Nutritionist Offers Ways To Follow Dietary Guidelines

Elizabeth S. Reames  |  3/15/2006 2:44:52 AM

News You Can Use For March 2006

Eating well and being physically active are keys to better health. Following the Dietary Guidelines can help Americans "Feel better today. Stay healthy for tomorrow," according to a slogan of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames says the food and physical activity choices you make now affect your health today, tomorrow and later on.

The science-based Dietary Guidelines can help Americans make smart choices from each food group, find a balance between food and physical activity and get the most nutrition out of calories eaten.

Americans eat plenty of food, but not enough of the foods that supply essential nutrients for good health. Also, many people don’t get enough physical activity to stay fit and burn those extra calories, Reames asserts.

"Eating right and being physically active aren’t just a diet or a program; they are keys to a healthy lifestyle," the nutritionist says, adding, "With healthful habits, you may reduce your risk of many chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and certain cancers and increase your chances for a longer life.

The best way to give your body the balanced nutrition it needs is by eating a variety of nutrient-packed foods every day. Just be sure to stay within your daily calorie needs.

A healthy eating plan is one that:

– Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.

– Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts.

– Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugars.

It’s important to make smart food choices and watch portion sizes wherever you are - the grocery store, at work, in your favorite restaurant or running errands.

Reames offers these tips:

– At the store, plan ahead by buying a variety of nutrient-rich foods for meals and snacks throughout the week.

– When grabbing lunch, eat a sandwich on whole-grain bread and drink water, drinks without added sugars or low-fat/fat-free milk.

– In a restaurant, opt for steamed or broiled dishes instead of those that are fried or sautéed.

– On a shopping trip, pack some fresh fruit, cut-up vegetables, string cheese sticks or a handful of unsalted nuts to help you avoid impulsive, less healthful snack choices.

For additional information about the Dietary Guidelines, contact your parish extension agent. For related nutrition information, click on the Family and Home link on the LSU AgCenter home page, at www.lsuagcenter.com.

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On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: www.lsuagcenter.com

Source: Beth Reames (225) 578-3929, or breames@agcenter.lsu.edu

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