Obesity is a big issue in our society today! It seems like every day there is a new report on obesity in America, and the news is not good. It can feel overwhelming and many consumers are at a loss as to how to avoid becoming a statistic. Making lifestyle changes such as eating well and exercising regularly are great places to start.
One of the best tools I recommend to my patients to assist in eating a well balanced diet is My Plate. This online tool replaced the old food pyramid and has a very simplistic design. Patients find the tips for healthy eating to be a valuable and credible resource.
• Making half your grains whole grains and knowing what to look for on the ingredients list. Key words such as whole wheat, bulgur, oatmeal, and wild rice, among others, are important.
• Choosing vegetables that are as rich in color as they are in vitamins and minerals.
• Buying vegetables that are in season for maximum flavor at a lower cost.
• Keeping a bowl of whole fruit on the table, counter, or refrigerator, as a visible reminder as well as experimenting with adding fruit to meals to improve taste and nutritional value.
• Varying protein food choices with options including lean meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
Another section of choosemyplate.gov includes tips for eating healthy when eating away from home. For many people, who are too busy to cook meals after a long day of work, this is of particular importance. Generally, people feel that eating out has to be unhealthy but that is not necessarily the case. A few of the tips provided include:
• Choosing water, low fat milk or unsweetened beverages.
• Starting your meal with a salad or broth based soup packed with veggies, to help control hunger and feel satisfied sooner.
• Asking for salad dressing to be served on the side. Then using only as much as you want.
• Ordering steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes instead of those that are fried or sautéed. Also, choosing a “small” or “medium” portion. This includes main dishes, side dishes, and beverages.
For more great information such as sample menus, recipes, daily food plans, and healthy eating on a budget, to name a few, www.choosemyplate.gov is a great source of information for health enthusiasts or for anyone who is looking to improve their health and wellness.