Build a tasty eating style

April 17, 2001

Build a tasty eating style

There are lots of different ways to eat healthfully. Americans like to prepare and eat many different foods, depending on their cultural traditions and ethnic heritage. That's wonderful - because variety is both the spice of life and a cornerstone of good nutrition.

Whatever your background, the Food Guide Pyramid can help build delicious eating habits for a lifetime of good health.

Most American families need more foods from the base of the Food Pyramid - more fruits, vegetables and grains, especially whole grains. These foods are packed with nutrients: fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals to help fight disease. So, check out the Food Guide Pyramid and use these 10 tasty tips to enjoy healthy eating morning, noon and night.

10 tasty tips

1. Build a better breakfast. Breakfast is the best way to kick-start your day, so make sure it's more than a glass of juice or a cup of coffee. Sit down to a bowl of whole-grain cereal and fruit.


2. Build a breakfast sandwich for dashboard dining. If you have to rush out the door, make breakfast-to-go. Bite into a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or wrap up a tasty combo of low-fat ham and cheese in a tortilla. Grab a box of cold, 100-percent fruit juice to drink.

3. Build a power break into your morning. Skip the doughnut at break time and take a 10-minute walk around the office or around the block. You'll feel energized for the morning - and already have a head start on your physical activity for the day.

4. Build a bountiful salad. Salad bars can be a nutritional bonus. Start with a plate of darkly colored greens, such as spinach and Romaine lettuce. Pile on brightly colored veggies - then go light on dressings and toppings.

5. Build nutrition into every snack. Make your between-meal foods count. Plan ahead so you can grab a high-octane snack when the munchies strike. Always keep fruit and cut-up veggies close by - at home, in the car and at work.

6. Build beverage breaks into your day. For peak performance, your body and brain need a constant source of refreshing fluids. Always keep a container of cold water at hand. For fitness breaks, take frequent walks to the water fountain.

7. Build mini-walks into each day. Food and fitness go hand-in-hand. Walk around the block when you go to the mailbox. Walk around the building at work. Walk around the sidelines during your kids' sports practices or games.

8. Build delicious dinners with convenience foods. Eating well is always possible - even when you are pressed for time. Enjoy salad-in-a-bag with a pizza or a microwavable pot roast.

9. Build nutrition into desserts, too. The natural sweetness of fruit makes it a perfect ending to any meal. Enjoy a piece of fresh fruit by itself. Top frozen yogurt or low-fat ice cream with sliced fruit - fresh, frozen or canned.

10. Build enjoyment into every meal and snack. Eating well is one of life's greatest pleasures - so take time to enjoy your meals and snacks. Turn off the TV and put on quiet music. Take time to savor your food and talk with your family.

For more tips on building a healthful eating style, visit the following Web sites:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Meals for You (quick solutions to mealtime dilemmas)

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> (gateway to government information on nutrition)

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Lynn F. Little is a family and consumer sciences extension educator for Maryland Cooperative Extension, Washington County. Maryland Cooperative Extension programs are open to all citizens without regard to race, color, sex, disability, age, religion or national origin.

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