Change your diet, make your body a ‘temple’ in 2017

Heather O’dell // Staff Writer

Being more active or losing weight are two common new year’s resolutions. But exercise alone won’t help you achieve these goals: making healthy food choices and reducing threatening foods from your diet will push you to lead a healthier lifestyle in 2017.

“Your body is your temple,” said Dr. Valerie George, professor in dietetics and sports nutrition at FIU. “People don’t need to cut out foods they enjoy to live, eat and feel healthier. I love pizza. It’s a fact. I just eat it in moderation. Too much of anything is never good.”

A diet solely depends on a person’s individuality; altering their wants and preferences will only put their bodies in shock.

“I travel to Norway often,” said the sports nutritionist. “For breakfast, it is normal and customary to eat fish in the morning with cream cheese and toast. Now, if all of a sudden I told them they can’t eat that for breakfast every day, they would freak. When starting new eating habits, it is important to start by reducing, not excluding.”

Planning meals are always key to eating healthier, especially for athletes. While traveling for a game or tournament, athletes may choose unhealthy meals that are convenient like fast food. Because of this, George advocates packing lunch and snacks every morning.

“I always tell my athletes to eat fresh. That’s the best way to do it,” George said. “Dump highly processed foods and just go fresh. By doing this, you know where your food is from, what has been done to it and how good it really is.”

If people reduced their salt intake to only 5 grams per day, 1.7 million deaths could be prevented each year, according to WHO, World Health Organization. Processed foods are high in sodium and slow down your metabolism.

Knowing how to properly read food labels can make eating healthier an easier task. However, this can be tricky at times. The app found in the App Store and Android, Fooducate, can scan the barcodes of products and provides a breakdown of what the item contains.

“By reading labels, you can calculate how much energy you need in a day,” George said. “This is important for athletes to do so they never fall short on energy during a game or workout.”

Staying hydrated is just as important than choosing the right foods. Athletes should constantly be drinking water or Gatorade to avoid dehydration and replenish the micronutrients in their bodies.

The best way to stay fit and healthy in 2017 is to stick to organic products and fill your plate with plenty of fruits, vegetables and protein.

“After all, you are what you eat,” said George.

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