Reprinted from Lifeline 2011, Volume XXX, No 1
Getting healthy and staying healthy in today’s fast paced world is possible. Adding the challenge of living gluten-free to the mix calls for advanced planning. People are most likely to stick to healthy lifestyle changes when it’s their idea rather than someone else’s. That’s not surprising is it? This article will provide ideas to boost health through lifestyle choices. Everyone has the power to make choices to optimize their personal health.
Research has shown that people who journal their food intake are more likely to lose weight. Journaling food intake and the quantity of the food eaten is a great way to help identify if one is eating balanced meals and/or if one is eating too much. Keeping a record of daily activity can also help stay on track. A great free website to track food and activity is www.fitday.com. For people on the go, a free application is available for download on most mobile devices. A journal, is another useful tool, the DietMinder – Personal Food and Fitness Journal can be purchased from www.amazon.com. A notebook also works well.
What exactly is a balanced meal? Ideally all five food groups are included at each meal. Grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat comprise the five food groups and one must also keep in mind the importance of including healthy oils to optimize heart health. A realistic goal is to aim for 3 food groups at breakfast and 4 out of 5 food groups at lunch and dinner. Instead of an entire gluten-free muffin for breakfast, eat half of the muffin or choose a slice of gluten-free multigrain bread and pair it with a protein source. Good protein selections include sunflower seed/nut butter or a hard boiled egg. Once one is comfortable with two food groups, add a third food group such as blueberries or any personal favorite fruit. Eating a variety of food groups at each meal helps meet nutritional needs and aids in weight control.
Generally when one starts including more food groups at a meal, they often eat less of the main entrée, which is often the highest caloric portion of the meal.
Try the following at meal times:
Planning for variety takes time. Once people get into the routine, the results for weight control (slimmer waist-line) and the long term health benefits are more than worth it!
One way to assess health is to measure one’s waist line. Knowing one’s waist circumference is as important as tracking his or her blood pressure and cholesterol profile. Carrying excess abdominal weight can lead to what is commonly referred to as metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of increased blood pressure, elevated blood sugars or abnormal cholesterol levels. These conditions can increase risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. To measure waist size (circumference), place a tape measure around the bare abdomen just above the hip bone. Be sure that the tape is snug, but does not compress the skin and is parallel to the floor. Relax, exhale, and measure the waist.
One should start with just two or three new lifestyle choices that they believe are possible to do for a lifetime. Small changes that he or she can stick to over a lifetime make the greatest impact.
Try one of these healthy recipes from the Recipe Box:
Healthy eating and an active lifestyle can keep one on-the-go and enjoying life for years to come.
The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.
Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/index.html
USDA My Pyramid Steps to a Healthier You http://www.mypyramid.gov/ Used with permission:
The Portion Plate http://www.theportionplate.com/ USHHS – National Institute for Health (metabolic syndrome) http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/ms/ms_whatis.html