While in previous columns I have discussed various fun foods this time let's look at nutrition and diet. I am not much different than anyone else when thinking of these two important factors in dining. YUCK However I have learned in the last few years that healthy nutrition and enjoyment of dining can go together quite well. Even knowing how to prepare healthy foods and their importance I must admit that I have not followed doing what I know is best. A diet consisting of low saturated fats is really fairly easy to attain by reducing the amount of red meat. I am not saying to not eat steaks and burgers but to reduce the number of times you have them each week. Beef consisting of a higher fat content seems to be the culprit according to health surveys. When using beef use the leaner cut and that alone will reduce unhealthy fats. I also have to say here that while fat does increase flavor in meats, flavor can be added by marinades. Again watch which marinades as a lot of them will add unwanted fats back into the meat.
A good diet that I would recommend is fish twice a week, the white meat of chicken twice a week, pork chops or a lean pork loin twice a week and having red meat once a week. Combining this with a variety of vegetables and fruit provides plenty of nutrition essentials with reduced fat, carbohydrates and calories.
Replacing white bread with 100% whole wheat or whole grain breads is beneficial to your health and well being. I enjoy the different textures and flavors that they provide. Just be careful of your darker breads as they may contain molasses and will increase the calorie content considerably.
Six Steps To A Healthy Diet
These guidelines for healthy American offer advice about food choices that promote health and help prevent disease.
1. Eat a variety of foods to get energy, protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber you need for good health. No single can provide everything you need.
2. Balance the foods you eat with physical activity to maintain or improve a healthy weight. Weight gain increases your risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease,stroke, diabetes, certain cancers and other illnesses.
3. Choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol to reduce your risk of heart attack and certain types of cancer. Because fat contains more than twice the calories of an equal amount of carbohydrates or protein, a diet low in fat can help you maintain a healthy weight.
4. Choose a diet with plenty of vegetables, fruit and grain products. Most of your calories in your diet should come from these foods, which provide needed vitamins, fiber,minerals and complex carbohydrates while helping lower your intake of fat.
5. Use sugars only in moderation. A diet with lots of sugars has too many calories and too few nutrients for most people and can contribute to tooth decay.
6. Use salt and sodium in moderation to help reduce your risk of high blood pressure. While sodium occurs naturally in foods, the amount present in fruits and vegetables is usually quite small. Read the nutrition fact label on prepared foods to identify those lower in sodium.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health