Let's talk about crafting an eating style that includes a variety of your favorite healthful foods.
MyPlate advises people to divide their plates between fruits, vegetables, whole grains, varied protein, and low-fat dairy at each meal. This great food graphic from the USDA even has lots of tips and tricks for making delicious combinations that are also nutrient-dense.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans maintains that "All food and beverage choices matter. Choose a healthy eating pattern at an appropriate calorie level to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient adequacy, and reduce the risk of chronic disease." That means focusing on variety, nutrient density, and amount of food while limiting your consumption of added sugars, saturated and trans fats, and sodium.
Once you've internalized the keys to these two resources, you'll be on your way to a balanced and healthful eating style.
And now I'd like to add a new tip that dovetails nicely with this year's National Nutrition Month theme. Use your fork or a spoon.
Traditionally, foods that you can eat out of a bag with your hands (including snacks and most fast food) are loaded with empty calories and devoid of the nutrients that you need for good health. Foods for which you need a fork or spoon, however, are often chock-full of nutrients. Think salads, soups, rice, veggies, lean protein, etc. All this is a lot better than eating out of a bag!
What better way is there to put your best fork forward?
Oh, and if I've piqued your interest with my last tip, stay tuned for the next post, which addresses how to quickly and easily prepare meals that need to be eaten with a fork or spoon!
In the meantime, here's a free handout with the highlights of today's post.
And here is a collection of fantastic educator materials for Nutrition Month!
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.