Stay Healthy During the Holidays

With Christmas and New Years coming up, many people are worried that they have to miss out on the delicious casseroles and desserts to stay healthy. Some decide to give up on being healthy all together because they don’t want to miss out on the food. However, there are ways where you can both enjoy those holiday treats and stay healthy, which are listed below:

  1. Remember Your Fiber – Many holiday dishes don’t contain much fiber, so it is important to go for the ones that will meet your nutrient needs, like fruit salads or vegetable dishes. This way you can get nutrition with your holiday meal.
  2. Don’t Have an Empty Stomach – Before you go to the holiday party or make treats for yourself, make sure you aren’t famished. Grab a healthy piece of fruit or a handful of healthy granola to hold you over for the meal. This way your hunger will not overpower your health decisions when you fill your plate for dinner.
  3. Save the Calories for Your Meal – Alcohol and sugar sweetened drinks can pile on the calories without you realizing it. It is best to find lite options for drinks or to go for water. This way you have more room for the meal and dessert.
  4. Stay Active with Friends and Family – Moving your feet through fun dancing or walks through the neighborhood after your meal is a great way to incorporate physical activity in a fun way with the people you love.
  5. Everything in Moderation – It’s perfectly okay to eat the same dishes and desserts that you love to have during the holidays but remember to limit your portions to an amount that you would be satisfied with.
  6. Slow Down with Each Bite – Slowing down with your meals has shown to aid in digestion as well as allow more enjoyment of the meal. When you chew more and savor each bite, this allows you to be more in tune with your fullness level to keep you from overeating and feeling too full after a meal.
  7. Location, Location, Location – When waiting around with your friends and family before and after a meal, try to move the conversation away from the food area. When you are surrounded by delicious treats during leisurely experiences, you are more prone to eat without thinking or at least want more food than you are hungry for.
  8. Remember Why You are There – Holiday celebrations are for getting together with friends and family more than about the food. Remember to enjoy your time with them rather than focusing on what you’re going to eat.
  9. Choose Homemade Over Prepackaged – When deciding between holiday dishes, choose the ones that you know have been made from scratch. These dishes are going to have more natural ingredient and are the healthier option for the holidays.
  10. Have fun! – Remember that the holidays are for celebrating! If you don’t stay on top of your “diet”, don’t make yourself feel guilty. Enjoy your food, friends, and have fun!

For recipes visit etfbrecipes.org.

The tips featured in this blog post were developed by the USDA. For more information, visit myplate.gov

Enjoy your Food, But Eat Less

Nutrition Blug_Cover

Eating Better on a Budget: 10 tips to enjoy your meals while making small shifts to the amounts and types of food on your plate

Healthy meals start with a variety and balance of foods from each food group. Aim to consume less sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars

  1. Get To Know The Foods You Eat – Keep track of the food and beverages you consume by using tools such as Lifesum or MyFitnessPal. These tools give you tips on how to make healthier food choices.
  2. Take Your Time – Be mindful to eat slowly, enjoy the taste and textures, and pay attention to how you feel. Use hunger and fullness cues to recognize when to eat and when you’ve had enough
  3. Use a Smaller Plate – Use a smaller plate at meals to help with portion control. That way you can finish your entire plate and feel satisfied without overeating.
  4. If You Eat Out, Choose Healthier Options – Many restaurants have nutrition information posted online or on menus. Choose entrees that are baked or broiled instead of fried. Ask for dressings or sauces on the side.
  5. Satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way – Indulge in a naturally sweet dessert dish—fruit! Mix berries with fat-free yogurt or enjoy fruit on its own, such as melon or pineapple.
  6. Choose To Eat Some Foods More or Less Often – Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Cut back on foods such as pizza, ice cream, cookies, and cake.
  7. Create Your Own Meal Plan – Plan out your meals in advance. Use Sample Meal Plans on Lifesum/ MyFitnessPal for ideas to plan healthy meals.
  8. Sip Smarter – Drink water or other calorie-free beverages, such as unsweetened tea or club soda, or other low-calorie beverages when you are thirsty. Sugar-sweetened beverages contain added sugar and are high in calories.
  9. Compare Foods – Check out Food-A-Pedia to look up and compare the nutrition information for more than 8,000 foods.
  10. Make Sweets a Once-In-A-While treat – Treat yourself on special occasions. When you eat foods like pie, cake, brownies, cookies, and candy, choose the smallest size or consider sharing it.

