You can make a giant leap toward a healthier diet if you begin with these seven simple steps:
- Switch from stick margarine to a lower-fat tub margarine. Most margarine is used on toast or bread. For each tablespoon of lower-fat tub margarine you use instead of stick margarine, you can save 4 or more grams of fat.
- Buy fat-free or lower-fat hot dogs, sausage, bacon or lunch meats. Processed meats are the second highest source of fat for Americans. The fat in one bologna sandwich with mayonnaise is more than half the amount of fat you should have the whole day.
- Choose 1% or skim milk instead of whole milk or 2% milk. Move your family slowly from whole to 2%. Then, when they're used to that, change to 1% and finally to skim. Drinking a glass of skim milk instead of whole milk saves 5 grams of saturated fat. That's about a fourth of the amount you should have each day.
- Eat at least 3 servings of vegetables at dinner each night and 2 fruits for snacks each day. What an easy way to help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer! A serving is just one-half cup of cooked vegetables, a cup of salad or one piece of fruit.
- Eat at least 3 servings of whole grains every day. Buy bread where whole wheat is the only flour listed in the ingredient list, or at least where it's listed before any other flour. Eat cereals like shredded wheat or raisin bran. Don't forget oatmeal. Have you tried brown rice?
- Eat at least 4 servings of dried beans or peas each week. That's just two cups and you've added even more protection against cancer and heart disease. Rinse canned beans and add to macaroni, soups and green salads. Mash them with salsa for a tasty bean dip.
- Switch from soft drinks to water, juice or skim milk. The average American drinks 50 gallons of empty-calorie soft drinks a year! That's twice the amount of milk and six times the fruit juice we drink. Milk can help prevent osteoporosis, and citrus juices may help prevent cancer. Make a soft drink by mixing orange juice with club soda. Of course, if you have high blood pressure, you should also watch your sodium. For those who don't, it's still a good idea to limit foods that have more than 480 milligrams of sodium or more per serving to one a day.
Pasta and Chick Pea Salad
- 4 ounces macaroni
- 3 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 (15 ounce) can chick peas, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons lower-fat mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/3 cup chopped red or green sweet pepper
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- 1/3 cup shredded carrot
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion
- 1 medium tomato, cut into wedges
Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and cool. Combine macaroni, chick peas, celery, sweet pepper, carrot and onions in a large bowl. Beat together vinegar, mayonnaise, oil, mustard and pepper. Pour over salad and toss lightly. Cover and chill. Serve with tomato wedges.
Yield: 4 servings. Each serving provides 200 calories, 6.6 grams protein, 8.5 grams fat, 24.3 grams carbohydrate, 5.3 grams fiber, 459 milligrams sodium.