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Staying Healthy

Five a Day Rule

Woman cutting vegetables on a cutting board

A balance of foods is the key to eating well

First: Choose different foods from each of the food groups. Different types of food give our bodies different vitamins and minerals we need. Second: Eat balanced meals and snacks.

What is a balanced meal?

It has protein, starch and non-starchy vegetables.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Red – Red apples are good for your heart

Apples have soluble fiber that can lower cholesterol and sugar levels in your blood. Eat an apple a day.

Blue – Blueberries are good for your brain

Studies show that eating blueberries may improve your memory and ability to learn. Other foods that are good for your brain include salmon, nuts and avocados.

Green – Broccoli is good for your eyes

Other foods that help keep your eyes healthy include spinach, peas and zucchini.

Yellow and Orange – Yellow and orange are good for all over

Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables help boost your immune system and keep you from getting sick.

Bread, cereal, rice and pasta (starch)

Eat whole grains like whole wheat bread, bran cereal, oatmeal, brown rice or pasta. Eat no more than two or three servings at each meal.

Vegetables

Eat three to five servings of vegetables each day. Choose green-leafy, orange, yellow, and red vegetables. They provide your body with good nutrients. Raw or cooked vegetables also fill you up and provide fiber that your body needs.

Fruits

Eat two to four servings of fruits each day. Fresh fruit in season is best. You can also choose canned fruit with no added sugar. Eat fruit rather than drinking juice. Juice has a lot of sugar and very little fiber.

Milk, yogurt and cheese (dairy)

Eat two to three servings of dairy each day. No one over two years of age needs whole milk. Switch to lower fat choices. Choose 1% low-fat milk, light yogurt or low-fat cheese.

Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts (protein)

Eat smaller portions of beef, pork, chicken, or fish without the fat. Most Americans eat too much protein. A serving of meat or fish is the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand. Eat two servings each day. Eat fish at least once per week. Go meatless and eat beans one day each week.

Fats, oils and sweets

Eat smaller amounts of these foods. Foods high in fat and sugar do not have much of the other nutrients. Cook with healthier oils like olive, canola or peanut oils.

Game plan for Family Fitness

  • Be a good role model. Try to get at least thirty minutes of exercise five to seven days a week.
  • Limit TV and video games to no more than one hour per day. Make fitness a part of everyday life.
  • Be positive. Make fitness fun!
  • Plan for exercise using the Exercise and You tips. If you do not plan for exercise, it may not happen.

Model Behavior

  • Schedule meals and snacks.
  • Sit down and eat with the children. Adults at mealtime are role models.
  • Prepare and serve a variety of foods.
  • Be aware of portion sizes.
  • Remember…no one needs to be a member of the “clean plate club.”
  • Turn off the TV during meals.
  • Dessert should be just a part of the meal – not a reward for eating “what is good for you”.

Some ideas for snacks:

  • Pretzels with string cheese
  • Peanut butter on apple slices
  • Yogurt
  • Fresh fruit (grapes, orange, tangerine, apple, pear or melon are a few to try)
  • Graham crackers with milk
  • Raw vegetables dipped in salsa, jicama sticks, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, carrot sticks.
  • Baked potato – fill with chopped celery, carrots, tomatoes and grated cheese. Microwave until cheese melts.
  • Dry cereal
  • Fruit juice popsicle
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