ShareThis Page
Strive for healthy eating ‘most of the time’ | TribLIVE.com
Health

Strive for healthy eating ‘most of the time’

Shirley McMarlin
| Tuesday, January 22, 2019 1:30 a.m
660576_web1_gtr-hth-habits-012219
Creative Commons
Striving to eat healthy “most of the time” helps in maintaining fitness resolutions.

It’s still January. How are those New Year’s resolutions coming along? Nutrition experts tell us our biggest challenge to long-term health is sticking to a plan for the long term.

Not that our intentions aren’t honorable. It’s just that words like “routine” and “consistency” don’t often match life’s erratic and unpredictable circumstances.

How ’bout we give ourselves a break and focus on “most of the time” this year? Sometimes situations merit some flexibility.

We’ve all been there: A social function where we are served a menu that doesn’t exactly fit into our health goals. An emergency that forces us to eat dinner from a vending machine.

The good news

Here’s the good news: Normal eating involves giving ourselves permission to decide how we will handle each and every eating opportunity this year. My decision to eat a chocolate covered pecan and caramel candy from the local sweet shop for lunch will not ruin me for life … unless I make it a daily habit.

So in the spirit of encouragement, let’s keep going with those resolutions. Each day, with each eating encounter, let us ask ourselves, “How important is this to me right now?” and “What is the best decision I can make if I want to reach my health goal?”

Here are some “most of the time” habits to help us reach our nutrition goals:

• Eat at least three small meals a day at reasonable intervals. Our bodies burn calories more efficiently when we don’t overload the system with a day’s supply of food at one time.

• Pay attention to how your body signals you to start and stop eating. That means beginning to recognize true body hunger — the time to start eating. Then learn to eat slow enough to feel the “I’m not hungry anymore” signal to stop eating.

• Remind yourself — especially when you want to eat but you’re not really hungry — to drink water, tea, coffee or other calorie-free beverages. Sometimes we confuse thirst with hunger.

• Decide to add more fiber to your daily routine. Remember that fiber is only found in foods of plant origin. Most of the time, strive to include a vegetable, a fruit and/or a whole-grain food with each meal.

• Decide if you need to cut back on alcohol. The holidays are over; spiked eggnog is no longer in fad. And alcohol is not an essential food group.

• For all eating occasions, put into your head the image of a plate portioned into four sectors.

One section is for protein-rich foods (fish, poultry, meat, cheese, soy foods), another is for starches (pasta, rice, potatoes, bread, crackers). Reserve the remaining two sections — the largest part of your plate — for non-starchy vegetables (leafy greens, tomatoes, carrots, green beans, zucchini and a host of others) and fruit.

Oh, and one more reminder if you’re striving to eat less and move more this year: It’s hard to eat while you’re exercising.


Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator affiliated with Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. She is the author of “Quinn-Essential Nutrition” (Westbow Press, 2015). Email her at barbaraquinnessentialnutrition.com.


Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, smcmarlin@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

Categories: News | Health Now
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.