The new MyPlate is a revision of the federal dietary guidelines (replaceing MyPyramid) and is customizable to your age, gender and activity level. The entry point to to a sophisticated collection of tools is www.ChooseMyPlate.gov which you can use to match your eating and exercise habits to the latest nutritional knowledge. In addition to being customizable, MyPlate recommends the following general dietary guidelines:
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Eat red, orange, and dark-green vegetables, such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, in main and side dishes. Eat fruit, vegetables, or unsalted nuts as snacks—they are nature’s original fast foods.
Switch to skim or 1% milk: They have the same amount of calcium and other essential
nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and calories. Try calcium-fortified soy products as an alternative to dairy foods.
Make at least half your grains whole: Choose 100% wholegrain cereals, breads,
crackers, rice, and pasta. Check the ingredients list on food packages to find whole-grain foods.
Vary your protein food choices: Twice a week, choose seafood. Keep meat and poultry portions small & lean. Eat beans, another source of protein.
Choose foods and drinks with little or no added sugars:
Drink water instead of sugary drinks. There are about
10 packets of sugar in a 12-ounce can of soda.
Select fruit for dessert. Eat sugary desserts less often.
Choose 100% fruit juice instead of fruit-flavored drinks.
Look out for salt (sodium) in foods you buy — it all adds up:
Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen
meals—and choose the foods with lower numbers.
Add spices or herbs to season food without adding salt.
Eat fewer foods that are high in solid fats:
Make major sources of saturated fats—such
as cakes, cookies, ice cream, pizza, cheese,
sausages, and hot dogs—occasional choices,
not everyday foods. Select lean cuts of meats or poultry and fat-free
or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese.
Switch from solid fats to oils when preparing food.
To maintain a healthy weight: Basically enjoy your food, but eat less.
Stay within your personal calorie limit. Click here to determine your daily calorie needs.
Think before you eat: Is it worth the calories?
Avoid oversized portions. Use a smaller plate, bowl, and glass.
Stop eating when you are satisfied, not full.
Know your personal daily calorie limit:
Keep that calorie number in mind when deciding what to eat.
Use a food log to keep track of how much you eat.
When Eating out check posted calorie amounts: Choose
lower calorie menu options. Select dishes
that include vegetables, fruits, and/or
whole grains. Order a smaller portion or share when eating out.
Cook more often at home, where you are in control
of what’s in your food.
If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so sensibly: Limit to
1 drink a day for women or to 2 drinks a day for men.
A collection of tips from the USDA to help you put your customized MyPlate plan into action are in the Health & Nutrition Letter (from Tufts University's Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy).
5-A-Day for Better Health
Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. 5-A-Day for Better Health is a national program and partnership that seeks to increase the number of daily servings of fruits and vegetables Americans eat to five or more. It provides easy ways to add more fruits and vegetables into your daily eating patterns.
For more information on the "5-a-Day" program, visit the US Department of Health & Human Services.
Healthy Eating on a Budget
Healthy eating is a matter of knowledge, money and time. You can minimize meal costs by increasing your knowledge of nutrition, by improving your food shopping expertise and by enhancing your cooking skills. Of course, all this will take an investment in time on your part.
Click here collection of money-saving tips that can help you eat well on a budget.
Estimating Calorie Value of Foods
In order to stay on a diet you must be able to estimate the calorie value of foods as well as portion sizes. This article contains two new tables that make estimating the caloric value of foods easy.
Click here for the remainder of this authoritative article.
Calorie Chart for 1000 Foods!
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been compiling and analyzing data concerning the nutritive value of foods for more than 100 years. During this time, the agency has published a number of authoritative documents summarizing the latest nutritive findings.
Click here to access a comprehensive, 30-page chart listing in alphabetic order the calorie (kcal) content of more than a thousand foods. (This calorie chart is a slightly reformatted version of one developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.)
Thinking of carbohydrates as complex or simple, as good or bad, is outdated. More recently, a system has been devised to classify carbohydrates. The system, called the glycemic index (GI), measures the effect a carbohydrate has on your blood sugar.
Some food scientists recognize that a food’s GI value does not provide enough information to judge how a particular food will affect your blood sugar. This is because the GI does not take into account how much carbohydrate is in a food serving, and your blood sugar level is influenced by both the quality of the carbohydrate (GI) and the quantity of carbohydrate you eat. With this in mind, researchers developed a guideline called the Glycemic Load (GL) which takes into account both a food’s GI and the quantity of carbohydrate the food contains.
Click here to read an interesting article that discusses Glycemic Load and presents an important table that ranks foods according to their GL value.
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A strict vegetarian diet is one that rejects all animal-based foods (including poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustacean) and slaughter by-products. There are several variants of the diet. A generic term for both vegetarianism, veganism, and similar diets, is “plant-based” diets. The reasons for choosing a plant-based diet are varied and may be centered on morality, religion, culture, ethics, aesthetics, environment, society, economy, politics, taste, nutrition or health.
Types of Vegetarians: When deciding what type of vegetarian you want to be, think about what foods you want to include or avoid. Understanding the following popular vegetarian categories may help you decide...
Click here to read the entire article.
Organic Food: Yes or No?
“Organic” refers to the methods farmers grow and process agricultural products, including fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat. Farmers who grow organic produce and meat don't use conventional methods to fertilize, control weeds or prevent livestock disease. As an example, rather than using chemical weed killers, organic farmers conduct sophisticated crop rotations and mulch to keep weeds at bay. Instead of synthetic pesticides organic farms use helpful insects and birds, mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease. In place of chemical fertilizers, organic farms employ natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost. Animals on organic farms eat organically grown feed, aren't confined 100 percent of the time and are raised without antibiotics or synthetic growth hormones.
But buying organic fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat and poultry can cost as much as 50 to 100 percent more than conventional non-organic foods. Is organic worth the extra cost?
Click here to read the entire article.
Valuable Nutrition Links
The Nutrition Source website, maintained by the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, explores the latest science about healthy eating for adults. Well organized, easy to follow, and contains a wealth of information.
Health & Nutrition Letter (from Tufts University's Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy) provides consumers with "honest, reliable, scientifically authoritative health and nutrition advice that not only can be trusted but can have a direct and often immediate effect on their health". Three and a half years of past health and nutrition letters, containing articles, advice and expert Q&As, can be found on their website. Over half of these can be viewed online at no cost.
Mayo Clinic Nutrition & Healthy Eating Blog is written by two Mayo Clinic nutritionists.
FoodNavigator-USA.com is a daily online news service available as a free-access website and that also provides daily and weekly newsletters to subscribers. It provides up to date News Headlines in the areas of Science & Nutrition, Financial & Industry, and Legislation, as well as Product & Supplier News.
Nutrition.gov serves as a gateway to reliable information on nutrition, healthy eating, physical activity, and food safety for consumers, educators and health professionals.
The American Dietetic Association is the nation's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals.
USDA Food and Nutrition Information Center is a leader in food and human nutrition information dissemination and provides credible, accurate, and practical resources for nutrition and health professionals, educators, government personnel and consumers.
USDA Nutrient Database search engine interface. Proximates, minerals, vitamins, lipids and amino acids are among the catagories of nutrients listed for each food.
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