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Thursday, April 17, 2014
Madison County
Nutrition & Wellness
Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight

A healthy lifestyle involves many choices. Among them,choosing a balanced diet or healthy eating plan. So how do you choose a healthy eating plan? Let's begin by defining what a healthy eating plan is.

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.    

Grilled Vegetables

Eat Healthfully and Enjoy It!

A healthy eating plan that helps you manage your weight includes a variety of foods you may not have considered. If "healthy eating" makes you think about the foods you can't have, try refocusing on all the new foods you can eat—

  • Fresh fruits ― don't think just apples or bananas. All fresh fruits are great choices. Be sure to try some "exotic" fruits, too. How about a mango? Or a juicy pineapple or kiwi fruit! When your favorite fresh fruits aren't in season, try a frozen, canned, or dried variety of a fresh fruit you enjoy. One caution about canned fruits is that they may contain added sugars or syrups. Be sure and choose canned varieties of fruit packed in water or in their own juice.
  • Fresh vegetables ― try something new. You may find that you love grilled vegetables or steamed vegetables with an herb you haven't tried like rosemary. You can sauté (panfry) vegetables in a non-stick pan with a small amount of cooking spray. Or try frozen or canned vegetables for a quick side dish — just microwave and serve. When trying canned vegetables, look for vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces. Commit to going to the produce department and trying a new vegetable each week.
  • Calcium-rich foods ― you may automatically think of a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk when someone says "eat more dairy products." But what about low-fat and fat-free yogurts without added sugars? These come in a wide variety of flavors and can be a great dessert substitute for those with a sweet tooth.
  • A new twist on an old favorite ― if your favorite recipe calls for frying fish or breaded chicken, try healthier variations using baking or grilling. Maybe even try a recipe that uses dry beans in place of higher-fat meats. Ask around or search the internet and magazines for recipes with fewer calories ― you might be surprised to find you have a new favorite dish!

Do I have to give up my favorite comfort food?

No! Healthy eating is all about balance. You can enjoy your favorite foods even if they are high in calories, fat or added sugars. The key is eating them only once in a while, and balancing them out with healthier foods and more physical activity.

Some general tips for comfort foods:

  • Eat them less often. If you normally eat these foods every day, cut back to once a week or once a month. You'll be cutting your calories because you're not having the food as often.
  • Eat smaller amounts. If your favorite higher-calorie food is a chocolate bar, have a smaller size or only half a bar.
  • Try a lower-calorie version. Use lower-calorie ingredients or prepare food differently. For example, if your macaroni and cheese recipe uses whole milk, butter, and full-fat cheese, try remaking it with non-fat milk, less butter, light cream cheese, fresh spinach and tomatoes. Just remember to not increase your portion size. For more ideas on how to cut back on calories, see
    Eat More Weigh Less.

The point is, you can figure out how to include almost any food in your healthy eating plan in a way that still helps you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

Nutrition and Wellness

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC-INFO

Put Family Meal Time Into Practice

Pantry Places Posted 12/14/2013 by NDSU Extension Service

Promote Eating Smart With These Tips

  • Discuss healthy nutrition and good food choices during the family meal.
  • Talk about – and model – the k ind of eating patterns you would like to encourage as a family.
  • Pay attention to the foods you make available. Provide a variety of nutritious food choices and encourage children to try them (but do not force them).

Mark the answer that best applies to you.

Before grocery shopping,
how often do you...




plan your meals for the week?




read your recipes and menus to see what you need?




write down all of your meal plans?




check your shelves and refrigerator for items you already have?




look in the newspaper or magazines for slaves or coupons but use coupons only for foods that you plan to use?




keep a grocery list on your refrigerator and add items to the list as you need them?




How did you do? If you “never” plan your meals and shopping trips, you could be making more impulse buys and not getting as much nutrition for your dollar.

