Hi Everyone! I hope you’re all having a great week. Today’s post about making healthier food choices was inspired by this image:
Which most of you have probably seen – it’s the USDA’s new “food pyramid” – which gives you guidance on how to structure a healthier plate. But what does this image actually mean in terms of making healthier food choices?
Here are 10 tips for how to apply this image in your daily life
Tip #1: Balance your calories. How many calories do you actually need every day? Here are a couple resources that will help guide you: Calorie Calculator for Women and Men; and a holistic health tracker that you can use to track what you eat and how many calories you need.
Tip #2: Enjoy your food, but eat mindfully. Take the time to fully enjoy your food while you’re eating it (instead of just devouring everything on your plate). Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues before, during and after meals. Be mindful of them and use them to tell you when you’re full. And if you happen to get full before you finish everything on your plate, that’s ok! Save it for leftovers later.
Tip #3: Avoid oversized portions. Try using a smaller plate, bowl and glass. You’ll be surprised how you naturally end up eating a little less. When you’re eating out, try splitting a dish or take home part of your meal.
Tip #4: Foods to eat more often. These are all the foods you know are good for you: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, etc. Make them the basis for meals and snacks. Try getting 2 cups of veggies, 1.5 cups of fruit and 3 servings of low fat dairy or lean protein each day.
Tip #5: Cut back on foods to eat less often. These are foods high in solid fats, added sugars, and salt (e.g. cakes, cookies, ice cream, pizza, fast food, sweetened drinks, etc.) Use these as an occasional treat vs. part of your daily meal intake.
Tip #6: Hydrate with healthy liquids. Drink water, sparkling water mixed with a splash of juice, tea, or sparkling water instead of sugary drinks. Sugary drinks include soda, juices, energy drinks and sports drinks.
Tip #7: Choose low-fat dairy. For everyday purposes, 1% milk is the better choice over whole milk. And low-fat cheese is a good substitute for full-fat cheese (although if you use a smaller quantity – 2/3 the amount of low fat cheese, full fat cheese can be ok too!)
Tip #8: Pay attention to added sodium in foods. Look at labels and choose the lower sodium option for breads, canned goods, and soups. Choose packaged products with labels like “low sodium,” “no salt added,” or “reduced sodium.”
Tip #9: Shop with a grocery list and don’t go grocery shopping hungry! If you only buy the foods you need to make your meals at home, you’ll be less likely to indulge and eat that whole bag of chips later. And if you’re not hungry when you’re grocery shopping, you’ll be less likely to buy those guilty pleasures like cookies, donuts, candy, etc. that you don’t really need.
Tip #10: Eat a small amount of healthy fats every day. When you’re cooking, choose oils high in monounsaturated fats like olive or canola oil (usually 1 Tbsp for cooking is enough). Use a pump oil spray like a MISTO instead of canned cooking sprays that have chemicals or propellants. Avoid products containing trans fats (look at the label for “hydrogenated oil or shortening”).
Hopefully these tips will help you to balance your calories, choose foods to eat more often, and cut back on foods to eat less often. Happy healthy eating!
This post was sponsored by Hallmark Care Homes