Eat more fruits and vegetables!
Monitor portion sizes!
Limit sugar intake!
Drink water!
Tips for Eating Out
 
Eat more fruits and vegetables!
Almost everyone needs to eat more fruits and vegetables. To get the amount that's recommended, most people need to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables they currently eat every day. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories and provide essential nutrients and dietary fiber. Research shows that fruits and vegetables are critical to promoting good health. Consuming a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with lower risks for numerous chronic diseases, including stroke, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and perhaps cardiovascular disease and hypertension.
 
The Colors of Health
Fruits and vegetables come in terrific colors and flavors, but their real beauty lies in what's inside. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of many vitamins, minerals and other natural substances that may help protect you from chronic diseases.
To get a healthy variety, think color. Eating fruits and vegetables of different colors gives your body a wide range of valuable nutrients, like fiber, foliate, potassium, and vitamins A and C. The CDC website recommends trying new fruits and vegetables regularly.
 
Recommended Daily Intake
Go to your chart. Choose your level of physical activity. Use these definitions to determine your lifestyle physical activity that is above the light activity of everyday life:

Less Active: You average less than 30 minutes a day.
Moderately Active: You average 30 to 60 minutes a day.
Active: You average more than 60 minutes a day.

Choose your age range. Your physical activity level and age determine how many calories you need each day and your calorie needs determine how many fruits and vegetables you should eat.
 
 
Make it Count!
The fruit and vegetable recommendations are listed as cups because it is easier for people to relate to amounts in household measurements rather than as servings only. One cup refers to a common measuring cup (the kind used in recipes). In general, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or 100% vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens can be considered as 1 cup from the vegetable group. One cup of fruit or 100% fruit juice, or ½ cup of dried fruit can be considered as 1 cup from the fruit group. While 100% juice can count towards your intake, the majority of your choices should be whole or cut-up fruits (fresh, frozen, canned, or dried). These fruit choices are better options because they contain dietary fiber.

Here are some examples:

 
How many fruits and vegetables do YOU need?
Your daily fruit and vegetable needs depend on your calorie needs. Your calorie needs are determined by your age, sex, and physical activity level.
 
Analyze My Plate!
Use this tool to examine what you eat.

Search by ingredients you have available or by meal type!
 
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005. 6th Edition, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, January 2005.
 
Monitor portion sizes!
According to the CDC, research shows that people unintentionally consume more calories when faced with larger portions. This can mean significant excess calorie intake, especially when eating high-calorie foods. Here are some steps you can take to monitor your portion sizes.
 

Balance Calories
  • Enjoy your food, but eat less.
  • Avoid oversized portions.
Foods to Increase
  •        Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Make at least half of your grains whole grains.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
Foods to Reduce
  •         Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals ― and choose the foods with lower numbers. 

ChooseMyPlate.gov
contains resources and tools for more specific information about what and how much to eat. On this website, consumers will find specific recommendations for each USDA Food Group, based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), including proportions based on research that relate to individual calorie and nutrient needs.
 
 
Pyramid or Plate?  
A healthy diet can be illustrated in many ways, but it's often found in the shape of a pyramid. Most people are familiar with MyPyramid developed by the Department of Agriculture, but that's history now. It's been replaced with MyPlate. However, many other healthy diets are still represented by food pyramids. These include the Asian, Latin American, Mediterranean and Vegetarian Food Guide pyramids. Click here to view these additional diet options.
 
 
Limit sugar intake!
A small amount of empty calories is okay, but most people eat far more than is healthy.
It is important to limit empty calories to the amount that fits your calorie and nutrient needs. You can lower your intake by eating and drinking foods and beverages containing empty calories less often or by decreasing the amount you eat or drink. According to the CDC, a large proportion of added sugar in the American diet comes from the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. The scientific evidence linking sugared beverages with weight gain is stronger than for any other food category. Scientific studies have shown that consumption of sugar sweetened beverages is associated with poor diet, increasing rates of obesity, and risk for diabetes. These links are strong for children.


 
What You Can Do
·        Reduce consumption of regular soda or pop, sports drinks, and other sugar-sweetened beverages.
·        Increase consumption of water and low-fat or fat-free milk.
·        Drink limited amounts of 100% fruit juices.
Check out CDC’s Rethink Your Drink webpage for more suggestions on how to make better beverage choices .

