The "Choose My Plate" website offers some tips to help with your food choices. They encourage you to use the ideas to help make healthier food choices. Use the ideas to help balance your calories with your activity level, to choose foods to eat more often and to cut back on foods to eat less often. The 10 ideas are as follows:
1. Balance your calories. The first step in weight management is to figure out how many calories you need each day. Go to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov to find out your calorie level. Being physically active also helps you balance your calories.
2. Enjoy your food, but eat less. Take the time to fully enjoy your meal. If you eat too fast or do mindless eating you may end up eating more than you realized. Pay special attention to hunger and fullness cues before, during and after meals. Use these clues to recognize when you have had enough and when to eat.
3. Avoid oversized portions. Use a smaller plate, bowl, or glass. Notice how much food you put on your plate. When eating out, choose a smaller option like a senior plate, share a dish with a friend or take home part of your meal.
4. Food to eat more often. Half of your plate should be filled with fruit and vegetables. These are the foods you should eat more often. Also fat-free or 1% milk and dairy products. These foods have the nutrients you need for health-including potassium, calcium, vitamin D and fiber. Use them for your meals and snacks.
5. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Choose red, orange and dark green fruit and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, broccoli, and tomatoes.
6. Switch to fat-free or low fat (1%) milk. They have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk but have fewer calories and less saturated fat.
7. Make half your grains whole grains. To help increase the number of whole grains you eat, substitute a whole grain product for a refined product. Try eating whole wheat bread instead of white or brown rice instead of white rice.
8. Foods to eat less often. Cut back on foods make with solid fats, added sugars, and salt. This would include: cakes, cookies, ice cream, candies, sweetened drinks, pizza and fatty meats like ribs, sausages, bacon and hot dogs. Use these foods for special treat, not everyday foods.
9. Compare sodium in foods. Use the Nutrition Facts label to choose lower sodium versions of foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals. Look for canned foods labeled low sodium, reduced sodium or no salt added.
10. Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Cut the number of calories you eat in a day by drinking water or unsweetened beverages. Soda, energy drinks and sports drinks are a major source of added sugar and calories in American diets.