Nursing assistant education programs include the merits of following a good and healthful diet. If you are concerned about correctly following the recommendations of The American Heart Association Diet Plan, it is important to understand how caloric intake as well as certain foods affects your body’s functions – not just weight gain or loss. Most people who are watching their weight merely view calories as a number on a package. However, a food high in calories does not necessarily always translate into automatic weight gain. A steak containing 800 calories is not handled by the body the same way as a cup of ice cream containing about half the calories is. Unlike carbohydrates and fats, proteins such as beef, chicken, and fish are not stored by the body. Therefore, if you were to eat both in one meal, the calories of the steak would be burned before your body begins to utilize the ice cream calories.

Nursing Assistant Education: Following the AHA Diet Plan

Calories merely measure the amount of energy that a food contains when digested. Overeating and not burning a commensurate amount of energy through exercise is what causes weight gain – not calories. Therefore, a good nursing assistant education course will stress the importance of educating patients in following a healthful diet, whether they want to gain, maintain, or lose weight, requires a balance between caloric intake and energy output.

The ideal number of calories that an individual should consume on a daily basis is generally determined by a number of factors including age, weight, and sex. Men, on the average, require more calories than women do of equal stature and age. Those who are very active, such as professionally athletes, consume many more calories than the average person does. In addition, pregnant women should also consume additional calories to get enough energy and nutrients for themselves and the baby they are carrying. Consulting with a physician or nutritionist is the safest way to find out how many calories you should consume. Information about The American Heart Association Diet Plan, and similar diet plans are available in books, health magazines, and the internet. These sources of information can help you develop a meal plan and exercise regimen consistent with your ideal weight goals.

Learning how to obtain calories from nutritious and healthful foods is an objective that many people have not successfully achieved. Some people will say that the recommended number of calories is not enough to keep them from feeling hungry, but this is not necessarily true. Many people meet their daily caloric intake with empty junk food, or diets low in fiber. Most junk food is loaded with calories, fillers, and unhealthy fats. Choosing healthier foods that are low to moderate in calories, but contain more nutrients and fiber will help ensure that you will not go hungry. Drinking at least eight glasses of water or other healthful beverages will help fill you up, as well as aid indigestion. Chewing your food thoroughly and slowly also helps to curb your appetite. Instead of eating high calorie chips and sweets, which rarely satisfy hunger, reach for healthier options such as fruit, fresh vegetables, or a piece of low-fat cheese. Eaten together, fruit and cheese, or vegetables and cheese can make a very satisfying as well as healthful snack. Making the most of the calories you consume each day will ensure that your appetite is satiated and a healthy diet is maintained.

A nursing assistant education instructor may or may not follow the American Heart Association Diet Plan precisely, but they will probably alert their students to the fact that labels on food can be misleading if not read carefully. Most consumers overlook the fact that most snack foods and beverages contain more than one serving per package. While a small pack of chips might read 150 calories, the package may actually contain two servings. For most people, once that bag of chips is open, it is very difficult to close it up after eating one serving. The same thing goes for high caloric beverages, including flavored coffees, juices, and sodas. Most commercial gourmet coffee beverages, such as lattes, contain several hundred calories. Comparatively, a cup of black coffee contains no calories! Whether consuming healthy food, or occasionally indulging in junk food, eating in moderation is the key to maintaining a healthy body, as well as monitoring daily caloric intake for a heart healthy diet.