory_032006JADA%20(1).pdf. National Nutrition Month – A Brief History.
- http://blogs.usda.gov/2015/03/02/national-nutrition-month-raising-a-healthier-generation-through-diet-education/. National Nutrition Month: Raising a Healthier Generation through Diet, Education.
- http://www.eatright.org/. Eat Right – Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/menu-planning/art-20048199. Menu planning: Eat healthier and spend less.
- http://www.livescience.com/36579-eat-meals.html. 9 Meal Schedules: When to Eat to Lose Weight.
- https://signaturemd.com/concierge-physicians/joelmeshulammd/. Dr. Meshulam, SignatureMD page.
- http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/weight-loss/in-depth/calories/art-20048065. Counting Calories: Get back to weight-loss basics.
- https://signaturemd.com/concierge-physicians/concierge-physician-blog/cold-pressed-juice-trend-hotter-than-ever/. Cold-Pressed Juice Trend, Hotter Than Ever.
- https://www.championjuicer.com/pages.php?CDpath=0_4&pID=19&osCsid=4acbd36deed279832c951b4b932dc3d7. Champion Juicer – Recipes Page.
- http://www.jillianmichaels.com/fit/lose-weight/myth-small-meals. MYTH: Constant Grazing Boosts Your Metabolism.