February has come and gone (along with the candy from Valentine’s Day!) so put down that donut and let’s try to make March a healthier month!
March is National Nutrition Month, which means is time to consider your diet and take care of your heart. You can do this by adopting healthy habits one forkful at a time.
Did you know teenagers who ate two breakfasts in the morning were less likely to be obese than those who skipped breakfast, according to the Journal of Pediatric Obesity? While you might think breakfast is overrated, don’t dismiss it. A good breakfast can prevent drops in blood sugar and boost work performance.
What a great breakfast does is simple. The Mayo Clinic says that shifting most of your calories to the front end of the day helps you lose more weight. But that doesn’t mean you can load up on those Grand Slams and sugary pancakes! Stick to whole grain cereals and bagels, plain or low sugar yogurt, eggs and lean meat, and plenty of fruits and veggies!
So you stopped drinking soda, which is great. But are you drinking more orange juice and milk instead? That might not be a good idea. A single glass of orange juice can pack 22 grams of sugar! That’s almost as much as a can of soda. A better choice might be consuming one drink with zero calories that can keep you full and hydrated.
Oh, those sugars seem inescapable. You can find them in dried fruit, energy drinks, and even ketchup! Avoid the canned foods and switch them out with fresh apples and berries and use natural substitutes in your coffee.
Multigrain and whole wheat breads, bagels, pastas, oatmeal, and cereals can reduce risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease, according to the American Heart Association.
Always look for a high amount of dietary fiber and a sugar level in the single digits, or at least no higher than the teens.
Fats have always been the number one enemy of a healthy diet! Consumed in moderation, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, found in fish, nuts, and avocados, can be great for your heart and brain. Just keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned about consuming too much saturated fats because they raise the level of bad cholesterol in the blood.