Plan healthy meals for National Nutrition Monthposted by Brent Brown on March 1, 2019
March is National Nutrition Month!
We all know that consuming nutritious foods is important for our overall health, and for chronic disease prevention. Now is a great time to step back and review what it means to eat healthy.
A healthy eating pattern includes eating a variety of foods from each of the food groups listed here:
Two important things to remember when perusing the cafeteria, or planning meals, are portions and variety. MyPlate is a helpful tool for choosing appropriate portion sizes of foods. Not every meal will include all food groups, so think of this plate more as a guide for your overall daily intake. For example, almost half of the food we eat everyday should be fruits and vegetables.
When considering variety, choose different fruits and vegetables for each meal, or switch it up between animal proteins and plant proteins. Aside from providing diverse tastes and flavors, your meals and snacks will have a good mix of vitamins a minerals as well. Visit chooseMyPlate.gov to learn more!
A healthy eating pattern limits the following:
- Saturated fat. Eating too much saturated fat can raise your cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease. No more than 10 percent of daily calories should come from saturated fat. Saturated fat is found in red meats, butter, coconut oil, whole milk dairy products, pastries, and more.
- Sodium. Excess sodium can raise your blood pressure, which is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. It is recommended that Americans consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium daily. Processed foods such as frozen pizza, baked goods, canned soups, and chips are some items that are usually high in sodium.
- Added sugars. A diet high in added sugars can also increase your risk for heart disease. Limit added sugars to 12 teaspoons or less. For reference: 4g of added sugar equals 1 teaspoon. Sodas, candy, and many cereals are a few examples of foods that typically have added sugars.
Test out your nutrition knowledge with this quiz, or take a nutrition break with this popular game.
Stay healthy, stay happy!