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Sources of Credible Nutrition and Fitness Information
Dietary Guidelines for Americans Provide science-based nutrition and fitness information. Revised every 5 years.
1. Build a Healthy Plate Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate or in your cup or bowl. Foods like vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, low- fat dairy products and lean protein foods contain the nutrient you need without too many calories.
Build a Healthy Plate Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Eat red, orange, and dark- green vegetables, such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, in main dishes and side dishes. Eat fruits and vegetables, or unsalted nuts as snacks- they are nature’s original fast foods.
Build a Healthy Plate Switch to skim or 1% milk. Have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and calories.
Build a Healthy Plate Make at least half your grains whole. Choose 100% whole- grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice and pasta. Check the ingredients list on food packages to find whole-grain foods.
Build a Healthy Plate Vary your protein food choices. Twice a week, make seafood the protein on your plate. Eat beans, which are a natural source of fiber and protein Keep meat and poultry portions small and lean.
2. Cut Back on Foods High in Solid Fats, Added Sugars, and Salt. Many people eat foods with too much solid fats, added sugars, and salt (sodium). Added sugars and fats load foods with extra calories you don’t need. Too much sodium may increase your blood pressure.
2. Cut Back on Foods High in Solid Fats, Added Sugars, and Salt. Choose food and drinks with little or no added sugars Drink water instead of sugary drinks. There are about 10 packets of sugar in a 12-oz can of soda. Select fruit for dessert. Eat sugary desserts less often. Choose 100% fruit juice instead of fruit-flavored drinks.
2. Cut Back on Foods High in Solid Fats, Added Sugars, and Salt. Look out for salt (sodium) in foods you buy Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals-and choose the foods with lower numbers. Add spices or herbs to season food without adding salt.
2. Cut Back on Foods High in Solid Fats, Added Sugars, and Salt. Eat fewer foods that are high in solid fats. Make major sources of saturated fats-such as cakes, cookies, ice cream, pizza, cheese, sausages and hot dogs-occasional choices, not everyday foods. Select lean cuts of meats or poultry and fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese. Switch from sold fats to oils when preparing foods.
Sodium Age 51 and under- less than 2,300 mg/day Age 51 and over- less than 1,500 mg/day African Americans, those with hypertension, those with diabetes or kidney disease- less than 1,500 mg/day
Fats Less than 10% of calories from saturated fats. Replace with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Limit Trans Fatty Acids. Cholesterol- less than 300 mg/day
3. Eat The Right Amount of Calories for You Everyone has a personal calorie limit. Staying within yours can help you get to or maintain a healthy weight. People who are successful at managing their weight have found ways to keep track of how much they eat in a day, even if they don’t count every calorie.
3. Eat The Right Amount of Calories for You Enjoy your food but eat less. Get your personal daily calorie limit at and keep that number in mind when deciding what to eat. Think before you eat…is it worth the calories? Avoid oversized portions. Use a smaller plate, bowl and glass. Stop eating when you are satisfied, not full.
3. Eat The Right Amount of Calories for You Cook more often at home, where YOU are in control of what’s in your food.
3. Eat The Right Amount of Calories for You When eating out, choose lower calorie menu options. Check posted calorie amounts. Choose dishes that include vegetables, fruits, and/or whole grains. Order a smaller portion or share when eating out.
3. Eat The Right Amount of Calories for You Write down what you eat to keep track of how much you eat.
4. Be Physically Active Your Way Pick activities that you like and start by doing what you can, at least 10 minutes at a time. Every bit adds up, and the health benefits increase as you spend more time being active.
Recommendations Children 2-5 years- play actively several times a day Children 6-17 years- 60+ minutes of physical activity every day. Adults years- at least 150 min/week Adults 65 and older-follow adult guidelines
Recommendations for Specific Groups Women capable of becoming pregnant Choose foods that provide iron. 400 mg/day of folic acid.
Recommendations for Specific Groups Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding 8-12 oz of seafood per week. Do not eat tilefish, shark, swordfish and king mackerel (due to mercury levels) Take iron supplements
Recommendations for Specific Groups Individuals age 50 and older Reduce sodium intake to 1,500 mg/day Consume foods fortified with vitamin B12 such as fortified cereals.
Use Food Labels to Help You Make Better Choices Most packaged foods have a Nutrition Facts label and an ingredients list. Check for calories. Be sure to look at the serving size and how many servings you are actually consuming. If you double the servings you eat, you double the calories.
Use Food Labels to Help You Make Better Choices Choose foods with lower calories, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium.
Use Food Labels to Help You Make Better Choices Check for added sugars using the ingredients list. When a sugar is close to first on the ingredients list, the food is high in added sugars. Some names for added sugars include: sucrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, maple syrup and fructose.
Introducing the New Food Icon: MyPlate - YouTube Introducing the New Food Icon: MyPlate - YouTube
Fruits (Red) Fruits are important sources of potassium dietary fiber vitamin C folate
Fruits: What Counts? 1 medium bunch of grapes (about 50) = 1½ cups fruit 1 large banana = 1 cup fruit ¼ cup raisins = ½ cup fruit 1 small apple = 1 cup fruit
Vegetables (Green) Vegetables are important sources of potassium dietary fiber folate vitamin A vitamin E vitamin C
Vegetables: What Counts? ½ cup broccoli = ½ cup dark green vegetables ½ cup kidney beans = ½ cup dry beans and peas 1 medium baked potato = 1 cup starchy vegetables 1 cup baby carrots = 1 cup orange vegetables
Grains (Orange) Grains are important sources of dietary fiber B vitamins folate iron magnesium selenium
Grains: What Counts? 7 saltine crackers = 1 ounce equivalent 1 cup cornflakes cereal = 1 ounce equivalent 1 slice of whole wheat bread = 1 ounce equivalent ½ cup brown rice = 1 ounce equivalent
Protein (Purple) Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts are important sources of protein B vitamins vitamin E iron zinc magnesium
Meat and Beans: What Counts? ½ cup cooked black beans = 2 ounce equivalents meat and beans 1 ounce cashews (about 13) = 2 ounce equivalents meat and beans 5 ounce beef strip steak = 5 ounce equivalents meat and beans 6 ounce salmon steak = 6 ounce equivalents meat and beans
Dairy (Blue) Milk, yogurt, and cheese are important sources of calcium potassium vitamin D Protein Choose milk products that are fat-free or low-fat.
Milk: What Counts? 2 slices swiss cheese, ¾ ounce each = 1 cup milk ½ cup frozen yogurt = ½ cup milk 8 fluid ounces yogurt = 1 cup milk 8 fluid ounces milk = 1 cup milk
Oils and Empty Calories Oils are NOT a food group, but they provide essential nutrients. Therefore, oils are included in USDA food patterns. Some common oils are: canola oil corn oil cottonseed oil olive oil safflower oil soybean oil sunflower oil
Oils and Empty Calories Currently, many of the foods and beverages Americans eat and drink contain empty calories – calories from solid fats and/or added sugars. Solid fats and added sugars add calories to the food but few or no nutrients. For this reason, the calories from solid fats and added sugars in a food are often called empty calories
Foods and Beverages that Provide the Most Empty Calories Cakes, cookies, pastries, and donuts (contain both solid fat and added sugars) Sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, and fruit drinks (contain added sugars) Cheese (contains solid fat) Pizza (contains solid fat) Ice cream (contains both solid fat and added sugars) Sausages, hot dogs, bacon, and ribs (contain solid fat)