During the holidays, yummy food and tasty treats are everywhere. It is easy to let healthy eating habits slide, but holidays can still be healthy. It’s a simple truth: If you eat a nutritious, balanced diet, you will be a healthier person. To get the most out of your meals, make sure you eat foods from each of these four groups every day:
1. Low-fat dairy
The calcium and vitamin D that you get from dairy products are critical nutrients. Many women are deficient in calcium, which is important for healthy teeth and bones. And a lack of vitamin D, also needed for bone health, is common in low-sun climates like Western Washington’s.
Good low-fat dairy options include fat-free or 1 percent milk, low-fat yogurt, part-skim cheese and low-fat cottage cheese.
2. Whole grains
Whole grains are champions when it comes to adding fiber to your diet. They provide other nutrients you need, like calcium and iron, and are naturally low in fat.
Some whole-grain options include popcorn, 100 percent whole-wheat bread, quinoa, steel cut or rolled oats, brown rice, and buckwheat flour.
3. Lean proteins
Protein is important to help you build and repair muscle, feel full and satisfied longer, and keep your blood sugar even. About 6 ounces total each day is sufficient for most people who are also consuming enough low-fat dairy.
Good choices include boneless, skinless chicken breast, beans, nuts and seeds, and tofu or other vegetarian meat substitutes.
4. Lots of colorful produce
Loaded with nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants, fruits and vegetables are powerhouses of nutrition.
They also contain healthy fiber, are almost universally low in calories and are often portable, making them great on-the-go snack foods. To get the most benefit, though, you want to vary the kinds—and the colors—you eat.
Looking for a little help to get a jump-start on healthier eating? Get recipes for mandarin orange salad, wild rice and quinoa stuffing, light pumpkin pie and more at multicare.org/news/topic:recipes.