Get More From Each Bite

Forkful of foodMost Americans have plenty of food. In fact, many of us eat too much! But did you know that despite an abundance of food, we're still not getting enough of certain important nutrients?

The USDA reported in 2010 that Americans don't get enough potassium, fiber, calcium or vitamin D in their daily meals and launched the newest set of Dietary Guidelines for Americans to help solve the problem. It's easy to get enough of these nutrients with a few food tweaks, and fortunately, these changes can make meals even more delicious.

There are many foods that are rich in nutrition and taste great too. These foods include vegetables, fruits, low-fat milk and milk products and whole grains. Here are some tips to help you get the nutrients they need—and especially those under-consumed ones—while maintaining a healthy weight:

  • Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits, especially dark green, red and orange, as well as beans and peas. These will give you the fiber you need, as well as some calcium and potassium.
  • Get more fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products, such as milk, yogurt and cheese. Consuming milk helps children and adults meet 3 of the 4 nutrients of concern -- potassium, calcium and vitamin D.
  • Consume at least half (or better yet, most) grains as whole grains for additional fiber and potassium.
  • Choose a variety of proteins, which include seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, nuts and seeds. These include a great variety of important nutrients.

The Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans enjoy their food more while eating a little less of it. Slowing down to savor the taste of food and consistently eating balanced meals that include all five food groups can increase food enjoyment while reducing overall calorie intake. Rather than counting calories, make every calorie count!

By starting to eat a better variety of foods, including those mentioned above, you will not only get the nutrients you need to be healthy now, you will also reduce your risk of chronic disease. How can you begin getting more from each bite?  

 

References:
1. Choose My Plate website, http://www.choosemyplate.gov/dietary-guidelines.html. Accessed 3/11/15 

2. U.S Department of Food And Agriculture, Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/dietary_guidelines_for_americans/PolicyDoc.pdf. Accessed 3/11/15.