Home  >> Expert Word
    Expert Word Subscribe    
    Welcome to the stickK Expert Word
Healthy Food Choices – The Basics
By Julie C.H. Brake   View more articles by this author
  Add a Comment    |      |      |   Bookmark and Share
August 14

To achieve healthy and balanced eating, the best place to start is the Food Pyramid. It is important to know the five basic food groups and healthy choices within each group.

Grains – Foods included in this group are breads, rice, cereals, pasta, crackers, bagels, muffins, etc. Most people need 6 to 11 ounces or servings of grains daily. A good rule of thumb is to have something from the grains group at every meal, plus at 1-2 snacks. Choose whole grains as much as possible, like whole wheat bread or bran cereal.

Fruits – This includes fresh, frozen, and canned fruits, as well as 100% fruit juices. Canned fruits should be canned in fruit juice or water to avoid the extra calories in sugary syrups. Fruit juice is a healthy choice but should be limited to one 8-ounce glass daily. Eating fruits provides fiber, while fruit juice is low in fiber and higher in fruit sugars. An average of 3 to 4 servings of fruit should be consumed every day. Fruit is a great snack choice and is easily portable. It can also serve as a sweet substitute for an unhealthy dessert.
Vegetables – Fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables are included, and 100% vegetable juice counts as well. Watch out for sodium in canned vegetables; look for “no salt added” products. Try experimenting with different vegetables according to what is in season. Eating a variety, specifically different colored vegetables, provides a variety of vitamins and minerals that the body needs. Vegetables should be eaten at least twice a day at about 1 cup each time. Steamed or baked are the best ways to cook vegetables. Remember to be careful about dressing, butter, and salt.
Dairy – Food choices for this group include milk, yogurt, cheese, pudding, frozen yogurt, and even ice cream. Non-fat (skim) or low-fat (1%) dairy products are the healthiest. Reduced fat (2%) and whole milk (3-4%) products contribute a significant amount of added fat to the diet. Ice cream often carries a significant amount of added sugar as well, so enjoy it sparingly. Consume 3 to 4 cups of dairy items daily. This is especially important for females and athletes. It is also important for anyone trying to lose weight because studies have shown that 3 servings of low or no fat dairy daily help with weight control.
Protein – Eggs and meat are the richest sources of protein, but legumes and nuts are also included in this group. Soy is a popular protein source among vegetarians and vegans. Choosing lean meats, like lean beef or skinless poultry, are healthiest. Fish is also a great option as it is rich in healthy fatty acids. Protein foods should be consumed in 3- to 4-ounce portions since your body can only absorb a limited amount of protein at once. A 3-ounce portion of meat is about the size of a deck of cards. Including protein foods two to three times a day will provide enough protein for the average person.
Added Fats – Adding small amounts of dietary fats to balanced meals and snacks is important to provide the energy and fatty acids that are needed by the body. Reasonable portions are 1-2 teaspoons of margarine, 1-2 Tablespoons of low-fat dressing, or 1 Tablespoon of low-fat mayonnaise.
Knowing these food groups will empower you to make healthy food choices!
  Add a Comment    |      |      |   Bookmark and Share
Comments (


You must be logged in to post comments
Articles Home
Author Index

stickK Expert Word

   Diet & Healthy Eating
   Education & Knowledge
   Exercise & Fitness
   Family & Relationships
   Green Initiatives
   Health & Lifestyle
   Money & Finance
   Sports, Hobbies & Recreation
   Weight Loss
Career Diet & Healthy Eating Education & Knowledge Exercise & Fitness
Family & Relationships Green Initiatives Health & Lifestyle Money & Finance
Sports, Hobbies & Recreation Weight Loss

TRUSTe European Safe Harbor certification