What You Should Be Eating
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dietary Guidelines, nationally, intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, milk and milk products and oils are far lower than recommended.
As a result of these very low intakes, key nutrients including potassium, dietary fiber, calcium and vitamin D are of public health concern for both adults and children.
How You Can Get the Nutrients You Need
1. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are the most nutrient dense foods. This means they have a very large amount of nutritional benefits compared to their low amount of calories. National guidelines recommend 8-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
2. Switch to Lower-Fat Dairy Products
Switching to low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products like yogurt, sour cream and cheese, can help cut down on high intakes of fat and unnecessary calories, but still pack the same amount of calcium and other nutrients.
3. Make it WHOLE
Whole grains contain much more fiber than regular “white” or enriched grains. Eating more of these healthy, nutrient dense foods can help close nutrient gaps and encourage healthful eating patterns.
Making Positive Changes
Changing the way you eat can be difficult. But, with a little thought and preparation, making small changes can have a big impact on your healthy.
A good way to start is by looking at your dinner plate.
How big is your dinner plate?
You might not think about it, but using a smaller plate, instead of the standard 12-inch, can help you eat less.
Is the food on your plate colorful?
And by color, we mean red, orange and dark green. Having a rainbow on your plate is a good sign that your eating a healthy meal.
Do fruits and vegetables cover at least half of the plate?
This past year, the USDA updated their food pyramid with "Choose MyPlate". At least half of the plate should be covered with vegetables and fruit. The other half should be filled with whole grains, and a source of lean protein. Read more about Choose MyPlate
Where do you eat?
Turn off the television, put down the paper and just focus on eating. Sitting at the dinner table and focusing on your meal will help you eat less and feel more satisified.
For more simple ways you can make positive changes, UW Health's Go Red for Women offers a variety of resources, including:
- Prepare Your Pantry for Quick and Tasty Heart-Healthy Meals (pdf)
- A Guide to Whole Grains
- Meal Start Ideas (pdf)
- Heart-Healthy Recipes