Beginner Nutrition: Six Things You Should Know (part 2)

Whether you’ve been here for some time or just started, there are six things you can do today that will jumpstart better habits.  Yesterday, I provided the first three, today the second.  #4: Add >2 servings fish per week. Fish has omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to keep the brain sharp, lower cholesterol levels, reduce arthritis and muscular inflammation, clear up skin, and might even decrease the risk of depression and diabetes.  The least you can do: substitute fish for meat at lunch or dinner (you can also take an omega-3 fish oil supplement).  #5: Stop late-night snacking when not hungry.  Want to mess up the best day ever?  Eat a lot of food when not hungry late at night.  At this point, your body is winding down for bed and does not need the extra calories (as a result, those excess calories will be stored as fat).  The least you can do: replace late-night snacking with another hobby.  Cap whatever it is you want to eat at 100 calories.  Consult Marissa if you think you have a real problem.  #6: Be courageous: maybe you do like broccoli.  There may be foods “you know” you don’t like.  Taste buds change every year, as do the way we prepare and cook healthy foods.  The least you can do: taste something you’ve never tasted before—get out of the same old food rut (ahem, routine).  To read more about each of the topics above, visit the Full Engagement Center.

 

Broccoli, cheese and red pepper flakes: I dare you not to like this

#4: Add >2 servings per week of fish to your diet.

The fats that are in certain fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, halibut, tuna, sardines, trout, swordfish, there are many more…) have omega-3 fatty acids.  The body cannot produce fatty acids on its own –we must obtain this essential nutrient in a dietary form.  Why is it essential?  Omega-3 fatty acids are important for cognitive function (brain and memory) and they also preserve brain cells.  Eating fish at least 2x per week (or taking a fish oil supplement, omega-3) confers heart healthy benefits.   For vegetarians, dietary omega-3 fatty acids come in the form of walnuts, flaxseed, and leafy green vegetables.  Since those sources are in a different omega-3 form, vegetarians may want to consider an algae or krill oil (known as Algal Oil), such as the one from the Nordic Naturals lineMartek is another NSF-certified brand that will do the job.

Looking to focus your fish-eating efforts on low mercury and/or sustainable seafood practices, check these resources:

 #5: Stop late-night snacking when not hungry.

An important way to stay healthy is to avoid the late night eating hours, especially if you are not hungry.  If physically hungry, some great healthy items that will satisfy your pangs and provide slow-releasing energy throughout the night are: a few egg whites or one whole egg, a slice of cheese, a handful of nuts, a tablespoon of nut butter with a few whole grain crackers.  If eating for a different reason, consult a previous article on H.A.L.T., an acronym that helps you ascertain why you are doing what you are doing.

#6: Be courageous: maybe you do like broccoli.

Break out of your old food ways.  Once a “picky eater” is not always one.  Eating from all of the food groups is important to maintain variety in the diet and get all of the nutrients the body needs.  Here’s a simple strategy to help figure out how to expand your food horizons.  Observe some of your own food habits and ask yourself if there are any healthy food items that you do not like.  Why don’t you like them?  Is it due to the taste, way it is usually prepared, aroma?  Try the healthy food in a new way.  Ask Marissa for recipes or new healthy food ideas.

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