Healthy eating tips, information, and resources
Healthy Living Tips
At Epicurious, we believe that food and cooking are two of life's greatest pleasures. However, it's important to maintain a balance and make the right choices about what you are eating.
"When it comes to diet, one size definitely does not fit all," says Dana Lilienthal, a registered dietitian and holistic health counselor with a private practice on New York's Long Island and in New York City. "It's about finding out what works best for you and creating a diet based on your own personal desires and needs." To that end, we have created a simple guide to the basic tenets of nutrition.
Ten Keys to Healthy Eating
1. Create a balance in your life-healthy relationships, a satisfying career, and regular physical activity all affect the food choices you make.
2. Remember that moderation and portion size are important-the rule is that if you eat healthy 90 percent of the time, the other 10 percent of the time you can eat whatever you feel like eating.
3. Drink water-your body is 75 percent water, so make sure you keep it replenished.
4. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables) and whole-grain carbohydrates such as brown rice, bulgur, quinoa, and millet each day.
5. Opt for lean meat or poultry and fat-free or low-fat milk products.
6. Select foods low in saturated and trans fats (hydrogenated oils).
7. Keep your total fat intake between 20 to 35 percent of calories, with most fats coming from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated sources such as vegetable oils, avocados, nuts, seeds, and fish.
8. Refrain from adding more than one teaspoon of salt per day to your cooking.
9. Get in the habit of reading the labels of packaged foods-knowing the ingredients and calories a product contains will help you make more informed decisions about what you buy and eat.
10. Eat less sugar and processed food, and aim for a diet high in freshly cooked whole foods.Nutrition Guidelines
The United States Department of Agriculture's food pyramid provides general guidelines on which food groups you can enjoy in abundance and which should be eaten sparingly. For more information, see www.mypyramid.gov. The serving suggestions below are for adults. Generally, kids should have the same type of diet, but serving sizes would be anywhere from a third to less than half, depending upon the child's age. Check out the USDA's children's nutrition information at www.mypyramid.gov/kids/index.html for more specific guidelines.
Daily Serving Suggestions
Whole Grains: Eat five to eight one-ounce equivalents of whole grains daily. These include whole-grain flours, oats, whole cornmeal, brown rice, and bulgur. One slice of bread or one half cup of cooked rice, pasta, or oats counts as a one-ounce equivalent. Avoid refined white flours.
Vegetables: Consume at least three servings per day of colorful vegetables. Raw or lightly cooked (i.e., steamed or sautéed) is best. One cup of raw or cooked vegetables or two cups of leafy greens counts as one serving.
Fruits: Consume at least two cups of fruit per day, particularly high-vitamin-C varieties such as citrus and antioxidant-rich options like berries. Again, raw is the most nutritious form. One medium apple counts as one cup.
Milk: Adults should get three servings per day of calcium-rich dairy products such as fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, or cheese. One serving consists of one cup of milk or yogurt, or one and a half ounces of natural cheese. If you cannot or choose not to consume dairy, seek out calcium in dark-green leafy vegetables (such as kale, bok choy, and broccoli) or almonds.
Protein: For adequate protein, consume about five to six ounces of lean or low-fat meat, poultry, or fish per day. Eggs, nuts, seeds, dried beans, and peas, such as lentils or pinto beans, also provide nutrients and can be substituted. In general, a one-ounce equivalent is one ounce of meat, poultry, or fish; a quarter cup of cooked dried beans; one egg; one tablespoon of peanut butter; or a half-ounce of nuts or seeds.
Nutrition Guidelines for Vegetarians
Those who follow a vegetarian diet may choose from a variety of options. However, you need to be careful to consume enough daily nutrients. Each day, a vegetarian diet should include all of the following:
Iron: Found in dried fruits such as prunes, apricots, and raisins; spinach; lentils; whole-grain bread; green peas; and black-eyed peas. To increase the amount of iron absorbed at a meal, eat a food containing vitamin C, such as fruit juices, tomato, or broccoli.
Calcium: Found in dark-green leafy vegetables; milk products; tofu prepared with calcium (listed on the ingredients); and calcium-fortified cereals and orange juice.
Protein: Beans, lentils, soy products, eggs, milk products, and nuts are all good sources of proteins. To be sure you consume all the amino acids you would get from animal protein, aim for a mix of protein sources throughout the day (i.e., beans and cheese, eggs and milk, or soy and nuts).
Zinc: Found in wheat germ, milk products, beans, and some seeds.
Vitamin B12: Found in eggs, milk products, soy products, and foods fortified with vitamin B12.
here are as many books, newsletters and Web sites on nutrition as there are kinds of berries, but many focus on one narrow segment of the subject. Here are some general resources we trust:
NutritionData.com Facts and Figures
Our sister site has all kinds of tools and info to help you create and maintain a healthy diet:
Analyze Any Food
Get info on calories, fat, vitamins, and more
Nutrient Search Tool
Find foods high or low in a particular nutrient
Get definitive definitions, from antioxidant to zinc
Nutrition news, tips for eating well, and much more
Healthy Dinner Tonight
Epicurious & Nutrition Data's newsletter gives you nutritious and delicious fast recipes, fresh, easy ideas, and healthy-eating tips every weekday.
Want more specifics on your ideal calorie intake, weight, and body-fat percentage? Go to SELF magazine's easy calculators:
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