Energize Yourself and Your Family (cont.)

Save Time and Money When You Cook

You do not have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen or a lot of money to eat well.

  • Buy foods that are easy to prepare, like pasta and tomato sauce, rice and beans, or canned tuna packed in water.
  • Plan ahead and cook enough food to have leftovers. Casseroles, meat loaf, and whole cooked chicken can feed your family for several days. (Be sure to freeze or refrigerate leftovers right away to keep them safe to eat.)
  • Buy fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season. Buy only as much as you will use, so they will not go bad.
  • Buy frozen or canned vegetables (no salt added) and canned fruit packed in juice. They are just as good for you as fresh produce, and will not go bad.
  • Try canned beans like kidney, butter, pinto, or black beans. They are loaded with protein, cost less than meat, and make quick and easy additions to your meals.
  • If your local store does not have the foods you want or their prices are too high, go to another store or your local farmers' market. Share a ride or the cost of a taxi with friends.

Reading Food Labels

Food labels may help you make healthy food choices.*

But they can be confusing. Here are some quick tips for reading food labels:

Check serving and calories. All the information on a food label is based on the serving size. Be careful-one serving may be much smaller than you think. If you double the servings you eat, you double the calories and nutrients, including the percent Daily Values (DVs).

Percent DV: This tells you whether a food is high or low in nutrients. Foods that have more than 20-percent DV of a nutrient are high. Foods that have 5-percent DV or less are low.

Saturated Fat: Saturated fat is not healthy for your heart. Compare labels on similar foods and try to choose foods that have a 5-percent DV or less for saturated fat. Most of the fats you eat should be polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Keep total fat intake between 20 percent to 35 percent of calories.

Trans Fat: Trans fat is not healthy for your heart. When reading food labels, add together the grams of trans fat and saturated fat, and choose foods with the lowest combined amount.

Cholesterol: Too much cholesterol is not healthy for your heart. Keep your intake of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol as low as possible.

Sodium (Salt): Salt contains sodium. Research shows that eating less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium (about 1 teaspoon of salt) per day may reduce the risk of high blood pressure.

    TIP: Many food labels say "low-fat," "reduced fat," or "light." That does not always mean the food is low in calories. Remember, fat-free does not mean calorie-free, and calories do count!