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January 20, 2004

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Dawn-Elise Snipes (Always) Thinking About Wellness
with Dawn-Elise Snipes

So You Want to Start Eating Healthfully?

Let us start with "servings." You are talking about two very different things when you talk about a serving according to the food guide pyramid www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/Fpyr/pyramid.html versus "one serving" according to the label on food packages. The serving size on food packages represents what the "average person" eats at one sitting. This is usually considerably more than one serving according to the food guide pyramid.

The result: many Americans eat significantly more than they need in order to fulfill their daily nutritional requirements. For instance, a serving of pasta according to the food guide pyramid is a cup of cooked pasta, the "serving size" on the box is 2 ounces dry -- which is only about one cup cooked (3 food guide pyramid servings).

For more information, please visit the following websites:

Keep a nutrition diary to see what you are really eating and drinking (this includes the bite-of-this and hand-full-of-that). Discuss any nutritional changes with your doctor or a registered dietician, because nutritional needs vary depending upon your age and any medical conditions you may have. Now it is time to implement the plan. Remember you only do things that are reinforcing and you have to be uncomfortable in order to make a change. List all of the reasons you do and do not want to eat more healthfully. For all the reasons you do not want to change, consider whether they are realistic. For instance, you do not want to give up all of your favorite foods.

Most dieticians will tell you to avoid eliminating any food unless it could cause you great bodily harm. Everything else can be eaten in moderation. Use salad plates instead of dinner plates. Measure/weigh things until you get the hang of serving sizes. Consider your personality. If you are perceiving (remember the personality inventory at www.keirsey.com) do not try to set up rigid menus. Instead create an index card for every serving, after you eat a serving put the index card into a "finished" basket. When all the cards are in the "finished" basket, you have met your daily requirements. If you prefer more structure (Judgers) try visiting www.cyberdiet.com to create a menu, find one in a book you like, or hire a nutritional consultant.

Also:

  • 3 ounces is the size of your palm or a deck of cards, one cup is the size of your fist, and one ounce is the size of your thumb to the first knuckle
  • Beware of diets that require pre-packaged foods. You will never learn to eat correctly if you never have to figure out portion sizes.
  • If you must use meal-replacement shakes or bars be very careful. Your intestines are muscles. If they go not have to work to get food through, the will become weak like any other muscle.
Eating healthfully can be fun if you approach it with the right attitude.

About the author


Add your comments to the discussion on Dawn Elise Snipes' column in the Wellness Issues forum.

Contact Dawn-Elise: wellness@policeone.com







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