Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Smart Tips for Healthy Eating

Food can make you healthier - if you make good choices. It can seem hard to make healthy food choices, particularly if you are on a budget and short on time. But there are some simple steps you can take to help you and your family eat healthier.

Build a Healthier Plate

Use a grocery list when shopping for food to help you choose more fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Buy leaner meats (such as chicken, turkey, and lean cuts of pork or beef such as sirloin or chuck roast) and lower fat dairy products like low-fat or non-fat (skim) milk and yogurt. Buy whole grain breads and cereals. Save money by buying less soda, sweets and chips or other snack foods. Remember that special "dietetic" or "diabetic" foods often cost extra money and may not be much healthier than simply following the suggestions given here.

Also, watch the size of your portions. You may find that you are used to eating portions that count as two or more servings. It helps to be able to "eyeball" portion sizes. Here are some guides:

  • Meat, fish, and poultry: 3 ounces, or about the size of the palm of your hand or a deck of cards.
  • Cheese: 1 ounce, or about the size of your thumb.
  • Fresh vegetables, milk and yogurt: 1 cup, or about the size of a tennis ball.
  • Bread: one slice.

Easy Ways to Make

Smart Food Choices

There are lots of ways you can make smart choices about your own and your family's eating habits. According to Ann Albright, president, Health Care and Education of the American Diabetes Association, "One of the most important things you can do to start eating more healthfully is to pick one or two not-so-great items you eat frequently and find a more nutritious substitution for those. If you start with foods you eat more frequently, then the change will pack a bigger punch."

Shop Smart

  • Set aside some time to plan your weekly meals. It may seem like a hassle at first, but having a plan (and writing your grocery list with it in mind) can save you time, stress, and a lot of extra trips to the store.
  • Stock your pantry with plenty of healthy basics, including brown rice, whole grain pasta, crackers and cereals. Remember that fresh fruits and vegetables are usually healthier than canned or frozen, but it is better to have canned or frozen fruits or vegetables than none at all! When you run out, put the items on your grocery list so you'll always have them on hand.
  • Shop only from your grocery list. Avoid aisles that contain foods high in calories but low in vitamins and minerals such as candy, cookies, chips and sodas. Also avoid buying items promoted at the front of the store, on the "end-cap" displays at the end of each aisle, or at the cash register. These foods are usually low in nutrition. Never shop when you are hungry and might be tempted by less healthy food.

Eat Smart

  • Keep fruits and vegetables washed and cut up for easy snacking and steaming.
  • Canned and frozen vegetables and fruits are healthful, quick and convenient. To cut down on the sodium in vegetables, drain and rinse canned vegetables with water before heating them You can do the same to cut down on the added sugar in canned fruits. Better yet, buy them packed in juice.
  • Learn how to "Create Your Plate." When serving a meal, draw an imaginary line down the middle of your plate and another one across. Fill half of your plate with leafy greens and other vegetables. Fill one quarter with grains, like whole grain bread or pasta or brown rice. Then fill the last quarter with lean protein such as chicken or fish.
  • Start meals with a salad or a broth or tomato-based soup with lots of vegetables. This helps you eat more good-for-you veggies while filling you up before you get to the higher fat and calorie courses.
  • Make healthy snack foods easy to find in your kitchen. For example, when you get home from work or school, put some fresh carrots, grapes or pretzels out on the counter instead of having bags of chips out.
  • In restaurants, ask if meats can be grilled rather than fried, and request sauces and dressings on the side. Remember to choose fruit, salad, or other vegetables as side items rather than French fries. Order a salad or soup to start and then share an entree. Save money, and lots of calories, by skipping dessert.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

10 Tips for Healthy Eating During Exams

When you’re studying for finals, good nutrition often slides way down on the priority list. It’s easy to get into the habit of glugging coffee and gobbling take-out pizza, because you don’t want to waste time on food preparation. But, actually, good nutrition should be part of your study plan because it’s going to help you ace those tests. The better the fuel your brain gets, the better you’ll study. It’s a...well...no-brainer.

Here are 10 tips for eating right during exams:

