By 1st Lt. Karla Bell, Tripler Army Medical Center Nutrition Care DivisionMarch 1, 2013
"It's only March and I'm already finding it hard to stick to my New Year's resolutions. What are some ways I can stay on track?"
At the beginning of the New Year many of us have the great intention to start eating healthier. But for some reason that New Year resolution starts to deteriorate after a short time, and we tend to go back to our old eating habits.
What can we do to make sure we sustain this new healthier eating lifestyle?
Make sure to build an eating plan with your unique lifestyle and nutritional needs in mind. This will make it easier to adhere to the new healthy lifestyle, regardless of your busy lifestyle or food preferences.
March is National Nutrition Month, and this year's theme is "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day." It encourages personalized healthy eating styles and recognizes that preferences, lifestyle, cultural and ethnic traditions can impact individual food choices.
Use the following tips and tricks to help sustain a healthier you and avoid falling into those old eating habits:
•If you tend to do mainly desktop dining, you will most likely lean towards on-the-go foods. Try to keep foods such as peanut butter, individual wheat cracker packets, whole grain bread, tuna or fruit in your desk.
If there is a refrigerator available in your office, bring leftovers from home, Greek yogurt, fresh cut fruits or veggies, hummus or low sodium frozen foods.
Always keep water around to ensure you are well-hydrated and not tempted to run the vending machine to get a soft drink, juice or any other sugary beverages.
•Are you a student on a budget? Make sure to stock up on healthier snacks that contain both protein and carbohydrates to help control your appetite or the urge to stop by drive--through restaurants.
You can prepare for the week ahead by having hardboiled eggs ready to ensure you don't skip breakfast when running late to class. String cheese, apples, bananas, yogurt, and unsalted almonds are other snacks to keep on hand to make sure your brain is fueled.
•Whether you are competitive athlete or just like to work out on a regular basis, fueling and hydrating before, during and after workouts is a must. Your diet and hydration status will affect your performance.
Eat a small snack or breakfast before your workouts containing carbohydrates, protein and small amounts of fat. Be sure to replace fluids lost by hydrating before, during and after with water or low-sugar sports drinks.
•Being vegetarian does not necessarily preclude you from being deficient in certain nutrients, or mean you are healthier than omnivores.
Make sure you're getting the right types of vegetables in your diet. Choose veggies that contain high amounts of calcium, iron and B vitamins that are usually attained from animal products.
There are a variety of ways to incorporate a balanced diet, even as a vegetarian. Look for powerhouse foods such as nutrient-rich beans, vegetarian chili, hummus, broccoli, spinach and kale.
•If you are a busy parent who is always taking care of everyone else, it can be tough to look out for yourself. Preparing meals that are well balanced will help keep you healthy, and promote healthier eating habits for your children.
Trying new recipes is a great way to not only help introduce new foods, but also keep children engaged in meal preparation. Allowing children to play a role in preparing meals encourages them to try it. Other tasks children can help prepare are setting the table, making a salad and clearing the table after a meal is done.
No matter what your lifestyle is, there are ways to sustain a healthier you. Staying motivated, planning ahead, and having basic nutrition knowledge and a support line can help ease the process.
Remember eat right, your way, everyday!
(Editor's Note: Ask the Dietitian is a monthly column. Have a question? Email email@example.com.)