What’s in food?
A balanced diet should include a wide variety of nutrients and other food components.
Sometimes our food has ingredients added to it for taste, or preservation, so it is also important to understand these additives and their role in our food and health.
The best way to stay healthy at home remains to be well informed about the basic principles of food production and safe food handling.
Enjoy your food, but eat adequately and respect some guidelines:
- Avoid oversized portions.
- Small steps = big changes.
- Serve smaller portions to help curb calories and keep your weight on the right track.
- Use a smaller plate, bowl and cup at meals to help with portion control. That way you can finish your plate and feel satisfied without overeating.
- Beverage calories count, too. Choose a smaller glass for beverages with calories, and cut calories by drinking water and low- or no-calorie beverages.
- Don’t pack on extra pounds during vacation. Balance out extra portions at special vacation meals, holiday or other meal splurges by working in plenty of walking, biking, hiking, volleyball and other activities.
- Be sure to read the Nutrition Facts label to find out the serving size of foods and beverages. Take note of the calories and nutrients that are provided per serving. Remember, there are multiple servings in some packages. Calories and other nutrients are based on each serving, not the whole container.
- Reward kids with love and attention, not food.
- Show by example. Be a role model for your kids. Eat vegetables, fruits, low-fat/fat-free dairy, and whole grains with meals or as snacks.
- Go grocery shopping with your kids. Make it a teachable moment about food and nutrition. Cooking together can also be fun.
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Make at least half your grains whole grains. Go lean with protein.
- Think about variety. Buy fruits that are dried, frozen, or canned (in water or 100% juice) as well as fresh, so that you can always have some on hand.
- Choose vegetables rich in color. Brighten up your plate with vegetables that are red, orange or dark green by including them with your favorite white vegetables. They are full of vitamins and minerals. Try acorn squash, cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, or kale. They not only taste great but also are good for you. Prepare one new recipe each week from a favorite magazine, blog, website or newspaper article.
- Dig into a different grain: couscous, bulgur, or quinoa, for instance.
- Before going back for seconds, wait 10 to 15 minutes. You may not want seconds after all.
- Buy or portion out treats and snacks in small bags or packages, so that you are aware of how much you are eating.
- Flavor meat, poultry, and seafood with herbs and spices instead of sauces or gravies.
- When dining out, ask if they have a lighter version or lunch-size portion of your entrée. If you order an entrée, take the leftovers home, refrigerate and enjoy it as another meal or snack the next day. Or, split an entrée with a family member or friend and order an extra side salad.
- Eat slowly and enjoy the experience. Be mindful of the flavor combinations and savor the food.
- Skip dessert or order what you want and just take a few bites. You could also share the dessert with the rest of the table.
- You may also choose healthier choices such as fresh fruit, sorbets, treats with whole grains or lighter versions of your favorite treats. Paying attention to serving size will help you curb your calories while still enjoying the treats you love.
- Limit Saturated Fat, Added Sugars and Sodium.
- Get Enough Vitamins, Minerals and Fiber.
- Check the Ingredient List.
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