A meal plan that helps you manage your weight includes a variety of healthy foods. Add an array of colors to your plate and consider it as a rainbow meal. Dark, leafy vegetables, oranges, and tomatoes — even fresh herbs are loaded with vitamins, fiber, and minerals. Adding frozen pepper, broccoli, or onions to stews and omelets adds color and nutrients quickly and easily.
Healthy Eating Plan:
- Emphasizes fruits, greens, whole grains, and fat-loose or low-fat milk and dairy products.
- Includes a variety of protein foods such as seafood, lean meats, poultry, eggs, beans (peas and beans), soy products, nuts, and seeds.
- Low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and extra sugar
- Stays within your daily calorie needs.
The USDA’s MyPlate Planexternal icon can help you identify what and how much to eat from different food groups while staying within your recommended calorie allowance. You can also download the My Food Diary pdf icon [PDF-106KB] to help you track your food.
Fresh, frozen, or canned fruits are a nice desire. In addition to apples and bananas, try fruits such as mango, pineapple, or kiwi fruit. When fresh fruit is not in season, try the frozen, canned, or dried variety. Be aware that dried and canned fruits may contain sugars or syrups. Choose canned types of fruit packed in water or in its very own juice.
Add a variety of grilled or steamed vegetables with an herb like rosemary. You can fry vegetables in a non-stick pan with a small amount of cooking spray. Or try frozen or canned vegetables for a quick side dish; just put them in the microwave and serve. Find canned vegetables without salt, butter or cream sauce. For variety, strive a brand new vegetable every week.
Foods rich in calcium:
In addition to fat-free and low-fat milk, consider low-fat and fat-free yogurt that does not contain sugar. They come in a variety of flavors and can be a great dessert alternative.
If your favorite recipe calls for frying fish or breaded chicken, try healthy variations by baking or grilling. Maybe try dried beans instead of meat. Ask friends and search the internet and magazines for low-calorie recipes – you’ll be surprised to learn that you have a new favorite dish!
Picture of 2 variations of macaroni and cheese, one with 540 calories and one with 315 calories
Healthy eating is about balance. You can enjoy your favorite foods, whether they are high in calories, fat, or extra sugar. The key is to eat them only once in a while and balance them with healthy eating and more physical activity.
Here are some common tips for casual eating:
- Eat them less often. If you usually eat these foods daily, cut them once a week or once a month.
- Eat small amounts. If your favorite high-calorie food is the chocolate bar, its size should be small or only half the bar.
- Try the low-calorie version. Use low-calorie ingredients or put together food differently. For example, if your macaroni and cheese recipe includes whole milk, butter, and whole fat cheese, try making it again with non-fat milk, low butter, low-fat cheese, fresh spinach, and tomatoes. Do Just remember not to increase the size of your portion.
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