Tips for Improving Your Nutritional Health
Good health comes from eating a well-balanced diet. This
means making sure you regularly eat foods that have a lot of vitamins
and minerals in them, as well as foods that are not high in fat.
You should drink milk every day to give your bones the calcium that
makes them strong, foods that are high in fiber are good for you,
and you should try to eat several fruits and vegetables every day.
Do I need to make changes
in my diet?
If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you may need
to talk about nutrition with your doctor:
- Has your doctor talked to you about a medical problem or
a risk factor such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol?
- Did your doctor tell you that this condition could be improved
by changing your diet?
- Do diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or osteoporosis run
in your family?
- Are you overweight or have you gained weight over the years?
- Do you have questions about what kinds of foods you should
eat or whether you should take vitamins?
- Do you think that you would benefit from seeing a nutritionist?
A nutritionist is a registered dietitian who specializes in nutrition
Won’t it be hard to change
Not necessarily, but it will take time so try not to get discouraged.
The key is to keep trying to eat the right foods and stay in touch
with your doctor and nutritionist to let them know how you are doing.
Here are a few suggestions to help you change your diet:
If so, good; you are on the right track. Keep it up. If not, you can
learn the changes that you need to make. Make small, slow changes
instead of trying to make large, fast changes. This will make it easier
for the changes to become a part of your everyday life. Every few
days keep track of your food intake by writing down what you ate and
drank that day. Use this record to help you see if you need to eat
more from any other food groups, such as fruits and vegetables or
dairy products. Think about asking for help from a nutritionist, if
you haven’t already done so, especially if you have a medical problem
that requires you to follow a special diet.
- Find the strong points and weak points in your current diet.
- Do you eat three to five servings of fruits and vegetables
- Do you get enough calcium?
- Do you eat high fiber foods regularly?
Can I trust the nutrition
information I get from newspapers and/or magazines?
Nutrition tips from different sources can sometimes conflict with
each other. You should always check with your physician first. Also,
keep in mind this advice; there is no “magic bullet” when it comes
to nutrition. There is not one diet that works for every person. You
need to find a diet that works for you. Good nutrition does not come
in a vitamin pill. You can take vitamin pills to be sure you are getting
enough vitamins and minerals, but your body benefits the most from
eating healthy foods. Eating all different kinds of foods is best
for your body. Learn to try new foods. Fad diets offer short-term
changes but good health comes from long term effort and commitment.
Stories from people who have used a diet program or product, especially
in commercials and info-mercials, are ways to sell more of their product.
Remember, weight gain or other problems that come up after the program
is over are never talked about in the ads.
What changes can I make
now in my diet?
Almost everyone can benefit from cutting back on fat in the diet.
If your current diet is high in fat, try making these changes:
- Eat thee to four servings of low-fat dairy products each day.
You can use reduced-fat cheeses and non-fat yogurt. For example,
if you make pizza at home, try using part-skim mozzarella cheese
- Eat baked, grilled, and broiled foods rather than fried foods.
- Take the skin off before eating chicken.
- Eat fish at least once a week.
- Cut back on the extra fat that sneaks into your diet, such as
butter or margarine on bread, sour cream on baked potatoes, and
salad dressings on salad.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables with your meals and as snacks.
- When eating away from home, watch out for “hidden” fats in larger
- Read the nutritional labels on foods before you buy them. If
you need help reading the labels, ask your doctor or your nutritionist.
Drink milk. Milk is important because it is a rich source of calcium.
However, if you are still drinking whole milk you are getting too
much fat. Sometimes people try skim milk once and do not like the
taste or the way it looks in coffee. They go back to drinking whole
milk. It might help to make a gradual change, starting with 2% milk.
After three to six months change to 1% milk. You might try mixing
whole milk and 2% milk or 2% milk and 1% milk for a few weeks. Soon
you will be able to enjoy drinking skim milk.
There are many benefits to a low-fat high-fiber diet, even if your
weight never changes. So try to set goals you have a good chance
of reaching, such as loosing one pound a week, or lowering your
blood cholesterol level.