1. Make half your plate veggies and fruits–Vegetables and fruits are full of nutrients and help promote good health. Choose red, orange, and dark green veggies such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes and broccoli.
2. Add lean protein–Choose protein foods such as lean beef, pork, chicken, turkey, beans or tofu. Twice a week, make protein on your plate.
3. Include whole grains–Aim to make at least half your grains whole grains. Look for the words “100% whole wheat” or 100% whole grain” on the food label. Whole grains provide more nutrients, like fiber, than refined grains.
4. Don’t forget the dairy–Pair your meal with a cup of fat free or low fat milk. They provide the same amt of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and calories. Don’t drink milk? Try soymilk or almond milk as your beverage or include fat free or low fat yogurt in your meal.
5. Avoid extra fat–Steamed broccoli is great, but avoid topping it with cheese sauce. Try other options, like sprinkling of low fat Parmesan cheese or a squeeze of lemon.
6. Take your time–Savor your food. Eat slowly, enjoy the taste and textures, and pay attention to how you feel. Be mindful. Eating very quickly may cause you to eat too much.
7. Use a smaller plate–Use a smaller plate at meals to help with portion control. That way you can finish your entire plate and feel satisfied without overeating.
8. Take control of your food–Eat at home more often so you know exactly what you are eating. If you eat out choose healthier options such as baked instead of fried.
9. Try new foods–Keep it interesting by picking out new foods you have never tried before like lentils, quinoa or kale.
10. Satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way–Indulge in a naturally sweet dessert dish….FRUIT! Fruit cocktail or fruit parfait made with yogurt are great! For a hot dessert, bake apples and top with cinnamon.
Sweet Potato Fries….who doesn’t love em?
Preheat oven at 350
Cut a sweet potato into long pieces (french fry length and width), or cut in 1/4 in disks, keeping the skin on for extra fiber. Lightly drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil and place sweet potato fries on the sheet. Lightly sprinkle with Sea Salt. Bake for 12 minutes, then flip the fries then bake for 12 more minutes.
Krista Wennerstrom R.D., L.D.N. is the Food and Nutrition Services Director for Aramark Healthcare at Thorek Memorial Hospital in Chicago.