For recipes visit etfbrecipes.org.

The tips featured in this blog post were developed by the USDA. For more information, visit myplate.gov.

Eating Better on a Budget: 10 Tips to Help You Stretch Your Food Dollars

Food Budget_blog

Get the most for your food budget! There are many ways to save money on the foods that you eat. The three main steps are planning before you shop, purchasing the items at the best price, and preparing meals that stretch your food dollars.

  1. Plan, Plan, Plan! – Before you head to the grocery store, plan your meals for the week. Include meals like stews, casseroles, or stir-fries, which “stretch” expensive items into more portions. Check to see what foods you already have and make a list for what you need to buy.
  2. Get the Best Price – Check the local newspaper, online, and at the store for sales and coupons. Ask about a loyalty card for extra savings at stores where you shop. Look for specials or sales on meat and seafood—often the most expensive items on your list.
  3. Compare and Contrast – Locate the “Unit Price” on the shelf directly below the product. Use it to compare different brands and different sizes of the same brand to determine which is more economical.
  4. Buy in Bulk – It is almost always cheaper to buy foods in bulk. Smart choices are family packs of chicken, steak, or fish and larger bags of potatoes and frozen vegetables. Before you shop, remember to check if you have enough freezer space.
  5. Buy in Season – Buying fruits and vegetables in season can lower the cost and add to the freshness! If you are not going to use them all right away, buy some that still need time to ripen.
  6. Convenience Costs… Go Back to the Basics – Convenience foods like frozen dinners, pre-cut vegetables, and instant rice, oatmeal, or grits will cost you more than if you were to make them from scratch. Take the time to prepare your own—and save!
  7. Easy on Your Wallet – Certain foods are typically low-cost options all year round. Try beans for a less expensive protein food. For vegetables, buy carrots, greens, or potatoes. As for fruits, apples and bananas are good choices.
  8. Cook Once…Eat All Week! – Prepare a large batch of favorite recipes on your day off (double or triple the recipe). Freeze in individual containers. Use them throughout the week and you won’t have to spend money on take-out meals.
  9. Get Your Creative Juices Flowing – Spice up your leftovers—use them in new ways. For example, try leftover chicken in a stir-fry or over a garden salad, or to make chicken chili. Remember, throwing away food is throwing away your money!
  10. Eating Out – Restaurants can be expensive. Save money by getting the early bird special, going out for lunch instead of dinner, or looking for “2 for 1” deals. Stick to water instead of ordering other beverages, which add to the bill.

For recipes visit etfbrecipes.org.

The tips featured in this blog post were developed by the USDA. For more information, visit myplate.gov.

Be Food Safe: 10 Tips to Reduce the Risk of Foodborne Illness

Food Safety Blog

A critical part of healthy eating is keeping foods safe. Individuals in their own homes can reduce contaminants and keep food safe to eat by following safe food handling practices. Four basic food safety principles work together to reduce the risk of foodborne illness—Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. These four principles are the cornerstones of Fight BAC!®, a national public education campaign to promote food safety to consumers and educate them on how to handle and prepare food safely.

