Do you ever get home from a great sweat at Hot Yoga and indulge in a craving for a sweet or a salty food and then regret it after working so hard for 90 minutes? Does it make you feel like it will be impossible to meet your fitness goals? The good news is that with a few simple changes to your eating and cooking habits, you can still eat right with these occasional treats and not feel the guilt!
March is National Nutrition Month, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. Start building a smarter plate by choosing fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. These are foods that are packed with the nutrients you need without all the added sugars and solid fats. In addition, you can reduce your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke simply by eating less sodium.
Here are tips for building a smarter plate:
Eat Fewer Foods High in Saturated Fats
- Opt for extra-lean ground beef, turkey and chicken. Cut back on processed meats such as hot dogs, salami and bacon.
- Grill, broil, bake or steam foods instead of frying.
- Cook with healthy oils like olive, canola and sunflower oils in place of hydrogenated, partially-hydrogenated oils or butter.
- Select low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese.
Choose Foods and Drinks with Little or No Added Sugars
- Switch to water, low-fat or fat-free milk or 100-percent fruit juice in moderate amounts.
- For additional taste, add lemons, limes or cucumbers to water or drink carbonated water.
- Eat fresh fruit for dessert instead of cakes, cookies or pastries.
- Buy foods with little-to-no added sugars, like unsweetened applesauce or unsweetened whole-grain cereals.
Cut Back on Sodium
- Instead of salt, use herbs and spices to season foods.
- Do not add salt when cooking pasta, rice and vegetables.
- Read the Nutrition Facts Panel to compare the sodium content of high-sodium foods like pre-made foods, frozen meals, bread and canned soups and vegetables
Laurie Taunton MS RD