Editor’s note: This news story appeared in a special section that printed on Jan. 25, 2019. People can purchase the section, contained in that day’s newspaper, by visiting the Register, 314 W. Market St., Sandusky.
SANDUSKY — Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a challenge.
For those who struggle to stay away from salty or sugary goods, perhaps a simpler approach is necessary to meet your nutritional needs.
“Where most people can start is to consume more fruits and vegetables,” said Joseph Gast, an online nutrition coach and graduate student with a dietetics focus.
Consuming an assortment of foods that give you the nutrients — protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins and minerals — helps an individual feel more energized, experience fewer cravings throughout the day, helps boost your mood and lowers the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Everybody requires a supply of macronutrients, proteins, fats and carbohydrates, and micronutrients, vitamins and minerals. Macronutrients can include oats, fish, chicken, nuts, avocados, eggs and more. Micronutrients can include fruits, green leafy vegetables, herbs, broccoli, sweet potatoes and more, Gast said.
“To maintain a healthy eating habit, you want to have a diet rich in macronutrients and micronutrients,” Gast said.
Understanding portion control and a serving size is the key to healthy eating.
“What I like to do is think about your plate having three sections: 50 percent vegetables, 25 percent starchy carbs and 25 percent protein,” Gast said. “Veggies will be very filling and will help regulate your portions. Also drinking more water will help an individual feel more full.”
Healthy foods are different depending on the person. It is important to remember people are not the same and have different genetic and cultural traits, he said.
“Nothing is black and white. Everything comes down to context,” Gast said. “Everybody is different and requires different amounts of calories, have different hormones, experience different lifestyles and respond differently to certain ingredients,” Gast said.
To make it simple, remember these rulea for better health and wellness, according to Gast:
• Exercising makes a huge difference. I recommend exercising 3-5 times a week to maintain muscle mass.
• Try to be active throughout the day. For example, take the stairs, walk more often, stand up more, park your car farther out in parking lots, walk around the house during commercial breaks and more.
• One healthy meal won’t make you lean, one unhealthy meal won’t make you gain fat. It’s all about consistency and your eating habits in the long-term.
• Eat a diet consisting mainly of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and nuts. But also don’t be afraid to sit back, relax and enjoy some of your favorite foods every once in a while.
• Finding similar, but healthy alternatives to your favorite unhealthy foods is far more sustainable in my opinion than making drastic changes that are restricting, which sets you up for binging more often than not.
• Only focus on losing 1-2 pounds a week, at the most.
• Focus on very small changes. The key is to make the changes practical and sustainable.
• Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle.
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