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Health - Nutrition

Healthy eating is essential for a better quality of life, and following proper nutrition guidelines can help you feel more energetic, control your weight, and reduce your risk of certain diseases.

With these five tips from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Mass in Motion initiative, you can start your journey to establishing a more positive diet.

1. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

To immediately boost your nutritional habits, eat more fruits and veggies. High in nutrients and low in calories, they’re a great healthy food choice. HHS recommends 9 to 11 servings each day. The following are guidelines for what equals one serving:

Fruits:

  • Chopped — ½ cup
  • Juice – ½ cup
  • Dried – ¼ cup
  • Fresh — 1 medium-sized piece

Vegetables:

  • Chopped — ½ cup
  • Juice — ¾ cup
  • Leafy greens — 1 cup

All types of fruits and vegetables count, including frozen, canned, and fresh. However, with canned fruits and vegetables, read the label: Avoid veggies with added sodium and fruit packaged in syrup.

2. Eliminate Sugary Drinks

Sugars can be found in some surprising places, including many popular drinks. Follow these tips to rethink your drink and reduce sugar intake:

  • Get in the habit of carrying water with you during the day to avoid sugary drinks when thirsty.
  • If you do buy a sugary drink, stick to the smallest size available.
  • Avoid energy drinks, which are loaded with sugar.
  • Only consume sports drinks after strenuous workouts.
  • Replace soda with carbonated water.

3. Embrace Family Mealtime

One of the best times to establish healthy eating habits is during family meals, which can benefit you and your children in many ways. Here are some ways to tweak mealtime and provide healthy foods for your family:

  • Get Kids Involved — Show your kids how healthy meals are made by letting them help you cook. This will help them establish healthy meal preparation habits.
  • Avoid Distractions and Slow Down — Distractions like TV can lead to overeating. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to realize how much you have eaten, so don’t treat family mealtime like a race.
  • Talk About Your Day — Chatting helps bring you closer together. According to Cornell University researchers, family mealtimes make a difference in kids’ overall quality of life.

4. Shop Smart

If you use these practical grocery shopping tips, you may find yourself consuming more nutrients with no trouble at all.

  • Create a Shopping List — You will be able to focus on what you need, enabling you to get in and out of the store quickly. This reduces your chances of making an impulse buy that often leads to nutritionally poor food in your kitchen.
  • Stick to the Outside Aisles — Fruits and vegetables are usually found here, along with other healthy food.
  • Shop in the Right State of Mind — Stress is often associated with junk food and being hungry while you’re browsing a grocery store can also lead to impulse buys. Avoid the store during these times.
  • Consider Local Farmers Markets — They have locally grown fruits and vegetables, benefiting the environment and your health.

5. Practice Portion Control

Taking steps to downsize your portions prevents overeating. You should try to control the size of your meals at home and at restaurants.

  • Eating at Home — Use small plates, take smaller bites, and enjoy meals slowly.
  • Dining in Restaurants — Eat only half of your plate, share meals with a friend, and ask for salad dressing on the side. Check out other useful tips for healthy eating out.

What are your tips for healthy eating? Share them with us by commenting below or tweeting @MassGov.

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