How to Build a Healthy Meal
From the food authorities at choosemyplate.gov, here's how to put together healthy and tasty meals:
Make half your plate veggies and fruit
Vegetables and fruits are full of nutrients that may help promote good health. Choose red, orange and dark green vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes and broccoli.
Add lean protein
Choose foods such as lean beef and pork, chicken, turkey, beans or tofu. Twice a week, make seafood the protein on your plate.
Include whole grains
Aim to make at least half your grains whole grains. Look for the words “100% whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” on the food label. Whole grains provide more nutrients, like fiber, than refined grains.
Don’t forget the dairy
Pair your meal with a cup of fat-free or low-fat milk. They provide the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and calories. Don’t drink milk? Try soymilk (soy beverage) as your beverage or include fat-free or low-fat yogurt in your meal.
Avoid extra fat
Using heavy gravies or sauces will add fat and calories to otherwise healthy choices. For example, steamed broccoli is great, but avoid topping it with cheese sauce. Try other options, like a sprinkling of low-fat parmesan cheese or a squeeze of lemon.
Take your time
Savor your food. Eat slowly, enjoy the taste and textures, and pay attention to how you feel. Be mindful. Eating very quickly may cause you to eat too much.
Use a smaller plate
This will help with portion control. That way you can finish your entire plate and feel satisfied without overeating.
Take control of your food
Eat at home more often so you know exactly what you are eating. If you eat out, check and compare the nutrition information. Choose healthier options such as baked instead of fried.
Try new foods
Keep it interesting by picking out new foods you’ve never tried before, like mango, lentils, or kale. You may find a new favorite! Trade fun and tasty recipes with friends or find them online.
Satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way
Indulge in a naturally sweet dessert dish—fruit! Serve a fresh fruit cocktail or a fruit parfait made with yogurt. For a hot dessert, bake apples and top with cinnamon.
For more information on nutrition, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.