We know we should eat more of what’s good for us and less of what’s not. But most Americans get too many calories and not enough nutrition in their daily diet, health experts claim. Here’s a simple three-step plan to help.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, only about 12 percent of Americans eat the recommended 1.5 to 2.5 cups of fruits a day. Similarly less than 10 percent meet the recommended 2 to 3.5 cups of vegetables each day. One way to get with the program: Add fruits and vegetables to foods you already eat.
Top pizza with peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms.
Stuff dark green lettuce, onions, and tomatoes into sandwiches.
Put bananas, apples, or berries on cereal or pancakes.
Substitute whole grains for refined ones to get the daily 3 to 4 ounce servings advised by U.S. dietary guidelines. One slice of bread, a cup of cereal, or a ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta each equal about a 1 ounce serving. Some ways to get started:
Spread low- or nonfat cream cheese on a whole wheat bagel.
Use a whole wheat pita for lunch instead of white bread.
Snack on whole-grain tortilla chips with salsa.
Saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt can derail your diet. Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products, reduced-sodium foods, and foods without or with fewer added sugars. Here are more tips for staying on track:
If you eat beef, get a lean cut—and eat less of it. Each day, you only need about 5 to 6.5 ounces of food from protein sources.
Keep the chicken but lose the fat by trimming the skin and choosing broiled or grilled.
Love ice cream? Substitute with low- or nonfat frozen yogurt or ice cream.
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