Something that many of us may not pay attention to, but the Veterans Administration’s National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention is concerned with and is encouraging veterans and their families to jump start the spring season by using the following “Eat Wisely” tips.
- Establish regular meal times. Try not to skip any meals because skipping meals leads to overeating later in the day or evening.
- Read food labels when you are purchasing food items. Pay attention to portion size, the number of calories in each portion, and the amount of saturated and trans-fat in each portion.
- Make small substitutions in your diet to cut calories. For example, drink water or unsweetened iced tea instead of high-calorie drinks. Choose low-calorie versions of salad dressing, cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise. Go easy on fried foods: bake, broil, poach or grill your food instead.
- Plan meals and snacks, and make certain to have healthier food choices on hand. This makes it easier to resist trips to the vending machine and unhealthy, unplanned snacking.
- Portion your servings to control the amount. For example, plate your meal in the kitchen using portion control. Bag snacks, such as potato chips or cookies into single serving sized containers or zip-lock bags. When you have a craving, eat the serving size only. Remember to pass on seconds.
- Control calories when dining out. At fast-food restaurants, “down-size” food and drinks instead of “super-sizing” or better yet, try new restaurants that offer interesting healthier choices. You can always check restaurant websites for nutrition information to select the healthiest options.
- Share an entree with a friend or family member. Do order a personal salad or side vegetables. Ask restaurants to: “Please, put the sauce on the side” (and try not to use it all), “hold the cheese,” use low-calorie dressing and as always, try to avoid fried dishes.
- Identify your guilty pleasures such as ice cream, cake, cookies or potato chips. Continue to enjoy them by trying the low-calorie versions or by eating less of the regular versions.
- Avoid places and situations that trigger eating. For example, if walking past the bakery causes doughnut cravings, try changing your route. Replace candy on your desk with fruit and steer-clear of the office candy bowl. Avoid eating while watching television, reading, working on the computer or driving. Many people do not recall all they have eaten while doing other things.
- Be active! Try substituting other activities for eating. For example, take a walk, walk with a friend or dance to some music. Other activities allow you to avoid extra calories and can be more satisfying than eating.
Eating healthier doesn’t mean changing your eating pattern overnight, Small changes, made over time, can add up. If you are a CPN member or member of another federally recognized tribe, the CPN Diabetes Program and personal trainers at the FireLake Wellness Center are a great resource for dietary and healthy eating advice. Give them a call at (405) 395-9304.
Remember the CPN Veterans Organization meets every month on the fourth Tuesday at 6 p.m. (or as soon as you can get there) in the North Reunion Hall on the Potawatomi Powwow Grounds. All CPN veterans and their families are welcome. A meal is provided.