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Get nutritionally healthy this National Obesity Month

Get nutritionally healthy this National Obesity Month

October is National Obesity Month. Make a positive lifestyle change by consuming foods that are nutritionally healthier and lower the risk of long-term lifestyle disease, including obesity, which is linked to high blood pressure and diabetes.

By making a few dietary changes and adding a light exercise routine to your weekly schedule, you can delay the affects of ageing, help beat tiredness and fatigue, boost your immune system and help you maintain a weight that is right for you.

The following dietary guidelines will help manage your weight as well as ward off potential life threatening illnesses, such as heart disease.

Fruits: 3 servings

Besides being a great source of nutrition, fruits make quick and easy snacks. Choose fruits that are in season in your area – they are more fresh and provide the most nutrients. Avoid fruits that are canned or drenched in syrup, as these are high in sugar. Try and eat your fruit earlier in the day as they take a while to digest.

Vegetables: 3-5 servings

Vegetables are primary sources of essential vitamins and minerals and are also great sources of fibre. Dark, leafy greens contain the most nutrition and can be eaten at every meal – i.e. spinach, kale, green beans and broccoli.

Grains, Breads and Pastas: 6-11 servings

Whole grains, which are prepared using the entire grain, including the exterior, provide much more nutrition. Try switching from white to whole grain breads and pastas. Carbohydrates are an important source of energy, vitamin B, fibre and minerals.

Proteins: 2-3 servings

Meats and beans are primary sources of protein, which is essential for proper muscle and brain development. Lean, low-fat meats such as chicken, fish, and certain cuts of beef and pork are the best option. Removing the skin and trimming off any visible fat are easy ways to reduce the amount of fat and cholesterol in meats. Tofu and other soy-based products are excellent sources of protein and are healthy alternatives to meat. These examples are great sources of iron.

Dairy: 2-4 servings

Dairy products provide calcium, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients. However, they are also major sources of fat, so it is best to choose reduced-fat or fat-free cheeses, milk and yogurt.

Oils: use sparingly

Oils should be used sparingly. Opt for low-fat versions of products that contain oil, such as salad dressing and mayonnaise. Good oils, such as olive oil, can replace fattier vegetable oil in your diet. Avoid foods that have been deep-fried in oil as they contain a large number of empty calories.