Nutrition and Weight Control - Eating for life

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend seven basic guidelines to avoid excess weight and maintain optimum health:

Recommended Dietary Allowances for Minerals

Recommended Dietary Allowances for Minerals
Age Calcium Phospho. Magnesium Iron Zinc Iodine Selenium
(mg) (mg) (mg) (mg) (mg) (meg) (meg)
Infants 0 to.5 400 300 40 6 5 40 10
.5 to 1 600 500 60 10 50 15
Children 1 to 3 800 800 80 10 70 20
4 to 6 120 90
7 to 10 170 120 30
Males 11 to 14 1,200 1,200 270 12 15 150 40
15 to 18 400 50
19 to 24 350 10 70
25 to 50 800 800
51 +
Females 11 to 14 1,200 1,200 280 15 12 45
15 to 18 300 50
19 to 24 280 55
25 to 50 800 800
51 + 10
Pregnant 1,200 1,200 320 30 15 175 65
Nursing 1st 6 months 355 15 19 200 75
2nd 6 months 340 16 200
  1. • Eat a variety of foods
  2. • Maintain a desirable weight
  3. • Avoid too much fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol
  4. • Eat foods with adequate starch and fiber
  5. • Avoid too much sugar
  6. • Avoid too much sodium
  7. • If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation

The guidelines are designed for healthy adult Americans, but are considered especially appropriate for people who may already have some of the risk factors for chronic diseases, including a family history of obesity, premature heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, or high blood cholesterol levels.

The U.S.D.A and the U.S.D. H.H.S. also recommend the “Choose More Often” approach to healthful eating.

Choose More Often:

Low-fat meat , poultry , fish

Lean cuts of meat trimmed of fat (round tip roast, pork tenderloin, loin of lamb chop), poultry without skin, and fish, cooked without breading or added fat.

Low-fat or Non-fat dairy products

1 percent or non-fat milk, buttermilk; non-fat or low-fat yogurt; lower fat cheeses (part-skim ricotta, fresh parmesan or feta); sherbet.

Dry beans and peas

All beans, peas, and lentils—the dry forms are higher in protein.

Whole grain products

Reduced-fat breads, bagels, and English muffins made from whole wheat, rye, bran, and corn flour or meal; whole grain or bran cereals; whole wheat pasta; brown rice; bulgur.

Fruits and vegetables

All fruits and vegetables: apples, pears, cantaloupe, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, peaches, bananas, carrots, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, potatoes, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, cauliflower, turnips, etc.

Fats and oils high in unsaturates

Unsaturated vegetable oils, such as canola oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, olive oil, and soybean oil, and margarine; reduced-fat and reduced-calorie mayonnaise and salad dressings.

Some tips for following the “choose more often” approach in grocery shopping, food preparation, and eating out:

When Grocery Shopping

Focusonvariety . Using the above guidelines, choose a wide selection of low-fat foods rich in fiber. Although the goal is to reduce fat to 30 percent or less, when choosing foods that do contain fat, try to choose ones that contain primarily unsaturated fats.

Read food labels . Nutrition labels on most packaged foods give information on the nutrients in each serving: total calories and calories from fat; total and saturated fat; cholesterol; sodium; total carbohydrates, including dietary fiber, and sugars; protein; and certain vitamins and minerals. The label also calculates the percent daily value of each of these nutrients, meaning the percentage of the recommended amount of the nutrient that the food provides, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Choose products that are low in fat—especially saturated fat— and high in fiber.

Beware of sodium . Many processed, canned, and frozen foods are high in sodium. Cured or processed meats, cheeses, soups and condiments (soy sauce, mustard, tartar sauce) are high in sodium. Check labels for salt, onion or garlic salt, and any ingredient with sodium in its name. Compare products and choose the ones with lower levels.

When Preparing Food

Use small amounts of fat and fatty foods when planning meals . When you do use fat, use it sparingly and allow the full flavor of the foods to dominate, instead of a single element like cheese or butter. Try to use only ½ teaspoon of fat per serving. Gradually introduce nonfat or low-fat alternatives into your diet.

Use less saturated fat . While reducing your total fat intake, substitute unsaturated fat and oils for saturated. Instead of butter, try vegetable oil, margarine or a low-fat cooking spray. To substitute, use equal portions, or less.

Use low-fat alternatives . Substitute 1 percent, skim, or reconstituted nonfat dry milk for whole milk. Use buttermilk, nonfat or low-fat yogurt, or evaporated skim milk in place of cream and sour cream. Try reduced-fat mayonnaise, sour cream and salad dressings.

Choose lean meat . Trim all visible fat from meat and poultry, including poultry skin. Canned, reduced fat and sodium stocks are now available for making soup.

Use low-fat cooking methods . Bake, steam, broil, microwave, or boil foods rather than frying. Avoid gravies and try vegetable-based instead of cream-based sauces.

Increase fiber . Substitute whole-grain flour for white flour. Have generous servings. Whenever possible, eat the edible fiber-rich skin as well as the rest of the vegetable or fruit.

Use herbs , spices , and other flavorings . For a different way to add flavor to meals, try lemon juice, basil, chives, curry powder, onion, cracked pepper, and garlic in place of fats and sodium. Try low-fat recipes and adjust old ones to reduce fat and sodium.

When Eating Out

Choose the restaurant carefully . Are low-fat, high-fiber items on the menu, like pasta? How are meat, chicken, and fish dishes cooked—broiled, baked, or fried? Avoid fast food places.

Try ethnic cuisines . Italian and Asian restaurants often feature low-fat dishes—though you must be selective and alert to portion size. Try a small serving of pasta or fish in a tomato sauce at an Italian restaurant. Many Chinese, Japanese, and Thai dishes include a plenty of steamed vegetables and a high proportion of vegetables to meat. Steamed rice, steamed noodle dishes and vegetarian dishes are good choices, too. Ask for food without soy sauce or salt.

Make sure you get what you want . Be in control when you eat out. Ask how dishes are cooked. Don't hesitate to request that one food be substituted for another. Order a green salad or baked potato in place of french fries or order fruit or sherbet instead of ice cream. Request sauces and salad dressings on the side and use only a small amount. Ask that butter and rolls not be sent to the table. If you're not very hungry, order two low-fat appetizers rather than an entire meal, split a menu item with a friend, get a doggie-bag to take half of your meal home, or order a half-size portion. When you finish, let the waiter clear dishes to avoid post-meal nibbling.

Be reasonable . If you don't eat out very often, one meal won't ruin your health. If you feel like ordering a rich meal or having dessert, simply cut back on the extras; avoid the bread and butter, don't order an appetizer, have one glass of wine instead of two.

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