Nutrition and food make the news everyday! Many reports offer information and advice to help you make smart food choices. Just what should you eat for good health? There’s plenty of good news about eating… information that’s easy to follow, too!
A healthful diet has three common-sense qualities: variety, moderation, and balance.
No matter what headlines make the news, nutrition advice remains the same for healthy people. Eat a wide variety of foods within the groups of the food guide pyramid. For balance, choose enough daily servings from each food group. Choose more whole grains and less refined grains. Eat fat with each meal preferably in the form of olive oil, canola oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds while reducing animal fats. And, of course, limit sweets.
You can eat what you like.
In moderation, any food can fit in an eating pattern that promotes your good health. There are no “good” or “bad” foods and no “good” or “bad” meals or snacks, just good and bad diets.
A variety of nutrient-rich foods fit into the five food groups. That’s good news! Eat primarily foods in each group with less fat, sugar, and sodium.
If you opt for foods with more fat, sugar, or sodium, make trade-offs. For example, build a great sandwich with low-fat deli meats, and then spend the fat savings on an avocado or cheese slice.
You can make healthful food choices anytime, anywhere!
Supermarkets, restaurants, delis, home… almost everywhere; you have plenty of food choices these days.
Besides traditional fare, more good-tasting food choices are readily available today, such as lean meat, fat-free or reduced-fat cheese, and low-fat ice cream. Prepared meals, such as fettucine alfredo and cheese enchiladas, are available in traditional and “leaner” versions. Some foods also are prepared with less sodium or more fiber or calcium. Check the Nutrition Facts panel on food labels to make healthful food selections. Be careful! Sometimes food manufacturers take out one ingredient and add more of another. For example fat may be reduced but more sugar may be added.
Eating out doesn’t need to be a high-calorie, high-fat food experience either. Restaurants, fast-food chains, and delis offer menus with delicious lower-calorie, lower-fat options, along with grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Eating healthy can be convenient and quick.
You can prepare and eat healthful and tasty meals or snacks in no time at all:
- Keep a supply of quick-to-fix foods on hand: frozen vegetables, pasta, milk, low-fat yogurt, healthfully prepared meals and canned soups, low fat cheese, lean deli meats, and canned beans.
- Use quick-and-healthy cooking methods, such as stir-frying, broiling, and microwaving.
- Buy prepared foods, such as pre-cut vegetables, canned beans, or shredded fat-free or reduced-fat cheese.
Healthful foods can taste good.
How can you ensure the great taste of meals and snacks?
- Retain the quality and flavor of foods with proper food storage, careful handling, and good food preparation techniques.
- Enhance the natural flavors of foods with a variety of fresh herbs, spices, fruit juices, and vinegars, rather than rich sauces, added sugar, or salt.
- Buy foods with very low sodium levels and then add salt to taste.
The media can keep you updated on food and nutrition news.
Be a smart consumer of food news. Remember these tips:
- Read, or listen to, the whole story. Experts’ comments, which often appear at the end, put studies in perspective and sometimes offer a different point of view.
- Just because it appeared in print or on the airwaves doesn’t necessarily mean that the latest piece of nutrition research is significant for you. Remember, one study isn’t enough to prove anything; the results from one study build on another.
- Ask questions: Was the study or report from a reputable source? Were the people studied similar to you in age, sex, health condition, and lifestyle? Is the research confirmed by other studies?
- Find out what is best for your eating style — ask a registered dietitian.
For more information:
The American Dietetic Association/National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics
Consumer Nutrition Hotline 800-366-1655
For more information on nutrition call Maria Cruz, RD x3158.