By Megan Bennett, RD, CDN, CDE, and Marianna Dayre, MS, RD, CDN, CDE, of the Stony Brook Bariatric and Metabolic Weight Loss Center
It’s no coincidence that National Nutrition Month is the first month of spring: the days are longer, the temperatures rising, the birds chirping in the morning, the trees and plants starting to bloom.
Springtime embodies the fresh start of healthy habits after the dark and long winter months.
This year the National Nutrition Month theme is “Bite by Bite” which supports the philosophy that every little bit of nutrition is a step in the right direction.
It’s important for people to realize that small changes have an overall effect on health.
As dietitians at the Stony Brook Bariatric and Metabolic Weight Loss Center, we want our patients and all members of our community to understand that nutrition does not have to be overwhelming.
Here are some small steps you can make that have a BIG impact when it comes to nutrition and health:
Practice mindful eating
Mindfulness refers to paying attention on purpose, non-judgmentally. Think of food as a source of nutrition and energy to fuel your body! Pay close attention to your physical hunger and fullness cues.
Questions to think about
Am I sitting? Eating slowly?
Am I eating because I am hungry?
How hungry am I on a scale of 0-10?
Planning and prepping
Planning and prepping are truly key whether your goal is to just eat healthier or lose weight.
Use a grocery list to shop for healthful foods before going to the store.
Know the menu before you go out to eat so you can make better choices.
Plan healthful snacks/eating while at work, on the go, and traveling.
Remember that eating every 3-4 hours is key to keeping you energized and preventing overeating at meal times!
Eat a variety of foods
Include healthful foods from all food groups, and keep in mind portion sizes:
Starches: One half to 1 cup cooked.
Fruits: Two to three servings daily.
Non-starchy vegetables: At least 1 cup at lunch and dinner or two meals throughout the day.
Protein: 4 oz. minimum. Include at all meals and snacks.
Healthy fats: Include these items as part of a healthy diet for heart health (avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil). Be mindful of portions, as these are calorie-dense items and add up in terms of calories and fat.
Consult with a registered dietitian
Meeting with a dietitian can help you improve your diet, answer questions about special dietary needs, and develop specific health plans that are right for you.
Studies show that individuals who meet with a dietitian regularly lose more weight, and reach their health goals versus those who do not.
Ask your doctor for a referral, or find a dietitian in your community by visiting eatright.org which provides an online search tool.
We are here on Long Island and will gladly provide a nutrition consultation tailored just for you.
For consultations/appointments with us, please call 631-444-BARI (2274).