Eating healthy is important in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Know and follow the Dietary Guidelines for healthy eating.
Guide your family’s choices rather than dictate foods.Encourage your child to eat when hungry and to eat slowly. Eat meals together as a family as often as possible. Start the day with a healthy breakfast. Aim to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
Carefully cut down on the amount of fat and calories in your family’s diet. Encourage your children to drink water and to limit intake of beverages with added sugars, such as soft drinks, fruit juice drinks, and sports drinks.
Plan for healthy snacks. Stock the refrigerator with fat-free or low-fat milk, fresh fruit, and vegetables instead of soft drinks or snacks that are high in fat, calories, or added sugars and low in essential nutrients. Discourage eating meals or snacks while watching TV.
Food Shopping Tips
- Make half your grains whole. Choose whole-grain foods, such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, and lowfat popcorn, more often.
- Vary your veggies. Go dark green and orange with your vegetables-eat spinach, broccoli, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
- Focus on fruits. Eat them at meals, and at snack time, too. Choose fresh, frozen, canned, or dried, and go easy on the fruit juice.
- Get your calcium-rich foods. To build strong bones serve lowfat and fat-free milk and other milk products several times a day.
- Go lean with protein. Eat lean or lowfat meat, chicken, turkey, and fish. Also, change your tune with more dry beans and peas. Add chick peas, nuts, or seeds to a salad; pinto beans to a burrito; or kidneybeans to soup.
- Change your oil. We all need oil. Get yours from fish, nuts, and liquid oils such as corn, soybean, canola, and olive oil.
- Don’t sugarcoat it. Choose foods and beverages that do not have sugar and caloric sweeteners as one of the first ingredients. Added sugars contribute calories with few, if any, nutrients.
(Source: US Department of Health & Human Services)