As part of our Eat Well Live Well series, we recently sat down with two Master of Science Registered Dietitians, Savannah Pritchett and Maggie Joly, who together design the food and nutrition program at Fair Haven in Birmingham, Alabama. Their tips for healthy eating were captured in a YouTube video, which also includes advice about oils, sugars, plant-based foods, and more! If you want to watch the easy 19-minute video, you can click here to view it.
Here are Savannah and Maggie’s Top 10 Recommendations for Healthy Eating:
#1 Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables
Current United States dietary guidelines recommend that everyone to eat 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables every day. Fruits and vegetables add color, texture and variety to your diet. The other half of your plate is for protein (like chicken or fish) and carbohydrates (such as rice or pasta).
#2 Vary Your Protein Choices
Chicken and beef are not your only choices. You can also get protein from seafood, nuts, legumes/beans and even Greek yogurt and cottage cheese.
#3 Limit Sodium (Salt)
The current recommendation is to get 2300 milligrams of sodium a day, which most Americans more than get. Refrain from adding salt at the table. Your doctor may recommend that you get even less salt per day, depending on your health condition.
#4 Watch Out For Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
Sugar-sweetened beverages include drinks like sodas and sweet tea, but don’t forget that fruit juices, even 100% fruit juices, can have a lot of added sugar. You’ll want to limit fruit juices in your diet.
#5 Use Proper Portion Sizes
Portion sizes are often much smaller than what you think they are. For example, this photo shows the proper portion size of grapes. If you’re like most people, you would find yourself eating far more grapes that this in one sitting.
#6 Read & Understand Nutrition Labels
During a Facebook Live event, Maggie Joly took viewers through how to read and understand the new nutrition labels, so click here if you would like to view that video. Another place to get information about food label is at this link on the US Food and Drug Administration website.
#7 Slow Down At Meals
If you eat slowly, it gives your brain and your stomach time to talk to each other. Give your body time to register when you have reached “satiety”, which is the point where your brain acknowledges that you have had enough to eat.
#8 Get Plenty of Fiber
Fiber is going to be found in things like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Most Americans are only taking in about 15 grams of fiber a day, while the recommendation is to get 25 grams each day. Eating whole grains rather than heavily processed grains, eating whole fruits rather than fruit juices, or snacking on a serving of nuts and seeds – all of these can help increase your daily fiber intake.
#9 Get Plenty Of Water (Stay Hydrated)
A good rule of thumb is the 8 by 8 rule: get 8 glasses of 8 oz. of water or more every day.
#10 If You Have Questions, Consult a Registered Dietitian
Registered dietitians are the nutrition authorities and can help you plan the best eating plan for your specific needs. Eatright.org is a free online resource with a button called “Find An Expert” that can help you locate a Registered Dietitian in your area.
For more information about life at Fair Haven, including details on our how to make Fair Haven your new home, contact Lifestyle Specialist Ardell Fleeson at 205-880-1942, or send an email to her at AFleeson@fairhavenbirmingham.org.