Last week I shared 4 of the Healthy Eating Habits the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition recommends. The Council has Eight Healthy Eating Goals, and this week we will look at the remaining 4 healthy eating habits you can adopt in 2017. So many people think healthy eating means giving up food. But for many people, healthy eating means adding food to your day – adding more fruits and vegetables, adding whole grains. Yesterday, I was in a grocery store and the mother of a toddler was buying a carton of "Juice Drink" boxes. She probably thought this was a healthy choice but she was really buying mostly sugar water for her young child. Had she bought real juice she would have been offering her toddler something with nutritional value rather than a drink of empty calories. Making some small changes in the foods we choose to eat and buy each day can have a major impact on our health. Simply buying real juice instead of juice drinks made of sugar water would be a big improvement in one’s diet. As noted last week, many people are interested in healthier eating but then seem confused by nutrition myths as to what is healthy. This mother probably thought something labeled “Juice Drink” was a healthy juice and was fooled by the labeling. Adopting good, healthy eating habits and making even small changes in daily habits can result in good things for your health. Here are 4 more healthy eating goals adapted from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Eight Healthy Eating Goals.
Try one or more of these healthy eating goals this week for a healthier you.
Goal 1: Choose Lean protein: Somehow this has been construed to thinking chicken is lean so fried chicken nuggets are healthy. Not true. Choosing baked or broiled chicken is healthy but frying adds fat, defeating the whole purpose of choosing leaner chicken. Other choices can include seafood (not fried), dry beans, nuts, seeds and eggs. When buying ground beef, choose the leaner cuts (the label will state 90% lean). Or choose ground turkey.
Goal 2: Drink water instead of sugary drinks: Another goal of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is to reduce the “added sugars” in our diets. When the mother in the grocery store chooses the juice drink, she was choosing a beverage for her daughter loaded with added sugars. Most people think only sugared sodas are sources of added sugar and then buy Hi-C, Sunny D and other juice drinks that are loaded with added sugar. Many energy drinks and sports drinks are also loaded with added sugar. Choose water with a slice of lemon. Choose real 100% juice and not juice drinks.
Goal 3: Eat some Seafood: Seafood is a great way to add some “good” fats to your diet, the Omega-3 fats. Choices of seafood include salmon, tuna, trout and shellfish such as crab and oysters. Seafood is a good source for protein, many minerals and the Omega- 3 fats which are heart healthy fats.
Goal 4: Cut back on Solid Fats: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend we cut back on solid fats. These would be foods containing shortening, stick margarine, or butter such as the cookies, cake and other desserts you buy. Pizza is another source of solid fats as is sausage, hot dogs, bacon and ribs. Ice cream is a source of solid fats but there are low fat varieties that taste pretty good. The President’s Council and the Dietary Guidelines don’t say we have to eliminate foods with solid fats from our diet, but to cut back on them. Choosing leaner protein foods and lower fat milk is a way to cut back on solid, saturated fats in our diets.
Some ideas adapted from the President’s Council for cutting back on Salt, Sugar and Solid Fats:
- Choose baked or grilled food – going out for some Fast Food? Look at the menu and instead of a fried chicken sandwich, get the grilled chicken sandwich.
- Choose water or low-fat milk or fat-free milk as your beverage and skip the sugar sweetened sodas and fruit drinks.
- Serve more fruit – at breakfast make sure you have some real juice or a piece of fruit. Always pack fruit in your lunch or your kid’s lunch. Serve more fruit for dessert.
What small changes can you make this week for healthier eating habits in 2017? If you drink whole milk, try switching to 2% milk. Pack your lunch more often and pack a piece of fruit with your lunch. Pack a low-fat yogurt in your lunch. Have more fresh fruit for your kids to snack on and make sure any juice boxes you buy are real juice and not sugared fruit drinks with little juice but lots of added sugar.