Tina Miller, MS RD Meijer Healthy Living Advisor, www.meijerhealthyliving.com
Food, Nutrition and Health Tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics www.eatright.org
1. Eat Breakfast. There’s no better way to start your morning than with a healthy breakfast. Include lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Try oatmeal cooked with low-fat milk, sliced almonds and berries, or top a toaster waffle with low-fat yogurt and fruit.
2. Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables! Fruits and veggies add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and fiber to your plate. Make 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables your daily goal. Don’t let winter stop you from enjoying produce. It may be harder to find fresh options, but frozen and canned are great alternatives.
3. Watch Portion Sizes. Do you know if you’re eating the proper portion size? Get out the measuring cups and see how close your portions are to the recommended serving size. Using smaller plates, bowls and glasses can help you keep portions under control. Use half your plate for fruits and vegetables and the other half for grains and lean meat, poultry, seafood or beans. To complete the meal, add a glass of fat-free or low-fat milk or a serving of fat-free yogurt for dessert.
4. Be Active. Regular physical activity lowers blood pressure and helps your body control stress and weight. Start by doing what exercise you can for at least 10 minutes at a time. Children and teens should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day, and adults should get two hours and 30 minutes per week. You don’t have to hit the gym—take a walk after dinner or play a game of catch or basketball.
5. Fix Healthy Snacks. Healthy snacks can sustain your energy levels between meals. Whenever possible, make your snacks combination snacks. Choose from the MyPlate food groups: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy, lean protein or nuts. Try low-fat yogurt with fruit, whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese, or a small portion of nuts with an apple or banana.
6. Get to Know Food Labels. Ever wonder about what the numbers in the Nutrition Facts panel really mean? Or, the difference between “reduced fat” and “low fat”? The Food and Drug Administration has strict guidelines on how food label terms can be used. To learn more about food labels, see “Shop Smart – Get the Facts on Food Labels” at www.eatright.org/nutritiontipsheets.
7. Consult an RD. Whether you want to lose weight, lower your cholesterol or simply eat better, consult the experts! Registered dietitians can help you by providing sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice and put you on the path to losing weight, eating well and reducing your risk of chronic disease.
8. Follow Food Safety Guidelines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that roughly one in six Americans gets sick from foodborne disease each year. Reduce your chances of getting sick by practicing proper hand washing. Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from ready-to-eat foods like bread and vegetables. Use a food thermometer to make sure food is properly cooked. Refrigerate food quickly at a proper temperature to slow bacteria growth. Keep foods out of the “danger zone” (40⁰ to 140⁰F).
9. Get Cooking. Cooking at home can be healthy, rewarding and cost-effective. Resolve to learn some cooking and kitchen basics, like how to dice an onion or how to store herbs and spices.
10. Dine Out without Ditching Your Goals. You can dine at a restaurant and stick to your healthy eating plan! The key is to plan ahead, ask questions and choose foods carefully. Think about nutritious items you can add to your plate—fruits, veggies, lean meat, poultry or fish—and look for grilled, baked, broiled or steamed items.
11. Enact Family Meal Time. Research shows that family meals promote healthier eating. Plan to eat as a family at least a few times each week in 2014. Set a regular mealtime. Turn off the TV, phones and other electronic devices to encourage mealtime talk. Get kids involved in meal planning and cooking and use this time to teach them about good nutrition.
12. Banish Brown Bag Boredom. Whether it’s a brown bag lunch for work or school, make it a healthy lunch packed with nutrition. Prevent brown bag boredom with these healthy lunch ideas. They’re easy to fix the night before and ready to go in the morning. Try whole-wheat couscous with chick peas or black beans; whole-wheat tortilla filled with chicken, mushrooms, onions and tomatoes; baked potato topped with broccoli, low-fat cheddar cheese and salsa; or spinach salad with sliced pear, red onion and low-fat feta cheese.
13. Drink More Water. Our bodies depend on water to regulate temperature, transport nutrients and oxygen to cells, carry away waste products and more. For generally healthy people who live in temperate climates, the Dietary Reference Intakes from the Institute of Medicine recommend a total daily beverage intake of 13 cups for men and 9 cups for women.
14. Explore New Foods and Flavors. Add more nutrition and eating pleasure by expanding your range of food choices. When shopping, make a point of selecting a fruit, vegetable or whole grain that’s new to you or your family. Choose a restaurant that features ethnic foods or find new flavors at community food festivals. Also, try different versions of familiar foods like blue potatoes, red leaf lettuce or basmati rice or quinoa.
Recipes for Eating Right
Easy Pita Pizza
4 (6-inch) round pitas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup hummus
1 garlic clove, diced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
8 large mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
8 ounces Meijer Reduced Fat Italian Cheese Blend
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, onions, bell peppers and mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes or until soft.
- Place pita bread on grill or stovetop gas flame; grill for a couple of minutes or until lightly browned, turning once. Place all four pitas on baking sheet.
- Assemble pizzas by spreading hummus on pita, veggies and cheese. Bake for 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
Nutrition information (per serving): 395 Calories, 16g Fat, 48g Carbohydrate, 9g Fiber, 20g Protein
Recipe adapted from Kraft Foods
Chicken and Pepper Fajita bowl
3 tbsp. Meijer classic olive oil, divided
Juice of 1 lime
2 (8 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ green bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp. McCormick® Chili powder
1 tsp. McCormick® Oregano leaves
1 (5 oz.) bag Dole Spring Mix Salad
Toppings (optional): chopped fresh cilantro, shredded Monterey Jack or Colby Jack cheese
- For the vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk together 2 tbsp. of the oil plus lime juice and pepper to taste. Set aside until serving time.
- In a large nonstick skillet heat remaining 1 tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken; sauté 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a plate.
- Return skillet to medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, onion, chili powder, oregano and pepper to taste. Sauté 2 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Return chicken to skillet; cook and stir just until heated through and chicken is no longer pink (165°F). Remove from heat; let cool slightly.
- Place salad greens on a large platter or in individual bowls. Top evenly with chicken-bell pepper mixture; drizzle with vinaigrette. If desired, sprinkle with cilantro and cheese, and serve.
Recipe adapted from 2014 March/April Healthy Living Naturally booklet
Nutritional Information (per serving): 175 calories, 9g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 50mg cholesterol, 60mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate, 1.5g fiber, 19g protein
Note: For traditional fajitas, the bell pepper mixture can be spooned onto warmed flour or corn tortillas.
Serve with Meijer Plain Greek yogurt topped with Strawberries
Nutritional Information for Meal (with 1 Meijer 8-inch Whole Wheat flour tortilla, Meijer Plain Greek Yogurt & Strawberries): 505 calories, 14g fat, 60mg cholesterol, 435mg sodium, 55g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 42g protein