CLEAN

  1. Wash Hands with Soap and Water- Wet hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available. Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all parts of the hand for 20 seconds. Rinse hands thoroughly and dry using a clean paper towel. If possible, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet.
  2. Sanitize Surfaces- Surfaces should be washed with hot, soapy water. A solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water can be used to sanitize surfaces.
  3. Clean Sweep Refrigerated Foods Once a Week- At least once a week, throw out refrigerated foods that should no longer be eaten. Cooked leftovers should be discarded after 4 days; raw poultry and ground meats, 1 to 2 days.
  4. Keep Appliances Clean- Clean the inside and the outside of appliances. Pay particular attention to buttons and handles where cross-contamination to hands can occur.
  5. Rinse Produce- Rinse fresh vegetables and fruits under running water just before eating, cutting, or cooking. Even if you plan to peel or cut the produce before eating, it is important to thoroughly rinse it first to prevent microbes from transferring from the outside to the inside of the produce

SEPARATE

  1. Separate Foods When Shopping- Place raw seafood, meat, and poultry in plastic bags. Store them below ready-to-eat foods in your refrigerator.
  2. Separate Foods When Preparing and Serving- Always use a clean cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw seafood, meat, and poultry. Never place cooked food back on the same plate or cutting board that previously held raw food.

COOK AND CHILL

  1. Use a Food Thermometer When Cooking- A food thermometer should be used to ensure that food is safely cooked and that cooked food is held at safe temperatures until eaten.
  2. Cook Food to Safe Internal Temperatures- One effective way to prevent illness is to check the internal temperature of seafood, meat, poultry, and egg dishes. Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb, and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a safe minimum internal temperature of 145 °F. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least 3 minutes before carving or eating. Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F. Cook all poultry, including ground turkey and chicken, to an internal temperature of 165 °F (www.isitdoneyet.gov).
  3. Keep Foods at Safe Temperatures- Hold cold foods at 40 °F or below. Keep hot foods at 140 °F or above. Foods are no longer safe to eat when they have been in the danger zone between 40-140 °F for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature was above 90 °F).

For recipes visit etfbrecipes.org.

The tips featured in this blog post were developed by the USDA. For more information, visit myplate.gov.

Tips for Eating Out Away From Home

Dining Out blog

Restaurants, convenience and grocery stores, or fast-food places offer a variety of options when eating out. But larger portions and too many extras can make it difficult to stay within your calorie needs. Think about ways to make healthier choices when eating food away from home.

  1. Consider Your Drink- Choose water, fat-free or low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, and other drinks without added sugars to complement your meal.
  2. Savor a Salad- Start your meal with a salad packed with vegetables to help you feel satisfied sooner. Ask for dressing on the side and use a small amount of it.
  3. Share a Main Dish- Divide a main entree between family and friends. Ask for small plates for everyone at the table.
  4. Select from the Sides- Order a side dish or an appetizer-sized portion instead of a regular entree. They’re usually served on smaller plates and in smaller amounts.
  5. Pack Your Snack- Pack fruit, sliced vegetables, low-fat string cheese, or unsalted nuts to eat during road trips or long commutes. No need to stop for other food when these snacks are ready-to-eat.
  6. Fill Your Plate with Vegetables and Fruit- Stir-fries, kabobs, or vegetarian options are usually filled with vegetables. Order options without creamy sauces or heavy gravies. Select fruits for dessert.
  7. Compare the Calories, Fat, and Sodium- Many menus now include nutrition information. Look for items that are lower in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Check with your server if you don’t see them on the menu. For more information, check www.FDA.gov.
  8. Pass on the Buffet- Have an item from the menu and avoid the “all-you-can-eat” buffet. Steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes have fewer calories than foods that are fried in oil or cooked in butter.
  9. Get Your Whole Grains- Request 100% whole-wheat breads, rolls, and pasta when choosing sandwiches, burgers, or main dishes.
  10. Quit the “Clean Your Plate Club”- When you’ve eaten enough food, leave the rest. Take leftovers home in a container and chill in the refrigerator right away.

For recipes visit etfbrecipes.org.

The tips featured in this blog post were developed by the USDA. For more information, visit myplate.gov.