As a nation information is now readily available to us about healthy eating, yet more of us are overweight, eat nutritionally-poor diets, and develop adult onset diabetes. As we continue through Lent, let us also focus on keeping our bodies healthy. Our bodies after all are to be treated as a temple. That means not only being informed, but practicing healthy eating habits. It is necessary to be intentional about this, because it is much easier to eat in an unhealthy manner. Everyone is very busy so it is easiest to eat fast food or prepared foods that just need to be heated. Most of us need to decrease the amount of fat, sodium, and sugars we consume. Use spreads with NO transfatty acids and do not eat saturated fats. Eat foods as they appear naturally, i.e. choose fresh or frozen and avoid prepared or canned foods. If you eat meat, choose that which flies or swims rather than walks around. The salad bar is a great choice if you stick to the vegetables and some fruits and don’t add dressing, croutons, bacon, etc. If you choose salads with mayonnaise (i.e. potato, macaroni) or add several tablespoons of dressing, you may even consume more fat and calories than if you ordered a sandwich. Eat your vegetables! Drink water! Check out the Health Ministry table for handouts about nutrition and healthy eating.
The following Healthy Food Quiz was adapted from the Iowa Health Awareness Team. It is ten years old but still a good tool to check your eating habits. Check how healthy your food choices are by answering True or False to each item.
1. I eat high-fiber breakfast cereal at least 4 times a week.
2. I eat 100% whole wheat bread rather than white bread.
3. I eat raw fruits or vegetables at least twice a day.
4. I add unprocessed bran to my diet for added roughage.
5. I drink fewer than 2 pre-sweetened soft drinks per week (including artificially sweetened).
6. I use little sugar, syrup, jelly, or honey on my food.
7. I eat bologna, hot dogs, ham, or bacon less than once/week.
8. I rarely eat pre-packaged meals (i.e. TV dinners, Hamburger Helpers, canned stews, boxed meals, etc).
9. I don’t salt popcorn and I eat salty snacks no more than once every two weeks.
10. I eat fresh or frozen vegetables rather than canned.
11. I eat meat at only 1 meal/day and in moderate amounts (3-5 oz).
12. I eat breakfast meats less than twice/month.
13. I eat three or fewer eggs/week.
14. I eat 4 or fewer slices of cheese a week.
15. I eat white and low fat cheeses rather than yellow cheeses.
16. I use 2 teaspoons or less of margarine per day.
17. I use 2 tablespoons or less of salad dressing on a salad.
18. I eat foods cooked by methods other than frying and foods prepared without oil whenever possible.
19. I eat multiple small meals rather than 1 or 2 large meals/day.
20. I avoid snacking and before bed snacks (or if so, eat fresh vegetables or fruit).
21. I don’t eat at fast-food restaurants more than once every 2 weeks.
22. I drink fewer than 5 alcoholic drinks/week.
To score your responses, give yourself 5 points for every item you answered True.
100-110 Wow, that’s awesome!
75-100 Your diet is significantly lower in nutrients associated with chronic diseases. You have good knowledge about healthy eating and follow it.
60-75 You make good food choices, but could learn more about better methods.
50-60 You are the average (unfortunately) U.S. food consumer. You may be eating foods associated with chronic health problems. It would be a good idea to make some diet changes.
Below 50 Your diet provides about half the nutrition you need. You need to seriously consider rethinking how you eat. Check out the Health Ministry table and/or First Place at MUMC, see a dietitian or get some help at The Wellness Center.