Nutrition: Healthy Eating (cont.)

Eat Your Veggies

The Dietary Guidelines recommend two and one-half cups of vegetables per day if you eat 2,000 calories each day.

Tanner suggests adding vegetables to foods such as meatloaf, lasagna, omelettes, stir-fry dishes, and casseroles. Frozen chopped greens such as spinach, and peas, carrots, and corn are easy to add. Also, add dark leafy green lettuce to sandwiches. "Involve kids by letting them help pick vegetables in different colors when you're shopping," Tanner suggests. Get a variety of dark green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and greens; orange and deep yellow vegetables such as carrots, winter squash, and sweet potatoes; starchy vegetables like corn; legumes, such as dry beans, peas, chickpeas, pinto beans, kidney beans, and tofu; and other vegetables, such as tomatoes and onions.

"Look for ways to make it convenient," Tanner says. "You can buy salad in a bag. Or buy a vegetable tray from the grocery store and put it in the refrigerator. Everything's already cut up and you can just reach in and eat it throughout the week."

Make Half Your Grains Whole

Like fruits and vegetables, whole grains are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The Dietary Guidelines recommend at least three ounces of whole grains per day. One slice of bread, one cup of breakfast cereal, or one-half cup of cooked rice or pasta are each equivalent to about one ounce. Tanner suggests baked whole-grain corn tortilla chips or whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk as good snacks.

In general, at least half the grains you consume should come from whole grains. For many, but not all, whole grain products, the words "whole" or "whole grain" will appear before the grain ingredient's name. The whole grain must be the first ingredient listed in the ingredients list on the food package. The following are some whole grains: whole wheat, whole oats or oatmeal, whole-grain corn, popcorn, wild rice, brown rice, buckwheat, whole rye, bulgur or cracked wheat, whole-grain barley, and millet. Whole-grain foods cannot necessarily be identified by their color or by names such as brown bread, nine-grain bread, hearty grains bread, or mixed grain bread.

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