By Diana Soto, RN – Community Health Nurse & Senior Program Manager
Diana serves as Esperança’s Community Health Nurse & Senior Program Manager, providing education sessions to seniors living in HUD housing as well as other heads of household. These classes are designed to help participants understand the effect that food has on their bodies and ultimately, their overall health. This National Nutrition Month, Diana is sharing her top ten tips for living a healthier life!
- Be sure to drink enough water daily (at least half your body weight in ounces). The sensation of thirst and hunger in our stomachs are very similar – so if a body is well hydrated it keeps us from constantly thinking we are hungry.
- Start by eliminating one non-healthy food item from your diet, preferably one that is eaten the most, and then proceed to eliminate other unhealthy food items one at a time. People tend to feel overwhelmed when they have to give up too many things at once, which can make them give up before they even start!
- To avoid the temptation of eating unhealthy food, start at the source – don’t purchase the food, don’t have it in your house! When unhealthy food is not easily accessible, chances are greater that we will not eat it.
- Try a new recipe using healthy grains ( quinoa, brown rice..etc) and a variety of vegetables. You may be surprised at how tasty healthy food can be.
- Prepare your meals ahead of time- this keeps us from grabbing unhealthy foods to eat for lunch or for dinner when we are short on time.
- When you get done eating dinner – leave the kitchen/dining room. Take a bottle of water with you to a room furthest from the kitchen and drink water if temptation to eat arises.
- Learn what a portion is and serve yourself appropriately.
- Keep track of times you give in to eating something unhealthy and then think about what was going on at the time you gave in. Was it stress relating eating? Were you sad? Mad? Tired? Unprepared? Once you know what is triggering your indulgence you will avoid those situations or learn healthier coping strategies instead of self-medicating with food.
- When going out to eat, instead of have both an unhealthy appetizer and entree, try to have an appetizer you like, but an entree that is healthier like a salad with chicken. Choosing one unhealthy thing to eat is better than having an entire unhealthy meal.
- Snack on nuts and seeds- they have good fats and fiber which helps us feel full and keep us from eating unhealthy snacks. Carry them with you in your purse or backpack – that way there always on hand when hunger strikes and you are not tempted to get chips or cookies.