The USDA recommends eating a variety of food groups every day. Based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet, we should consume:
- 6 oz. of grains. Make half of your grains whole grains for added fiber!
- 2 ½ cups of vegetables. Vary the kind and color of your vegetables to make sure you’re getting a variety of nutrients. Dark green veggies provide iron while orange veggies provide beta carotene.
- 2 cups of fruit. Choose a variety of fresh, frozen, or canned fruit for fiber and vitamins. Choose fruit juice that is 100% juice, but be aware that juices contain a lot of added sugar. Limit fruit juice as a part of your daily recommended consumption.
- 3 cups of dairy. Opt for low-fat or fat-free options. If you’re lactose-intolerant, Smith offers a variety of soy and rice milk and yogurt options to supplement your calcium intake.
- 5 ½ oz. of meat and beans. Choose lean protein that has been baked, broiled, or grilled to limit fat intake. Fish, legumes, beans, seeds and nuts are protein alternatives to meat.
Incorporate good fats into your diet; this includes heart-healthy omega-fats from fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. Try to limit your trans-fat intake by limiting butter, margarine, and shortening. Read labels of products to determine their trans fat and sodium content, and make sure both ingredients are low. Opt for low added sugar foods since refined sugar provides calories with little nutrients.
Nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all science. Everyone’s calorie-needs vary based on their lifestyle. Go to this website to calculate your daily recommended caloric intake:
Being physically active is part of a balanced diet. Sitting with a book or in front of a computer all day makes your body and your mind tired. Get up and move to give your mind a boost and to jump start your metabolism!
Portion size is tough to master when food is served buffet-style. Learn to gauge a proper portion size of foods from every food group at these websites:
Daily Serving Recommendations