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Health and Nutrition

blog post

Eating a variety of good foods is the key to a balanced diet. Choose foods from each of the food groups to make sure you are getting all the nutrients that you need. If you're not sure of the nutritional content of any packaged food, read the nutritional facts on food labels, to understand the nutritional content for the number of calories per serving.

Healthy Protein Sources

You need 2 or 3 servings of protein each day. These can easily be found in plant sources such as dry beans and nuts, but most people prefer meat, fish and eggs as their main protein sources.

·        3 ounces of cooked lean beefsteak

·        3 ounces of lean cooked pork chop

·        One small baked chicken breast

·        6 ounces of cooked oily ocean fish such as salmon or tuna

·        1/2 cup of dry beans such as pinto beans or navy beans

·        1 ounce of nuts, about 25 almonds, 13 cashews or 9 walnuts

Dairy and Calcium Sources

If you don’t like, or can't eat dairy products, look for deep green leafy vegetables or calcium-fortified orange juice and other foods. Choose two or three servings from the dairy and calcium group each day.

·        1 cup of low- or non-fat milk

·        2 slices of cheese

·        1 cup of yogurt

·        1/3 cup of shredded cheese

·        1 cup cooked spinach

·        1 cup cooked or fresh broccoli

·        Whole Grains and Cereals

Fibre

The United States Department of Agriculture suggests that you eat from six to eleven servings of grains and cereals each day, and at least half of those servings should be from whole grains. Whole grains and cereals are great ways to get enough fibre in your diet and to add beneficial vitamins and minerals.

·        1 slice of whole wheat bread

·        1/2 cup brown rice

·        1/2 cup cooked quinoa

·        1 cup of whole grain cereal

·        1/2 cup oatmeal

·        4 or 5 whole grain crackers

·        2 cups air-popped popcorn

Fruits and Vegetables

It's difficult to imagine being healthy without eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fibre, and you probably need 2 or 3 cups, or more, of vegetables per day, plus some fruit. Good fruit and vegetable serving choices include:

·        1/2 cup of sweet corn

·        1 piece of fresh fruit such as an apple, a pear or a peach

·        1/2 cup fruit cocktail

·        1/2 cup berries like strawberries or raspberries

·        1/2 half cup of black beans or pinto beans

·        1 small baked potato

·        1 cup of green beans

·        1 cup of broccoli

Occasional treats

Following are the foods that should be eaten occasionally, when you fell like treating yourself to good food:

·        Excess sugar - desserts, candy, and sugary soft drinks

·        Excess fats - junk foods, fatty meats, fried foods

·        Excess calories - sugary foods, heavy sauces, and gravies

·        Excess sodium - heavily processed foods, pre-packaged meals, most canned soups, and vegetables

·        Carbohydrate, Fat, and Protein Balance

Healthy Fats and Oils

Olive and canola oil are good fats. So are the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and soy. You don’t need to add a lot of extra oil to your diet, just make healthy food and cooking choices, and you'll do just fine. Trans fats are bad and eating too much saturated fat—like the fat in red meat—isn't recommended.

·        1 ounce of nuts, about 25 almonds, 13 cashews or 9 walnuts

·        3 ounces of cooked oily ocean fish such as salmon or tuna

·        2 tablespoons of olive oil for cooking or mixed with vinegar for salad dressing

·        1 tablespoon of walnut oil for a salad

·        1 teaspoon milled flax seeds

·        Canola oil for cooking

·        Olive oil for cooking

What Not to Eat

Conclusively, a healthy diet should be made up of the correct ratios of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The USDA suggests that you get about 50% of your calories from carbohydrates, 30% from fats and 20% from protein.Unless you have certain health issues, in which case you should consult a dietician for the right kind and quantity of food, you don't need to omit every single morsel of 'bad foods.' Just limit your overall intake of foods high in sugar, fats, sodium, and calories.

In my next article, I am going to discuss some more tips for balanced diet. Please share your experiences and recipes and I will add them to my future articles.