Nourishing Your Health: Food Nutrition Basics

Good nutrition is the foundation of a healthy and fulfilling life. Understanding the basics of food nutrition is essential for making informed choices that promote overall well-being.

Balanced Diet for Optimal Health

A balanced diet is key to maintaining good health. It consists of a variety of foods from different food groups, ensuring you get all the essential nutrients your body needs. Riverside Healthcare emphasizes the importance of incorporating the following into your diet:

  1. Fruits and Vegetables: These are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Aim to fill half your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables to boost your intake of essential nutrients.
  2. Protein Sources: Lean proteins like poultry, fish, beans, and tofu provide your body with amino acids necessary for muscle repair and overall growth.
  3. Whole Grains: Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread offer complex carbohydrates that provide sustained energy and fiber for digestive health.
  4. Dairy or Dairy Alternatives: Dairy products like milk and yogurt, or fortified dairy alternatives, are excellent sources of calcium and vitamin D for strong bones and teeth.
  5. Fats: While fats should be consumed in moderation, healthy fats from sources like avocados, nuts, and olive oil are important for overall health.

Portion Control Matters

Even when eating nutritious foods, portion control is crucial. Overeating can lead to weight gain and health issues. Using tools like smaller plates and measuring cups can help you manage portion sizes effectively.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is often overlooked but is equally important for your health. Water helps with digestion, regulates body temperature, and supports various bodily functions. Limit sugary drinks and opt for water or unsweetened beverages instead.

Shot of an attractive young woman cooking at home

Minimize Processed Foods

Processed foods often contain excess salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats. Minimizing the consumption of processed foods, such as pre-packaged snacks, sugary cereals, and fast food. Instead, opt for whole, unprocessed foods that provide essential nutrients without unnecessary additives.

Listen to Your Body

Finally, Riverside encourages individuals to pay attention to their bodies. Eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re satisfied. Avoid eating out of boredom or stress, as this can lead to unhealthy eating habits.

How Riverside Can Help

Riverside has worked to establish the first hospital-based food pantry in northern Illinois outside of Chicago. The pantry is based out of the Riverside Healthcare East Court Primary Care office and provides free groceries to patients in need of nutritious food that meets their dietary needs. There are also educational benefits with the use of the pantry so that patients at risk for chronic health issues, such as diabetes or heart disease, can improve health outcomes. If you are interested in utilizing the pantry, contact your Riverside Medical Group primary care provider for a referral or call (815) 935-9394 with any questions.

Understanding the basics of food nutrition is essential for maintaining good health, and Riverside is here to guide you on your journey to wellness. By following these tips, you can make informed choices that support your overall well-being. Riverside is committed to empowering individuals in our community to make healthier food choices and lead healthier lives.