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Make diet part of a healthy lifestyle change this year
By Echo Staff
Jan 3, 2014, 17:39

Registered Dietitian Dana Decuir visits with patient Molly Varnado at Hancock Medical Center.

Diet is an important part of healthy living and Hancock Medical Center Dietitian Dana Decuir helps patients in the hospital, encouraging them to make eating right a new unbreakable habit.
Whether it is a New Year’s resolution or giving something up during Lent, striving for a proper diet all year long is a healthy pursuit.
“People tend to view diets as temporary fast fixes rather than a lifestyle change,” says Decuir. “Whether you are trying to lose weight or simply improve your eating habits, there are steps you can follow to stay on track.”
Decuir offers these tips:
Be mindful of portion sizes. In any weight loss program, portion control is the most important component. Portion sizes have tripled over the years, said Decuir. She says using measuring cups and common sense portion sizes can help people achieve caloric goals.
Fill up on fiber. Raw fruits and vegetables should make up half of your plate. Whole grains also provide excellent sources of fiber.
“These foods can make you feel fuller longer, so you are not likely to overeat later,” Decuir said.
Practice meal planning. When meals are planned ahead of time, people are less likely to make poor decisions based on hunger. When possible, prepare two meals ahead of time for the remainder of the week when things get busy. Stock the pantry with items that can be prepared quickly. Keep a food diary. Keeping a food diary to monitor calorie intake can be a very helpful tool in weight loss. It helps people see how much they are actually consuming and gives them ideas on where to cut back.
Choose meals carefully. When dining out, make healthy choices and don’t be embarrassed to only eat half and take the rest home.
“Many restaurants have healthy options,” Decuir said. “Choose more baked, broiled and grilled options when available.”
Decuir also says finding friends with similar healthy goals can provide a support system that might just be the key to achieving a year of good health in 2014.


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