Pack Nutrition Into Your Food Choices

Do you want to get more health benefits from the food you eat? The following tips will help you pack more nutrients into each bite:

Think Variety Among Food Groups

Eat a wide selection of foods each day from all of the food groups:

Dairy
Vegetables
Fruits
Grains

Protein 

Think Variety Within Food Groups

Eating five different fruits and vegetables each day provides far more nutritional benefits than simply eating five apples or five servings of green beans. A glass of milk isn't your only option in the Dairy group—think cheese, yogurt or a latte for variety and good taste. Lean meats, fish, shellfish, nuts and legumes—all from the "Protein group"—provide a variety of essential nutrients, including protein, iron, zinc, B vitamins and vitamin E1.

Think Color

Eat plenty of brightly colored fruits and dark green leafy vegetables, as well as whole grains, fortified cereals and legumes for vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber (which can help alleviate constipation problems)2

Think Benefits

Plant foods contain powerful antioxidants and phytochemicals which may protect cells against cancer and other degenerative diseases. Three daily servings of low-fat milk and dairy foods such as yogurt and cheese will meet your daily calcium needs and help protect your bones.

Some dairy foods like yogurt and kefir also provide beneficial bacteria called probiotics that help maintain your digestive tract, and may boost your immune system3

Think Moderation

You don't need to give up your favorite foods that are high in fat, sugar, calories or sodium. Just eat those foods less often and in smaller amounts. No one food or meal has ever been shown to make or break a healthy eating plan.

  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture. ChooseMyPlate.gov Website. Washington, DC. www.choosemyplate.gov. Accessed March 5, 2014. 
  2. Costilla VC, Foxx-Orenstein AE. Constipation in adults: diagnosis and management. Curr Treat Options Gastroenterol. 2014 Sep;12(3):310-21.
  3. Tolo R, Suarez A, Clemente MG, et al. Intestinal microbiota in health and disease: Role of bifidobacteria in gut homeostasis. World J Gastroenterol. 2014; 20(41): 15163-15176. 

 

Positive Approach
Do you know what foods you should be eating? Start with the Healthy Eating Planner to make a plan for eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods.