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Improving your food choices
There are many small ways that you can change your eating habits so that you eat healthier foods. Consider these tips when choosing or preparing your foods.
- Fry foods with a little bit of olive oil rather than butter, margarine, or lots of vegetable oil.
- Use canola oil when baking.
- Prepare fish such as salmon or mackerel twice a week.
- Sprinkle slivered nuts or sunflower seeds on your salads instead of bacon bits.
- Eat Canadian bacon or lean ham instead of bacon.
- Try low-fat frozen yogurt instead of regular ice cream.
- Eat broiled, baked, roasted, or grilled chicken without the skin instead of fried chicken.
- Add lettuce, tomato, and other vegetables, rather than cheese, to your sandwiches.
- Eat extra lean ground beef (5% fat) instead of regular ground beef (25% fat).
- Try whole-wheat tortillas instead of regular flour tortillas.
- Try whole-wheat or multigrain bread instead of white bread.
- Try low-fat, low-sodium crackers instead of regular crackers.
- Eat water-packed rather than oil-packed tuna.
- Use mustard, catsup, or low-fat mayonnaise on your sandwiches instead of regular mayonnaise.
- Try making sandwiches with 95% to 97% fat-free lunch meats.
- Use lemon juice, herb vinegar, or reduced-calorie salad dressings on your salads.
- Choose nonhydrogenated peanut butter. You can tell that it's nonhydrogenated if there's some oil on top of the peanut butter. Hydrogenated peanut butter is all solid at room temperature.
- Eat lower-fat cookies, such as graham crackers or fig bars.
- Choose canned fruits packed in water rather than syrup.
In any restaurant:
- Ask for salad dressing, gravy, or sauce on the side and use sparingly.
- Choose main dishes that are broiled, baked, roasted, or grilled, instead of deep-fried or pan-fried.
- Don't be afraid to make special requests, such as asking that something be cooked with less fat.
When ordering a sandwich:
- Add lettuce and tomato.
- Ask for whole-wheat or rye bread.
- Choose mustard instead of mayonnaise.
At Chinese restaurants:
- Have brown rice instead white rice.
- Order a side dish of steamed broccoli.
At fast food places:
- Order smaller burgers. Skip the cheese and bacon.
- Order a grilled chicken sandwich.
- Order garden or grilled chicken salads with low-fat dressings.
- Choose water or low-fat milk instead of regular soda.
At pizza places:
- Ask for vegetable toppings, such as mushrooms or peppers, rather than meat toppings.
- Get whole-wheat crust.
- Request half the cheese.
- Eat a salad with low-fat dressing in place of a slice of pizza.
Explore other publications and websites
Aim for a Healthy Weight! — This website lets you calculate your obesity risk and provides safe and effective ways to lose or maintain weight. Menu planners, shopping tips, and a food and activity diary are included.
Dining Out (Copyright © American Heart Association) — This website links to resources to help you stay healthy when eating out. Topics include choosing a restaurant, making sense of the menu, eating fast food, talking with your server, and ordering you meal.
Nutrition: How to Make Healthier Food Choices (Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians) — This fact sheet outlines the foods to eat for a varied and nutritious diet.
Tips for Eating Healthy When Eating Out — This sheet has tips to help you order healthy foods when eating at a restaurant or fast food place.
Connect with other organizations
American Dietetic Association
Food and Nutrition Information Center, USDA
International Food Information Council Foundation
Nutrition Assistance Program, USDA
Weight-Control Information Network
Content last updated June 17, 2008.
Resources last updated June 17, 2008.
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