Tips for Making Healthy Food Choices
For many people, making healthy food choices can be a daily challenge. The USDA recently released the 7th edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans that includes practical tips every one of us can use to make smart food choices every day.
In addition to emphasizing increased physical activity, the guidelines encourage paying special attention to portion size. One approach is to make the focus of your meal non-starchy vegetables. Start by filling half of your plate with vegetables such as carrots, leafy greens, mushrooms, broccoli, beets, tomatoes, cauliflower, or peppers. Then divide the remaining half of the plate between a starchy food and a serving of lean meat, poultry, or fish. This recommendation is much like the American Diabetes Association’s Plate Method I mentioned in my Balancing Meals post.
Read the labels
Many packaged foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals now come in reduced-fat varieties and may be healthier alternatives to traditional versions. These foods, however, often contain high levels of sodium to enhance the flavor. It’s a good idea to compare nutrition labels and choose the foods with lower sodium content. You can learn more about reading nutrition labels on the American Diabetes Association website.
Make the switch
I am always amazed at how small changes can create big results. For instance, did you know that switching from whole milk to 1% milk will save you 70 calories and 4 grams of saturated fat in each 1-cup serving? The dietary guidelines also suggest choosing water rather than sugary beverages such as soda, fruit punch, or sweet tea.
The release of these updated dietary guidelines is an important reminder about making healthy food choices and it applies to everyone. It doesn’t mean giving up the foods you love–it just means being aware of what you choose and how much you choose.
What is the most helpful healthy food tip you’ve received? For me, while tedious at times, it is about measuring, weighing and tracking my daily intake. Feel free to share yours by posting a comment below or posting on our Facebook page.
Here’s to happy, healthy eating!