Physicians at Cooper University Hospital remind you that the food choices you make today – and every day – affect your health and how you feel now and in the future. Eating right and being physically active are keys to a healthy lifestyle.
In accordance with the American Dietetic Association, Cooper physicians offer these dietary guidelines that can help pave the way for a healthier, happier you. Just be sure to stay within your daily calorie needs to enjoy the benefits of balanced nutrition every day..
A healthy eating plan
- Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk and dairy products.
- Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts.
- Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugars.
To get the most nutrition out of your calories, choose the most nutritionally rich foods from each food group each day—those packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients but lower in calories.
- Focus on fruits. Eat a variety of fruits—fresh, frozen, canned or dried. For a 2,000-calorie diet, you need 2 cups of fruit each day.
- Vary your vegetables. Eat more orange and dark green vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli and dark leafy greens. Include beans and peas, such as pinto beans, kidney beans, split peas and lentils more often.
- Get calcium-rich foods. Have 3 cups of low-fat or fat-free milk—or an equivalent amount of low-fat yogurt and/or low-fat cheese every day (1 ½ ounces of cheese equals 1 cup of milk). If you don’t or can’t consume milk, choose lactose-free milk products and/or calcium-fortified foods and beverages.
- Make half your grains whole. Eat at least 3 ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice or pasta every day. Look to see that grains such as wheat, rice, oats or corn are referred to as “whole” in the list of ingredients.
- Go lean with protein. Choose lean meats and poultry. Bake it, broil it or grill it.
- Vary your protein. Include more fish, beans, peas, nuts and seeds.
- Know the limits on fats, salt and sugars. Read the Nutrition Facts label on foods. Look for foods low in saturated fats and trans fats. Choose and prepare foods and beverages with little salt (sodium) and/or added sugars.