Elizabeth S. Reames | 4/22/2005 1:03:52 AM
The food and physical activity choices you make now affect how you feel today and in the future. That is the message of the newly released Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, according to LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames.
"Feel better today. Stay healthy for tomorrow." is the dietary guidelines slogan. Based on scientific research, the guidelines provide advice for healthy Americans two years of age and older to help them make smart choices from each food group, find a balance between food and physical activity and get the most nutrition out of calories eaten.
"Many Americans are eating plenty of food, but not eating the right foods needed to provide essential nutrients for good health," Reames says, noting that many people don’t get enough physical activity to stay fit and burn those extra calories.
"Eating right and being physically active aren’t just a diet or a program; they are keys to a healthy lifestyle," the nutritionist emphasizes, adding, "With healthful habits, you may reduce your risk of many chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and certain cancers, and you may increase your chances for a longer life."
She says 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; it includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts; and it 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 advises. She 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, have a sandwich on whole-grain bread and choose low-fat or fat-free milk, water or other drinks without added sugars.
• 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.