recipes by Mary Hartley, RD, MPH
Director of Nutrition, Caloriecount.com
It's no secret that the American diet is too high in calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium, and too low in high-fiber foods. But why should we care? Consider this - the top three leading causes of death in the U.S. (heart disease, cancer and stroke), as well as obesity, are associated with this unhealthy dietary pattern.
It’s sometimes hard to put healthy eating habits into action, and this is because consumers don't have the knowledge necessary to make effective changes. There is a perception that a healthy diet is expensive, time-consuming and unpleasant. But actively changing one's diet can be energizing depending on how it's approached. For instance, one-third of Americans decide what to eat for dinner at the last minute, and last-minute meals are often less nutritious. How easy would it be to plan ahead?
When doing so, keep these guidelines in mind:
• Load up on vegetables and fruit 2 – 3 times per day
• Consume little, if any, animal fat
• Eat beans, lentils and whole grains at least once a day
• Eat nuts, olive oil and fatty fish every day
• Cook with low fat ingredients and methods
Additionally, find healthy cooking options at Caloriecount.com, a website offering free weight management tools, social support and nutritional info to assist with reaching diet goals. The site's online Recipe Browser contains more than 100,000 healthy recipes to choose from, including these options: