NUTRITION & HEALTH
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Damaris Karanja, MA
Nutrition & Health Education Specialist
Summer is a great time to enjoy an abundance of fresh, tasty produce at its peak. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories, so substituting them for high-calorie foods can reduce calories.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Compared to people who eat only small amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who eat more generous amounts as part of a healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.”
Here are some simple ways to cut calories and eat more fruits and vegetables:
·Give oatmeal a quick hit of fruit by tossing in frozen blueberries or raspberries.
·Substitute spinach, onions, or mushrooms for an egg or half of the cheese in your omelet. This adds volume and flavor to the dish with fewer calories.
·Cut back on the cereal in your bowl to make room for cut-up bananas, peaches, or strawberries. You can still eat a full bowl, but with fewer calories.
· Substitute vegetables for 2 ounces of cheese and 2 ounces of meat in your sandwich, wrap, or burrito. The new version will fill you up with fewer calories.
· Add a cup of chopped vegetables in place of 2 ounces of meat or 1 cup of noodles in your favorite broth-based soup. This fills you up and you won't miss the extra calories.
·Serve lean meat strips in a main dish salad with veggies and/or fruit.
· Add 1 cup of chopped vegetables and remove 1 cup of the rice or pasta in your favorite dish. The dish with the vegetables will have fewer calories than the original.
· Vegetables, fruit, and whole grains should take up the largest portion of your dinner plate. If they do not, replace some meat, cheese, white pasta, or rice with your favorite
vegetable. This will reduce total calories in your meal without reducing the amount of food you eat. Remember to use a normal- or small-size plate — not a platter. The
number of calories you eat counts, even if a good proportion of them come from fruits and vegetables.
Most healthy eating plans allow for one or two small snacks a day.
· Make a quick parfait by layering low-fat yogurt, low-fat granola and fruit.
·Make a dip by mixing ¼ cup peanut butter, 2 tablespoons orange juice and ½ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt. Serve with fresh apples, pears, carrot or celery sticks.
·Blend a cup of small pieces of frozen fruit, ¾ cup of juice and half a cup of vanilla or other flavored yogurt for a quick smoothie.
Eat fruits and vegetables the way nature provided—or with fat-free or low-fat cooking techniques. If you haven’t been to a farmer’s market, now is the time to go.