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Healthy eating for a healthy weight

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An eating plan that helps control your weight includes a variety of healthy foods. Adding a variety of colors to your plate is like eating a rainbow. Dark green leafy vegetables, oranges, and tomatoes—even fresh herbs—are packed with vitamins, fiber, and minerals. Adding frozen bell peppers, broccoli, or onions to casseroles and omelettes adds color and nutrients.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 , a healthy eating plan:

  • Highlights the importance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat milk and dairy products
  • Include a variety of protein foods such as seafood, lean meats, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), soy products, nuts, and seeds
  • Low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars
  • Stay within your daily caloric needs

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) MyPlate Plan can help you identify what and how much to eat from the different food groups while staying within your recommended calorie allowance. You can also download My Food Diary [PDF] to help you keep track of your meals.

Fruit
Fresh, frozen, or canned fruit are all great options. Try fruits beyond apples and bananas like mango, pineapple, or kiwi. When fresh fruit isn’t in season, try a frozen, canned, or dried variety. Please note that dried and canned fruit may contain added sugars or syrups. Choose fruit varieties canned in water or their own juice.

Vegetables

Add variety to grilled or steamed vegetables with an herb like rosemary. You can also fry vegetables in a pan with a little oil. You can also try frozen or canned vegetables for a quick side dish. Simply microwave them and serve. Look for canned vegetables without added salt, butter, or creamy sauces. For a change, try a new vegetable each week.

Calcium rich foods
In addition to skim and skim milk, consider nonfat and nonfat yogurts with no added sugars. These come in a variety of flavors and can be a great substitute for dessert.

meats
If your favorite recipe calls for frying breaded fish or chicken, try healthier variations by baking or grilling. Maybe even try dry beans instead of meats. Ask your friends and search the Internet and magazines for recipes with fewer calories; You may be surprised to discover that you have a new favorite dish!

comfort food
Healthy eating is based on balance. You can enjoy your favorite foods, even if they are high in calories, fat, or added sugar. The key is to eat them only once in a while and balance them with healthier foods and more physical activity.

Some general tips about comfort foods:

  • Eat them less often. If you normally eat these foods every day, cut back to once a week or once a month.
  • Eat smaller portions. If your favorite high-calorie food is a candy bar, stick to a smaller size or just half a bar.
  • Try a lower calorie version. Use low-calorie ingredients or prepare the food in another way. For example, if your macaroni and cheese recipe calls for whole milk, butter, and full-fat cheese, try making it with nonfat milk, less butter, low-fat cheese, fresh spinach, and tomatoes. Just remember not to increase your serving size.
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