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Be Active     Eat Smart     Don't Stress     Sleep Well     Be Aware

Why Eat Smart?

To be healthy:

We've probably all heard the phrase, "YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!" Some cliches are true. Getting food and drink is so easy today, that most of us take it for granted what or how much we're putting in our mouths. We know a lot about the basics, but the exact science of food and individual differences are so complex, that it will be quite some time before we know exactly what nutrients and in what amounts are best for different people. Thus, moderation is the key, as with all things when it comes to good health. By eating foods in moderate quantities, you can avoid accumulating substances that can be unhealthy when at high levels in your body. Plus, by eating a wide variety, you can get all the nutrients you need to grow, heal, and prevent many illnesses. Balance also means you don't want to take dieting or exercise too far; anorexia and bulimia are dangerous disorders. Furthermore, eating is one of life's great pleasures-- variety in foods and preparation can help make a healthy diet a satisfying one as well. So, what does a healthy diet help prevent? Read about the top ten killers in the U.S. and their relation to nutrition here.

Our largest health problem may be caloric overload, resulting from large portion sizes, energy dense foods , high snacking frequency and a lack of caloric output through various activities. This is the primary driver of our overweight epidemic, albeit some people have genes which make it easier to become obese. Drinking enough water is also a critical and often overlooked part of our diet, which is key for health, especially for our kidneys. Given packaging which doesn't align with Pyramid serving sizes, the addition of extra sugars and fats to make foods and drink taste 'better,' the high availability of unhealthy snacks everywhere, competitive overmarketing to children, and a lack of consensus scientific recommendations, it is not easy to make the right choice- not for kids, not for parents and not even for company employees trying to please their bosses or shareholders. Now add in the need for food safety, awareness of food allergies, lots of unclear information about supplements and the unique needs of children-- that's a lot to know! But, Don't Stress. There may be no simple solutions, but you can start by eating a balanced diet, being creative, taking pride in educating yourself about subtle truthes of nutrition and thus, Eating Smart.

To perform better:

There are no simple rules for individual foods which universally make people smart, better athletes or more energetic. Why? As an example, a big dose of sugar may make you feel awake in the in the short-run, but impair your long-term performance. The body is usually trying to maintain balance, and when you add a lot of one type of food or chemical, it works hard to decrease the amount of that substance. For example, eating a candy bar may help you run fast for a few minutes, but it will slow you down for a longer race-- or a days worth of activities. So when people recommend that a single food will make you perform better, be weary. In general, a balanced diet as discussed above improves memory and helps people perform better in school, work and play, relative to those with a poor diet. There are also specific recommendations for optimizing the health and performance of youth athletes who need extra calories and a lot of water.

To feel good and relax:

Eating smart not only aids in long-term health, in can also make you feel better on a daily basis. What are some simple examples? Not drinking enough water or too much salt alter your blood pressure and give you a headache. Too much sugar or caffeine can cause a brief period of high energy if you don't use it all the time, but if you consumed too much it can then leave you feeling tired or with a headache. Too much fat can can give you a stomach ache and tire you out too. Overall, a balanced diet has been shown to improve people's moods. How? Well, know one knows all the answers, so don't rush to buy any supplements that say they can make you feel better-- again, a balanced diet with healthy foods is the key. There is some evidence that amino acid intake may may effect the brain; tyrosine (found in protein rich foods) intake may make people more alert, while tryptophan (milk, turkey, etc...) can make people sleepy, especially when given with a lot of carbohydrates. Many people reward themselves with food, and come to depend on it; sometimes this can lead to a binge eating disorder, or contribute to becoming overweight. Don't ignore your body's signals; get in tune with how certain foods make you feel, physically and mentally and then try to make healthy changes to see how you can feel better.

To stay safe:

It is important to Be Aware of ways to avoid food allergy problems (consult your doctor if you suspect a problem) and foodborne illnesses and undesired chemicals (eat in moderatoin, choose wisely, wash thoroughly, store properly and adhere to expiration dates). Eating Smart will help you stay safe.

For fun with friends:

Eating is one of life's great pleasures, and one of the best ways to socialize with friends and family. There is no reason not to continue enjoying cooking and eating out for fun-- you can do that and be healthy. You just need to be clever and plan ahead a little. One good way to learn about good nutrition is to talk with your family and friends about it. It's an interesting conversation topic, as long as that's not all you talk about.... Share what you know from your reading and ask lots of questions.

