Nutrition is a Building Block for Health
Nutrition is essential to your health. Food gives your body the building blocks it needs to grow throughout your lifetime, fend off seasonal sniffles and feel energized to take on each day. No one food or specific diet can prevent illness or health issues, but a thoughtful approach to eating is an important way to care for your body today and into the future.
4 Everyday Nutrition Tips
In celebration of National Nutrition Month® this March, we’re diving into four practical nutrition tips that can help you form healthy eating habits. When it comes to your health, simple changes add up to create a big impact! So, instead of eliminating a food group or changing your entire routine, try incorporating these simple tips when you plan your family meals, reach for a snack or shop at the grocery store.
- Eat the rainbow. Look down at your plate – do you see a variety of colors? Fruits and vegetables of different colors contain different pigments which are linked to higher levels of specific nutrients. For example, red produce (such as tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit) is often rich in lycopene, which has antioxidant properties and has been linked to health benefits ranging from heart health to protection against sunburns. By getting a variety of colors in your diet, you’re eating an array of vitamins and minerals.
- Keep a well-stocked kitchen. Preparing food at home can help you stay on track with your health goals. A pantry or freezer stocked with a variety of nutrient-rich, affordable ingredients makes it easier to pull together healthy snacks or last-minute meals.
Set your mealtimes up for success with a pantry full of shelf-stable products like beans, lentils, canned vegetables (with no added salt), canned fish or chicken, and whole grains (such as brown rice, quinoa, oats or whole-grain pasta). Frozen foods like vegetables, fruits, poultry or seafood are also worth keeping on hand.
- Use percent Daily Value (%DV) as a guide. Get in the habit of reading food labels! The Nutrition Facts label provides a wealth of information, including %DVs which are a helpful guide to see how a particular food and beverage fits into your daily eating plan.
If a nutrient is under 5% it is considered a low item. You should aim for items low in total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. In contrast, 20% or above is considered high. For vitamins, minerals, and fiber, it’s positive to have high values. Do note that percent DVs represent an average level of nutrients for a person eating 2,000 calories per day, which may not be reflective of your personal calorie needs. Learn more about %DV on the U.S. Food & Drug Administration website.
- Watch portion sizes. Have you ever thought about how your portion size compares to the listed serving size listed on a food label? To get a gut check, try using a measuring spoon or cup to portion out a serving as listed on the Nutrition Facts label.
It’s also helpful to think about portioning your plate for different food categories. For example, use half your plate for fruits and vegetables, and the other half for grains and lean protein foods.
Reaching Your Health Goals
At Exemplar Care, we are passionate about partnering with our members and patients as they reach their healthcare goals. We listen, meet you where you are, and find ways to provide the right care in the right place at the right time.
If you want to discuss strategies for how nutrition can be a part of your health journey, our team of care providers would love to connect. Give us a call at 515-650-4370 or contact us online.