What Changes do Elders Need to Bring in their Healthy Eating Habits? - Part 1
Developing healthy eating habits will promote a lifestyle filled with smart food choices for the benefit of nourishing the body. Learning how and what to eat will lead to improved health, increased energy, stabilize diet-related conditions, weight management, and produce an overall feeling of wellbeing. In order for healthy eating habits to develop, it is necessary to understand the fundamentals of nutrition. Nutrition is how the body uses the food it consumes. Good nutrition means that the food taken in by the body is converted effectively into energy for cell nourishment, growth, and tissue replacement. There are six nutrient classifications that the body requires for proper nutrition; carbohydrates, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, fat, and water.
Healthy Eating Habits: Grasp serving sizes and reduce portion sizes.
Most people choosing to adopt a healthier diet have a distorted perception of serving sizes, especially when dining out. The portion sizes at restaurants are so large that a person can unknowingly consume an entire day's caloric intake in one sitting. Making changes in portion sizes does not require being confined to the kitchen with a food scale and measuring devices. Simple visual techniques can be used to estimate healthy serving sizes. Meat and Proteins: One serving, 3 oz., of beef, pork, chicken, or fish is about the size of a deck of playing cards. A 1 oz. serving of deli lunch meat is roughly the size of a compact disc. One serving, 1/4 cup, of almonds, walnuts, or other nuts are the size of a golf ball. A serving, or ½ cup, cooked beans are equal to the size of a light bulb. Carbohydrates and Grains: Sliced bread portions should be comparable to a compact disc case. One cup of cereal or cooked pasta is equal to a baseball in size. One serving, ½ cup, of rice or hummus is about the size of a light bulb. Fruits: One serving is equal to ½ cup grapes or berries the same size as a light bulb. A small piece of fruit or one cup of strawberries is approximately the size of a baseball. One ounce of dried fruit or ¼ cup of raisins is equivalent to a golf ball in size.
Vegetables: One serving of cooked or raw vegetables is equal to one cup, or the size of a baseball. A small potato is the size of a computer mouse. Milk and Dairy: A single hard cheese serving is 1 ½ oz., about the size of three dice. Half a cup of frozen yogurt or ice cream is comparable to the size of a light bulb. Fats and Oils: One serving of butter, margarine, or salad dressing is one tablespoon, the size of the poker chip. An additional tip for portion control is visually dividing the plate into three parts. Draw a line down the middle of the plate, and then visually cut one half in half for three sections. The largest section should be filled with a non-starchy vegetable. One quarter is filled with a protein, such as lean beef, chicken, or fish. The remaining quarter should be filled with complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain rice or pasta.
Healthy Eating Habits: Make fruit and vegetable choices count.
Fruit and vegetables provide some of the highest levels of nutrients per serving, yet the majority of people do not reap their benefits because they choose to eat less healthy food options. According to the USDA, nine out of ten adults do not get the five recommended daily servings of fruit and vegetables. To get the most out of the produce consumed, choose the freshest option available at the moment. However, do not forgo eating fruits and vegetables when fresh produce is not available. Fresh produce is highest in nutritional value because it is processed the least. It is beneficial when choosing fresh fruits and vegetables to look for items that are in season and in good condition. Buying from local farmers will provide fresh, minimally processed produce and contribute to the community.
Frozen fruits and vegetables are second best when fresh is not available. Frozen produce is frozen at the peak of ripeness, which helps preserves nutrients. However, the freezing process requires blanching in boiling water or steaming, a process that causes the loss of small amounts of vitamin C. Canned fruit and vegetables lose the most amounts of nutrients through the high-heat, canning process. When choosing canned fruits or vegetables, a person should opt for no-salt-added vegetables or fruits that are packed in fruit juice for healthier choices.
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