Basic Guidelines of Good Nutrition
Today, you can find a gazillion diet and weight-loss programs and products in the market that it is becoming confusing to decide which one to take seriously. In this article, you will learn the basics of good nutrition, so you will have a standard for assessing those diet programs and products promoted by sales marketers.
Don’t just believe the ads on diet pills, fad diets and other crazy advice on diet plans out there. Know the healthy guidelines that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate program has provided and use it as a framework for you and your family’s eating plans.
Health and Nutrition Recommendations by the USDA
How does a healthy meal look like? The nutrition basics we used to know haven’t really changed much. However, based on the ongoing research conducted by the USDA, what is considered a healthy plate today comprises 50 percent fruits and vegetables, 25 percent whole grains and 25 percent lean protein per meal.
Men should have a minimum of 9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. For women, it is a minimum of 7 servings. Including fruits and vegetables in the diet ensures that a person gets the essential nutrients and fiber he needs. Carbohydrates, particularly the high fiber complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and beans are essential to a healthy diet. These should be included in preparing healthy meals despite what proponents of many fad diets say.
The Basic Food Groups According to MyPlate
The following is a list of food group recommendations that the USDA provided to guide us in making healthy meals:
Make sure that 50 percent of what you eat on your plate at every meal are fruits and veggies.
- Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese and other high calcium products. You can have three servings of these per day.
- Have 6 to 8 servings of whole grains everyday. This is equivalent to a quarter of your plate being filled with this food group at every meal.
- Limit your intake of salt, sugar, fats and cholesterol. Fats should only be about 20 to 35 percent of your total calorie intake and as much as possible, keep away from trans fats and saturated fats.
- A quarter plate of lean protein is recommended at every meal. The goal is to get 15 percent of your total calories from proteins. Food choices include fish, legumes, beans and nuts.
More Tips for a Healthy Nutrition
In addition to knowing what food groups should comprise your meals, here are some more tips that will put you on the right track to achieving your healthy eating goals.
- Watch your food portions. The amount of food that you consume will depend on what you want to accomplish — to lose weight or just maintain it. Take note that the actual serving size of meals in most restaurants is not the standard. More often than not, they are bigger.
- Drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water or more.
- Eating a variety of foods can help ensure that you’re getting sufficient vitamins and nutrients. It would also help avoid getting bored with eating the same type of food repeatedly.
- Different ages, height, weight, gender and activity level have varying daily calorie intake requirement. Know the specific recommendation for yourself.
- Don’t totally deprive yourself of certain favorite food, just because you are supposed to steer clear of it. If you love chocolates, for example, you can still eat them but in moderation.
When you seriously think about these nutrition guidelines and incorporate them in your everyday food choices, you don’t have to chase after any fad diet program or buy another weight loss pill. You will be eating and living healthily not just for a while but for life.
Photo Source: Choosemyplate.gov [Public Domain]