Another year draws to a close and you may be busy making a new year resolution list. Did you know losing weight and getting healthy are in the top 5 of consumers’ lists? I have always said that “good health starts with your grocery cart”. What you put in your cart will ultimately end up in you or your family, so it only makes sense to start with a clean cart. What do I mean by a clean cart? A clean cart focuses on whole foods and only processed foods you can read and understand the ingredient label. It means planning and taking some time to cook. It may even mean that your family starts eating dinner together, if you don’t already. It doesn’t mean that it is hard. You may have to let go of some unhealthy patterns of convenience, but isn’t your health worth it? Let’s toast to the five easy ways you can make your new years resolutions come true.
UPDATE FOR 2016: Download it here.
#1 KNOW YOUR LABEL LANGUAGE
Knowing your label language is the most important step in getting healthy. You need to know what you are looking for. Are you shopping for diabetes, weight loss, heart disease, or celiac? Conflicting terminology and sleek marketing can make it difficult for shoppers.
Natural, Organic, Simple, Simply, Nature
When you see packaging with any of these words, most people think that it is better for them. Only one of those terms is regulated and it is organic.
Sugar Free vs. No Sugar Added
One of my pet peeves is seeing sugar free on a box of cookies or package of bread. When shopping for diabetes, consumers should look for total carbohydrate more than sugars. Many times sugar free items are loaded with sugar alcohols that can cause GI distress. It also doesn’t mean it is carbohydrate free. Carbs still count in blood glucose control. No sugar added means no extra sugar was added to the product. You still need to look at total carbohydrate.
Eating Non-GMO comes down to personal choice. If you do not want to eat genetically engineered foods, there are 2 third party regulators. The Non-GMO project and GMO Guard by Natural Food Certifiers. Look for their labels on packaging.
Unless you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, there is not a medical reason to avoid gluten. These products have grown in popularity, and many use it for weight loss. It’s not a good weight loss method due to the fact many gluten free products are higher in calories. Gluten free products are regulated by the FDA.
#2 FIBER FOCUSED
According to a study from the Journal of Nutrition, less than 3% of Americans meet their daily requirement for fiber of 25-35 grams a day. Fiber is a important part of a healthy diet because it can help reduce your risk for disease like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Fiber is also vital for digestive health. For consumers, fiber remains a topic of confusion. Package labeling with “whole grains” and ” made with whole grains” may mislead the consumer into thinking the product if full of fiber. Ways to overcome this barrier are to eat more plant based foods and look for the whole grain stamp as well as the total fiber content on the food label. Products with 5 grams of or more per serving are acceptable choices especially in cereals and pastas.
#3 PLANT POWER
While people are eating more fruits and vegetables, there is definitely room for improvement. According to the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s report, 2010 State of the Plate, the average American eats less than 2 cups of fruits and vegetables in a day. USDA recommends people make half their plates fruits and vegetables. Depending on age and gender, people should be consuming between 1-2 cups a day of fruit and between 1-3 cups a day of vegetables. You can learn more about how many fruits and vegetables you should eat at www.choosemyplate.gov.
#4 MORE OMEGA’S
Omega 3’s are polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) that can contribute to health and help combat arthritis, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, ADHD, brain development, depression, and more. What many consumers may not realize is that Omega 3’s have 3 components. EPA and DHA are found in fish sources while ALA comes from vegetables oils, walnuts, flaxseed, chia, wheat germ, leafy greens, and some grass fed beef. Many products on the market are now fortified with Omega 3’s such as milk, eggs, peanut butter, spreads, and bars. The NIH has recommends eating 2 – 4 ounce portions of fish a week for health benefits.
#5 PURE PROTEIN
Plant sources of protein including soybeans, lentils, beans, quinoa, vegetables and nuts are becoming more popular. Many of these are even being used to replace flours, especially nut based flours. Plant protein sources are low in fat and cholesterol and contain beneficial fiber, vitamins and minerals. Other sources of pure proteins include organic meats, cheeses, eggs and organic milk . These choices contain cholesterol and saturated fat, unlike their plant counterparts. The Recommended Daily Allowance for protein is 56 grams a day for adult men and 46 grams a day for adult women.
Nutrition Education Display Ideas for Dietitians
A new year means a new beginning. Take your nutrition messages from bland to glam with DIY ideas that are cheap and easy. Download ready to use graphics and table toppers to use for your next media interview or nutrition presentation. Make your nutrition messages sparkle in 2014! Give your audience something to grab their attention and keep coming back for more.
For this display, I used empty wine bottles and spray painted them metallic silver. I cut gold metallic foil wrap and card stock to wrap around the bottle. I labeled each of my bottles with the grocery tip. The champagne cups are plastic from the dollar store. I printed and cut my tags out and then secured them to a straw I had cut into 3 parts. I used a tray, plate, and dessert cups I had from home. You can tailor the products however you like. This is a great way to get people talking about the new year and ways to improve their health. I have provided the tags and you can use the jpegs above to print out after you import into a word document.