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7 Ways to Improve Your Nutrition
This month, Saber Healthcare is educating our audience about nutrition. What you eat can determine your looks, feelings, and overall wellbeing.
But how do you improve your nutrition? You probably already know that you need to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, but you might be looking for small ways you can be healthier.
Here are seven easy ways to improve your diet and overall nutrition today.
Choose Whole Grain over White Bread
One choice you can make to start eating healthier today is by choosing to eat whole grain over white bread.
Did you know that white bread doesn’t contain all the nutrients that a grain kernel has? White bread contains endosperm (a type of starch) but lacks whole grain bread’s natural vitamins, nutrients, fiber, proteins, and fats.1
Furthermore, a study confirmed that whole grain foods helped the body digest food quicker. The researchers had people eat cheese sandwiches with whole grain bread and white bread. They concluded after the study that those who ate processed foods had a 46.8% lower digestive rate than those who consumed whole grains.2
With these health benefits in mind, you can see why simply switching your bread from white to whole grain can help you eat healthier.
Cook More at Home
Another way you can start being healthier today is by cooking more meals at home. Did you know that Americans go out to eat an estimated 5.9 times a week on average?3
If you find yourself ordering food online often, you might want to think about the overall health impact it can have on your body. And even if you order a salad, the dressing and preservatives contained in it can be harmful to your health over time.
You should also try to avoid eating out often because the calories a restaurant gives you are far bigger than what you’d get if you were to prepare food at home. Healthline Media states that an average fast-food order contains roughly 1,000 to 1,200 calories, which is two-thirds of the recommended calories for a man (2,000-3,000) and half of a woman’s (1,600-2,400).4
Because of these large portion sizes, choosing to eat at home more often can help you be healthier. Try limiting your fast-food days to once or twice a week to improve your nutrition today.
Eat Less Starchy Vegetables
Another easy switch in your diet to start improving your nutrition is by replacing your starchy vegetables with ones that are not. Did you know that foods with starch contain more calories and carbs than ones with less?5 That means avoiding foods with a lot of starch in them can help improve your health.
Some common starchy vegetables include:6
Non-starchy vegetables are:
Furthermore, Very Well Health recommends that you replace the starchy version of these foods with its healthier counterpart.7 For example, potatoes are a very starchy food. Eating less French fries and more baked potatoes is one way to eat a healthier version of a starchy food.
Eating a diet low in starch is one way to start living healthier today. Making a few swaps in the types of vegetables you eat can help you improve your nutrition because you will be eating healthier calories.
Add Fruit into Meals
There are many health benefits you can get from fruits, such as obtaining many different vitamins and nutrients.
But even though you probably already know fruits are good for you, you might not be eating enough of them. However, by incorporating more fruits into your diet, you can start improving your nutrition.
A few ways you can add more fruit into your meals is by:
- Incorporating fruits into your breakfast. If you enjoy eating cereal in the morning, adding some blueberries or freshly cut strawberries can help you improve the nutrition of your meal.
- Making half your lunch fruit. When you make lunch, try to make half of it fruits. Fruits not only help you feel satiated throughout the day, but they can prevent you from packing unhealthy foods that don’t add as many nutrients into your diet.
- Drinking more fruit smoothies. If you have a blender, you can create fruit smoothies that contain the fruits you enjoy. This is a healthier option than grabbing a processed smoothie at a fast-food restaurant.
- Have a fruit for a snack. Instead of eating a candy bar for your snack, have a fruit instead. This simple switch can help you improve your nutrition.
- Adding fruits into your salad. If you make a salad, try adding fruits as some of your main ingredients. This can help you improve your nutrition since fruits contain many different vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
Look to replace your favorite processed treats with fruits such as bananas or apples as well. Your health will improve as you continue to add more fruits into your meals.
Track your diet
If you haven’t been keeping track of what you eat and how much, one way to start improving your nutrition is by keeping a food journal. A food journal can assist you in figuring out how much you eat every day. This can help you find where you can make small changes to improve your overall nutrition.
For example, you might not realize how many times you go out to eat if you aren’t keeping track of your food. You also may not realize how many processed snacks you’re consuming until you look at what you had over the course of the week.
Keeping a food journal can help you find out how much you’re eating on a daily basis. This can also help you reach your weight or health goals if you have any as well.
Try keeping track of what you eat this week to see if you can find any areas where you can improve your nutrition.
Reduce Your Sugary Drinks
You might not realize that you’re consuming an unhealthy amount of calories until you take a look at what you’re drinking on a day-to-day basis.
Did you know that a serving size of Coke contains 140 calories and 150 calories for Pepsi? If you have an Orange Crush, that’s 195 calories, and Monster Energy drinks are 200 calories.8
While that might not seem like a lot, you might find yourself drinking more than a single serving if you order a large drink at a restaurant. These calories can add up over time, especially if you drink soda almost every single day.
