–Eat lots of vegetables and fruits, picking a rainbow of colors for variety. Eat nonstarchy vegetables such as spinach, carrots, broccoli or green beans with meals. Choose whole-grain foods over processed grain products. Try brown rice with stir-fry or whole-wheat spaghetti with pasta sauce.
–Include dried beans and lentils in meals.
–Include fish in meals two or three times a week. Choose lean meats like cuts of beef and pork that end in "loin" such as pork loin and sirloin.
–Remove the skin from chicken and turkey.
–Choose nonfat dairy products such as skim milk, nonfat yogurt and nonfat cheese.
–Choose water and calorie-free "diet" drinks instead of regular soda, fruit punch, sweet tea and other sugar-sweetened drinks. Choose liquid oils for cooking instead of solid fats that can be high in saturated and trans fats.
–Cut back on high-calorie snack foods and desserts like chips, cookies, cakes and ice cream.
–Watch portion sizes. Eating too much of even healthful foods can lead to weight gain.
(This article appeared in the fall 2008 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.)