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Posts Tagged ‘Serving size’

The U. S. News & World Report published the 2014 best diets in eight categories. The DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) again rated as the best over-all diet and the best diet for healthy eating. What about this diet has caused it to rank number one for the past five years?

The government initially funded research to develop an eating plan to lower blood pressure that resulted in the DASH Diet. The diet scores high because of nutrients provided, safety, and its role in the prevention or control of diabetes and heart disease. While it is not designed for weight loss, those who follow this diet should maintain a healthy weight, and those with excessive body fat should lose extra pounds.

The Dash Diet increases “good” HDL cholesterol and lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol as well as triglycerides. The diet meets dietary standards for fat, protein, and carbohydrate. It provides ample fiber, potassium, calcium, and vitamin B-12, nutrients often deficient in diets. Although a little low in vitamin D, eating fortified cereal or foods such as sockeye salmon can help meet nutrient requirements.

The DASH Diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils. It limits sodium, sweets, sugary beverages, and red meats and is low in saturated and trans fats. Below are guidelines to help follow the DASH Diet.

  • Vegetables: Eat four to five servings a day based on a serving size of one cup raw leafy green vegetables or 1/2 cup cut-up raw or cooked vegetables. Vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, greens and others are high in fiber, vitamins, and such minerals as potassium and magnesium. Use vegetables served over brown rice or whole-wheat noodles as a main dish. Fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables are all nutritious choices.
  • Fruits: Eat four to five servings a day based on a serving size of one medium fruit or 1/2 cup fresh, frozen or canned fruit or 4-ounces  of juice. Fruits are high in fiber, potassium, and magnesium, and all except a few are low in fat. Serve at mealtime for dessert or as a snack.
  • Dairy: Consume two to three servings a day based on serving sizes of one cup skim or one-percent milk, one cup yogurt, or 1 1/2 ounce cheese. These are major sources of calcium, vitamin D, and protein.
  • Grains: Eat six to eight servings a day based on serving sizes of one slice whole-wheat bread, one ounce dry cereal, or 1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice, or pasta. For more fiber and nutrients, choose whole grains. Look for products labeled “100 percent whole grain” or “100 percent whole wheat.”
  • Lean meat, poultry, and fish: Eat six or fewer servings a day based on serving sizes of one ounce cooked skinless poultry, seafood, lean meat, or one egg. These are rich sources of protein, B-vitamins, iron, and zinc. Reduce meat portions by one-third or one-half since even lean varieties contain fat and cholesterol. Trim away skin and fat from poultry and meat. Eat heart-healthy fish such as salmon, herring, and tuna.
  • Nuts, seeds, and legumes: Choose four to five servings a week based on serving sizes of 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) nuts, 2 tablespoons seeds, or 1/2 cup cooked beans or peas. Almonds, sunflower seeds, kidney beans, peas, lentils and other foods in this family are good sources of magnesium, potassium, and protein as well as fiber and phytochemicals. Nuts contain healthy types of fat—monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids—and can be added to stir-fry, salad, or cereal. Also serve soybean-based products, such as tofu and tempeh, as alternatives to meat.
  • Fats and oils: Use two to three servings a day based on serving sizes of one teaspoon soft margarine, one tablespoon mayonnaise, or two tablespoons salad dressing. While fat is essential in the diet, many people consume too much which can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. Choose healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Avoid trans fats that are often found in processed foods such as crackers and baked goods. Read food labels and choose foods lowest in saturated fat and free of trans fat.
  • Sweets: Limit to five or fewer a week. Serving sizes include one tablespoon sugar, jelly or jam, or 1/2 cup sorbet, Cut back on added sugar. Instead, use artificial sweeteners to curb the hunger for sweets.

Following the DASH Diet during 2015 can result in a healthier you. As a reminder, print and clip these guidelines and place on your refrigerator or in a place where you will see them daily. You can eat healthier and reap many rewards.

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If you decided to express love to your valentine by making healthy food choices, consider helping the entire family live a healthier lifestyle. With so many meals eaten away from home, choosing the most healthful items becomes a challenge. Many restaurants help patrons make good choices by identifying items with fewer calories. Others offer smaller portions.

Several tips can help cut calories when eating out.

  • Order red instead of white sauces to lower calorie intake.
  • Request all dressings, sauces, butter, and gravies be served on the side so you can control serving size. Then use sparingly.
  • Choose entrees of chicken, seafood, or lean meat instead of fatty meats.
  • Check for menu items marked “healthy.”
  • Choose steamed, broiled, baked, grilled, poached, or roasted foods instead of those fried, smothered, sautéed, creamed, or au gratin.
  • Avoid cocktails, appetizers, and bread and butter before the meal.
  • Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets and specials. Order from the menu.
  • Split orders with someone else, ask for smaller portions, or ask for a to-go box at the beginning of the meal to help control the amount you eat.

With busy schedules, sometimes fast-food seems unavoidable. To make healthier choices and to teach your children to do likewise, consider the following tips.

  • Hold the mayo and other sauces.
  • Choose low-calorie dressings for salads
  • Avoid double meat portions. One portion is usually more than a serving size.
  • Choose chicken over higher fat burgers.
  • Ask for baked, broiled, or grilled fish sandwiches instead of fried fish.
  • Omit bacon on sandwiches. It’s high in sodium, usually high in fat, and adds little nutritive value to the meal.
  • Eat sandwiches open-faced to cut the extra calories from the top part.
  • Order whole-wheat buns or bread when available.
  • Choose low-fat milk, diet drinks, or water instead of regular colas.
  • Choose unsweetened tea instead of sweetened tea.
  • Skip the fries and request a fruit, fruit-cup, or vegetable such as salad.

Eating healthy isn’t nearly as hard as some try to make it. If you can’t bring yourself to make all these changes at one time, pick out a few you think your taste buds will tolerate and start there. You will at least be on your way to healthier eating and will probably lose a little weight along the way—which for most of us would be an added bonus. Bon appétit.

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A slice of homemade Thanksgiving pumpkin pie s...

Image via Wikipedia

Do you come away from holiday dinners feeling more stuffed than the turkey? There’s help and hope. The long holiday season swarms with temptations to overeat. Eating frenzies from Thanksgiving through New Year’s may increase weight by as much as four to five pounds, but the average gain comes closer to one pound. Planning ahead helps avoid increased calorie intake and excessive eating  during special occasions.

What holiday dinner choices tend to add the most extra calories? Delicious stuffing? Yams floating in sugar and butter? Tantalizing desserts?  Simple tips can help decrease holiday over-indulgence.

  • Identify foods loaded with the most calories and make an alternate choice.
  • Pass up second servings. Most of us leave holiday dinner tables not only full, but miserable. Fill your plate once and if you sample many dishes, cut portion size to less than usual.
  • Eat slowly and savor the flavor longer. Take time to think about what you are chewing and relish every morsel.
  • Consider lower calorie desserts.  Compare the following approximate calorie values per serving and choose wisely:
    • mincemeat pie (500 calories);
    • pecan pie (450 calories);
    • apple pie (425 calories);
    • pumpkin pie (325 calories);
    • coconut cake (400 calories);
    • fruitcake (150 calories);
    • eggnog (350 calories);
    • mixed frozen fruit (250 calories).

If you can’t resist eating a high-calorie dessert, request a half-serving. For pies, consider leaving the crust and foregoing the whipped topping.

Calorie-laden foods need not enslave us this Thanksgiving. Choose wisely and be thankful for the bounty God provides.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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