Taste the Rainbow of Flavors for Healthy Eating
At some point in our lives, almost everyone considers ways to improve their diet to improve overall health. Maybe the doctor has advised losing a few pounds, or maybe your favorite jeans have been replaced by a pair of comfy jeans. Either way, the decision to eat healthier is followed by the question, ‘What should I eat?’
Eating healthy can be a challenge, even for those who know where to start. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends eating five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. They also recommend eating fruits and vegetables of different colors - red, dark green, yellow, blue, purple, white, and orange. Choosing a wide variety of food maximizes the likelihood of getting the broadest range of nutrients as you try to achieve a healthy weight.
When choosing what to eat - think rich in color, rich in nutrients. Consider the deep indigo of blueberries which are loaded with phytochemicals or the rich red color of the low-fat, low-calorie tomato, a vegetable full of antioxidants, dietary fiber, minerals and vitamins. Knowing which fruits and vegetables are in season can also help you choose food that is the right color. Green bananas and yellow oranges tend to be a sign that the fruit has not reached its full maturity and will probably not only taste immature, but also won’t give you all the nutrients you need.
TRICARE beneficiaries should consult their primary care manager (PCM) to plan a healthy diet and to determine how much weight to lose to become healthy. By getting an accurate body measurement, it will be easier to determine how much weight you may need to lose to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Knowing your body measurement can help you determine your body mass index (BMI) which determines if you are slightly overweight, obese or morbidly obese. BMI describes relative weight for height and is an indicator of the severity of obesity regardless of gender. Both adults and children receive a body mass index measurement each year at their physical with children and an adolescent receiving a percentile reading allows for comparison to their peers.
TRICARE covers body measurement as part of one of its preventive services. While typical “annual physicals” are not covered, many of the services offered in a physical are covered under a “clinical preventive exam.” For more information, visit www.tricare.mil/PreventiveServices.
Beneficiaries whose BMI classifies them as morbidly obese or obese with certain obesity related conditions have other more drastic options to assist them in achieving a healthy weight and potentially impacting other health conditions that they might have or be at risk of developing ( i.e., diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol) TRICARE covers several procedures like vertical banded gastroplasty, gastroplasty (stomach stapling), and adjustable gastric banding (i.e., adjustable LAP-BAND®) for morbid obesity when certain criteria are met. For more information on TRICARE’s obesity treatment, visit www.tricare.mil/CoveredServices/SeeWhatsCovered/ObesityTreatment.