Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Plate Full of Good Health


Here is the meeting summary from August 12, 2011.

This week in the meeting room we talked about what a healthy day really looks like by using Weight Watchers Good Health Guidelines and the USDA's MyPlate icon. It's easier than you think!

When you were a kid, your mother probably made sure that you ate three balanced meals a day. Meat, veggies, fruit — the works. But as soon as you moved out of the house, you gained a lot more than your independence. You gained the right to eat whatever you wanted.

You may have wanted to continue eating good-for-you foods. But in this fast-paced, fast-food world, where preparing a healthy meal might occasionally lose out to a quick bite, eating right can be downright hard. Fortunately, there are some great cheats out there. New dietary guidelines from the USDA, along with the Weight Watchers Good Health Guidelines, can take the guesswork out of getting a healthy, balanced diet.

The USDA's "MyPlate" icon
In June, the US Department of Agriculture replaced the food pyramid icon with the MyPlate icon. The new image (you can see it below, linking to an article with more details) is a simple prompt to fill half your plate with fruits and veggies; something that many Weight Watchers members were already doing! The icon also prompts people to eat whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy in reasonable portions. Sound familiar?

The Good Health Guidelines
By now, you're probably familiar with the Good Health Guidelines. These explain that a balanced diet consists of vitamins, minerals and macronutrients – the same qualities of food that can help you lose weight. The most nutritious foods are lower in fat and carbohydrates, and higher in fiber and protein, and should keep you satisfied longer. Read on to better understand the basics of eating right:

Fruit can be a delicious and filling replacement for sugary desserts. Plus, it's loaded with vitamins and, as long as it's fresh fruit, has 0 PointsPlus® values.

Vegetables can be enjoyed cooked or raw, just make sure to eat your five servings of fruit and vegetables each day to get the nutrients you need.

Whole-grain foods are a great source of fiber. Choose them over processed foods whenever possible.

Dairy products can help keep your bones strong by offering you a very necessary nutrient: calcium. Try to have two (low-fat or fat-free) servings each day.

Healthy oils, like olive, canola, sunflower, safflower or flaxseed, provide your body with essential fatty acids and Vitamin E.

Protein like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dried beans and soy products can really provide the staying power you need to feel satisfied longer. Go for at least one or two servings each day.

Limit added sugar and alcohol. Feel free to enjoy the occasional sweet treat or alcoholic drink, just don't overdo it. Too much can lead to excess calories – and excess calories can really add up!

Water is essential to maintain a healthy body. Aim to drink at least six glasses a day to stay hydrated.

Multiple vitamin-mineral supplements can provide any nutrients that are missing from your diet. Look for a supplement that provides no more than 100% of the Daily Value (%DV), Recommended Nutrient Intake (RDI), or Dietary Reference Intake (DRI).

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