Setting goals, making changes key in healthy living

April is National Nutrition Month and the 377th Health Promotions center wants to show Team Kirtland members how setting small goals now can affect their long-term health.

March is National Nutrition Month and the 377th Health Promotions center wants to show Team Kirtland members how setting small goals now can affect their long-term health.

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

March is National Nutrition Month and the 377th Health Promotions center wants to show Team Kirtland members how setting small goals now can affect their long-term health.

Kirsten David, a Health Promotions registered dietitian, said mental readiness is important when transitioning to a healthy lifestyle. 

“When it comes to nutrition and healthy eating, there is a huge mental aspect to it. You have to be ready and committed to actually make changes,” David said. “My advice for success is goal setting.”

She said it is important not to get wrapped up or overwhelmed with your ultimate lifestyle goals. 

“Don’t think about the big picture, like losing weight. That’s your long-term goal. You want to work on short term goals to make it easier,” David said. “Eating more vegetables is an example of a short-term goal that will lead to your long-term goal, of losing weight.” 

Living a healthy life with a nutritious diet is about more than just looking slim, it’s also about being continually vigilant, David said. Her advice is to learn how to decode a nutrition label and avoid things which may lead to health issues later in life, like too much sugar or low fiber. 

“One thing to look at is sugar. A good rule of thumb is to have five grams or less per serving, and the recommended maximum amount for women is 26 grams per day and for men its 38,” David said. “Sugar is one of the biggest reasons why we see issues with overweight, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes.”

She also said not all sugars are bad sugars.

“It’s amazing how much sugar is added to things,” David said. “But the sugar that you get naturally from fruit is a healthier sugar because it has a lot of nutrients and fiber with it.”

Her next label reading tip is to calculate the fiber to carb ratio.

“There should one about one gram of fiber for every 10 grams of carbohydrates,” David said. “So, if it says it has 30 grams of total carbs per serving there should be at least three grams of fiber to make it a good high fiber healthy product.”

Having a high fiber diet helps maintain a balanced blood sugar level and will give you more energy throughout the day. It will also aid in avoiding developing diabetes and high cholesterol.

David’s last piece of advice is to apply small informed decisions to your life, one step at a time.

“Learn about nutrition now, then just try to make one change at a time and it will affect you for the rest of your life,” David said.