Spring into Action with Healthful Lifestyle Habits

By Meredith Mensinger, RD, LDN Corporate Dietitian, Redner’s Warehouse Markets

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight throughout one’s lifespan is necessary to ensuring good health and an improved quality of life. One in every three U.S. adults is overweight or obese resulting in many diet-related chronic diseases. Poor eating habits and physical inactivity are the two main factors that have contributed to this epidemic. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans can help individuals make healthful choices and lifestyle changes to improve their overall health and wellbeing.

Increase Nutrition and Eat More (but stay within your calorie limits!)

Although the average American diet appears to be in excess in most categories, surprisingly there are many nutrient gaps. We tend to fall short on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products. As a result, dietary intakes of potassium, dietary fi ber, calcium, and vitamin D are lower than desired. Increasing certain foods and food components, such as those listed below, should be part of an overall healthy eating pattern to help us reshape our future!

Increase vegetable and fruit intake.

Consume at least half of all grains as whole grains. Increase whole-grain intake by replacing refined grains with whole grains. Increase intake of fatfree or low-fat milk and milk products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, or fortified soy beverages.

Choose a variety of protein foods, which include seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
Increase the amount and variety of seafood consumed by choosing seafood in place of some meat and poultry.

Time to Cut Back

Although there are no particular foods or nutrients that are solely responsible for the current health status of our nation, there are food components that are consumed in excess that contribute to this problem. These include sodium, solid fats, added sugars, and refi ned grains. The following recommendations are based on evidence that eating less of these foods and food components can help maintain appropriate calorie levels and reduce disease risk.

Reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) and further reduce intake to 1,500 mg if you are at risk for high blood pressure.

Consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Consume less than 300 mg per day of dietary cholesterol.

Keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible by limiting foods that contain synthetic sources of trans fats, such as partially hydrogenated oils.

Reduce the intake of calories from solid fats and added sugars.

If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age.