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Guidelines to a Healthy Diet


The American Heart Association recommends that you eat a variety of foods from the different food groups. In order for women to lose one to two pounds a week, they should consume between 1200 and 1500 calories a day.

Men should consume between 1500 and 1800 calories a day if they want to lose one to two pounds a week. Let's examine the different food groups the American Heart Association suggests you consume.

Meat, Poultry, Fish - You should consume no more than 6 ounces of meat, poultry, and fish per day. Lean cuts of poultry and fish have fewer calories than fatty red meat, but you can find lean cuts of red meat in your supermarket.

Breads, Cereals, Starches - This food group includes bread, cereal, pasta, rice, and starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn. You can have six servings from this food group a day. A serving size is 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of cereal, and 1cup of rice, pasta, or to cup of starchy veggies.

So, if you eat Remember here, that whole grain is best. When you can, choose whole-grain bread, brown rice, and whole-wheat pasta instead of their white counterparts that have been stripped of nutrients and fiber.

Vegetables and Fruits - Fruits and vegetables are essential parts of your diet because they contain a variety of vitamins and nutrients. You can have five or more servings a day of fruits and vegetables.

A serving size is cup to 1 cup of cooked and raw vegetables, cup of fruit juice, or one medium piece of fruit. Aim to choose a variety of colors in your diet because they have different vitamins and minerals. Let's examine the colors you should include in your diet every day.

Red - Red fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that help keep your heart and urinary tract healthy. They also help with your memory and lower your risk of some cancers. When it comes to red, choose from apples, cherries, strawberries, tomatoes, red peppers, and radishes, to name a few.

Yellow/Orange - Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that keep your heart, vision, and immune system healthy. Some yellow and orange fruits and veggies include apricots, lemons, peaches, cantaloupe, yellow squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes.

Green - Green fruits and vegetables help lower your risk of some cancers and keep your bones and teeth strong. Choose foods like green grapes, broccoli, avocados, spinach, green apples, and limes.

Blue/Purple - Blue and purple fruits and vegetables lower the risk of some cancers and keep your urinary tract healthy. They also help maintain your memory function. Some delicious blue and purple foods are blackberries, blueberries, raisins, plums, eggplant, and purple cabbage.

White - White foods promote your heart health, and if you already have healthy cholesterol, they'll help maintain those levels. Bananas, pears, cauliflower, mushrooms, and garlic are tasty options you can fit into your meal plan.

Milk Products - If you love dairy products, the good news is that you can still eat them and lose weight. However, choose low-fat or fat-free products. They contain the same vitamins and minerals, taste good, and lower your cholesterol all at the same time.

Adults aged 19-50 should have three servings of milk products per day. A serving of dairy is 1 cup of fat-free or low-fat milk, 1 cup of fat-free or low-fat yogurt, 1 ounce of low-fat cheese (stay away from fat-free cheeses-they have too much sodium) or a cup of low-fat cottage cheese.

Fats - You should have no more than five servings of fats a day in the form of oil, nuts, seeds, olives, avocado, and mayonnaise.

Fat servings include one teaspoon of oil, three teaspoons of nuts or seeds, 5-10 olives, 1/8 of an avocado and two teaspoons of mayonnaise. If you love the taste of butter on your vegetables, use a fat-free imitation butter spray. It really doesn't taste that much different.

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