Good Nutrition, Good Life: Encouraging Healthy Nutrition At Home
It’s no secret that what you eat affects your health. But all too often, people fail to make the connection between a mediocre diet and mediocre health. Many chiropractors promote healthy eating and functional nutrition to maintain overall wellness.
If you or your children struggle with a variety of health issues, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and assess what you eat on a daily basis. After all, you need to put good in to get good out.
Why Diet Matters
According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, more than a third of adults are obese, and nearly one third of children and teens are overweight or obese.
These statistics show a very real battle against obesity and the health risks it causes for adults and children alike. With the help of a proper diet and sufficient exercise, you can protect yourself and your family from the increased risk of developing conditions such as diabetes and heart disease that go hand in hand with obesity and poor nutrition.
In the past, experts used to point to the amount of fat in the average American diet as the cause of today’s obesity epidemic. Although foods high in fat and cholesterol contribute to the problem, scientists now point out the major role of sugar as well.
How Sugar Makes a Difference
Sugar comes in two different types: added sugar and naturally occurring sugar. Although the human body needs carbohydrates (which include natural sugars) to function, the body develops issues when exposed to inordinate amounts of added sugar.
The World Health Organization advises that added sugar should only count for 5% of a person’s daily calorie intake. This amount comes to approximately 5–8 teaspoons of sugar per day.
But, when you consider that the average 12-ounce soda contains several teaspoons of sugar, you’ll find that most people take in more sugar than recommended on a daily basis. It’s easy to do, as many unexpected foods contain sugars. Some of these include:
- Salad dressings
- Ready-made sauces and soups
- Fruit juices
- Granola bars
Although many of these foods seem healthy at first, one glance at the label reveals how far they stray from healthy amounts of added sugar. And that’s not even considering the obvious sugary foods such as breakfast cereal and packaged baked goods.
How then do you help your family avoid all the added sugar to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle?
Healthy Eating Tips
Healthy eating sounds great, but doing it becomes difficult when you have a full schedule and hungry mouths to feed. Use the following tips to maintain a healthy diet for you and your family:
1. Cook Meals At Home
It might take some planning, but this practice helps you avoid pre-packaged or fast food items that almost always contain an excess of sugar, fats, sodium, and harmful preservatives. By cooking at home, you can begin a pattern of family meals so you ensure that the food you eat comes from natural sources.
2. Involve Your Kids
If given the option, children will surprise you with their willingness to eat healthy foods. Have your kids help you prepare healthy snacks and lunches ahead of time. You’ll instill in them an appreciation for wholesome food and help them understand why healthy eating matters.
3. Make Healthy Options Easy
Even when your pantry holds healthier options, your children (and you) will usually choose the sugary, salty, and less-healthy options. To solve this problem, stuff your pantry with the healthy options, and avoid buying less-healthy options whenever possible.
Lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains provide easy-to-eat options that taste good and are good for you.
4. Watch Those Beverages
A huge majority of “empty” or nutrient-lacking calories comes from sugary drinks and beverages. Sodas, fruit cocktails, and other similar drinks do little to provide lasting energy or nutrients.
Make a change in your grocery list by purchasing only pure fruit juices, low-fat milk, and water. Your family drinks what’s available, so make healthy drinks the only option.
As you use these strategies in your home, you can ensure a healthy diet for everyone, and thereby a healthy lifestyle as well.