How to stay healthy

Nutritious — According to registered dietician Kristina DiSanto, eating nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits and vegetables, is an easy way to promote a healthy lifestyle. Leah Seavers

Liberty campus dietician recommends manageable diet and exercise tips

As New Year’s resolutions kick off, students across campus will begin their efforts of achieving a healthier lifestyle. According to campus registered dietician Kristina DiSanto, there are several tips that can help start the year eating well and maintaining healthy goals.

“The first thing I tell people is to come up with a very concrete goal of what they want to do,” DiSanto said. “Make sure you set a very specific, concrete goal for yourself.”

According to DiSanto, small changes can be made to everyday choices enabling people to reach their goals.

DiSanto advises eating breakfast as one way to start working toward a healthier diet.

“Getting a good breakfast of some protein and good carbohydrates is really going to be the way to go,” DiSanto said. “If you’re not eating anything at all, start by eating something: a glass of milk or a piece of toast. Something is better than nothing. And then progress to working on the components of that meal.”

DiSanto recommended eating every three to four hours in order to keep the body’s metabolism running properly. She suggests fruit as an easy snack on the go. Adding protein, such as peanut butter or a cheese stick, provides a heartier snack.

Healthier living also involves cutting back on certain foods like sugary drinks and processed meats from fast food restaurants.

“I never tell people to cut an entire thing out of their diet that they love, except if it’s soda,” DiSanto said. “There (are) just no nutrient benefits (to soda). It’s all empty calories.”

She also warns against the extreme measures of dieting practiced with fad diets.

“They’re going to provide some short term effects because you’re cutting a lot of calories,” DiSanto said. “But it’s not sustainable over the long term.”

DiSanto notes dieters may see significant changes in the beginning of a fad diet, but it is not realistic to maintain the diet specifications throughout life, especially the diets with extreme standards.

“Anytime a diet tells you to cut out an entire food group, that’s a good indication to stay away from it,” DiSanto said.
According to DiSanto, the importance of a healthy diet is typically overlooked because the changes inside the body cannot be visually tracked.

“What we put in our body everyday ultimately affects our overarching health and that affects our brain,” DiSanto said.

Part of a healthy diet includes getting enough sleep each night in order for the body to work properly.

“If you’re not getting enough sleep, which ties into nutrition very closely, you are going to have your hormones going off, which throws off your hunger cues and then you’re thinking about eating during class instead of paying attention to what’s going on,” DiSanto said.

DiSanto believes that staying hydrated is another key component to living a healthy lifestyle.

“If you’re up to 1 percent dehydrated it can affect your abilities to have good athletic performance and performance in the classroom as well,” DiSanto said.

With objective goals and simple dietary changes outlined by DiSanto, it is possible to maintain the intentions of working towards a healthier lifestyle.

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