Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life
An increasingly common disease in American and Native youth is Diabetes Mellitus, or Type II Diabetes. The best way to avoid diabetes and other related diseases are to maintain a healthy weight, stay physically active, and eat the right portions of healthy foods.
“Calories” is the term used to describe the amount of energy a food or drink provides when you eat it. Think of calories as a measurement unit — like inches, pounds, or gallons. You need energy from foods and drinks to fuel your body — for everything from breathing to physical activity. But if your foods provide more energy than you use, your body stores the rest as fat. Remember to burn as many calories as you eat to maintain your healthy weight! Check out the importance of Physical Activity here!
Not all calories give you fuel for your body, some are called “empty calories”. These are foods and liquids that have no nutritional value, such as important vitamins or minerals your body needs. Examples of empty calories are juices (except for 100% fruit juices), soda pop, energy drinks, sweets (baked goods, candy, gum, etc), sweetened drinks (lemonade mix, sweet tea, powdered juice mix), and other junk food. For more information about empty calories, read on at Choose My Plate.
Eating healthier grains:
- Replace white rice with brown rice and white bread with whole-wheat bread
- Choose a whole-grain breakfast cereal
- Limit consumption of foods with labels that say “enriched wheat flour”
General tips for a healthy diet:
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Choose whole grains and high fiber carbohydrates.
- Choose lean proteins, low-fat or non-fat dairy and small amounts of fats and sugars.
- Portion control is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It’s easy to overeat when large amounts of food are at your fingertips.
- Avoid empty calories such as soda pop, juice, and sweetened drinks.
- Traditional foods are always better for you.