BRANCH COUNTY — Eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle are important aspects to maintaining proper nutrition in your daily life, that’s why the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Michigan Department of Community Health encourages Michiganders to renew their appreciation of healthy eating.
The inclusion of healthy foods, new and already enjoyed, is an important detail toward a healthy eating plan.
One aspect of eating healthy that is sometimes overlooked is oral health.
“Studies show that people who don’t eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables have a greater chance of severe gum disease, which is bad news for the 300,000 kids across Michigan who don’t have access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Ted O’Dell, manager of the American Heart Association’s Michigan Healthy Food Access Campaign.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1.8 million people across the state lack access to healthy food.
“Wellness and economics are linked,” said Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. “For example, costs due to coronary heart disease, the most prevalent and preventable form of heart disease, exceed $5.9 billion per year in Michigan.
“Treatment of heart disease accounts for 1 in every 6 health care dollars spent,” he continued. “While economic considerations are certainly important, the real value of a healthy lifestyle is quality of life.”
Still enjoy your favorite foods
Eating healthy does not necessarily mean excluding favorite foods.
According to a study by the AND in 2011, 82 percent of adults in the U.S. stated they did “not want to give up foods they like.” This was a major reason for not wanting to eat healthy.
The overall diet is the important emphasis and not simply focusing on one type of food or meal.
All types of food — in moderation — combined with physical activity, can be enjoyed in an overall diet plan.
Healthy eating tips
AND, along with MDCH provides tips for “Eating right, Your way, Every day.”
PACK A LUNCH
A fast paced lifestyle can often lead to on-the-fly meals which may include fast food or other unhealthy eating.
To deter this type of eating, pack a lunch for work or travel.
Healthy foods such as fruit or vegetables, granola bars, trail mix, whole grain cereal, low-fat cheese or peanut butter crackers can be stored in a desk, back pack, purse or brief case for easy access.
KEEP MEALS SIMPLE
When preparing a meal for the family it can sometimes be difficult to include food that everyone enjoys.
Keep the meal simple and build a collection of family favorite recipes.
Choose ingredients that can be used for more than one meal. For instance, cook enough chicken for a salad and for fajitas the next day.
INVOLVE CHILDREN IN MEAL PREPARATION
This will encourage and teach them the importance of healthy eating.
Portion control is vital to maintain healthy eating habits. The website www.choosemyplate.gov offers guidelines for portion control and can be used to determine sizes and types of food to be included in a healthy eating plan.
“Children across Michigan deserve the chance to grow up healthy and strong, and with healthy teeth — which starts with access to fresh, healthy food,” O’Dell said.
To learn more about healthy eating visit www.michigan.gov.