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How to Spring into Healthy Eating

March is National Nutrition Month as well as the start of spring, the time of year when many of us become more active and look forward to days outside enjoying the beauty of Northern Arizona. Whether you are hoping to shed a few pounds before a long-anticipated trip or are looking to maintain good eating habits to maximize energy for fun activities, here are some steps that are sustainable and will keep you progressing toward the healthiest of lifestyles.

Hydration is the starting point. Cut your weight in half and drink that number in ounces of water each day.

Deprivation is never sustainable; moderation is the key. Enjoy the food and drink items you favor, just do so in small amounts. A good rule of thumb is to keep a daily treat to 300 calories or less.

Think of food as fuel. Put nutrient-dense foods into your tank that will satisfy you as well as provide essential vitamins and minerals.

Keep hunger under control and maintain good digestive health. Consume a minimum of 30 grams of fiber each day. Vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains are examples of fiber-rich foods.

Plant-based eating offers benefits. Eating plant-based choices will allow you to consume a substantial amount of food at a very low caloric cost. Experiment with a variety of colors when eating vegetables; this will increase the number of vital nutrients obtained.

Read labels before purchasing food. Generally speaking, the fewer the ingredients, the better the nutrient density. Pay attention to serving size on the package. You may consume too many calories if you believe you are getting 300 calories from a big bowl of ice cream, only to find out a one-half cup equals a serving. If you are unable to pronounce ingredients on the label, keep consumption of those products to a minimum.

Educate yourself about healthy cooking. For example, macronutrients are composed of proteins, carbohydrates and fat. All are important for good health. Never follow a diet plan that lacks any of these baseline components.

Take time to enjoy the preparation of your meals. Most importantly, slow down and enjoy food with those you love. Take a break from the electronic distractions and make meal time a sacred experience, a truly savored event. QCBN

By Lisa Fry

Lisa Fry is the Health & Fitness Director for Touchmark at The Ranch. Her responsibilities include overseeing the Touchmark Health & Fitness Club. Membership is open to anyone 50 years and older. To reach Fry or for more information, call 928-708-3133.

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