Your Next Meal
About This Course
What are the highlights and difficulties of your mealtimes? What successes and challenges do you experience when grocery shopping, meal planning, and determining what to eat? Like many clergy and lay employees of the Episcopal Church, you may find your next meal to be both rewarding and frustrating. Busy schedules, limited food options, staff and church meetings that involve sweets and desserts—these can all hinder even the best efforts to eat healthy.
In this course you’ll find guidance that may help:
- Menus and tips for meal planning
- Nutrition basics
- Insights into emotional eating
- The benefits and challenges of eating with others
- Tips on how to begin implementing good nutrition habits
Approximately 6 to 12 minutes per section. Total time: approximately 1 hour
Krishna Dholakia, Senior Health Education Specialist, Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator
Nutrition provides fuel for our bodies. With proper fuel, our bodies are healthier, stronger, and better able to withstand the stress of daily life. Eating a healthy diet has been shown to:
- Help with weight control and reduce weight fluctuations
- Reduce the risk of some chronic diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, cancer, and osteoporosis
- Provide increased energy and a sense of well-being
- Increase fullness and satiety
- Increase the ability to focus and concentrate
- Increase sports and exercise performance
Making small changes to your diet can have a big impact on your health. Keep your nutrition goals realistic and focus on making one change at a time. This will increase the likelihood of succeeding with your nutrition goals. Making small changes to your diet has been shown to be effective in creating and maintaining long-term success.
Here are some tips on how to get started:
- Eat a balance of fruits and vegetables throughout the day. Fill half of your plate with vegetables (see choosemyplate.gov) or aim for 5 - 6 servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit throughout the day. Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting antioxidants.
- Make at least half of your grains whole grains instead of white, refined grains. Whole grains are complex carbohydrates that have more fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Fill a quarter of your plate with whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole grain pasta.
- Stick to lean protein. Animal and vegetable-based proteins offer good nutrition and essential amino acids that are important for growth and sustaining muscle mass. Fill a quarter of your plate with lean protein like fish, skinless chicken breast, lean beef, eggs or beans.
- Practice portion control by eating small frequent meals throughout the day and adding healthy snacks in between main meals such as fruit. Following the portion plate (see choosemyplate.gov) can help you get a better idea of the correct portions you should be aiming for.
- Stick to low-fat, fat-free dairy or healthy dairy-free alternatives like soy milk, almond milk, or rice milk. Limit cheese intake to about 1 oz., the size of your thumb.
- Limit your intake of processed foods, salt, and sugary drinks.
Here are some additional suggestions from healthfinder.gov
Keep a food diary
Tracking your food intake is one of the best ways to gain clarity about how nutritious your diet is. It’s also a great way to understand how many calories you are consuming on a daily basis. Make notes of when you eat, how much, where you are, whom you are with, and how you feel during and after. See the USDA's SuperTracker.
Make a grocery plan for the week. A grocery list can help you stay focused as you wander through the aisles. Aim to buy nutritious foods like colorful fruits and vegetables and read the nutrition labels to give you more information about what is in the food you are eating. Visit FDA.gov to learn how to read labels. Avoid going to the grocery store on an empty stomach.
Eat healthy when you are away from home or on the road.
With some planning, you can enjoy dining out while eating healthy.
- Most restaurants post their menus online, so you can review the menu and decide what you want to eat beforehand.
- Order first, so you are not tempted by what others in your party are ordering.
- Let your server know how you want your food prepared – ask for low-fat options, avoid sauces, etc.
- Be smart about the side dishes you order. Choose vegetables (steamed) and brown rice rather than the fully loaded baked potato.
- Consider ordering appetizers as your meal. The portions are smaller and many appetizers are healthy.
- You don’t have to finish everything on your plate. The portions in restaurants are large, so split the meal and bring half home with you.
Talk to your doctor.
Get an annual physical, and consider meeting with a nutritionist. Both options are available through your Medical Trust health plan benefits. Click here to check the handbook for your health plan and look up the coverage allowances for counseling sessions with a nutritionist in your area.
The USDA’s SuperTracker at www.supertracker.usda.gov lists recommendations for food, fitness, and health and offers a program to record your personal profile and goals. They also offer free tools for tracking your meals, physical activity, and weight. Plus, you can use the group function on SuperTracker with your friends and family. Create a group and support one another to reach your wellness goals together.
QUOTE: Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. You were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies. 1Corinthians 6:19-20
TIP: Wake up tired? Experience energy highs and lows over the course of the day?
Try making a change to your routine and see if it affects how you feel. Keeping a journal of your daily food intake and noting your energy and mood will help you discover the best foods for your health.
TIP: Pack healthy snacks that you can bring to work each day for a week. It can be the same thing each day—a fruit, cut-up vegetables, yogurt or portioned nuts—or get individually packaged items to keep in your desk drawer.
TIP: The benefits of following a healthy diet are well-documented –
for more information, visit the General Guidelines from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion on Health.gov
Health benefits are offered through plans maintained by Church Pension Group Services Corporation (doing business as The Episcopal Church Medical Trust), 19 East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016.
This material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be professional medical advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of a healthcare professional with any questions about personal healthcare status and prior to making changes in approaches to diet and exercise. This material is not a guarantee of coverage under any Episcopal Church Medical Trust health plan.
Unless otherwise noted, websites referenced herein that are outside the www.cpg.org domain are not associated with The Church Pension Fund and its affiliates (collectively, the Church Pension Group) and the Church Pension Group is not responsible for the content of any such websites.