The student-run community news site of Vermont State University - Johnson

Basement Medicine

The student-run community news site of Vermont State University - Johnson

Basement Medicine

The student-run community news site of Vermont State University - Johnson

Basement Medicine

Words of Wellness: Eat well, be well

Have you started exercising yet? Did you measure your abdomen as I mentioned last week? Well, the other part of the obesity equation is our diet. Diet is WHAT we eat, not a restrictive way of eating. Why are we so overweight in America? Well, for starters, we have literally “supersized” our food. Twenty years ago for example, a typical bagel was three inches and 140 calories. Today the typical bagel is six inches and 360 calories! The same is true of soda. Twenty years ago, a typical serving of soda was 6.5oz and 85 calories. Today a typical serving of soda is 20 oz and 250 calories.

We all know that there are tons of diets out there. However, the equation hasn’t changed. If you burn more calories than you take in, you will lose weight. Try being more active as we discussed last edition and eat fewer calories … and your weight will go down. Go to to find your calorie level.

Here are some more simple ways to be a healthy eater, cut calories, and avoid obesity

1. Drink lots of water throughout your day. Try to drink at least four 16oz bottles of water each day. You will cut at least 150 calories every time you choose water over a soda or juice.

2. Drink nonfat/low fat milk and eat nonfat/low fat dairy products rather than whole-milk ones.

3. Increase your intake of fiber-rich foods. They are filling and easily digested. Some examples of high-fiber grains: raisin and other bran cereals, multigrain or whole grain bread, oatmeal.

High-fiber veggies: carrots, broccoli, peas, beans, kale, corn, sweet potatoes, lettuce, etc.

High-fiber fruits: apples with skin, berries, raisins, apricots, oranges, figs and fruit with skin.

High-fiber beans and seeds, and nuts: almonds, cashews, walnuts, chickpeas, soy, pinto etc.

4. Eat when you are hungry. Many of us eat for other reasons!

5. Eat slowly.

6. Cut down on foods high in solid fats, added sugars and salt.

7. Cut back on TV and computer and video games … get outside this spring and start moving!

8. Don’t eat in front of the computer or TV. Try some mindfulness while eating!

Now it’s time to build a healthy plate. Again, start with a smaller plate.

1. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Choose fresh, frozen, canned or dried nuts and vegetables. Eat red, orange and dark green veggies such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes and broccoli, along with other vegetables for your meals. Add fruit to meals as part of the main or side dishes or as a dessert.

2. Divide the other half of your smaller plate into grains and proteins. For grains try to make at least half your grains whole grains. Choose 100% whole grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice and pasta. Check the ingredients list on food packages to find whole-grain foods.

3. In regard to protein, vary your protein food choices. Choose a variety of foods including seafood, beans and peas, nuts, lean meats, poultry and eggs. Keep meat and poultry portions small and lean, about the size of a deck of cards, or your checkbook.

4. To complete the meal, add one serving of dairy such as 1% or skim milk. They have the same amount of calcium and nutrients as whole milk, but contain less fat and calories.

Portion size is the key.

1. For veggies, a serving looks like half of a baseball or the size of an ice cream scoop.

2. Fruit portions are the size of a tennis ball, and when they are dried, a serving is the size of a golf ball.

3. For grains one serving is a half-cup of cooked cereal, rice or pasta. That looks like half a baseball! In regards to breads, one serving is one slice. Remember about that good old bagel…most bagels sold are equal to about five pieces of bread which equals four to six servings

4. Protein serving size is three ounces, which looks like a deck of cards. A serving of beans is about half a baseball and a serving of nuts is the size of a golf ball!

5. Dairy servings are one cup of milk. A serving of cheese is 1oz which looks like four dice put together. A serving of yogurt is one cup.

Get rid of foods in your diet that are high in solid fat, added sugars, and salt. These are baked goods like pastries and cakes, cookies, ice-cream, candy, sweetened drinks, pizza and fatty ribs, sausages, bacon and hot dogs. You can eat them as occasional treats, but they should not be everyday foods.

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