March is National Nutrition Month! Nutrition plays an important role in helping you maintain a healthy lifestyle. In addition to helping you feel and look better, healthy eating is good for your overall health and well-being. The Education and Academic Affairs Department at the Hospital for Special Surgery offers five nutrition facts you should keep in mind daily:
1. Rethink your drink Soda and other sweet drinks contain a lot of sugar, are high in calories and lack healthy nutrients. Drink water, 100% juice or fat-free milk. Dilute fruit juices with water or seltzer.
2. Size matters Keeping an eye on portion size is key to maintaining a healthy weight. Avoid supersized portions. Use a smaller plate, bowl and glass. Stop eating when you are satisfied, not full.
3. Focus on fiber Whole grains are an excellent source of fiber. Fiber aids in your digestion and may lower your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Also, high fiber foods can keep you fuller longer, which helps keep you from overeating.
4. Color your plate Including several types of colorful fruits and vegetables to your plate adds lots of healthy vitamins and minerals to your meals. It’s important to eat an array of these foods to give your body the tools it needs to keep you healthy.
5. Snack smarter Snacking can help maintain energy. Stay away from sugary foods like candy or soda since they have little nutritional value. Instead, choose healthier options like fruit, yogurt, nuts, cut-up vegetables or whole grain crackers. Be mindful of portions and how many calories your snacks provide. Examples of snacks include a handful of walnuts, half a cup of low-fat yogurt topped with berries, one cup of sliced vegetables with hummus or one slice of whole wheat bread topped with peanut butter and bananas.