How does one cook healthy?
Cooking healthy to me means focusing on fueling your body by feeding it what it needs. So how do we cook healthy meals?
Educate yourself and your family about Nutrition:
Have family meetings and learn about nutrition and design each family members diet type for free on the MyPyramid.gov website MyPyramid offers personalized eating plans and interactive tools to help you plan/ assess your food choices based on the http://www.choosemyplate.gov/. MyPyramid.gov is one of the most used learning tools in public education today and it is free, so why not incorporate into the home. MyPyramid food plans are designed for the general public ages 2 and over; they are not therapeutic diets. Those with a specific health condition should consult with a health care provider for a dietary plan that is right for them. Once everyone is on the same page, everyone should be able to contribute.
Allowing each member to select the dinner meal one day a week is not only fun, but also a life-changing event for them. They will need to focus on the needs and requirement of everyone. Working together as a family will help everyone be healthy, live better, and have more body strength to fight off infection. Plus, when they learn to be healthy, they will more than likely stay committed and stay healthy when you are not around.
Start out with a weekly plan and graduate to a monthly menu selection and hang it up. Don’t be rigid include a family favorite everyday.
Focus on the Daily Nutritional Requirements as a guide.
Elements of “Good Daily” Food Nutrition Include:
Fruit & Vegetables — 4 daily servings.
Fruit - 1/2 medium grapefruit equals 1/2 cup. Consume a variety of fruits whether it is fresh, frozen, canned or dried.
Vegetables - 1 lettuce wedge equals 1/4 cup. Eat a variety of vegetables, green, yellow, brown, and orange.
Calcium Rich Foods - 2 servings a day.
3 cups calcium rich foods daily. 1 cup/8 oz. whole milk, and, 2 cups other calcium products like: 1 1/4 oz hard cheese, 1 cup low fat yogurt and /or low fat cheese, 2 oz cheese spread, and 2 cups of cottage cheese. If you are lactose intolerant, get lactose free milk substitutes and take calcium supplements.
Grains/Bread - 4 servings a day with 3 oz of whole grain cereal, bread, crackers, corn, rice, or pasta everyday. One oz. equals about 1 slice of bread, 3/4 c. cooked cereal, rice or pasta and 1 oz dry cereal. Unless allergic, make 1/2 of your grain intake - whole grain.
Protein/ Meat - 20 amino acids / 2 servings a day
3 oz of lean meats, 3 oz fish or 3 oz poultry equal 2 servings. Bake it, broil it, or grill it. Vary your daily intake with nuts, beans and seeds. 4 Tbsp of Peanut butter equals 2 servings.
Liquid/Water - 60% of body weight / Men to consume roughly 3 liters or about 13 cups of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 liters or about 9 cups of total beverages a day. American Medical Association still recommends 8 glasses with 8 oz. in each glass of Water daily. “Drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of any fluid a day is all that is required to replace your bodies total fluid loss.” per the Mayo Clinic.
Carbohydrates – ½ of our daily diet - refined [sugar & starch]. Unrefined [cereal & fruits]
Fat – No more than 30% of daily intake. 3 types: Saturated [meat & dairy], Polyunsaturated [fish & oil] & Monosaturated [olive oil & avocados].
Fiber – Fruit, raw vegetables, grain & cereal.
Vitamins – Regulates metabolism
Minerals – Essentials Calcium, Zinc, Iron Magnesium & sodium chloride [just enough maintains fluid balance – too much can cause hypertension]
- A diet is not what you cannot eat, but what you do eat.
- Check with your doctor or nutritionist to help you with your menu planning. A nutritionist can help you understand menu planning for you and your family’s health!
- In order to maintain your current weight you need to eat 30 calories of food a day for each pound you currently weight
- Whenever possible choose low fat / lean meats and side dishes that are also low in fat and in sugar.
- Avoid boring and don’t eat the same thing 2 days in a row.
- Watch out for foods that can cause allergy sensitivities like: milk, sugar, chocolate, citrus fruit, peanuts and wheat.
The best way to cook healthy is to educate yourself about foods, health, and your body. This can be very simple if you have access to the Internet. Go to http://www.mypyramidtracker.gov/ MyPyramid Tracker is an online dietary and physical activity assessment tool that provides information on your diet quality, physical activity status, related nutrition messages, and links to nutrient and physical activity information. Then go to: https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/default.aspx or http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/dietaryguidelines.htm and design your personal healthy menu selections.
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