Make A Nutrition Resolution

December 18 00:00 2001 Print This Article

Each January, tradition dictates that you make a resolution to do something different or better in the new year. For many people, that resolution involves improving their health and appearance by eating better.

"Doctors and dietitians agree the best way to improve your diet for the long haul is to make small, specific changes," says Rebecca Mullis, R.D., Ph.D., a member of the American Heart Association's nutrition committee and head of the University of Georgia's Food and Nutrition Department. "Fad diets are simply quick fixes and some can actually hurt you in the long run. Remember the food pyramid you learned in grade school? Believe it or not, this is still a good guide for your diet."

The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests eating a wide variety of foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol to help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke-the number one and three killers in this country. However, finding foods that are heart healthy can be confusing amid all the product claims on grocery store shelves.

"The American Heart Association developed its heart-check mark to help consumers quickly and reliably find foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Shoppers can be assured that every product bearing its familiar red heart with the white checkmark meets its nutritional criteria and can be part of a heart healthy meal plan," says Dr. Mullis.

In addition to looking for AHA's heart-check mark, Dr. Mullis suggests that shoppers consider the following tips in order to fulfill any "nutrition resolutions":

  • Fill your shopping cart with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are naturally low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Consider fruit that is frozen or canned in its own juice and low-salt canned and frozen vegetables to supplement what is available in the produce department. Look for varieties without added butter or other high-fat sauces;

  • Read labels to find whole grain products including oatmeal, rice and whole grain breads;

  • Include low-fat or no-fat dairy products on a daily basis. Read labels to determine fat content;

  • Choose lower-fat protein sources such as skinless poultry, fish, legumes and lean meat. Limit the amount to four ounces of meat or poultry in a meal-about the size of a deck of cards (no more than six ounces a day total);

  • Substitute low-fat, low-cholesterol snacks for traditional high-fat, empty-calorie snacks. Try baked tortilla chips and salsa or fruit and low-fat yogurt dip; and

  • To lose weight, make sure the amount of calories you eat is less than the number you burn each day. Getting physically active for 30 minutes each day can help you use more calories, lose weight and build heart health long-term.

To learn more about reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke through nutrition, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 for your free copy of the "Shop Smart with Heart" brochure.

Source: NAPS

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