Positive Living: Looking After Yourself (cont.)

Vegetables are a wonderful source of fiber and vitamins. Melting cheese on top of broccoli or other vegetables not only adds some zip, but gives you extra protein, too. Carrots and celery are a great snack and, like fruit, can be carried with you almost anywhere for when you get the urge to eat. They provide lots of fiber but almost no calories. Salads can be very tasty; just add cheese or cooked beans, tuna or hard-boiled eggs. All of these things not only make your vegetables more exciting, but they boost the protein, and our main goal is to keep body weight stable. Potatoes are another wonderful vegetable option. Mashed potatoes are great with extra cheese and milk added in. Try new kinds of potatoes, like sweet potatoes or yams. When it comes to variety in your diet, more is better.

Meats and Beans

Meat and vegetarian substitutes provide your body with the energy that it needs. Additionally, red meat, fish and poultry are excellent sources of iron, which may prevent anemia, especially in women.

Two or three servings a day of extra-lean beef, fish, seafood, poultry, cheese or beans will give your body a lot of protein and vitamins and minerals. One serving is three ounces of meat, seafood, fish or poultry (about the size of a deck of playing cards); two eggs or two ounces of cheese; one cup of dried beans, peas or nuts, or four tablespoons of peanut butter. If you don't eat meat, it will be important that you increase your protein intake by eating more tofu, nuts, eggs and beans. If you have any questions about whether you're getting enough protein, be sure to ask your health care provider or dietician.

Dairy

Dairy products are an excellent source of calcium and protein. Two or three servings a day of milk or other dairy products provides minerals and protein. One serving is a cup of milk, one-and-one-half ounces of cheese, or two cups of yogurt, cottage cheese or ice cream.

Dairy products can be added to many foods. Use milk to make your favorite puddings. Use milk instead of water to make hot chocolate. Add extra cheese to pizzas. Mix ice cream with milk and maybe some fruit for a terrific milkshake. Add canned milk or dried milk to mashed potatoes, cornbread or pancakes for an extra dose of protein. And remember that chocolate milk gives you just as much protein as regular milk.

Some people do not tolerate lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products, and HIV can also increase a person's lactose intolerance. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include gas pain, diarrhea or cramping after eating or drinking a dairy product. If you think dairy products may be the source of some physical problems, juggle your diet around a bit, reduce your dairy intake and see if this helps. You can also buy milk with reduced lactose in many grocery stores.