  1. How do I eat smarter? Meeting daily vitamin and mineral requirements will make doing your best much easier. Iron and B vitamins are especially important to maintaining the physical and mental energy necessary to study well. Iron-containing foods include red meat, cereals and spinach; one good meal idea is chili because it contains ground beef and kidney beans. Foods that contain B vitamins include whole-grains, wheat germ, eggs and nuts. Fish and soy are other foods that are said to help boost your brain by providing the nutrients it needs.
  2. Dude, chewable Vitamin C is not a meal. Dietary supplements are good, but real food is better. An orange contains not only Vitamin C, but fibre, phytochemicals, beta carotene and other minerals — so it can’t be replaced by a pill. When you’re heading for the library, pack whole-food items like apples, bananas, clementines, carrot sticks or dried apricots.
  3. Eat at regular intervals. Eating regular meals helps keep nutrient and energy levels more stable, curbing the temptation of empty-calorie snacks in the vending machine.
  4. Big meals keep on turning ... in your stomach. You might find that eating the standard three-big-meals-a-day slows you down mentally and physically. Consider 5 or 6 well-balanced, smaller meals, like toast spread with peanut butter, hummus or tuna, or a piece of cheese with fruit.
  5. Meet breakfast, your new study buddy. While much is said about the reasons to eat breakfast, less known are the best ways to eat smart in the morning. Coffee and a donut just don't cut it. The idea is to get some protein, calcium, fibre and a piece of fruit or a vegetable in there. So, a bowl of cereal with milk and a piece of fruit would do the trick. Or try a cereal bar with milk. We have some additional quick breakfast ideas for you to enjoy!
  6. Going bananas? Good. Fruit ranks high among the best foods you can eat for your brain. Blueberries (which can be bought frozen in bags) get a lot of attention because they contain powerful antioxidants and other nutrients. The natural sugars in fruit offer clean energy, so you don’t experience the crash that follows consumption of refined sugar.
  7. Choose powerful vegetables. Not all vegetables are created equal. The darker the color, the higher the concentration of nutrients. For example, spinach has more to offer the mind and body than iceberg lettuce. Other great vegetable choices include bell peppers, broccoli and sweet potatoes.
  8. Smart snacking can enhance studying. Snack smart while studying and you may find that you retain more. Try to get two food groups into your snacks to balance the nutrients and keep your blood-sugar level stable. Some smart snack examples are banana with peanut butter, a small baked potato with cottage cheese, or an English muffin pizza.
  9. Gather simple recipes for nourishing foods. It's easy to feed the brain well. No-fuss recipes let you eat to succeed, without taking too much time. Here are four ideas:

    • Combine scrambled eggs with toast, cheese or salsa
    • Spend 15 minutes preparing chili and continue studying while it simmers for two hours
    • Go Tex Mex with quesadillas, adding whatever veggies you’ve got on hand
    • A little chopping is all it takes to construct a hearty Chef’s Salad
  10. Stay well hydrated. Choose your beverages well, though. Caffeine and sugar should be kept to a minimum. Since too much caffeine can make you jittery, try to drink moderate amounts: 400 to 450 mg per day, the equivalent of 2/2.5 cups, (16 to 20 ounces or 500 to 625 ml). Better choices include water, fruit juice, milk, and anti-oxidant-rich green tea.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Food Standards Agency - Eat well, be well - 8 tips for eating well

Food Standards Agency - Eat well, be well - 8 tips for eating well: "These practical tips can help you make healthier choices. The two keys to a healthy diet are eating the right amount of food for how active you are and eating a range of foods to make sure you're getting a balanced diet.

A healthy balanced diet contains a variety of types of food, including lots of fruit, vegetables and starchy foods such as wholemeal bread and wholegrain cereals; some protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, eggs and lentils; and some milk and dairy foods.

On this page

1. Base your meals on starchy foods


2. Eat lots of fruit and veg


3. Eat more fish


4. Cut down on saturated fat and sugar


5. Try to eat less salt - no more than 6g a day


6. Get active and try to be a healthy weight


7. Drink plenty of water


8. Don't skip breakfast"

10 Tips To Healthy Eating

Experts agree the key to healthy eating is the time-tested advice of balance, variety and moderation. In short, that means eating a wide variety of foods without getting too many calories or too much of any one nutrient. These 10 tips can help you follow that advice while still enjoying the foods you eat.

  1. Eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods. You need more than 40 different nutrients for good health, and no single food supplies them all. Your daily food selection should include bread and other whole-grain products; fruits; vegetables; dairy products; and meat, poultry, fish and other protein foods. How much you should eat depends on your calorie needs. Use the Food Guide Pyramid and the Nutrition Facts panel on food labels as handy references.

  2. Enjoy plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Surveys show most Americans don't eat enough of these foods. Do you eat 6-11 servings from the bread, rice, cereal and pasta group, 3 of which should be whole grains? Do you eat 2-4 servings of fruit and 3-5 servings of vegetables? If you don't enjoy some of these at first, give them another chance. Look through cookbooks for tasty ways to prepare unfamiliar foods.

  3. Maintain a healthy weight. The weight that's right for you depends on many factors including your sex, height, age and heredity. Excess body fat increases your chances for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, some types of cancer and other illnesses. But being too thin can increase your risk for osteoporosis, menstrual irregularities and other health problems. If you're constantly losing and regaining weight, a registered dietitian can help you develop sensible eating habits for successful weight management. Regular exercise is also important to maintaining a healthy weight.

