It’s so important to get the proper daily amount of calcium in your diet. Here are some tips to get more calcium into your life:
- Try to have a glass of milk at dinner time. Making this the routine will be a good reminder to strengthen your bones.
- Try to switch to lower-fat milks. If you normally drink whole, gradually switch to 2%, then 1%, then skim.
- When making oatmeal, add milk instead of water. In addition to extra calcium, your oatmeal is creamier.
- Low-fat or fat-free yogurt works great as a yummy snack anytime.
- If you can’t have dairy, try making calcium fortified juices, cereals, breads, soy beverages, or rice beverages part of your diet. In addition to these, canned fish and other soy products, and some leafy greens (like broccoli) contain a lot of calcium.
Eating Whole Grains
For those of you who are not terrified of eating carbs, the following tips will help you make sure that half of your grains are whole grains.
- Next time you go shopping, buy whole-wheat bread instead of white.
- Try eating that Chinese with brown rice instead of white rice
- Almost every grocery store has whole-wheat pastas. Purchase some and we’ll bet you can’t tell the difference!
- When you’re making pancakes, bread, or cookies, substitute whole wheat flour for white flour.
- Buy breakfast cereals that include words like ‘whole grain’ and ‘toasted oats.’
- Did you know that popcorn is a whole grain? Pop some popcorn for a quick and healthy snack!
- Instead of potato chips, try eating whole-grain chips, such as baked tortilla chips.
- Substitute a whole-grain product for a refined product; like whole-wheat bread instead of white, or brown rice instead of white.
- The following food labels are not usually whole-grain products: “multi-grain”, “stone-ground”, “bran”, “cracked wheat”, “seven-grain”, etc. Those usually contain mostly refined flour, with a token amount of whole grains added. The first ingredient in the ingredients list should be “whole grain wheat”.
- Also, the color of the bread does not necessarily mean that it’s healthy. Sometimes molasses or other coloring substances are put in the bread to give it the dark color.
- Check the bread’s list of ingredients to see if there are added sugars and oils. Words like “sucrose”, “high-fructose corn syrup”, “honey”, and “molasses” indicated added sugars, where words like “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils” indicate just that: added oil.
- Buying fresh vegetables while they are in season is a great way to save money while also getting the best flavors.
- Try to have vegetables with every dinner meal. You can buy pre-prepared vegetables to add to salads or zap a bag of frozen veggies in the microwave. In addition to the health benefits, they add flavor, color, and variety to your meal!
- You can also use a microwave to cook veggies that normally would take a long time to cook, such as white or sweet potatoes.
- Vegetables high in potassium: Sweet and white potatoes, white beans, tomatoes, beets, soybeans, lima beans, winter squash, spinach, lentils, kidney beans, and split peas.
- There are so many salads these days, try a chicken Caesar salad or a mango chicken salad! Or even a taco salad includes tons of veggies.
- Find ways to put vegetables into main courses, such as pasta sauce, shepherd’s pie, or lasagna.
- On pizza night, mix things up by ordering a veggie pizza with mushrooms, green peppers, and onions.
- When making shishkabobs, make sure to add plenty of colorful veggies with a little seasoning salt. Things like red onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini make for great kabobs.
- Buy low-fat dips for raw veggies.
- Leave a bowl of whole fruits out to remind you to eat fruit! Things like bananas, apples, oranges, and even pears are great fruits to keep in a bowl together. However, keeping fruits together can also cause them to ripen a lot faster, so make sure you’re keeping up with eating them too!
- The fruits that have the most potassium are bananas, prunes, dried peaches and apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and orange juice. Make sure you buy Minute Maid orange juice, fortified with vitamins or calcium.
- Cut up bananas or peaches and eat them with your morning cereal.
- Drink plenty of 100% fruit juices. Minute Maid has a large variety of pure juices, such as Orange Tangerine or Apple Cranberry Raspberry.
- For breakfast or part of lunch, mix fresh fruit into low-fat or fat-free yogurt, or just eat a piece of fresh fruit.
- A quick snack for you or your kids could be an applesauce cup or a mixed fruit cup.
- Add things like grapes, mangoes, apples, or even strawberries to your salad.
- Try to incorporate fruits into your meat dishes, like apricot chicken or mango chutney.
- Add fruits like pineapple shishkabobs along with all your vegetables.
- For fruity desserts, the possibilities are endless! Make a peach cobbler or a strawberry trifle. Try an apple crisp or blueberry pie. No matter what you make, it’s bound to be fruit-a-licious!
- For those hot summer days, cool off with a fruit smoothie or a frozen juice bar made with real juice. Minute Maid makes tasty frozen treats that have additional vitamin C.
- Liven up your fruity snack with a fruit dip. Try low-far yogurt or pudding for a dip, or if you’re craving some sugar, try a cream cheese dip.
Meat and Beans
Don’t be fooled by the title of this category; it also includes seafood, nuts, and eggs.
- Next time you’re at the supermarket, look for lean or low-fat meat and chicken.
- Try something a little different, like buying fish! Some fish, like salmon, trout, and herring are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Fish contain more healthy oils than meat or poultry, so it’s good to mix it up now and then.
- When you cook with eggs, try using less of the yolk and more of the white, which is cholesterol-free.
- Make sure that you check the ingredient and Nutrition Facts label to help minimize the amount of sodium you take in. Processed meats are especially high in added sodium.
- If the label on your fresh chicken and pork says things like “self-basting” or “contains up to __% of __”, watch out, because it means that a sodium-containing solution has been added to it.
- Eating nuts like sunflower seeds, almonds, and hazelnuts is a great way to get plenty of vitamin E. Nuts also have more nutritious oils than meat or poultry.
- Next time you make a salad, try adding nuts in place of poultry or meat.
What exactly is meant by “oils?” Oils are fats that are liquid at room temperature. They come from many different plants and from fish. Additionally, certain foods naturally contain oils, such as nuts, avocados, and olives. There are also foods in which oil is a main ingredient like mayonnaise, certain salad dressings, and soft (tub or squeeze) margarine with no trans fats.
- Make sure most of the fats you consume are polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. They contain essential fatty acids that are necessary for health. Oils from plants (vegetable and nut oils) do not contain any cholesterol. In fact, no foods from plants sources contain cholesterol.
- Beware that certain plant oils, such as coconut oil and palm kernel oil, contain a lot of saturated fats. Consider them to be solid fats (fats that are solid at room temperature like butter and shortening.)
- When cooking with oils, try cutting back on the amount that is required for the recipe. Chances are, it will taste the same and you will be cutting back calories!
The Rest: Discretionary Calories
What are discretionary calories? They are the extra calories that you can eat after having foods from the other food groups. These include things like sugars and more fatty foods. Technically, there is no such thing as a bad food as long as they are consumed in moderation.
- Substitute doughnuts or cookies for other things in your diet rather than eating them in addition to your other more healthful foods.
- If you want to purchase meat or poultry that contains a higher fat content, count the fat as discretionary calories.
- Cooking with things that are pure fat, like butter or shortening, also count as discretionary calories.