Eat healthy during this Holiday season and increase your odds of aging healthy. Don’t get nervous, it’s actually easier to do, than you realize.
Of course, you may need to make some changes in your food and beverage choices to achieve a good pattern. But, the effort is worth it — you can live your seniors years in better health.
Keep in mind that a nutritious food pattern is not a rigid prescription. Rather, it’s a framework that lets you enjoy food that meets your personal preferences and fits your budget. And, best of all, you don’t have to guess what to do — the Dietary Guidelines are full of excellent recommendations. Here are some of them:
Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount. To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts.
You have to limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats, and reduce sodium intake. Cut back on foods and beverages that are high in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Reduce the amounts that fit within healthy eating patterns.
It’s important to shift to more nutritious food and beverage choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages across and within all food groups in place of less healthy choices. Choose foods you like to make these shifts easier to maintain.
Examples of nutrient dense food that is healthy and filling are:
- fresh fruit
- whole grains
- snacks with minimal salt and sugar
Eat Healthy: 100-Calorie Snacks
Another way to think about the idea of nutrient-dense and calorie-dense foods is to look at a variety of foods that all provide the same calories. Let’s say that you wanted to have a small snack. You might choose:
- 7- or 8-inch banana
- 20 peanuts
- 3 cups low-fat popcorn
- 2 regular chocolate-sandwich cookies
- 1/2 cup low-fat ice cream
- 1 scrambled large egg cooked with fat
- 2 ounces baked chicken breast with no skin
- 1/2 of the average-size candy bar
These choices all have about 100 calories but provide different amounts of nutrients. The right choice for you may depend on what else you’re eating throughout the day.