Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Eat Right!

Do a Real Balancing Act!

You've probably heard of — and maybe tried — many different diet strategies. Some diets encourage you to cut starches entirely and stick with just veggies and meat. There are diets that won't let you have even a tiny bit of fat. Still others ask that you balance your meals by eating precise percentages of different foods. Really, though, eating a balanced, nutrient-packed meal is simple! You can do it any night of the week, without a graph or a scale, with almost any kind of food you enjoy. Just follow a few rules of thumb when you're planning your meal.
  • Variety counts! Are you eating the most nutritious foods from several food groups? Always go for the basics —whole grains, a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins. This strategy can help you get as many different nutrients as possible without loading up on calories!
  • Portions are key. Use the Nutrition Facts label on foods to get a sense of what a real portion is, then stick with it! Another good rule of thumb is to fill half your plate with veggies, a quarter with a single serving of protein, and another quarter with a healthy starch. That's really all there is to it!
  • Balance high-calorie foods with low. You can have an occasional sweet or a cheesy casserole! Just be sure to factor it into your entire day's calorie intake: If you splurge at one meal, stick to a simple salad or some other low-cal dish at another. You can do it!
  • Focus on fruits and veggies. This is timeless advice! Fruits and vegetables are amazing sources of nutrients, and researchers are proving that they can fight all kinds of diseases! Shop for crunchy greens, sweet red berries, all colors of bell peppers — the sky's the limit! Make these the foundation of all your meals and you'll take a big step toward better health!

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