 

How to Eat Smart

Specific Guidance for:

Pregnant Mothers (More Questions?)
Newborns: Breastfeeding v. Formula
Infants 4-12 months; Bright Futures
Toddlers; Bright Futures
Elementary Kids: Bright Futures
Teens: Bright Futures
College Life; Healthy Meals in a Snap



The original goal of the Food Guide Pyramid was supposed to be simple enough for people to get this basic message: Eat a Balanced Diet. While this is the first key, it has not been enough to prevent the current obesity epidemic and other health problems. Click on the pyramid to learn other primary tips on healthy eating.

FitNet
FitGUIDE
Coach K Drive to Fitness

Additional Help and Information

Healthy Weight: Not Too Much
Kids
Teens
What's BMI? Child BMI Calculator
Adult BMI Calculator & Standards
BMI: Great Screen, but Not Perfect
Calories In- The Real Portion Size
Calories Out- Physical Activity (Teens)

Eating Disorders: Not Too Little
Kids
Teens
College and Adult

Food Guides: Moderation is the Key
Dietary Guidelines Overview
Dietary Guidelines Detailed ABC
Harvard Food Guide Pyramid
Fiber Calculator
Hold the Caffeine for Kids

Best Free Info Search & Tracking Tools
Meal & Fast Food Nutrition Info Search
Calorie King Nutrition Database
FitDay.com Food & Activity Tracking

Meals
Carry Your Water Bottle
Healthy Breakfast...
...Smoothie? (Try w/ Oats & Banana)
Lunch At School: Choose Wisely
Packing a Lunch; Healthy Ideas
Smart Snacking
Balanced Dinner

Fitness Forward Favorites
Water, Especially While Being Active
5-9 a Day: Fruits and Vegetables
Egg White Omlette Cooked in Olive Oil
Healthy Smoothies
Skim Milk and Plain Yogurt w/ Fruit
Whole Grain Oats/Bread/Cereal/Pasta
No Salt Peanuts/Natural Peanut Butter
Black Beans & Brown Rice
Various Fish (Moderation and Variety)
Low-fat Chicken Breast (Occasionally)
Tomato Sauce (low salt)
Herbs/Spices- Healthy can Taste Good
See FitGUIDE to learn more

More: Menus and Recipes
Example Healthy Menu
Kids Meal Recommendations & More
Quick and Healthy Recipes
More Healthy Recipes of the Week
Epicurious (big selection; be choosey)

Shopping Help
Overview: Shopping Tips 1, 2 & 3
Tips to Make a Healthy Shopping List
Affordable Healthy Food
Farmers Markets in Your State
Read the Label and Ingredients
Virtual Shopping and List Creator
View Shopping Aisles (Use Zip 02145)
Healthy Fridge

The Kitchen: Cooking Tips & Food Prep
Healthy Cooking Tips
Healthy Meals in a Snap
Substitute Good Fat for Bad Fat
Substitute Herbs for Salt/Butter/Sugar
Safe Preparation and Storage
Eating Meals as a Family

Outside the Home
Eating Out at Restaurants
Nutrition While Traveling
Nutrition in Schools

Don't Stress...
But Don't Stop Asking Questions Either...

Food Safety
Foodborne Illness
Additives, Preservatives and Colors
Chemical Pollutants/Pesticides: FDA
Chemicals/Pesticides/Antibiotics: WHO
Detailed List: Additive Guidelines
Water Safety
Kids: Food Allergies
The Five Worst Foods
Preparation Tips for Food Safety
Food Safety Kids

...While We at FF Eat the Foods Below, We Always Have Our Eye on Much of the Newest Research and Ideas...

New and Debated Findings and Opinions: In Complexity, Remember Balance
Alcohol Protein Calcium Soy
Sports Bars & Drinks
Hormones to Genetics (GMOs)
Milk in Moderation?
More Celiac Disease Than Thought?
Chicken: Arsenic, PCRM stance, Wings
Food Myths
Artificial Sweeteners: In Moderation
Foods Additives (MSG example)
Caffeine Safe? Unsafe? Levels
Mercury (freshwater fish)

For More Information

USDA Child Nutrition and Health
Bright Futures
Harvard and Aetna on Nutrition
Nutrition Navigator
Nutrition.gov
FDA
British Nutrition Foundation
Team Nutrition
Association School Food Service Association
US Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
WHO on Diet, Nutrtion and Preventable Disease
International Food Information Council
Other Food Pyramids

More on Nutrition Science and Public Health
Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source
U. North Carolina School of Public Health
Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition & Policy
Food and Mood- Mayo Clinic
Nutrigenomics


 

Advertising to Kids
Advertising, Nutrition and Kids
Research on Kids Advertisers Use

Editorials
What if you only ate fast food for a month?
Is the US for or against UN plan to fight obesity?
No Junk Food for Babies!

Provocative Books
Eat, Drink & Be Healthy- Willett
Fast Food Nation- Schlosser
Food Politics- Nestle

 

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