National Nutrition Month: Today’s Tips from @ParklandHealth

Today’s National Nutrition Month Tips are from Parkland Health with contributions from Navin Hariprasad, Assistant Operations Manager of Nutrition Services.


Healthy choices when eating out:

Do you make healthy choices when you go out to eat?  Do you plan ahead to eat healthy?  How many times have you gone online to look up nutritional information?  Most people don’t.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires restaurants with 20 or more locations to provide nutritional information to consumers.  However, based on current health awareness trends, many restaurants with less than 20 locations are voluntarily providing nutritional information as well to patrons.  So why not look up information prior to eating out so you can try your best to cut down the amount of unnecessary calories, fat, sodium, and sugar that has been added to foods.

Do you know what to do when the nutritional information is not available?

Go for a fresher or leaner option is available, gravitate towards that first.  For example, if you are craving a burger with fries, see if a turkey burger or chicken burger alternative is available, cut the cheese or choose a lower fat cheese like Swiss, and substitute the fries for a side salad or fresh fruit instead.

Eating out can be difficult at times when you are trying to eat healthier but there are ways to plan ahead and look up nutritional information or choose a healthier substitute instead.


Ideal Body Weight

Do you know what your Ideal Body Weight (IBW) is?  Calculating it is quite easy.  The formula is below:

Males: IBW = 106 lbs. + 6 lbs. for each inch over 5 feet.
Females: IBW = 100 lbs. + 5 lbs. for each inch over 5 feet.

If you are a small or large frame, add and subtract 10%.  For example, a 6’0” male’s IBW would be:

106 lbs + (6 lbs x 12 inches) = 178 lbs (+/- 10% è Range:  160 lbs (Minimum) – 195 lbs (Maximum)).

After calculating, do you know if you are within your IBW range?

If not, start working towards your IBW by including exercise and a healthier diet into your daily routine.  Many individuals oftentimes state that they are happy at their current weight and never see themselves getting within their ideal body weight range.  Remember, your body works harder with the more weight that you have.  You want to compare your body to an expensive car by giving it the best type of fuel it needs.  Excess nutritional intake causes weight gain which can slow your body down and affect your metabolism.  Consume what is necessary for your body and listen to your hunger cues.  Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full!


Salt in our foods:

Do you know what the total daily recommended amount of sodium intake should be?

March is National Nutrition Month.  American Heart Association’s primary focus during this month is to recommend a sodium intake of less than 1,500 mg per day.  This is less than a teaspoon of salt.  Typical sodium consumption for an average American ranges from 3,000 to 4,500 mg of sodium daily.

Excess sodium intake in your diet can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Many people think they follow a low sodium diet by not adding any salts to their foods.  In reality, you could still be consuming a high sodium diet just from the salt that is already present in the foods.  Why is that?

Salt is not only used for flavor, but it also serves a role in preserving foods, which is a practice that has been used for thousands of years.

What should I look for if I am not eating fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats?  Make sure and read every single nutrition label and remind yourself that the labels are based on a single serving of that particular food item.  So if an item is greater than 140 mg sodium per serving, it is not considered low sodium.  Also make sure that all ingredients that you consume for the whole day do not add up to over 1,500 mg sodium.



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