By Beverly Jackey RD, Food Bank of Delaware Community Nutritionist
Hot off the press! The 2010 USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released at the end of January. Revised every five years, these guidelines are based on scientific evidence about diet and health and how diet impacts chronic disease. The ultimate goal of the Dietary Guidelines is to improve the health of Americans, from ages 2 and older, by promoting healthy eating and physical activity. Truth be told, most people do not want to follow these guidelines because they do not want to give up their favorite foods AND they do not want to do the “E” word…… exercise! Making small but healthy diet changes still allows you to “have your cake and eat it to” so to speak. With that being said, to reduce the risk of obesity and disease, the new Dietary Guidelines encourage us:
- Whole Grains
- Low fat or fat- free milk, yogurt and cheese or fortified soy beverages
- Vegetable oils such as canola, corn, olive, peanut and soybean
- Refined grains
- Added sugars
- Solid fats, including trans fats
So what does this all mean? For the good stuff, eat more 100 percent whole-wheat bread and pasta, brown rice and whole- grain cereals. At least half of the grains you eat (6 ounces) daily should be whole grains. Consume at least 2-1/2 cups vegetables and 2 cups fruit daily, spread out over the day in your meals and snacks. If you don’t like to drink milk, cook with the 3 cups or equivalents you need each day. Use milk in soups, casseroles and yogurt in dips, smoothies and desserts. Eat at least 8 ounces of seafood a week. Choose coldwater fish for their heart-healthy fats: albacore tuna, salmon, sardines, mackerel and trout.
For the not so good stuff, limit sodas and other beverages that are labeled “blends, cocktails or drinks.” They usually contain a great deal of added sugars. If a product says 10 percent fruit juice, what it really means is it contains 90 percent sugar to sweeten it! Drink 100 percent fruit juice or good old fashioned water. Instead of solid fats like lard, butter and margarine, try cooking with heart healthy liquid oils. The new guidelines recommend our intake of sodium to be limited to 2300 milligrams per day or about 1 teaspoon! Anything that comes in a bag, box or some type of package may likely contain sodium as a preservative. So choose as many fresh vegetables, fruits and meats as your budget allows. Prepare foods with little salt and use herb and spices to flavor instead.
It’s all about balance; “calories in” (what you eat) and “calories out” (physical activity). So get up and move, too! For more helpful tips, go to the USDA website www.usda.gov or the American Dietetic Association website www.eatright.org
So back to having your cake and eating it, too – Top Angel food cake (low fat) with sliced berries in season (fruit) – Bon Appetit!