30 MyPlate Steps to a Healthier You

Alexis O. Navarro  |  8/14/2014 6:22:38 PM

The USDA’s MyPlate symbolizes a personalized approach to healthy eating and physical activity. It reminds us to make healthy food choices and to be active every day. Here are some tips from www.choosemyplate.gov to help you take steps to a healthier you.

1. On the Internet, go to www.choosemyplate.gov to calculate your personalized “Daily Food Plan.”

2. Order a veggie pizza with toppings like mushrooms, green peppers and onions, and ask for extra veggies.

3. 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.

4. Broil, grill, roast, poach, or boil meat, poultry, or fish instead of frying. Skip or limit the breading. Breading adds calories.

5. Make most of your fruit choices whole or cut-up fruit rather than juice, for the benefits dietary fiber provides.

6. Select vegetables with more potassium often, such as sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce and juice) beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils, and kidney beans.

7. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Vary your fruit and vegetable choices, as they differ in nutrient content.

8. Dried fruits make a great snack. They are easy to carry and store well. Because they are dried, ¼ cup is equivalent to ½ cup of other fruits.

9. Sauces or seasoning can add calories, saturated fat, and sodium to vegetables. Use the nutrition facts label to compare the calories and % daily value for saturated fat and sodium in plain and seasoned vegetables.

10. Walk up and down the soccer or softball field sidelines while watching the kids play.

11. Try a main dish salad for lunch. Go light on the salad dressing.

12. Make at least half your grains whole rains. For a change, try brown rice or whole-wheat pasta.

13. Trim away all of the visible fat from meats and poultry before cooking.

14. Popcorn, a whole grain, can be a healthy snack if make with little or no added salt and butter.

15. Do stretches, exercises, or pedal a stationary bike while watching television.

16. Many vegetables taste great with a dip or dressing. Try a low-fat salad dressing with raw broccoli, red and green peppers, celery sticks or cauliflower.

17. Physical activity may include short bouts of moderate-intensity activity. The accumulated total is what is important and can be accumulated through three to six 10-minute bouts over the course of a day.

18. 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.

19. Frozen juice bars (100% juice) make healthy alternatives to high-fat snacks.

20. Park further from your destination (work, shopping, etc.) and walk the rest of the way.

21. Choose seafood at least twice a week as the main protein food. Look for seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, and herring.

22. Stock up on frozen vegetables for quick and easy cooing in the microwave.

23. Experiment by substituting whole wheat or oat flour for up to half of the flour in pancake, waffle, muffin, or other flour-based recipes. They may need a bit more leavening.

24. If you drink cappuccinos or lattes – ask for them with fat-free (skim) milk.

25. Never let raw meat, poultry, eggs, cooked food, or cut fresh fruits or vegetables sit at room temperature more than two hours before putting them in the refrigerator or freezer (one hour when the temperature is above 90 degrees F).

26. Keep a bowl of cut-up vegetables in a see-through container in the refrigerator. Carrot and celery sticks are traditional, but consider red or green pepper strips, broccoli florets, or cucumber slices.

27. Select fruits with more potassium often, such as bananas, prunes and prune juice, dried peaches and apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew melon and orange juice.

28. For dessert, make chocolate or butterscotch pudding with fat-free or low-fat milk.

29. Replace a coffee break with a brisk 10-minute walk. Ask a friend to go with you.

30. For fresh fruit salads, mix apples, bananas, or pears with acidic fruits like oranges, pineapple, or lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.

Reference:

30 MyPlate Steps to a Healthier You by Alice Henneman, MS, RD, Extension Educator
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension - Lancaster County

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