EATING: Tips for Making Healthier Choices Around Food

Eating for YOUR Lifestyle


Let’s face it—no one really wants to count calories or points or whatever! Does it work? It sure can. But most of us just don’t want to take the time and effort. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with it.

These programs are teaching you moderation and healthy eating to lose weight and live a healthier life. However, the structure can feel restricting sometimes.


I’m a big proponent of moderation and not cutting out any food group unless you need to for medical reasons. I’m also big on planning. You don’t have to plan every single meal or snack each day, but plan some and you can stay on track. In college, I always had a water bottle and snacks in my bag. Granola bars were a big one for me. These days, I still sometimes have something in my bag, or a cooler in the car. Mainly due to the food allergies, but it’s great advice for anyone.


Most of us know the basics of healthy eating, but just in case you forgot a few, here’s some tips.


Water, Water, and Water


Drinking eight 8 oz. glasses of water each day is the recommendation we all know, and a lot of us don’t follow. However, it’s probably not enough.


Women should aim for 11.5 cups, or 2.7 liters, of water each day, according to the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The truth is that each individual needs a different amount of fluids each day. The usual 64 oz. might be enough for you, but not enough for your friend. Or, maybe it’s enough during the winter time, but during the warmer months you need more.


Plain water is usually readily available, and is calorie-free. But juices, milk, coffee, tea and other drinks can also contribute. However, this does not mean that all your fluids should come from Starbucks. Nice try.


You can also add to your fluid intake with fresh fruits and veggies. Watermelon, cucumbers and spinach have a lot of water in them, and your body reaps the benefit.


My current goal to up my fluid intake is to try and drink one cup at the top of every hour. We’ll see how that goes.




When you eat at a restaurant, you are served larger than normal portions. Sometimes we can pack it all away—but it doesn’t mean we should. Yikes! You can estimate portion sizes rather than measuring at home and at the restaurant. For example, three ounces of meat is approximately the same size as the palm of your hand. Often, three to five ounces of meat at a time is sufficient, so one to 1 ½ palms is a good estimate. A single medium-sized piece of fruit is the size of a baseball. A half cup of veggies is about the same size as the bulb portion of a light bulb.


You can look up recommendations on how much of everything you should eat per day, or start with just controlling portion sizes to avoid getting too caught up in a “diet.”


Load Up the Fresh Stuff First


Now, this won’t work for me, but it will work for most of you if you give it a shot. When you are at home or out, start by filling your plate with veggies or fruit before any carbs or protein. If you are ordering a meal, get that side salad or some other vegetable choice. It should take up about half your plate. Then one-quarter should be protein and the other quarter carbs.


The best choices are lean cuts of meat that are baked or grilled, not fried. Whole-grain carbs or starchy vegetables are the best choices for the last quarter.


Limit, Don’t Avoid


I’m going to eat pizza, French fries and even desserts—but I should be able to control how often and how much I consume.


That’s just living life. Choose moderation when eating those items that are high in sugar, sodium and saturated fats. I know if I have it in the house, I’m going to eat it. So, limit those purchases if you’re like me. Right now, the Girl Scouts are out in full force, and I have succumbed. How can I turn down those cute faces?! But I don’t have to buy 10 boxes when one will do. Or so I tell myself.


One last thing—when you try to make healthier food choices on a regular basis, you may get the naysayers. People will question you, or call you out if you have something in moderation. Don’t let it get to you! It’s often their issue, and nothing to do with you. Shrug it off if you can, or tell them to knock it off.


You should worry about your health and well-being, not their sensibilities.



Bethany Kochan started her fitness career at a local women’s fitness center at 19 years of age. This part-time job lead to a career that over 20 years later, she still loves. Bethany earned her B.S. in Exercise Science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale at the same time becoming certified as a group exercise instructor. After college, she pursued NSCA-CPT and CSCS, group cycling, mat Pilates and YogaFit certifications. In 2009, she and her husband made a big move across the country to pursue his dream job in the field of strength and conditioning. At this point, Bethany began writing and training online to be both with her husband and the fitness industry. Today, the Kochans split their time between AZ and CA, pursuing their passions and enjoying life together with their two rescue Weimaraners.