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
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
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. ....

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