Growing up, I knew the food pyramid. You know the one I am talking about: shaped like a triangle, cut into different sized areas where you would see pictures of fruits, vegetables, meats, grains, with the serving sizes per day you should have. As time progressed it changed from a triangle to a plate with new guidelines and suggestions. Now both the pyramid and plate are being used together to help people stay on the right track.
We all know that eating healthy and staying active is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Even making just a few small changes can make a big impact. For example, taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator keeps you moving and your heart healthy. So does limiting the amount of salt in your diet. A lot of pre-packaged meals have a lot of salt as it helps with preserving the food, but too much salt can have negative effects such as increased blood pressure. Cooking your own meals mean they not only taste better, but they are healthier and you can better control ingredients like salt.
Oils are another big thing that can help you stay healthy. Using healthy vegetable oils like olive, canola, soy, corn, sunflower, and peanut instead of butter will help you cut out trans fats. Choose foods higher in unsaturated fat and lower in saturated fat as part of your healthy eating style. Just because the label says “low-fat” doesn’t mean that it is healthy. Most of the time when a package has low fat it is high in sugar. Check those labels to really know what is going on. Xylose, dextrose and fructose are examples of sugar words that many people are not aware of. If you want to know more code words, Consumerist.com has decoded 30 more terms you should familiarize yourself with.
If you look at both the pyramid and the plate, the big thing that they both have in common is the amount of fruits and vegetables you should be eating compared to the amount of meat and grains. Both recommend you should be limiting your meats and grains and should be filling your belly with those great tasting fruits and vegetables. Don’t like broccoli raw? Try grilling or roasting it! We all know that fish has Omega3, and that is super good for you. But if you don’t like white fish, try salmon with lemons. The more of a variety that you try to eat, the better your diet.
I have found a few good sources when it comes to figuring this all out. Choosemyplate.org and Harvard TH Chan: School of Public Health. Both have some great articles to read about getting healthy and eating better. Remember to read those labels and look for the hidden sugar words.
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