Incorporating healthy eating into your daily life is important, but it isn’t always easy. In recognition of National Nutrition Month, here are some tips for healthy eating from Bayhealth Outpatient Registered Dietitian Jinette Fellows, RD, LDN, to help get you started or back on track.
- Replace refined grains with whole grains. “This is one of the easiest changes you can make and, therefore, is a great place to start,” says Fellows. “For example, instead of choosing refined grains opt for whole grains when choosing breads, tortillas, buns, crackers, bagels, and pastas.” The benefit of this tip for healthy eating is an increase in the amount of fiber you consume, which helps with weight management, satiety, gut health, and lowering cholesterol. Being brown doesn’t make bread whole wheat. The only way to know for sure is to read the nutrition facts panel to make sure whole-wheat flour is the first ingredient. Experiment with other whole grains such as barley, buckwheat, quinoa, or oatmeal.
- Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Strive for five or more servings a day. Fellows says fresh, canned or frozen count. “Frozen and canned are a great option as long as they don’t have added sodium, sugar or fat,” she explains. “I also recommend trying different cooking methods. If you’re getting tired of steamed vegetables, for example, try roasting them with some olive oil and cracked black pepper instead, and make them the star of your meal.”
- Eat a variety of colors and types of fruits and vegetables. “To ensure you are getting a wide variety of nutrients, people should eat fruits and vegetables from all of the different color groups such as dark leafy greens like spinach, and orange veggies and fruits like bell peppers or oranges,” says Fellows.
- Plan for meals and snacks, and complete all of the prep work for the week on your day off. This will also help you get three or more food groups into each meal, which is another tip for healthy eating. “For example, make an effort to include a veggie, lean protein source and complex carbohydrate at each meal,” says Fellows. “Try using non-animal sources of protein such as nuts, seeds, beans, and soy. People aren’t often in the mood or have time to dice vegetables first thing in the morning. If you’re someone who likes to have omelets, try dicing peppers and onions ahead of time so they can be a quick addition.” Fellows also recommends getting the whole family involved in meal planning so everyone is on board and more likely to stick with healthy eating.
Building upon these tips for healthy eating, Fellows shared a few other pieces of advice.
- Plan your snacks. “This will help you fill in food groups you’re missing,” she says. “For example, a lot of people don’t eat fruit with their meals. So a great snack would be apple slices with a tablespoon of peanut butter. Pairing a little bit of protein with other foods can also help tide you over until the next meal.”
- Make a list before you go grocery shopping. “Related to planning for meals and snacks, I tell people to take an inventory of the food items in their cabinets to avoid buying items they already have on hand, and this can be a good starting point to planning your meals for the week.”
- Shop for food that’s in season. Fellows says this will save you money and foods in season taste better.
- Women should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day, while men should aim for 38 grams.
Bayhealth has both inpatient and outpatient dietitians. If you’re interested in talking with an outpatient dietitian, consult your primary care physician. Visit Bayhealth.org/Nutrition-Services for more information about our Nutritional Services or call 302-744-6828.