Thursday, February 10, 2011

Myth: I should eat more food to get all the nutrients I need.

Answer: Busted!

It’s all about the choices you make. And unfortunately too many of us could make better food choices for our health.
  • Foods like cookies, cakes, pastries, pizza, full-fat cheese, sausage, franks and bacon are foods we eat too often. They add calories to our diet, but few essential nutrients and dietary fiber when compared to healthier alternatives like fruits and vegetables, low-fat cheese and lean turkey or chicken.
  • Drinks like soda, energy drinks, sports drinks and sugar-sweetened drinks take up too much of our diets. They also add calories but few nutrients when compared to low-fat milk and fruit juice.

Together, the solid fats and added sugars mentioned above contribute nearly 800 calories a day, on average, to the American diet. When we eat these types of foods, it becomes harder to include foods with enough dietary fiber and important vitamins and minerals while staying within calorie limits.

healthy meal
The solution is to enjoy your food, eat less of the foods mentioned above and eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk and milk products, beans and peas, and lean meats and poultry.

To get started eating more fruits and vegetables, use the MU Extension resource Seasonal and Simple, which you can order from the MU Extension publications website or by contacting your local MU Extension office.

Visit the MissouriFamilies website for more information about nutrition and health.

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist,, 573-882-1933

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