Elizabeth S. Reames | 12/1/2005 10:12:36 PM
Healthy eating is key to looking good, feeling great and being your best. Foods provide the essential nutrients and other compounds the body needs for good health, according to LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames.
Millions of Americans are on the latest fad diets to lose weight. The problem is, most of these diets don’t provide lasting results. In addition, many of these diets can cause health problems or physical discomfort.
Instead of focusing on weight loss, Reames says the key is to concentrate on eating healthfully and exercising regularly. A healthy eating plan will help you consume a variety of foods to get the nutrients your body needs and maintain a healthy weight. Let your individual needs and preferences determine your personal food choices.
Match your food choices to your lifestyle and individual requirements, choosing enough to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Plan meals and snacks using a variety of foods from the Food Guide Pyramid groups – Grains, Vegetables, Fruits, Dairy and Meat-Beans. Make healthy choices such as lean meat, low-fat or nonfat dairy products, whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Choose a variety of foods from each group based on flavor, texture and colors. Choosing the right balance of foods helps you get the right combination of nutrients.
Reames says to look at the big picture when selecting foods – it’s what you eat over several days, not just one meal or day that counts. You can enjoy all your favorite foods. Just eat them in moderate amounts. To find the amounts of food you need, go to MyPyramid.gov.
It’s important to balance your food choices with your physical activities to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. Be sure to enjoy a variety of ways to stay active to feel your best. The Dietary Guidelines recommend at least 30 minutes of physical activity to reduce disease risk and 60 minutes a day to prevent weight gain. For sustaining weight loss, at least 60 to 90 minutes a day of physical activity may be required.
For additional information about the food guide pyramid, contact the FCS agent in your parish. For information on related family and consumer topics, click on the Family and Home link on the LSU AgCenter homepage, at www.lsuagcenter.com.