What to eat or not eat is a question that many people struggle with every day. If you follow nutrition advice that you see frequently on TV, it's no surprise that you might be confused.
Recently I've seen "Eat This -- Not That" segments on TV where two plates of food are shown and people are asked to choose which is the better choice. They're often shocked when told which is the better option. One example recently was a large fast food sandwich vs. a salad. The problem was that the salad included some high calorie ingredients and was also smothered in a high calorie dressing.
When I see these examples, I know that they are trying to warn people of exceptions and pitfalls, but I worry that some people will either not understand or simply give up on trying to make any sense of what they should be eating to stay healthy.
For years we've been told what foods to avoid. "Don't eat foods that are high in fat, salt or sugar." It's enough to make some people say, why don't they just say don't eat anything that tastes good and get it over with! A new approach that some dieticians are taking today is telling people what foods they SHOULD be eating, instead of telling them what to avoid.
Many researchers have put out lists of super foods or foods that they think everyone should eat every day. Part of the thinking is that if we fill up on healthy choices, then we naturally won't eat as much of the things that aren't so good for us.
Depending on the article or resource you are reading, the lists may vary from 5 super foods to 130 foods you should eat often. After reviewing a number of these lists, I thought it might be helpful to share with you the foods that appear as favorites on nearly every list of best foods to eat.
A dozen foods that most nutrition professionals agree are true nutritional gems include: blueberries, tomatoes, salmon, beans, oats, soy, spinach, walnuts, yogurt, lean turkey or chicken and chocolate. Before you get too excited about the last item on the list. Remember that healthy chocolate is the dark kind (at least 60% cocoa) and should be consumed in SMALL amounts. One ounce a day is plenty and the less processing the better.
Other tips to keep in mind when trying to consume a healthy diet are: Eat more fruits and vegetables; Eat a variety of whole grain products; Chose dairy products that are low in fat or fat free; Eat a variety of low fat protein foods; Be sure to include beans and fish; Eat plenty of fiber; Manage your weight; Eat regularly (don't skip meals); Limit salt intake; Exercise; And stay hydrated.
For more information regarding column topics or to RSVP for upcoming events, call the Extension Office at 765-653-8411. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While many publications are free, some do have a fee. All times are Eastern Time.
May 19: Junior Leader Meeting, 7 PM, Fairgrounds
May 21: Putnam County Health Coalition 10 AM Extension Office
May 25: Office Closed for Memorial Day
May 30: Back in Thyme Garden Tour call 784-5671
June 6: Special Family Learn to Fish Class firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-562-1338
June 8: Leader lesson "Celebrating Quesadillas" 7 p.m. at Extension Office
June 9: Aquaculture Workshop 812-462-3371 or email email@example.com
June 11: Exploring 4-H, 7 PM, Fairgrounds
June 10-12: Home and Family Conference at Purdue
June 20: Ext. Homemaker Pop Tab Collection-at Wal-mart parking lot
June 25: Exploring 4-H, 7 PM, Fairgrounds
June 25: Junior Pork Quality Assurance Program, 6:30, Fairgrounds
July 9: Exploring 4-H, 1 PM, Fairgrounds
July 17-25 Putnam County Fair