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Changing How You Eat In Texas

Aug 18, 2007
Changes can be difficult, especially changes in your diet and nutrition. If you're a young healthy individual who lives in Dallas, Houston or anywhere in Texas, it's easier to change your diet now and reap the benefits, than to change later on when you're older, because of health problems.

One of the first and best ways to control what to eat is to cook for yourself. If you can't cook, learn how. With the hundreds of thousands of recipes, both online and in libraries, you're bound to find a cuisine you'll love that's both tasty and healthy. Cooking is one way to take advantage of important nutrients that occur in extremely small amounts, yet have incredible repercussions in your body.

Unlike with freshly prepared food, many commercial food preparers find it convenient and cheaper to substitute nutrients for a longer "shelf life." In addition, some of the more nutritious foods aren't very popular; they're never marketed, and few people know how to prepare or enjoy them. It's a good idea to stay away from commercially-prepared foods and stick with preparing and cooking fresh foods.

One of the more important changes you can make in your diet is to cut back on the amount of fat you consume. So, if you currently eat a lot of fat, try just one or two of the following changes:

- For meat -- eat it baked, grilled and broiled rather than fried. Take the skin off before eating chicken. Eat fish at least once a week.
- Cut back on extra fat -- butter or margarine on bread, sour cream on baked potatoes, and salad dressings.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables with your meals and as snacks.
- When eating in restaurants, watch out for "hidden" fats -- salad dressing and desserts as well as larger portion sizes.
- Read the nutrition labels before you buy food. If you can't decipher the labels, talk to your doctor or your nutritionist.
- Drink no- or low-calorie beverages -- water, unsweetened tea and diet soda.

Balanced nutrition and regular exercise are still part of a good health regime even if your weight is consistent. So it's important to set goals that you have a good chance of attaining, like making one of the small changes listed above or walking one additional day per week.

Yours and your family's medical history may also be an important reason to change your diet. If you answer "yes" to any of the following questions, you may need to talk about nutrition with your doctor:
- Have you been diagnosed with a medical problem or risk factor, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol?
- Were you told that this condition could be improved by better nutrition?
- Does diabetes, cancer, heart disease or osteoporosis run in your family?
- Are you overweight, or have you gained weight over the years?
- Do you need to find out what kinds of foods you should eat or whether you should take vitamins?

- Do you think that you could benefit from seeing a nutritionist?

Sure, it'll be hard make changes in your diet, but even very small changes can improve your health considerably. It's important to keep trying to eat the right foods. Also, stay in touch with your doctor and nutritionist, to let them know how you're doing. Take a look at the following suggestions to help you improve your eating habits:

- Evaluate the strong and weak points in your diet: Do you eat five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables daily? Do you get enough calcium? Do you eat whole-grain, high-fiber foods regularly? If so, you're on the right track. If you're not, learn the changes you need to make.
- Make these changes small and slowly, instead of making large, fast changes. Small changes are easier to make and to stick with.
- Keep track of your food intake. Keep a daily diary of what you eat and drink. Use this diary to help you see if you need to make beneficial changes to your diet.
- Ask for help from a nutritionist if you haven't already done so -- especially if you have a medical problem that requires a special diet.

Good nutrition is important to maintaining good health. And as you'll discover, what you put into your body will affect your health. And your health, good or bad, will eventually affect your bank account.
About the Author
Pat Carpenter writes for Precedent Insurance Company. Precedent puts a new spin on health insurance. Learn more at Precedent.com
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