Most people recognize the value of eating together as a family. For example, children who eat with their families tend to do better in school, engage in less risky behavior such as smoking and drinking alcohol, eat a healthier diet and are less likely to be overweight. Despite all these benefits, busy schedules can make putting family meal times into practice a challenge. Remember that family meals can occur at any time of the day or any place. Try having breakfast together more often, or enjoy a snack together. To make family meal times work, get your family involved with planning, preparation and cleanup.

Try this meal-planning activity:

  1. Pick up a copy of the weekly sale ads for a local grocery store. Refer to the ads as you continue the activity. Divide a piece of paper into three columns using a ruler/pencil or fold it in thirds.
  2. In one column, list seven or more of your family’s favorite main dish items.
  3. In the second column, list several vegetables and fruits your family consistently enjoys.
  4. In the third column, list the types of grains (breads, rice, pasta) your family enjoys. Include whole-grain options, such as whole-wheat bread and pasta.
  5. Look at the items in your columns and list seven menus on the back of the piece of paper. For example, for a dinner menu, include a main dish, vegetable, fruit, bread and milk.

Do You Know What the Dates Mean?

  • Sell-by date: Stores should pull items from the shelves if they are not sold by this date. The products are still good for a while if they're stored properly at home.
  • Use-by date: Food is guaranteed to be at high quality until this date. Although the foods are still safe to consume after the date, these items may have lower quality.
  • Expiration date: Consume food or beverage by this date or throw it.

Before you go shopping:

  • Check what foods you have on hand. Plan menus according to your “inventory” in your cupboards, refrigerator and freezer.
  • Read the sales ads. Seasonal fruits and vegetables often are featured and can be at their best quality and price.
  • Write a grocery list. When you write down the food items you need, you can cut down on trips to the grocery store. This saves you time and could save you money on gas, too. When you buy only foods on your list, you will be able to estimate the amount of money you spend and avoid impulse buys.

At the Store:

  • Use coupons wisely. Using coupons can save you money. Use coupons only to purchase foods you were planning to buy anyway. Sort coupons by food category and be aware of the expiration dates on the coupons.
  • Keep food safety in mind.
  • Produce: Inspect fruits and vegetables and avoid those that are bruised or damaged.
  • Meats: Avoid cross-contamination. Put meat packages in a plastic bag (where available) in your cart. Keep meat packages separate from ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Milk, dairy, meat and frozen items: Shop for these items last so they are not in room temperature for an extended amount of time. If you travel a distance for groceries, bring a cooler filled with ice to transport perishable foods (such as milk, meat) on warm days.
  • Eggs: Open the carton. Be sure the eggs are not cracked

At home:

Be sure to write the date of purchase on the foods you buy and arrange your cupboards "first in, first out.” In other words, place the oldest foods in the front so you use them first. Group similar foods together.

Source: Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., L.R.D, Extension Food and Nutrition Specialist and Associate Professor, Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences, NDSU

Eat Smart New YorkEat Smart New York (ESNY) Nutrition Education

Learn to fill your grocery cart and dinner table with healthy and inexpensive foods.

Eat Smart New York (ESNY) Nutrition Education is FREE to all individuals or groups who qualify for and/or receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the new name for Food Stamps.

For more information call Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County at 315-684-3001 ext #213 or email Carol Ash at caa94@cornell.edu.

Pantry PlacesKey Nutritional Messages

Balance calories with physical activity to achieve a healthy weight. Make half your plate fruit and vegetables. Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Make at least half your grains whole grains. Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk. Go to ChooseMyPlate.gov to help you make healthy lifestyle choices

Pantry PlacesEat Smart New York Information for Agencies  

Download File

Agency Request Forms for ESNY Programs

Download File

Pantry PlacesMadison County
Food Pantries

A directory of food pantries and meal sites in Madison County Use this link

Are You Eligible for SNAP Benefits?
(formerly Food Stamps)

Please find out here

Pantry Places

Handy Cooking Terms, Tips, Measurements PDF

Nifty Recipe Substitutions PDF

My Plate 10 Tips Series

Food Storage for Safety and Quality

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