Healthy Eating Tips



Information provided by Lindsey Powell, MS
Why is a healthy diet and physical activity important?

     Research says that eating a healthy diet and being physically active can improve your quality of life.  Having a better quality of life means that you will feel better in your body and your mind.  Examples of this include losing weight, having more energy, less constipation or diarrhea,  increased strength and independence, having more happy feelings and fighting off depression.  A better quality of life as a result from a healthy diet and exercise also means less development of complicated medical conditions such as heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, or even cancer.

What is a healthy diet?

Eating a healthy diet means:

     •  Eating fewer simple sugars, salt, saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol
     •  Eating small amounts of fat
     •  Eating mostly whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
     •  Limits candies, sodas, desserts, junk or fast food, and salty snacks
     •  Eating lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, seafood, eggs, beans, and nuts

     The following is the Food Guide MyPyramid.  This pyramid breaks different kinds of foods down by color.  The more you should eat of certain good for you foods are shown in the pyramid by having more color.  The bad food types are shown in the pyramid by having less color. The more color devoted to a certain food group means you should eat more of that food.  The less color means you should eat less of that food.  
  What is a serving?
     The Food Guide Pyramid serving is a unit of measure used to describe
the total amount of foods recommended daily from each of the food groups. Larger portions count as more than one serving while smaller portions count as partial servings. A portion is the amount of food you choose to eat. There is no standard portion size and no single right or wrong portion size.

     A serving is a standard amount used to help give advice about how much to eat, or to identify how many calories and nutrients are in a food. For example if a sandwich has 2 slices of bread then the portion is 2 slices, which equals 2 servings.  The sandwich itself does not equal one serving. Not knowing how many servings or how much food you eat may result in eating too much which may lead to weight gain.

     Below are two examples of an average dinner plate.  The plate on the left has large portions that equal extra servings and fails to follow the pyramid guidelines. The plate on the right has appropriate portions to where each food group has one serving on the plate.