Good nutrition is essential to good health. It is evidenced by smooth, clear skin, glossy hair and bright eyes. A healthy person typically has the ideal weight for their body composition. Compared to undernourished persons, they are more likely to be mentally and physically alert and able to resist infectious diseases. They also are more likely to have a positive outlook on life.
Registered Dietitian Andrea Drew sums up good nutrition in this short sentence: Eat foods in their most whole form, in moderation. According to her, nutrition is not complicated. She recommends using MyPlate.
In recent years, the Food Pyramid has transformed into MyPlate. MyPlate helps individuals start with small changes to build healthier eating styles that last a lifetime. There is a mobile app available (Start Simple with MyPlate) as well as a bright, straightforward website: www.myplate.gov
Most importantly, MyPlate recommends how much food you should consume each day from the five food groups.
According to MyPlate, milk is the number one source of calcium, vitamin D and potassium - three nutrients that are frequently lacking in the American diet. The National Dairy Council reveals that nothing meets the standards for dairy requirements like regular cow's milk. Required nutrients can be obtained from other sources, but cow's milk is the easiest.
The amount of dairy foods each person needs depends on age. The range is between 2 and 3 cups each day. Those who are very physically active may need more.
Fruits and Vegetables
MyPlate suggests that half of our plate be made up of fruits and vegetables. You could use fruit for snacks, salads and desserts. Choose brightly colored vegetables, such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach and broccoli in main dishes and side dishes. The brightness of the vegetables means they are packed with nutrients. Vitamins A, C and E are primarily found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables, and these are also antioxidants.
Grain products include oatmeal, rice, popcorn, bread, tortillas, cereal, pasta and others. According to MyPlate, at least half of our grains should be whole. Wholegrain foods contain needed nutrients and fiber. People sometimes are resistant to wholegrain because of texture or taste. You can substitute whole wheat, which has had some processing but not as much as white breads and flour.
The amount of grains each person needs depends on age and varies between 3 and 8 ounce-equivalents each day.
To make shopping simple, look for the Whole Grain Stamp on products.
Most Americans are getting enough protein and are advised to choose leaner meats. Remember the rule of moderation and choose a variety of foods including seafood, beans, peas, nuts, poultry and eggs. Grilling, broiling, poaching or roasting are cooking methods that do not add extra fat into the meal.
The amount of protein each person needs depends on age and can vary between 2 and 6½ ounce-equivalents each day. If you are very physically active, you may need more.
Grocery Shopping Tips
The best way to shop is to stick to the perimeter of the grocery store, focusing on fresh, whole ingredients. Here, you might see the word organic a lot, and it does not mean what you might think.
Organic refers to how something is grown, processed or butchered. A food product can be labeled organic but may not have any nutritional value at all. In short - it means nothing bad has been added to it. It doesn't have to mean anything good is in it. Generally, if you shop for organic fruits and vegetables, you will avoid pesticides and residues.
Another tip for produce shopping is to stay up to date on the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen. These are lists created and updated by the Environmental Working Group to let consumers know what produce should be purchased organic and what is safe either way.
The Dirty Dozen (2022)
The Clean Fifteen (2020)
Frozen Sweet Peas
Honey Dew Melon
Check for updates and a downloadable guide here.
You can also check the label sticker on your produce. These labels are called PLU (price look-up) codes and have been used in supermarkets since 1990. The cashier can type in these codes to ring you up.
A 5-digit code that begins with a 9 means “organic.”
A 5-digit number code that begins with an 8 means “genetically modified.”
A 4-digit number code that begins with a 4 means “conventional.” (Synthetic chemicals were used – fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones; could also be GMO.)
A 4-digit number code that begins with a 3 means “irradiated.” (Ionizing radiation was used to kill or deactivate bacteria, molds, insects or other food-borne organisms, and to slow plant ripening.)
At plucodes.com, the following is stated:
The 4-digit codes are for conventionally grown produce. 5-digit codes using the 3000 and 4000 series are used to identify organic produce. The prefix of '9' would be placed in front of the 4-digit conventionally grown code for organic produce. In the future, the IFPS will begin assigning IFPS PLU codes utilizing the 83000 and 84000 series; however, unlike the “9”, the leading digit “8” will have no significance. IFPS PLU codes are assigned by the IFPS (International Federation for Produce Standards) after rigorous review at both the national and international levels.
Meg Grimm writes biblical studies and research articles that help set women free from impractical standards of the world. She strives to unveil true beauty and sensible body care principles from a godly perspective.
Nix, Staci. Williams' Basic Nutrition & Diet Therapy (13th Edition). Mosby Elsevier, St. Louis, Missouri: 2009. Print.
Interview with Andrea Drew, January 26, 2020.
Choose My Plate, US Dept. of Agriculture. Accessed 26 Feb 2020 through www.myplate.gov
Environmental Working Group. Accessed 26 Feb 2020 through https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/index.php#.WksTGFWnGHs