Improving Eating Habits Can Be Easier Than You Think


Americans, now more than ever, recognize the need to change the way they eat. From reducing fat and sugar intake to cutting carbs, many are looking for extra steps they can take in the kitchen to improve their overall health.

In fact, a recent survey administered by Opinion Research highlights this trend, revealing that 86 percent of Americans believe there are dietary changes they could be making to improve their well-being. Despite this desire to take the necessary steps, 63 percent indicated they still struggle with ways to eat healthier.

When it comes to specific reasons behind the difficulty in changing cooking and eating habits, 70 percent of respondents believed eating healthier will prevent them from enjoying their favorite foods, followed by a belief that eating healthy takes too much time (59 percent) and a fear that choosing healthy foods will change the taste of what they eat (51 percent).

“Americans today are really open to advice and solutions on how they can improve their eating habits and live longer, healthier lives. While the majority of us desire improved health and wellness, we all know it’s tough to break everyday patterns that require giving up our favorite foods,” said Crystal Harrell, Ph.D., Procter & Gamble Health Sciences Institute.

Achieving healthy eating is easier than most realize, according to Harrell. Whether picking up food at the grocery store or through the drive-thru, Americans can take simple steps to make their food choices healthier-without sacrificing time, flavor and any other concerns they may have.

One easy way to add more health to your diet is to increase fiber intake. While research indicates fiber may help prevent a variety of health conditions, 95 percent of Americans today are not consuming their daily fiber requirements. The National Fiber Council recommends people receive 32 grams or more of fiber per day; however, according to Columbia University, typical consumption of fiber averages 10 grams to 15 grams daily. That’s less than half the recommended allowance.

Jackie Newgent, a registered dietitian and chef, offers the following tips on easy ways to add more fiber to your diet:

1) Next time you order pizza, forgo sausage or pepperoni and create a “salad” pizza instead-choose vegetables like artichokes, onions and tomatoes. Try whole wheat crust, too.

2) If you’re more in the mood for Chinese, choose steamed tofu and vegetables over fried meat dishes. Request brown rice in place of white, too.

3) Always have some cans of beans on hand. Use them in your favorite soup, salad or pasta sauce for a quick fiber fix.

4) Feel like having fruit juice? Drink water to quench your thirst, then enjoy a whole piece of fruit for extra fiber and chewing satisfaction.

5) Incorporate a fiber supplement such as Fibersure into your meals. From the makers of Metamucil, it’s an all-natural, clear-mixing powder that’s flavor-free, nonthickening and quickly dissolves in water or most other liquids and won’t change the flavor or texture of your recipe. Whether you add it to your salad dressing, stir-fry or glass of water, each heaping teaspoon instantly adds five grams of fiber.

Nutritional Value Of 7 Key Vegetables


For some particular reason, why the vegetables never got eaten was forgotten but not eating them is a common theme among the smaller set.
As we aged the idea of not eating vegetables tended to go out the window, simply because we knew that we should eat vegetables. Unfortunately, the idea and the practice rarely went hand-in-hand. Adults are no less likely to eat their vegetables then they were as a child. They just hide it better by eating them when others were around to appear as healthy eaters. Those often sited “studies”, however, saw through to the true eating habits of adults and reported that, more often then not, you’re not eating your vegetables or at least not near enough.

How much to eat

Any reasonable person knows that the government guidelines and those studies are about as realistic as a child forgoing chocolate. The studies indicate the need for 4 cups (9 servings) of vegetables per day, based on a person needing 2,000 calories per day. To some this might sound like grazing rather then eating. Unfortunately, the studies do indicate time and again that these nutritional requirements are about the right levels for keeping a body in balance with regard to all the nutrients it needs to function properly.

Which nutrients are important?

All of the nutrients found in vegetables are important in one way or another. Each helps in the functioning of the body. Some, however, are a bit more important for particular body parts then others. All are important; it’s just that some are just more important. As far as the studies are concerned, they tend to look at: Potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron as the big ones to think about. There are other nutrients in vegetables that are just as important, but for the average person these are the big ones. Past the nutrients also consider that the Carbohydrates, fiber and proteins found in vegetables are important and things you need to consider in your vegetable and overall diet.

Why eat vegetables?

Consider that eating is like putting gas in your car. You need it to make the car go. Food is the gas for the body. Don’t eat it and you won’t go. Any food will do, it’s just that some gas blends are better then others. Put a low grade gas in your tank like McDonalds and eventually the engine is going to start running rough. Put a better grade fuel in your tank and the engine will run smoother without hick-ups. The problem is, every once and a while every engine gets hick-ups. Vegetables are a better grade of gas that helps to prevent hick-ups. From these studies that have been talked about, heart hick-ups are the area where vegetables have proven, through very reliable studies, to prevent hick-ups. There are other hick-ups where some have suggested that vegetables help with preventing hick-ups like cancer, but the very reliable studies cannot say 100%, or close to it, that this is so. The heart, however, is very reliably linked to vegetables and heart health.

Which vegetable to eat

Considering the number of vegetables found around the world and the way that they fit into differing regional cultures, it would be fairly difficult to list the seven best or worst vegetables and their nutrient values. What can be done is to pick seven vegetables that might represent seven types of vegetables, with particular nutrient values associated with them.

Leafy greens

This group of vegetables is the absolutely most important type of vegetable that a person could eat for overall health and general heart health. This is a hands down eat it every single day; the darker the leaf the better in a general sense. Heart health is where you will find the most benefit. There are many of these vegetables but Kale is the one most often mentioned from a nutritional, cooking and taste perspective to try. For 100g it has 450mg of potassium, 180% of recommended daily requirements (RDR) for vitamin A, 200% of RDR of vitamin C, 15% RDR of calcium and 19% of DRR of Iron.

Medium green bell pepper

The green bell pepper is a bit short on its calcium <2% RDR Calcium and 4% RDR of Iron but it is solid in Vitamin C with RDR of 180%. Potassium is at about mid-point at 210mg.

3 medium spears Broccoli

Broccoli is also a bit short on Calcium and Iron because of its water composition at 4%RDR but is mid-pack on Potassium 300mg and 30%RDR vitamin A, at 140% RDR of vitamin C it is a bit higher then other vegetables.

1 medium carrot

Carrots are a good vitamin source for potassium and vitamin A at 270mg of potassium and 270 RDR Vitamin A but low at 2% and 0% for Calcium and Iron respectively.

1 cup butternut squash

Squash is above mid-pack with 4490mg Potassium, 220% RDR Vitamin A, 50% RDR Vitamin C and 6% RDR for Calcium and Iron.

3 medium Roma tomatoes

Tomatoes are big on Potassium at 410mg and lower on other Vitamins and minerals at less then 60%RDR.

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