Eating Right for a Long and Healthy Life: Eating for Life –
Eat for Life – Part Two: Eating Out, Meal Planning and Mealtime Strategies and Preparation Tips
Eat for life? Eat to improve your chances long and healthy life? Yes, you can. This is part two of a two part
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One. Part two of Eat Right For Life covers food preparation tips for healthier eating, help with
choices when eating out, and effective mealtime strategies.
Use small amounts of fat and fatty foods. There are lots of ways to use less fat. For example, when you saute
or stir-fry, use only 1/2 teaspoon of fat per serving. When you use margarine, mayonnaise, or salad dressing,
use half as much as usual. And, decrease portion sizes of other high fat foods—rich desserts, untrimmed
and fatty types of meat, poultry with skin, and fried foods, especially breaded foods.
Use less saturated fat. While reducing your total fat intake, substitute unsaturated fat and oils for saturated
fat in food preparation. For example, instead of butter, use margarine or vegetable oil. One teaspoon of
butter can be replaced with equal portions (or less) of margarine or 3/4 teaspoon of vegetable oil in many
recipes without affecting the quality.
Saturated fat may be reduced even more if you want to experiment with recipes. Poultry without skin and fish
are good choices because they are often lower in fat and saturated fat than many meats.
Use low-fat alternatives. Substitute 1 percent, skim, or reconstituted nonfat dry milk for whole milk. Use
low-fat yogurt, buttermilk, or evaporated skim milk in place of cream or sour cream. Try reduced-calorie
mayonnaise and salad dressing in place of regular.
Choose lean meat. When you buy meat, choose lean cuts such as beef round, pork tenderloin, and loin lamb chops.
Be sure to trim all visible fat from meat and poultry and remove poultry skin.
Use low-fat cooking methods. Bake, steam, broil, microwave, or boil foods rafter than frying. Skim fat from
soups and gravies.
Increase fiber. Choose whole grain breads and cereals. Substitute whole grain flour for white flour. Eat vegetables
and fruits more often and have generous servings. Whenever possible, eat the edible fiber-rich skin as well
as the rest of the vegetable or fruit.
Use herbs, spices, and other flavorings. For a different way to add flavor to meals, try lemon juice, basil,
chives, allspice, onion, and garlic in place of fats and sodium. Try new recipes that use less fat or sodium-containing
ingredients, and adjust favorite recipes to reduce fat and sodium.
Choose the restaurant carefully. Are there low-fat as well as high-fiber selections on the menu? Is there
a salad bar? How are the meat, chicken, and fish dishes cooked? Can you have menu items broiled or baked
without added fat instead of fried? These are important things to know before you enter a restaurant—fast
food or otherwise.
Seafood restaurants usually offer broiled, baked, or poached fish, and you can often request butter and sauces
on the side. Many steak houses offer small steaks and have salad bars.
Try ethnic cuisines. Italian and Asian restaurants often feature low-fat dishes. though you must be selective
and alert to portion size. Try a small serving of pasta or fish in a tomato sauce at an Italian restaurant.
Many Chinese, Japanese, and Thai dishes include plenty of steamed vegetables and a high proportion of vegetables
Steamed rice, steamed noodle dishes, and vegetarian dishes are good choices too. Ask that the chef cook your
food without soy sauce or salt to decrease sodium. Some Latin American restaurants feature a variety of fish
and chicken dishes that are low in fat. Make sure you get what you want here are just a few things you can
do to make sure you’re in control when you eat out.
Ask how dishes are cooked. Don’t hesitate to request that one food be substituted for another. Order a green
salad or baked potato in place of french fries or order fruit, fruit ice, or sherbet instead of ice cream.
Request sauces and salad dressings on the side and use only a small amount.
Ask that butter not be sent to the table with your rolls. If you’re not very hungry, order two low-fat appetizers
rather than an entire meal, split a menu item with a friend, get a doggie-bag to take half of your meal home,
or order a half-size portion. When you have finished eating, have the waiter clear the dishes away so that
you can avoid postmeal nibbling.
We’ve given you some basic information on fat, fiber, and sodium. And, we’ve provided some tips on decreasing
fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium; and increasing fiber. But, how do you put it all together when
it comes to breakfast, lunch, and dinner? These mealtime strategies should help.
Strategy #1—Choose fruit more often. Just a few great choices in the fruit family are: cantaloupe, grapefruit,
strawberries, oranges, bananas, pears, and apples.
Strategy #2—Choose whole-grain cereals and products more often. Examples are whole wheat or bran breads,
bagels, and cereal.
Strategy #3—Try making pancakes and waffles with whole wheat flour instead of white flour and one whole
egg and one egg white rafter than two whole eggs. For a low-fat topping with fiber, try applesauce, apple
butter and cinnamon, or fruit and low-fat plain yogurt.
Strategy #4—Fruit juice and skim milk are familiar breakfast drinks. For an extra boost in the morning,
why not try a fruit smoothie made from juice, fruit and nonfat plain yogurt blended together. Other nonfat
choices are seltzer water, coffee, and tea.
