When you hear the word “training” what do you think of? Maybe you think of working out or learning how to do your job. Maybe you think of a montage of a boxer getting ready for the big fight. We are talking about a whole new type of training though, one you probably haven’t heard of before…nutrition training!
Nutrition training is a type of educational program that can teach individuals about the science of food and nutrition. It can help people learn how to make healthy food choices, understand portion sizes, and create balanced meals. Nutrition education programs are typically offered through community organizations, hospitals, or schools. Some employers also offer nutrition training to their employees.
There are many different types of nutrition training programs available. One popular option is the MyPlate program offered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This program provides information on how to create a healthy plate at each meal. The MyPlate website includes tips on choosing healthy foods from all the food groups, as well as ideas for getting more physical activity into your day.
Another common type of nutrition training is called the DASH diet plan. The DASH diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This eating plan was designed specifically to lower blood pressure. The DASH diet recommends eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean protein sources, and nuts and seeds. It also limits sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams per day (about one teaspoon).
Making small changes in your eating habits can have a big impact on your health. Here’s four ways you can make changing up your diet a bit smoother:
- Start small – Making drastic changes to your diet all at once is likely to be overwhelming and difficult to stick to in the long-term. Instead, focus on making small changes that you can realistically commit to over time. For example, if you currently eat fast food for lunch every day, start by switching one day per week to a healthier option. You can budget how much money you spend on fast-food and then compare that to other healthier options, so as not to reach outside of your budget. Then, gradually increase the number of days until you’re eating healthy lunches most or all of the time.
- Plan ahead – Meal planning and prep can save you a lot of time and effort when it comes to changing your diet. By taking some time each week to plan out your meals and snacks, you’ll be less likely to reach for unhealthy options when you’re feeling hungry. Planning ahead will also help you stay on budget as you won’t be as tempted to eat out or buy expensive convenience foods.
- Be prepared – In addition to meal planning, it helps to have healthy snacks and meals available at all times so that you don’t end up getting too hungry and reaching for unhealthy choices. Keep fruits and vegetables washed and cut up in the fridge, hard boiled eggs in the refrigerator or freezer, single-serve portions of nuts or seeds on hand for easy snacking, etc. By having these healthy options readily available, it will be much easier for you to maintain your new diet long-term.
- Make sure you’re getting enough protein – Protein is an essential nutrient that helps keep us full and satisfied after eating meals or snacks. When trying to change your diet, make sure that protein is included at every meal or snack in order help reduce cravings throughout the day (especially if carbs/sugar were previously a big part of your diet). Good sources of protein include lean meats (chicken breast, turkey breast), fish/seafood, tofu, legumes, eggs, dairy products, and nuts/seeds. If including animal products in your diet isn’t possible or desired , there are many plant-based protein powders available that can easily be added into smoothies or other recipes.
So, why nutrition train? Well, first of all it creates consciousness around what you eat. The more aware you are of what you’re putting in your body, the more committed you’ll be to eating healthier. But also, changing how we eat is difficult! It’s not natural to adjust such an engrained habit so rapidly. It’s more healthy if you take your time! You’ll feel better once you do!