Many dieters believe that losing weight means giving up delicious foods. It is possible to still enjoy your meals while making small adjustments to the amounts of food on your plate. The United States Department of Agriculture MyPlate website suggests that healthy meals start with more vegetables and fruits which tend to be lower in calories and virtually fat free. Our plates should contain smaller portions of protein and fewer refined grains servings. And don’t forget to include dairy in your meal plan. Drink low fat or skim milk with your meal or use fat-free or low-fat dairy products in your favorite recipes.
Here are 10 tips to help you make healthier choices when planning and serving family meals.
·Get to know the foods you eat by using the SuperTracker tools on the website. Compare dietary options with the Food-A-Pedia tool which supplies nutrition information for more than 8,000 foods. Users can also discover tips for making positive changes.
·Choose to eat some foods more or less often. Foods to choose more often are vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or 1% milk and dairy products. Cut back on those high in solid fats, added sugars, and salt.
·Take your time to eat slowly, enjoy the taste and textures of food, and pay attention to how you feel. Use hunger and fullness cues to recognize when to eat and when you’ve had enough.
·Use a smaller plate at meals to help with portion control. That way you can finish your entire plate and feel satisfied without overeating.
·If you eat out, choose healthier options. Many restaurants have websites that allow diners to research nutrition information about their menu items and compare options before arriving at the restaurant.
·Prepare food at home to make it easier to control the fat, sodium and sugar content in your meals.
·Make treats “treats,” not everyday foods. Treats are great once in a while. Just don’t make treat foods an everyday choice. Limit sweet treats to special occasions.
·Satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way. Indulge in a naturally sweet dessert dish—fruit! Serve a fresh fruit salad or a fruit parfait made with yogurt. For a hot dessert, bake apples and top with cinnamon.
·Sip smarter. Drink water or other calorie-free beverages, or fat-free milk when you are thirsty. Consume ½ cup of 100% juice as a fruit serving. Soda and other sweet drinks contain a lot of sugar and are high in calories.
Danna Gillett, retired Nutrition Extension Agent is the author of this news article. Contact your local extension office for more information.