The recommendations here are taken from the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Some of it may not be suitable for you if you require specialized diets (i.e., low sugar, low fat, low cholesterol). It is important to discuss any dietary changes with your doctor before you start.
A well-balanced diet and one that can be maintained contains a mix of nutritionally dense foods that include:
- Lean Protein
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Healthy Fats
- Complex Carbs (including whole grains)
Additionally, limit amounts of saturated fats, sodium and added sugars.
All food and drinks that have calories are composed of some basic nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Calories are essential because they provide energy to our bodies. Pay attention to these calories for managing weight and optimal health and make sure to get the right amount and combination to meet your body’s caloric needs.
Portion control is equally important for weight management. Make sure your meal has at least three different food groups (lean protein, leafy greens, root veggies, whole grains, etc.). Make your meal multiple colors (green, orange, red, tan etc.). As an easy rule, each serving/color of food on your plate should not exceed what you can hold in the palm of your hand. If you struggle with not feeling full, try increasing your fiber in your diet and drink more water with a meal. Having a food scale can be a great way to measure your portion size and calories.
Below is a Portion Control Guide adapted from MyPlate.gov
If you eat out, ask for a “to-go box” and when your food arrives immediately place half the portion in the box for later. Ask for your sauces or dressings on the side or go bare naked (none at all). Watch out for words like “crispy” and instead look for “grilled” or “steamed”.
Reading labels is an art form and vital for your health. Here is what to look for when reading labels:
- Serving size – how many servings are in packaged foods and the amount per serving?
- Total Fat
- Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – healthy in moderation
- Saturated fats – less healthy and should be no more than 3g/serving
- Trans fat or “partially hydrogenated” – less healthy and should be consumed sparingly
- Cholesterol – no more than 300 mg/day
- Sodium – choose lower sodium options: limit to less than 2,300 mg/day
- Dietary Fiber – high: 25-30 gm’s/day. This aids in digestion and helps keep you full
- Sugars – naturally occurring in moderation. Avoid added sugar & no more than 50 g/day
- Protein – look for high protein
- Vitamins/Minerals – good sources of vitamins contain 10% > of the recommended daily value
Body weight / 2 = ________oz. ( this is the amount of water you should drink daily)
For example: 150# divided by 2 = 75 oz water/day.