  4. Eat moderate portions. If you keep portion sizes reasonable, it's easier to eat the foods you want and stay healthy. Did you know the recommended serving of cooked meat is 3 ounces, similar in size to a deck of playing cards? A medium piece of fruit is 1 serving and a cup of pasta equals 2 servings. A pint of ice cream contains 4 servings. Refer to the Food Guide Pyramid for information on recommended serving sizes.

  5. Eat regular meals. Skipping meals can lead to out-of-control hunger, often resulting in overeating. When you're very hungry, it's also tempting to forget about good nutrition. Snacking between meals can help curb hunger, but don't eat so much that your snack becomes an entire meal.

  6. Reduce, don't eliminate certain foods. Most people eat for pleasure as well as nutrition. If your favorite foods are high in fat, salt or sugar, the key is moderating how much of these foods you eat and how often you eat them.

    Identify major sources of these ingredients in your diet and make changes, if necessary. Adults who eat high-fat meats or whole-milk dairy products at every meal are probably eating too much fat. Use the Nutrition Facts panel on the food label to help balance your choices.

    Choosing skim or low-fat dairy products and lean cuts of meat such as flank steak and beef round can reduce fat intake significantly.

    If you love fried chicken, however, you don't have to give it up. Just eat it less often. When dining out, share it with a friend, ask for a take-home bag or a smaller portion.

  7. Balance your food choices over time. Not every food has to be "perfect." When eating a food high in fat, salt or sugar, select other foods that are low in these ingredients. If you miss out on any food group one day, make up for it the next. Your food choices over several days should fit together into a healthy pattern.

  8. Know your diet pitfalls. To improve your eating habits, you first have to know what's wrong with them. Write down everything you eat for three days. Then check your list according to the rest of these tips. Do you add a lot of butter, creamy sauces or salad dressings? Rather than eliminating these foods, just cut back your portions. Are you getting enough fruits and vegetables? If not, you may be missing out on vital nutrients.

  9. Make changes gradually. Just as there are no "superfoods" or easy answers to a healthy diet, don't expect to totally revamp your eating habits overnight. Changing too much, too fast can get in the way of success. Begin to remedy excesses or deficiencies with modest changes that can add up to positive, lifelong eating habits. For instance, if you don't like the taste of skim milk, try low-fat. Eventually you may find you like skim, too.

  10. Remember, foods are not good or bad. Select foods based on your total eating patterns, not whether any individual food is "good" or "bad." Don't feel guilty if you love foods such as apple pie, potato chips, candy bars or ice cream. Eat them in moderation, and choose other foods to provide the balance and variety that are vital to good health.

7 diet tips from ‘Loser’ nutritionist

Even on a good day, a nutritionist hears complaints about how much more expensive it is to eat healthy. I decided this is the perfect time to share ideas on how to eat healthy without breaking your food budget. Incorporating a few of these tips into your weekly routine can really save you some dough.

Buy in bulk
Bulk items are usually cheaper. That’s because there’s no expensive packaging included. Those savings are passed directly on to you. You also have the freedom to choose how much or how little to buy each time. Best buys include whole grains, dried beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and cereals. Some health food stores sell spices in bulk as well.

Go seasonal
Out-of-season fruits and vegetables are sometimes imported, expensive and often tasteless. Plan menus and choose recipes around what's currently in season. You’ll enjoy better flavor AND lower prices, especially at this time of year.

Shop locally
Local grocers carry plenty of regional produce. Farmers markets are a great source for healthy bargains too. For the best deals, shop often and look for end-of-the-day specials.

Grow your own
Slash your spending even further by supplementing your produce purchases with homegrown items. If you don’t have space for a garden, you can at least grow your own herbs. Plant your favorites in small pots near the kitchen. Take a snip or two as needed.

Make it from scratch
Yes, it takes more time, but preparing a dish at home rather than picking up a pre-made version can save up to 50% or more. It also ensures your dish is healthier because you dictate the amount of oil or salt it contains. And best of all, this guarantees no hidden preservatives.

Shop the outer aisles
In most markets you'll find the healthiest ingredients on the perimeter of the store — fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins including fish and chicken, and fat-free and low-fat dairy products. The inner aisles contain most of the processed foods, including soda, candy, chips and snack foods. Aside from the fact that they contain empty calories, they also take a big (and unnecessary) bite from your food budget.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Healthy Eating: Tips for a Healthy Diet

Healthy eating is not about strict nutrition philosophies, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, and keeping yourself as healthy as possible – all which can be achieved by learning some nutrition basics and incorporating them in a way that works for you.

Choose the types of foods that improve your health and avoid the types of foods that raise your risk for such illnesses as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Expand your range of healthy choices to include a wide variety of delicious foods. Learn to use guidelines and tips for creating and maintaining a satisfying, healthy diet.

Thursday, January 22, 2009