Eat Well, Exercise Well, Be Well: Dietary and Fitness Guidelines
Calories, Calories, Calories
- Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables—Fresh fruits and vegetables are lower in calories compared to processed foods. Focus on color when eating fruits and vegetables. Dark green, red, and orange vegetables are especially packed with good-for-you nutrients. When preparing a meal, try and fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
- Eat a lot of whole grains—Examples of whole grains are brown rice, oatmeal, bulgur, and whole-wheat pasta. Your goal should be to make half your grains whole grains.
- Drink more milk—Focus on low- or non-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt.
- It is okay to eat certain fats—Some fats are okay to consume in moderation. These are monosaturated or polyunsaturated fats, which are found in foods like nuts and fish.
- Power up on protein—Seafood, lean meats, poultry, beans, and soy products are good sources of protein. Be sure to choose protein foods that are low in saturated fat and calories.
- Limit refined grains—Examples of refined grains are white bread, corn flakes, grits, regular pasta, and white rice. These foods tend to be high in calories and sugar but low in fiber.
- Limit foods containing added sugars—This includes sugar-sweetened drinks and snacks.
- Limit foods high in saturated fats—This includes certain kinds of meat and dairy products (whole milk, cream, and butter). Less than 10% of calories should come from saturated fats.
- Keep trans fat consumption as low as possible—You can do this by limiting foods containing solid fats and partially hydrogenated oils, such as margarine and baked goods.
- Limit salt intake—Too much of it can increase your risk for high blood pressure, which can lead to kidney damage, heart disease, and stroke. On a daily basis, adults should consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium. The amount is much less—1,500 mg—if you are 51 years older or older; African-American; or have chronic kidney disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure.
- If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation—Women should consume no more than one alcoholic drink a day, while men should consume no more than two drinks a day. Also, keep track of the calories in each drink. Mixed drinks tend to have higher calories.
Preparing Your Plate
- Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
- When eating grains, make sure half your grains are whole grains.
- Choose fat-free and low-fat (1%) milk products.
- Avoid oversized portions.
- Enjoy your food, but be mindful of how much you are eating. Try to eat less.
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
- When cooking, try to use less or no salt in the recipe. When you eat your meals, do not add any extra salt. Over time, you will adjust to less salt in your food.
Choose My Plate—US Department of Agriculture http://www.choosemyplate.gov
Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics http://www.eatright.org
Dietitians of Canada http://www.dietitians.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
2008 physical activity guidelines. US Deparment of Health and Human Services website. Available at: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/pdf/paguide.pdf. Accessed March 9, 2015.
Dietary guidelines for Americans 2010. US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/DietaryGuidelines2010.pdf. Accessed March 9, 2015.
Dietary interventions for cardiovascular disease prevention. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 5, 2015. Accessed March 9, 2015.
Food groups. US Department of Agriculture ChooseMyPlate website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups. Accessed March 9, 2015.
Weight management.US Department of Agriculture ChooseMyPlate website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/weight-management-calories/weight-management.html. Accessed March 9, 2015.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 03/2015 -
- Update Date: 03/09/2015 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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