Eat Healthfully during National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month

ADC dietitian Neelu Kohli, RD visited the KXAN’s Erin Cargile and discussed Nutrition Guidelines and how to eat healthfully everyday.

Cut down on sugar!

According to Ms. Kohli the biggest change is in the amount of sugar Americans consume.   A large muffin may contain 11 teaspoons or a typical 12 ounce tea or soda which has 8 or more teaspoons per can.  The USDA recommends that sugars comprise less than 10% of your daily caloric intake.  The reason for the restriction is that sugar is an “empty” calorie which contributes to weight gain and adult onset diabetes.

Neelu recommends flavored waters with fresh fruit and if you need sweetener, using Stevia or other natural low-calorie sweeteners.  She recommends that consumers pay attention to labels when shopping and if you see sugar in the top 3 ingredients to look for something else. Sugars hide in many foods like yogurt, canned fruit, breads and other “healthy” grocery items.   Note the recommendation does not include naturally occurring sugars like those in fruit or milk.

Limit Saturated Fats

Cut back on using butter, whole milk or dairy and cuts of meat not labelled “lean”.   Neelu suggests trying olive oil in place of butter.  She also suggests trying meatless options such as beans, legumes and tofu for protein.  Again, the recommendation is that 10% or less of your calories should come from saturated or “trans” fats.

Fiber Up!

When selecting grains make sure to look for whole wheat as the top ingredient.   Make sure you receive at least 2 grams of fiber per slice of bread.  Many other foods including pears, avocados, almonds, barley and (air-popped) popcorn are good sources of fiber as well.

Eating Out

Eating out can be tough, but make a few easy swaps and keep on track for healthy eating.   Neelu recommends getting a salad instead of fries and to make sure at least half your plate is made up of vegetables.   Many restaurants offered steamed or grilled veggies instead of higher calorie options.

For more information watch the full interview above or check out the resources below.