 
Drink  water!
According to the CDC, healthy people meet their fluid needs by drinking when thirsty and drinking fluids with meals. But, if you're outside in hot weather for most of the day or doing vigorous physical activity, you'll need to make an effort to drink more fluids.
 
Tips for Increasing Your Fluid Intake by Drinking More Water 
Under normal conditions, most people can drink enough fluids to meet their water needs. If you are outside in hot weather for most of the day or doing vigorous activity, you may need to increase your fluid intake.
If you think you're not getting enough water each day, the following tips may help:

 
  • Carry a water bottle for easy access when you are at work or running errands.
  • Freeze some freezer-safe water bottles. Take one with you for ice-cold water all day long.
  • Choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Choose water instead of other beverages when eating out. Generally, you will save money and reduce calories.
  • Give your water a little pizzazz by adding a wedge of lime or lemon. This may improve the taste, and you just might drink more water than you usually do.

How much water do you need?
According to the Mayo Clinic staff members, every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.
So how much water does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? In general, doctors recommend 8 or 9 cups. Here are the most common ways of calculating that amount:


·      Replacement approach. The average urine output for adults is about 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) a day. You lose close to an additional liter (about 4 cups) of water a day through breathing, sweating and bowel movements. Food usually accounts for 20 percent of your total fluid intake, so if you consume 2 liters of water or other beverages a day (a little more than 8 cups) along with your normal diet, you will typically replace your lost fluids.
·      Eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Another approach to water intake is the "8 x 8 rule" — drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day (about 1.9 liters). The rule could also be stated, "Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day," as all fluids count toward the daily total. Although the approach really isn't supported by scientific evidence, many people use this easy-to-remember rule as a guideline for how much water and other fluids to drink.
·     Dietary recommendations. The Institute of Medicine advises that men consume roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.
Even apart from the above approaches, if you drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and produce 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) or more of colorless or slightly yellow urine a day, your fluid intake is probably adequate. If you're concerned about your fluid intake, check with your doctor or a registered dietitian. He or she can help you determine the amount of water that's best for you.
HHS & USDA. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005. Chapter 2: Adequate Nutrients Within Calorie Needs. Accessed online May 24, 2007: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/document/html/chapter2.htm

U.S. National Library of Medicine & NIH. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Water in Diet.
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002471.htm 
Tips for Eating Out
The CDC has provided several great tips to follow when eating out. Use the following suggestions as a guide to make healthful nutrition choices.

  • As a beverage choice, ask for water or order fat-free or low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, or other drinks without added sugars.
  • Ask for whole-wheat bread for sandwiches.
  • In  restaurant, start your meal with a salad packed with veggies, to help control hunger and feel satisfied sooner.
  • Ask for salad dressing to be served on the side. Then use only as much as you want.
  • Choose main dishes that include vegetables, such as stir fries, kebobs, or pasta with a tomato sauce
  • Order steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes instead of those that are fried or sautéed.
  • Choose a “small” or “medium” portion. This includes main dishes, side dishes, and beverages.
  • Order an item from the menu instead heading for the “all-you-can-eat” buffet.


If main portions at a restaurant are larger than you want, try one of these strategies to keep from overeating:
  • Order an appetizer-sized portion or a side dish instead of an entrée.
  • Share a main dish with a friend.
  • If you can chill the extra food right away, take leftovers home in a “doggy bag.”
  • When your food is delivered, set aside or pack half of it to go immediately.
  • Resign from the “clean your plate club” – when you’ve eaten enough, leave the rest.

To keep your meal moderate in calories, fat, and sugars:

  • Ask for salad dressing to be served on the side so you can add only as much as you want.
  • Order foods that do not have creamy sauces or gravies.
  • Add little or not butter to your food.
  • Choose fruits for desserts most often.

On long commutes or shopping trips, pack some fresh fruit, cut-up vegetables, low-fat string cheese sticks, or a handful of unsalted nuts to help you avoid stopping for sweet or fatty snacks. For more information visit the CDC website at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/tipsresources/eating_out.html.

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