By: Rebecca Heming, ’18, University Health Center Nutrition Peer Educator
There’s lots of different messages about how we should look and what we should eat. One of the best ways we can love our bodies is by fueling it right! By fueling our bodies well, we give it all the nutrients we need to not only look great, but feel great too! It seems like every day there is a new diet out there to try, but diets are often restrictive and complicated to follow which leads to many of them failing quickly. Luckily, there is a simpler way!
So, how can you make sure you are eating right? Follow these tips!
- Plan to eat every 3-4 hours. This usually equates to 3 meals + 1-2 purposeful snacks. Eating consistently ensures that you are providing your body with a steady infusion of fuel and nutrients. A purposeful snack should be a protein or dairy group combined with a fruit or grain group – for example, an apple with peanut butter.
- Get a variety of all five food groups in. The five food groups are protein, grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy. Aim to get all the different colors of the rainbow into your diet! Eat a variety of foods that fall into each of the five food groups. Aim for two different fruits and 3 different vegetables each day along with two servings of fish per week.
- Pay attention. Our bodies truly know best. Notice how hungry and full you are throughout the day. To make it easier to make healthful food choices and manage portions, avoid letting yourself get too hungry. Slow down your pace of eating and check in with your hunger level during your meals so you stop before you get stuffed!
- Enjoy the foods you eat and include some of your favorite foods. Healthy eating doesn’t mean deprivation! It’s perfectly OK to allow yourself to enjoy treats on occasion. Make sure your weight management plan is filled with foods you will enjoy eating throughout your life.
- Make sure your food fits your budget & lifestyle. When planning your meals and snacks, make sure the foods you choose are accessible and fit into your budget. Take advantage of the University of Maryland CO-OP, Farmers Market, and Campus Food Pantry. You can take bus 143 to get to the nearby Giant (grocery store), have your groceries delivered through a service like Peapod, or use Amazon as well.
- Start with small changes – you’re much more likely to succeed in reaching your goals if you start with small, realistic changes. Make your goals SMART!
I encourage you to pick one tip above and try it out for a week! I’d love to hear which tip you are working on and make sure to share it below in the comments section!