Welcome to Self Soul Space! This blog is designed to bring you healthy lifestyle tips. A true healthy lifestyle, embodies a healthy mind, body, spirit, and environment. Thanks for stopping by to check out my way of living.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

National Nutrition Month

Yay, it's March... Finally! And it's National Nutrition Month; is it me, or does it seem like there's a "month" for everything?!?  However, NNM is a good month to celebrate.  The USDA recommends for proper nutrition, we (as adults) eat a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free/low-fat milk & milk products.  It should include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. A diet that is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars.

What does it all mean?  What's a proper serving size?  How do I make sure I'm getting enough?  How do I make the most out of my meal, nutritionally? I Prefer not to eat meat, now what?  Are these are some of your questions?  Here are the nutritional breakdowns by MyPlate & the USDA, and some of my suggestions:

Fruits & Vegetables: Should take up half your plate
Daily Serving Recommendations:
Fruit: 1.5-2 cups; 1 large banana/orange/apple/peach/pear = 1 cup; 1/2 cup of dried fruit = 1 cup equivalent
Veggies: 2-3 cups; 1 cup of cooked/raw veg; 2 cups dark leafy greens = 1 cup equivalent
Salads are a great way to add both fruit & veggies to a meal
Juicing is another great way to get both a serving of fruit and veggies in (carrot, apple, pineapple one of my favs)

Grains-Whole & Refined: At least half of grain daily serving should be whole grains
Daily Serving Recommendations: 5-8oz; 1 slice of bread, 1 cup cereal, or 1/2 cup cooked rice-pasta = 1 oz equivalent.
Whole Grains: Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel ― the bran, germ, and endosperm.
Refined Grains: Refined grains have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ. This is done to give grains a finer texture and improve their shelf life, but it also removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins; i.e. white flour
Brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal are great options
If weight-loss is a goal in addition to nutrition, limit refined grains.

Protein: Lean meats, eggs, beans, and nuts are great options
Daily Serving Recommendation: 5-6.5oz; 1/4 cup cooked beans, or 1 tbsp of peanut butter = 1 oz equivalent
Vegetarian/Vegan: Vegetarian options in the Protein Foods Group include beans and peas, processed soy products, and nuts and seeds.
Buy lean meats in pre-portioned amounts, to avoid over eating
Try meatless options, even if your not a vegetarian; Beans & rice are a yummy meal
Greek yogurt has protein in it too!

Dairy: switch to fat-free (or low fat/1%) milk & dairy products
Daily Serving Recommendation: 3 cups; 1 cup of milk-soymilk, 1 cup of yogurt, 1.5 oz hard cheese, 1/3 cup of shredded cheese = 1 cup equivalent
Try soymilk, its a yummy addition to cereal
Cheese sticks are a great snack, that counts as 1 serving
Greek yogurt, is a double duty food, counts for both protein & dairy serving

Overall, good nutrition is imperative to a healthy lifestyle.  Enjoy your food, but eat less; avoid oversize portions; increase fruits and vegetables; eat whole grains; limit fat, processed, sodium-rich foods; and drink more water!! So, why not take a month, better yet, take a year and dedicate it to eating healthy!

p.s.  Healthy food can taste good too, get creative!!


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