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Everyday Eating for a Healthier You

Everyday Eating for a Healthier You

 

National Nutrition Month, March, is a nutrition education and information campaign by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign aims to bring attention to the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.  An important first step is to focus on balancing calories with physical activity and consuming an overall healthy eating pattern.   

A healthy eating plan can put you on the road to achieving or maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of developing diet-related chronic diseases.     

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have jointly published the Dietary Guidelines every 5 years since 1980. The Dietary Guidelines provide evidence-based nutrition information and advice for people age 2 and older.  The Guidelines encourage Americans to eat more:

• Whole grains: Increase whole grains by choosing whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice and whole wheat pasta. Make at least half your grain servings whole grains.

• Vegetables: Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green, red and orange vegetables plus beans and peas. Most adults need 2 ½ cups of vegetables per day.

• Fruits: Add fruit to meals and snacks—fresh, frozen or canned—to get about 2 cups each day.

• Low-fat or fat free milk, yogurt and cheese or fortified soy beverages: Include 3 cups per day for calcium, vitamin D, protein and potassium. Lactose-free milk is also an option.

• Vegetable oils such as canola, corn, olive, peanut and soybean: These are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Use in moderate amounts in place of solid fats.

• Seafood: Include a variety of seafood more often in place of some meat and poultry.

The Dietary Guidelines also recommend eating less: added sugars, solid fats, including Trans- fats, refined grains and sodium.  Reducing sodium can be one of the easier changes to make. Suggestions for reducing sodium include: 

• Prepare food using little salt or fewer high-sodium ingredients. For example, skip using salt in cooking pasta, rice, cereals and vegetables.

• Taste food before salting it. Lightly salt food only as needed, not as a habit.

• Eat fresh fruits and vegetables which are naturally low in sodium

• Use herbs, spice rubs and fruit juices in cooking in place of salt.

• Check food labels comparing like items and choose lower sodium foods. Also watch for terms like “low sodium” and “no added salt.”

• Eat fresh, lean meats, poultry, fish, dry and fresh beans and peas, unsalted nuts and eggs, all of which contain less sodium.

For a personalized eating plan check the web site: www.choosemyplate.gov. Your MyPlate Plan will give you the amounts of each food group you need daily. For a fast and nutritious addition to your healthy eating plan, try Speed Fried Rice.

 

Speedy Fried Rice

 

2 cups instant white or brown rice

Nonstick cooking spray

6 eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 green onions, chopped

1 1⁄2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

4 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

6 to 8 ounces frozen, precooked salad-size shrimp (optional)

 

Directions:

Prepare rice according to package directions for the microwave.  If using shrimp, thaw in cold water; drain well and pat dry with paper towels.  Coat a wok or large skillet with the nonstick cooking spray, and heat until a drop of water sizzles. Scramble eggs in the wok or skillet and set aside. Add the vegetable oil, green onions, vegetables and shrimp to the wok or skillet; stir-fry over high heat for about 5 minutes.  Add the cooked rice, eggs and soy sauce; stir-fry for another 3-4 minutes.

Nutrition Facts per Serving (excluding shrimp): 6 servings; Calories: 260 Fat: 6.9 g Saturated fat: 1.5 g Cholesterol; 180 mg Sodium; 350 mg Carbohydrates; 35.8 g; Fiber: 2.7 g; Protein: 10.6 g

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