Staying Healthy in 2020

By: Paraskos Araouzos, MD

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Last month, as we began the new year, I shared my top 10 tips for staying healthy in 2020. As the year progresses, I’ll focus on each of the ten tips to help you stay focused — and more healthy!

2020 Tip #1: Eat Healthy

Although diet fads and new research are constantly being released, eating well does not need to be complicated. Check out the MyPlate eating guidelines for simple, yet nutritious ways to follow a healthy eating plan.

MyPlate recommends that our daily food intake should include plenty of fruit, vegetables and grains, with low saturated fats and cholesterol, and limiting intake of sugar and salt. Lean protein is important, as are low-fat, calcium-rich foods and unrefined carbohydrates. The plan also promotes portion control, which is key to preventing overeating.

While MyPlate is straightforward, actually implementing these practices can be challenging for a variety of reasons.

Cost can be a factor, but you can find ways to pack your diet with healthy foods. Plan your meals and shop accordingly. When it comes to fruits and veggies, eat what’s in season to save money.

Another challenge can take the form of emotional eating; that is, consuming “comfort” foods when we’re feeling sad, lonely or overwhelmed. It’s important to be aware of these times and find other ways of coping. If you have eaten to soothe unpleasant feelings, don’t feel guilty… just move ahead and resolve to make better choices next time.

Mindful eating is a practice I highly encourage. How many times do we consume food while doing another activity, such as watching television or working on a computer? Or continue to eat when we’re actually full? Eating should be an activity in and of itself, and practiced in a mindful and attentive way.

We’re all human, and are bound to indulge in chocolate, pizza, French fries or ice cream from time to time. Eating those foods, or whatever you enjoy most, does not need to stop just because you want to improve your diet. I encourage my patients to have foods they enjoy, but to look for more nutritious substitutions and to eat in moderation.

Above all, remember that eating healthy isn’t about deprivation and limitations. Choosing nutritious food the majority of the time helps us stay energized, positive and contributes to our overall health.

Paraskos Araouzos, MD is known to his patients as 'Dr. Perry.' He is board certified in family medicine and a member of the American Medical Society and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Dr. Araouzos is welcoming new patients at Crouse Medical Practice in Manlius. For an appointment, call 315-682-6600.

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