We can benefit from taking small daily steps to improve our diet and lifestyle.
Follow these 30 steps from http://myplate.gov to get started.
- On the internet, go to https://www.choosemyplate.gov/resources/MyPlatePlan and calculate your personalized “My Plate Plan.”
- For pizza, order veggie toppings like mushrooms, green peppers and onions.
- Eat foods and beverages low in “added sugars.” Naturally occurring sugars such as those which are in milk and fruits do not count as added sugars.
- Vary your fruit choices. Fruits differ in nutrient content.
- Make most of your choices whole or cut-up fruit rather than juice, for the benefits that dietary fiber provides.
- Select vegetables with more potassium often: sweet potatoes, white potatoes, winter squash, tomato products, beet greens, spinach, dry beans and split peas.
- Choose grain products which name one of the following whole-grain ingredients first on the ingredient list: brown rice, bulgur, graham flour, oatmeal, whole-grain corn, whole oats, whole rye, whole wheat, wild rice.
- Dried fruits make a great snack. They are easy to carry and store well. Because they are dried, ¼ cup is equal to ½ cup of other fruits.
- Sauces or seasonings can add calories, fat and sodium to vegetables. Use the Nutrition Facts label to compare the calories and % Daily Value for fat and sodium in plain and seasoned vegetables.
- Walking, gardening, briskly pushing a baby stroller, climbing the stairs, playing soccer or dancing are all good examples of being active. For health benefits, physical activity should add up to at least 30 minutes a day.
- Try a main dish salad for lunch. Go light on the salad dressing.
- For a change, try brown rice or whole-wheat pasta.
- If you avoid milk because of lactose intolerance, try using lactose-free milk, consuming the enzyme lactase before consuming milk, or using calcium fortified soy or rice beverage. (Bioavailability of calcium from nondairy foods may vary.)
- Popcorn, a whole grain, can be a healthy snack with little or no added salt and butter.
- Do exercises or pedal a stationary bike while watching television.
- Many vegetables taste great with a dip or dressing. Try a low-fat salad dressing with raw broccoli, cauliflower, red and green peppers or celery sticks.
- Physical activity may include short sessions of moderate-intensity activity. The accumulated daily total is what is important, so physical activity can be broken up into three to six 10-minute intervals over the course of the day.
- Color is not an indication of a whole grain. Bread can be brown because of molasses or other added ingredients. Read the ingredient list to see if it is a whole grain.
- Frozen juice bars (100% juice) make healthy alternatives to high-fat snacks.
- Park farther from your destination (work, shopping, etc.) and walk the rest of the way.
- Look for fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout and herring.
- Stock up on frozen vegetables for quick and easy cooking in the microwave.
- Substitute whole wheat for up to half of the flour in pancake, waffle, muffin or other flour-based recipes.
- If you drink lattes or cappuccinos, ask for them with fat-free (skim) milk.
- Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food and leftovers within TWO hours.
- Use the Nutrition Facts label and choose grain products with a higher % Daily Value (% DV) for fiber. The % DV is a good clue to the amount of whole grain in the product.
- Select fruits with more potassium often: bananas, prunes and prune juice, dried peaches and apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew melon and orange juice.
- For dessert, make pudding with fat-free or low-fat milk.
- Replace a coffee break with a brisk 10-minute walk. Ask a friend to go with you.
- For fresh fruit salads, mix apples, bananas or pears with acidic fruits like pineapple, oranges or lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.
Henneman, Alice. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County.
30 MyPlate Steps to a Healthier You.
Originally published 01/07