These breakfast choices are sound nutrition choices because they are not only low in fat and cholesterol but
also provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Some foods that you should choose less often are sausage, bacon,
butter, whole milk and cream (including commercial nondairy creamer). These foods are high in saturated fat
Strategy #1—Try a fiber-rich bean, split pea, vegetable, or minestrone soup. Use commercially canned
and frozen soups and cream soups less often—they can be high in sodium and fat. If you make your own
soup, use broth or skim milk to keep the fat content low.
Strategy #2—Have a bean salad or mixed greens with plenty of vegetables. For fiber include some vegetables
like—carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and kidney or garbanzo beans. For a low-fat dressing, try lemon
juice or a reduced-calorie dressing. If you use regular dressing, use only a very small amount.
Strategy #3—Try sandwiches made with water-packed tuna, sliced chicken, turkey, lean meat, or low-fat
cheese, and use whole-grain bread or pita bread. To decrease fat, use reduced-calorie mayonnaise, or just
a small amount of regular mayonnaise, or use mustard. Mustard contains no fat.
Strategy #4—For dessert, have fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt, or a frozen fruit bar.
Strategy #5—Fruit juice and skim milk are good beverage choices. Club soda with a twist of lemon or
lime, hot or iced tea with lemon, or coffee without cream are refreshing drinks.
At lunch, try to eat these foods less often: processed luncheon meats, fried meat, chicken, or fish; creamy
salads, french fries and chips, richer creamy desserts, high-fat baked goods, and high-fat cheeses such as
Swiss, cheddar, American, and Brie.
Strategy #1—Eat a variety of vegetables. To increase variety, try some that might be new to you, such
as those from the cabbage family (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage), dark-green leafy
vegetables (spinach and kale), and yellow-orange vegetables (winter squash and sweet potatoes).
For old favorites, like peas and green beans, skip the butter and sprinkle with lemon juice or herbs. Or,
how about a baked potato, with the skin, and topped with low-fat yogurt and chives, tomato salsa, or a small
amount of low-fat cheese?
Strategy #2—Try whole wheat pasta and casseroles made with brown rice, bulgur, and other grains. If
you are careful with preparation, these dishes can be excellent sources of fiber and low in fat. For example,
when milk and eggs are ingredients in a recipe, try using 1 percent or skim milk, reduce the number of egg
yolks and replace with egg whites. Here are some ideas for grain-based dishes:
- Whole wheat spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce;
- Whole wheat macaroni and chickpea stew in tomato sauce;
- Tuna noodle casserole, using water-packed tuna (or rinsed, oil-packed tuna), skim milk, and fresh mushrooms
or sliced water chestnuts;
- Turkey, broccoli and brown rice casserole using skim milk and egg whites;
- Eggplant lasagna, made with broiled eggplant and part-skim mozzarella or ricotta cheese.
Strategy #3—Substitute whole-grain breads and rolls for white bread.
Strategy #4—Choose main dishes that call for fish, chicken, turkey or lean meat. Don’t forget to remove
the skin and visible fat from poultry and trim the fat from meat. Some good low-fat choices are:
- Red snapper stew;
- Flounder or sole florentine (make the cream sauce with skim milk);
- Salmon loaf (use skim milk, rolled oats, and egg whites);
- Baked white fish with lemon and fennel;
- Chicken cacciatore Italian-style (decrease the oil in the recipe);
- Chicken curry served over steamed wild rice (choose a recipe that requires little or no fat; “saute” the
onions in chicken broth instead of butter);
- Light beef stroganoff with well-trimmed beef round steak and buttermilk served over noodles;
- Oriental pork made with lean pork loin, green peppers and pineapple chunks served over rice.
Strategy #5—Choose desserts that give you fiber but little fat such as:
- Baked apples or bananas, sprinkled with cinnamon;
- Fresh fruit cup;
- Brown bread or rice pudding made with skim milk;
- Oatmeal cookies (made with margarine or vegetable oil; add raisins).
For many, the end of the workday, represents a time to relax, and dinner can be a light meal and an opportunity
to decrease fat and cholesterol.
Strategy #1—Try a raw vegetable platter made with a variety of vegetables. Include some good fiber choices:
carrots, snow peas, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans.
Strategy #2—Make sauces and dips with nonfat plain yogurt as the base.
Strategy #3—Eat more fruit. Oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, apples, pears, bananas, strawberries and cantaloupe
are all good fiber sources. Make a big fruit salad and keep it on hand for snacks.
Strategy #4—Plain, air-popped popcorn is a great low-fat snack with fiber. Watch out! Some prepackaged
microwave popcorn has fat added. Remember to go easy on the salt or use other seasonings.
Strategy #5—Instead of chips, try one of these low-fat alternatives that provide fiber: toasted shredded
wheat Squares sprinkled with a small amount of grated Parmesan cheese, whole-grain English muffins, or toasted
plain corn tortillas.
Strategy #6—When you are thirsty, try water, skim milk, juice, or club soda with a twist of lime or
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute are committed to promoting
good health and reducing the loss of life from heart disease and cancer. You can help. By using the ideas
in this article, trying recipes that have been modified to decrease fat and sodium and increase fiber, and
planning menus that are high in fiber and low in fat, especially saturated fat, you may reduce the risk of
these diseases for yourself and for those you love.
So Eat Well, Eat Healthy And Eat For Life!
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