Is it low fat or low carbs this week? Liquids only? No meat? Every day we're buried in an avalanche of contradictory information on how and what to eat. Forget the fads!
"To be fad-free means eating a large variety of real foods rather than looking for a magic bullet," says Lola O'Rourke, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
O'Rourke recommends cutting down on fat and sodium and pumping up our intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. "Get in the habit of using herbs and spices to add flavor instead of relying on salt," O'Rourke suggests. "Include vegetables and/or fruit at every meal and experiment with different vegetables and grains: Variety is one of the cornerstones of good nutrition -- and exploring new options keeps your taste buds satisfied, too."
Go For More Whole Grains
Load Up On Veggies
Fill Up -- Not Out -- With Fruit
Look to Your Ancestors
Trying to figure out what foods are healthy? "Don't eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food," wrote Michael Pollan in a January 2007 New York Times Magazine article. Given our frenzied lifestyles, this may not always be possible, the ADA 's O'Rourke admits, but "We can certainly try to choose real foods over heavily processed ones."
Square Meal Strategies
Here's another rule of thumb: At dinnertime, "Fill your plate half with vegetables, a quarter with whole grains, and a quarter with lean protein," O'Rourke says.
Striking a Balance
You're making fettuccine Alfredo and maybe even a chocolate layer cake tonight. Should you sweat it? Not as long as you keep portion control in mind and you're not eating like this every night of the week. According to the ADA, "All foods can fit into a healthful diet."
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