Start the year with a resolution for healthy eating. Here are five tips to start your nutrition right this year:
- Think Ahead
Planning meals does not mean you have to have everything figured out. Think of a simple list of breakfast, lunch, or dinner ideas and things you like to eat. This can help you get started with planning some healthy options and using what is already in your fridge. If you are up for advanced meal planning and meal prep, think about what hiccups you may have during the week that may make you pivot your plans. The Navy has some great meal planning examples to help you meet your health goals. Check it out here to get started.
- Be Aware of Quick Fixes
With thousands of dietary supplements on the market, it may seem that there is a quick fix to help you reach your health goals. But buyer beware—many dietary supplements do not go through pre-market checks to see if they are safe or effective before going on store shelves. Dietary supplements are not verified for safety until reports about people getting sick come to the attention of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Tainted supplements also exist—what is in the bottle may not match up with what is on the ingredients list. This can put you at risk of taking illegal ingredients and can result in a positive urinalysis. If you are already taking supplements or considering adding one to your diet, check out the high-risk and prohibited lists or use the supplement screener from DoD’s Operation Supplement Safety Team to help you make an informed decision.
- Consider Convenience
Ready-made foods like chopped veggies or fruits can cost a bit more than their pre-processed counterparts, but that does not mean they may not be worth buying. If purchasing chopped onions, rotisserie chicken or meal kits help you meet your nutrition goals, go for it. Setting up your environment—whether at home or in the barracks—to make the healthy choice the easy choice will make it better for you to stick to your goals.
- Choose More Fruits and Veggies
Incorporating more whole fruits and vegetables can help you save on calories, increase your fiber intake to make you feel fuller, and gets you a ton of vitamins and minerals to keep your body healthy. Consider swapping a piece of fruit if you are craving something sweet. Want something crunchy? Try apples with nut butter or fresh cucumber with lemon. Try different fruits and veggies to see what you like. If you enjoy the fruits and veggies you are trying, you are more likely to stick to your health goals. Click here for more tips for each food group.
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Often thirst gets confused with hunger. We could be reaching for a second helping of food when our bodies may actually be asking for fluids. To find out about how much water you should be drinking per day, divide your body weight in half. For example, if you weigh 170 lbs., you should be getting about 85 ounces of water per day. Beverages like coffee and tea can be included in your required daily intake, but be sure to watch your caffeine intake since too much caffeine can harm your health. Click here to learn more about caffeine and performance.
Caring for your nutrition is one of the most important steps in keeping you healthy and mission ready. Visit the performance nutrition tab at www.fitness.marines.mil or visit your local Semper Fit Health Promotion Program for more nutrition resources available on your installation.