It’s National Healthy Weight week here in the US. For most of us, that brings up the thought of diets, deprivation and feeling hungry. That isn’t what the event is about, though. Eating healthy means eating appropriately for your body and adding healthier foods into your diets. As our lives get more and more busy, the American diet has become filled with fast food, easy to grab carbs and fats and large amounts of processed foods. Substituting healthier choices for, say, your potato chips as a snack will help you maintain a healthy weight. It doesn’t have to be painful, either. There are lots of tasty options that will help you forget you are being healthier.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, a healthy eating plan:
- Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
- Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
- Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars
- Stays within your daily calorie needs
Fruits and vegetables are a great way to replace fatty fried snacks like potato chips and fries. A sliced apple makes a great side dish for a hamburger. (The natural sugars actually enhance the flavor of the proteins. Try it, you’ll be surprised. I recommend a Honeycrisp apple for optimal flavor.) Root vegetables roasted in the oven with small amounts of olive oil are a terrific side dish. Carrot sticks or sliced peppers are a great go anywhere snack.
Milk and other dairy products are a great way to add lean protein to your diet. 2% milk has only 120 calories per serving but packs 8 grams of protein, along with Vitamin A, C, D and calcium. Cottage cheese has even better options – our All Natural cottage cheese has only 80 calories per serving, but has 13 grams of protein plus Vitamin A and calcium. It’s a great choice for not only keeping a healthy weight, but because of its low sugar content, it’s helpful for people watching their sugar intake as well. Have it by itself or with a serving of fruit as a nighttime snack, or try substituting it in your favorite recipes for oil or fattier cheeses. You can even make cookies with it! Check out the recipes below to get you started.