Furthermore, drinking soda can increase your chance of getting type 2 diabetes by 20% and your risk for obesity by 27%.9
Try reducing your sugary drinks for healthier counterparts. You can replace your soda with homemade tea or coffee, which can give you health benefits without the added sugar. You can also try having sparkling water, which allows you to enjoy a carbonated beverage with less calories.
Incorporate more Protein Into your Diet
Protein is important for building muscles and helping our bodies perform different functions. It is one of the building blocks our body uses in its everyday functions.
However, not having enough protein in your diet can lead to slower wound healing, reduced blood pressure, and increased numbers of infections or illnesses. It is essential that you ensure you’re consuming enough protein to meet your body’s everyday needs.10
A few ways you can improve the amount of protein you eat in your diet include:11
- Incorporate more protein in your meals. Eating an egg for breakfast or snacking on nuts for lunch are two small examples of ways you can make sure you have protein in your diet.
- Eat a protein instead of a carbohydrate. This could be as simple as deciding to eat chicken for dinner instead of eating pasta. Try replacing one of your meals with a protein to ensure you get enough in your diet.
- Have protein snacks.12 Some ideas include peanut butter, nuts, trail mix, jerky, and Greek yogurt.
By making sure your body has enough protein, you’ll begin to feel better as you improve your nutrition. Try adding some more proteins into your diet to live a healthier lifestyle.
Saber Healthcare is Dedicated to Nutrition
Here at Saber Healthcare, our Dietary Team strives to deliver quality food to our residents. We believe that consistently working to update our menus and food offerings can help our residents achieve their nutritional goals.
To learn more about Saber Health, check out our story.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- “Why Is Whole-Grain Bread Healthier Than White Bread?” John Hopkins Medicine, John Hopkin’s All Children’s Hospital. Accessed March 1st, 2021. Link: https://www.hopkinsallchildrens.org/patients-families/health-library/healthdocnew/why-is-whole-grain-bread-healthier-than-white-brea#:~:text=Whole%20grains%20contain%20all%20parts,leaving%20only%20the%20starchy%20endosperm.&text=Some%20flour%20and%20bread%20manufacturers,adding%20extra%20vitamins%20back%20in
- B Barr and Jonathan C. Wright. “Postprandial energy expenditure in whole-food and processed-food meals: implications for daily energy expenditure.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, Food and Nutrition Research. Published online July 10th, 2010. Accessed March 1st, 2021. Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2897733/
- Olito, Frank. “Here's what the average person spends on dining out in every state.” Business Insider, businessinsider.com. Published August 12th, 2019. Accessed March 1st, 2021. Link: https://www.businessinsider.com/what-people-spend-on-dining-out-2019-8
- Goldman, Rena. Pletcher, Peggy, ed. “7 Ways Home Cooking Beats Ordering Takeout.” Red Ventures, Healthline Media. Published October 12th, 2017. Accessed March 1st, 2021. Link: https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/home-cooking-versus-takeout
- Raman, Ryan. “22 Simple Ways to Get Healthier With Minimal Effort.” Red Ventures, Healthline Media. Published October 2nd, 2017. Accessed March 1st, 2021. Link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/22-ways-to-get-healthy
- “Starches vs. Non-Starchy Vegetables.” College Nutritionist, collegenutritionist.com. Accessed March 1st, 2021. Link: https://www.collegenutritionist.com/blog/starches-versus-non-starchy-vegetable
- Woolley, Elizabeth. Kausel, Anna Maria, ed. “Starchy Vegetables and How to Enjoy Them.” Dotdash, Very Well Health. Published September 11th, 2020. Accessed March 1st, 2021. Link: https://www.verywellhealth.com/list-of-starchy-vegetables-1087454
- “Calorie count - sodas and energy drinks.” A.D.A.M. Inc., Medline Plus. Accessed March 1st, 2021. Link: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000888.htm
- “Soda Replacement Drinks - Ditch the Soda for Better Health.” Soda Stream, sodastream.com. Accessed March 1st, 2021. Link: https://sodastream.com/blogs/sodastreams-sparkling-blog/soda-replacement-drinks
- Leal, Darla. Syn, Mia, ed. “The Effects of Protein Deficiency.”Dotdash, Verywellfit. Last updated January 28th, 2021. Accessed March 1st, 2021. Link: https://www.verywellfit.com/what-are-the-effects-of-protein-deficiency-4160404
- “The Importance of Protein.” Saber Healthcare Group, com. February 27th, 2021. Accessed March 1st, 2021. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/the-importance-of-protein
- Elliott, Briana. Arnarson, Atli, ed. “30 High Protein Snacks That Are Healthy and Portable.” Red Ventures, Healthline Media. Last Updated April 2nd, 2020. Accessed March 2nd, 2021. Link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/healthy-high-protein-snacks#_noHeaderPrefixedContent