It’s Never Too Late To Learn About Nutrition

Do you shudder at the thought of a spinach salad with grilled chicken? Or broiled filet of sole? Do you hate anything green? Just think about what limiting yourself to fatty and sugary foods is doing to your body. And the bodies of your children. It is our obligation to educate ourselves about nutrition.

One of my biggest regrets is that I grew up without much understanding of nutrition. I knew the basics: Fruits, vegetables, chicken and fish are good. Burgers with onion rings and fries are bad. But even when my parents adopted the Weight Watchers program when I was 15, I viewed it as a weight loss gimmick. Once you lost your pounds, you could treat yourself to meals that were more fun. And so my favorite dinner at college was a big burger on a bun, lots of greasy onion rings, French fries, and a huge chocolate shake. Approximate calorie count: 1530. For one meal.

My current calorie limit on My Fitness Pal, for the entire day, is 1300. Adding in about half an hour of cardio would give me the other 230 calories. But if that’s just dinner, it doesn’t take too much imagination to figure out that what I was eating was simply BAD. And I never took the time or had the motivation to learn about what was GOOD.

Unfortunately, I passed on the nutrition-less lifestyle to Amy, whose favorite meal as a child was a burger and fries. Fortunately, though, as adults, we have both changed our mindsets about what is good for us, and we have discovered a whole lot of low-cal foods that taste good, too. Now, I understand nutrition a lot better, and I use My Fitness Pal not only to count my calories and exercise but also to try to keep within the recommended amounts of carbs, fats, proteins, sodium and sugar. It’s been a really steep learning curve, but well worth it.

There’s lots of information out there. For example, take a look at First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” program initiative Let’s Move and Choose My Plate. Mrs. Obama has been dedicated to “one simple but ambitious goal: to end the epidemic of childhood obesity in a generation so that kids borntoday will grow up healthy.”

I shudder now when I see fast food ads. I gape at the commercials in which one big happy family is chowing down fried chicken, gravy and potatoes. I know that a treat now and then is fun; but when the treat is your lifestyle, it spells trouble. And it’s a truly hard habit to break. But with education and determination, you can make a difference – one meal at a time.

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