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Tips for making better food choices

By Lori Prichard | Posted - Jun 27th, 2013 @ 10:01pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — It may be a cliche phrase, but health experts say it's true — you are what you eat.

"There are certain things we'd encourage you to eat more of, and other things we'd encourage you to eat or drink less of," said Tamara Sheffield, Intermountain Healthcare medical director.

She recommends eating more fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains and low-fat proteins.

"Those are the things we want to make sure are included in your diet," she said.

As for what to consume less of, Sheffield said to steer clear of foods high in sugar, like sweetened drinks. A National Institutes of Health review with nearly 40 years worth of studies proved the link between sugary drinks and weight gain.

Experts say eating healthy is important, and choosing what to eat can be a good way to start right every morning.

"Individuals that skip breakfast tend to struggle more with their weight," Sheffield said.

Studies show that people who eat a nutritious breakfast including some protein tend to eat fewer calories and more healthful calories, later in the day.

"So that breakfast balances out what your body craves and desires later on in the day," Sheffield said.

Another recommendation Sheffield gave to improve a person's health is encouraging families to eat together for at least one meal a day, if not more. Planning healthy family meals can help educate kids on eating and can satisfy more than just your family's physical hunger.

"You get rid of some of the other hungers, emotional hungers, so they don't use food as a substitute for the care and concern that they get from their family," Sheffield said.

Food can also be a coping mechanism for people, especially those who are fatigued, anxious, worried or depressed. Oftentimes, people eat rather than sleep, Sheffield said.

For more information on healthy habits for eating and living well, visit


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