Making nutritious choices
To help get the nutrition your body needs each day, make good eating decisions and nutritious choices. Aim to eat from each of these food groups: Vegetables and fruits — Eat a rainbow of colors! These foods help reduce risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer and obesity. Whole grains are good, too. They help reduce risk of Type 2 diabetes and can help you maintain or lower your body weight. While some people may have lactose intolerance, dairy products are a great source of vitamin D, which builds strong bones. Dairy products also help reduce risk of osteoporosis and can lower blood pressure. Lean proteins like fish, poultry, beans and nuts help with the formation of red blood cells and build muscle.
To get a better idea of how much you should eat, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.* It has online tools to help you plan affordable meals and information about the best foods from each food group. Remember — eating a balanced diet is important.
Some tips to keep in mind while shopping:
Don’t shop when you’re hungry, because it’s too tempting to reach for the snacks and make poor food choices. Some of the healthiest foods don’t have labels. The perimeter of the store is where you’ll find less-processed foods — try to avoid the middle of the grocery store, if possible. You’ll find the healthiest foods, such as fresh fruits and veggies, on the outside aisles. If you buy produce that’s in season, you’ll get the best flavor and price. Also, think healthy swaps, like hummus instead of salad dressing for dipping vegetables, or veggie wraps instead of bread for lunches. Consider choosing a different food if sugar is listed as one of the first three ingredients.
Here are some true and false statements. See which ones you know.
Some ingredients can go by many names.
This is true. You might be surprised just how many names one ingredient can have.
A healthy eating plan limits foods high in added sugar and sodium, and ones that contain trans fats.
This is true. Some examples of foods to limit are soda and candy. They contain added sugar. Lunch meats, breads and canned soups have added sodium. Also, trans fats can be hiding in microwave popcorn, crackers and biscuits.
Fruit juice is a great way to get a serving of fruit.
This is false. While you can get nutrients from fruit juice, it’s better to eat the whole fruit. The whole fruit contains fiber, which is good for your heart and will help you feel full. Adults should drink no more than one cup of juice per day, and kids ages 4 – 6 should drink no more than half a cup per day.
Making just one better choice each day can help you feel empowered to live a healthier life. We’re here to support you all the way!
*Choose My Plate is an independent organization that offers health information you may find helpful.
*This link leads to a third-party website. Those companies are solely responsible for the privacy policies and content on their sites.
Dr. Imtiaz Khan is currently the Medical Director for Healthy Blue, the Medicaid sector of BlueChoice HealthPlan. Dr. Khan received his medical degree from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences and completed his postgraduate work at the Greenville Hospital System in Greenville, SC. He is board-certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians.