Many people still are pressing on with resolutions to eat healthier or taking the time to learn more about making smart food choices. At the Etowah County Extension Office with our Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education, we are committed to providing residents tools to maintain a healthy lifestyle and make informed food choices.
Changing exercise patterns and making new dietary choices is hard work, but it is work worth doing. There are four key components to making these lifestyle tweaks that will add up to big changes. While we won’t advocate a particular trendy diet, we do provide evidence-based recommendations that come directly from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These recommendations outline the key patterns of healthy eating.
First, our guidelines recommend at least two and half cups of vegetables a day and two cups of fruit. Sofia Sanchez, Alabama Extension community health specialist and registered dietitian, said beets offer nutrients that promote blood vessel health. “Try roasting sliced beets with a drizzle of olive oil in the oven for a different option,” she said.
The second key recommendation is to include healthy protein in your diet, from either plants or animals. Beans that are low in sodium and seafood that is low in mercury, along with other lean proteins, are great options.
Third, whole grains are an important part of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Adults should shoot to make half of their daily grains whole grains. Tasty options like whole-grain rice or quinoa, instead of white race, can help meet this goal, or you can look for bread that says “100% Whole Grain.”
Our last recommendation is more holistic — set small attainable goals. With apologies for a quasi-food-based joke, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
If you learn about the foods you are including in your diet, you can make small but meaningful goals. At the risk of using a weather-based idiom as well, these steps can snowball and you can make tremendous life changes, leading to a healthy outcome.
For more information about what SNAP-Ed does to improve Alabamians’ quality of life, or for tips for living a healthier lifestyle, visit LiveWellALabama.com or visit us on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
You also can reach out to our SNAP-ED educator, Karen Howle Hurst, at email@example.com or 256-547-7936.
For more information on this topic and many others, contact the Etowah County Extension Office, 256-547-7936 or 3200 A W. Meighan Blvd., Gadsden. Eric Wright is extension coordinator for the Etowah County Extension Office.