Some Tip & Hints about Nutrition.
- Whole Grains
Eat at least half of all grains as whole grains.
Substitute whole-grain choices for refined grains in breakfast cereals, breads, crackers, rice, and pasta.
Check product labels – is a grain with “whole” before its name listed first on the ingredients list?
Include vegetables in meals and in snacks. Fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables all count.
Add dark-green, red, and orange vegetables to main and side dishes. Use dark leafy greens to make salads.
Beans and peas are a great source of fiber. Add beans or peas to salads, soups, side dishes, or serve as a main dish.
Select fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruit more often than juice; select 100% fruit juice when choosing juice.
Enjoy a wide variety of fruits, and maximize taste and freshness, by adapting your choices to what’s in season.
Use fruit as snacks, salads, or desserts.
Drink fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk.
Choose fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt more often than cheese.
When selecting cheese, choose low-fat or reduced-fat versions.
- Protein Foods
Eat a variety of foods from the Protein Foods group each week.
Eat seafood in place of meat or poultry twice a week.
Select lean meat and poultry. Trim or drain fat from meat and remove poultry skin.
Choose soft margarines with zero trans fats made from liquid vegetable oil, rather than stick margarine or butter.
Use vegetable oils (olive, canola, corn, soybean, peanut, safflower, sunflower) rather than solid fats (butter, shortening).
Replace solid fats with oils, rather than adding oil to the diet. Oils are a concentrated source of Calories, so use oils in small amounts.
Use the Nutrition Facts label and the ingredients list to choose whole grains that are a good or excellent source of dietary fiber. Good sources of fiber contain 10 to 19 percent of the Daily Value per serving, and excellent sources of dietary fiber contain 20 percent or more.
When choosing a refined grain, check the ingredient list to make sure it is made with enriched flour. Enriched grains are refined grain products with B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid) and iron added.
Eat fewer refined grain products that have a lot of solid fat or added sugars – such as cookies, cakes, sweet rolls, pastries, and donuts.
When eating canned vegetables choose those labeled as low sodium, reduced sodium, or no salt added.
Green peas and green (string) beans are not considered to be “Beans & Peas.” Green peas are grouped with “Starchy Vegetables.” Green beans are grouped with “Other Vegetables” such as onions, lettuce, celery, and cabbage because their nutrient content is similar to those foods.
When eating canned fruit choose unsweetened or fruit canned in 100% juice.
Unless a juice package states it is “100% juice,” it is not 100% juice. Sweetened juice products with minimal juice content, such as juice drinks, are considered sugar-sweetened beverages rather than fruit juice.
If you currently drink whole milk, gradually switch to lower fat versions. Lower fat milk has the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients, but fewer Calories.
Milk and yogurt are better sources of potassium and are lower in sodium than most cheese. Also, most milk is fortified with vitamin D.
If you are lactose intolerant, try lactose-free milk, drink smaller amounts of milk at a time, or try fortified soymilk (soy beverage).
- Protein Foods
Choose meat cuts that are low in fat and ground beef that is extra lean (at least 90% lean).
Seafood includes fish (such as salmon, tuna, trout, and tilapia) and shellfish (such as shrimp, crab, and oysters). Select some seafood that is higher in oils and lower in mercury, such as salmon, trout, and herring.
Choose a variety of protein foods, including some plant protein foods, such as beans, peas, soy products, nuts, and seeds.
Oils are not a food group but are emphasized because they contribute essential fatty acids (linoleic and alpha-linolenic) and vitamin E.
Many common oils, such as olive, canola, corn, peanut, safflower, soybean, and sunflower oils, are extracted from plants. Oils are also naturally present in foods such as olives, nuts, avocados, and seafood.
Use the Nutrition Facts label to choose foods that contain more unsaturated fat, less saturated fat and no trans fat.
Sodium is an essential nutrient but is needed by the body in relatively small quantities. Virtually all Americans eat too much and should reduce the amount they eat.
On average, the higher your sodium intake, the higher your blood pressure. And as sodium intake decreases, so does blood pressure. Keeping blood pressure in the normal range reduces risk of cardiovascular disease, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease.
Most sodium in the diet comes from salt added during food processing. The problem of excess sodium is due to both high-sodium foods and frequent consumption of foods that contain lower amounts of sodium such as yeast breads.
- Empty Calories
Empty Calories are the Calories from food components, such as solid fats and added sugars that provide little nutritional value. Empty Calories are part of Total Calories.
In some foods, like most candies and sodas, all the Calories come from ingredients with little nutritional value. These foods are often called “Empty Calorie foods.”
Empty Calories from solid fats or added sugars can also be found in some other foods that contain important nutrients. For example, chocolate milk contains the nutrients of milk, but also some Empty Calories from the chocolate syrup, and fried chicken contains the nutrients of chicken, plus some Empty Calories from the skin and frying fat.
Limit the amount of solid fats and added sugars when cooking or eating (e.g. trimming fat from meat, using less butter and stick margarine, using less table sugar).
Choose fewer and smaller portions of foods and drinks that contain solid fats and/or added sugars, such as grain-based desserts, sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages, cheese, pizza, sausages, and hot dogs. Many of these foods can be found in forms with less or no solid fat or added sugars.
The alcohol and any added sugars in alcoholic beverages also count as Empty Calories.