Making Healthy Nutritional Choices- Habits, Behaviors & Resources
This lesson will help you see how easy it is to track what you eat and change your diet for the better. It will also provide you with additional information on where a wealth of information on healthy nutrition can be found.
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Changing Your Diet
If you’ve ever made a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier, but didn’t follow through for one reason or another, you’re not alone. It may be that you simply put too much pressure on yourself or didn’t follow the right strategies. In fact, modifying your behavior and eating habits is much easier than you think. We’ll explore some simple strategies that can help you on your quest to change your diet and point out several resources that can help you make the right decision regarding your diet.
Making Healthy Choices
The first thing you need to do on your way to eating better is to gather knowledge and data about what it is that you do right now. Some things have become habits to the extent that you no longer pay attention to them or think nothing is wrong with them. That’s why you should begin by keeping a daily journal where you log what you eat or drink. Record what you take in, how much you consume, where you eat or drink it, and where you obtain it from. Be as detailed as possible as this will help you understand your current dietary habits.
At the same time you should also write down alternatives that are available to you. If you stop by the local gas station on the way to work to buy a soda, write down the alternatives, such as juice or water. This is important in helping to find out what options you have and where. Next, set yourself some simple goals. Categorize what you eat into things you should choose more or less often. For example, you may have hamburgers, deep fried doughnuts, and soda in the unhealthy category and apples, water, and whole grains in the healthy category.
This way, you can not only see what your healthy and unhealthy choices are but can easily use the list to set goals to choose healthier choices. But be realistic when changing your behavior. Increasing the healthy choices by two or three and decreasing the unhealthy choices by two or three is far more realistic and attainable than denying yourself all your unhealthy treats. It may lead to bingeing down the line.
Once you have outlined your goals it’s important to use certain techniques to break old habits and behaviors. Planning ahead is a great way to do this. For example, put a healthy snack in your backpack, like a granola bar, for the next day at school. This way, when you get up, you’re ready to go without any excuses and this will help avoid your buying candy in the cafeteria.
Substitute things as well. Get a bottle of water instead of a soda. It’s really simple. The vending machine doesn’t care which you choose and you only have to press two buttons for either one. If some healthy things seem too bland for you, no problem! Spice it up! If drinking water is too boring add a slice of lemon or lime to zest it up.
Examine your journal for routines. Maybe you always go to the vending machine on your way home from work. See if there’s another exit you can use that avoids that temptation. If you love dining out, examine the menu online before you go. If there’s no good healthy option, perhaps another place has food you’ll enjoy just as much, but is much healthier.
And finally, don’t forget to look at food labels! Make sure, based on those labels and other information, that you’re getting enough nutrients without too many calories. What I’ve outlined thus far is a good start. If it doesn’t seem to help you, then I encourage you to watch the lesson on creating a behavioral management plan for even more tips and tricks!
Resources to Guide You
What that lesson will point out is that you are not alone in what you do. There’s a wealth of resources out there, in simple and accessible language, to try and get you to live a healthier life. Specifically, to help you make the right decisions as to what you need to eat, there’s more than one resource you can use.
One popular choice is MyPlate . This is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s nutritional guide. It is the sequel to something previously called MyPyramid . And MyPyramid is a discontinued nutritional guide that was the sequel to the famous food pyramid guide. In any case, this guidance system allows you to access nutritional information that illustrates food groups, how much should be eaten, what to eat more of, and what to avoid. By the way, food groups include fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy.
Lots of great selection tips within food groups are given to you if you need them. If you’re not sure whether the things you’re jotting down in your journal are healthy or not, consider going online to www.choosemyplate.gov . Choose the food group you’re concerned about there and see what it says! In fact, you can even get some awesome healthy recipes there, which prove you can eat delicious food and stay healthy at the same time!
There’s also information and tables that help with weight management and calorie management. And if you’re healthy and need even more guidance about specific nutrients and how many you should be getting every day, you can always visit www.nutrition.gov for all sorts of ideas on how to shop healthy, eat healthy, and live healthy.
As you can tell from what we went over, making daily choices to eat healthier are as simple as tossing in a granola bar into your backpack before you go to sleep. That way you’ll be less tempted to stop by the unhealthy vending machine when in school. By observing what you do, setting goals, and using simple techniques to modify behavior you can change the way you eat.
And if you ever need more information, the U.S. government has compiled plenty of great resources. This includes MyPlate . This is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s nutritional guide. It is the sequel to something previously called MyPyramid . MyPyramid is a discontinued nutritional guide that was the sequel to the famous food pyramid guide. MyPlate allows you to examine food groups, how much should be eaten, what to eat more of, and what to avoid. Food groups , by the way, include fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy.
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