1/2/2013 9:33:00 AMStudents benefit from healthier food choices
With students in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District well into cold and flu season, they should take a closer look at what they eat to fend off these bugs, said Debbie Aloshen, manager of Nursing Services.
To help in their fight to combat those winter maladies, students must eat meals that are healthier, and those that start with fruits and vegetables and include smaller portions of proteins and grains.
In building healthier meals, Aloshen urges parents and students to follow the 10-step plan of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, specifics of which can be found at www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.
Here is the plan:
1. Half your plate should be veggies and fruits: Vegetables and fruits are full of nutrients and may help to promote good health. Choose red, orange, and dark-green vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes and broccoli.
2. Add lean protein: Choose protein foods, such as lean beef and pork, chicken, turkey, beans, or tofu. Twice a week, make seafood your protein.
3. Include whole grains: Aim to make at least half your grains “whole grains.” Look for “100% whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” on the food label. Whole grains provide more nutrients, like fibers, than refined grains.
4. Don’t forget the dairy: Pair your meal with a cup of fat-fee or low-fat milk. They provide the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and calories. Don’t drink milk? Try soymilk (soy beverage) as your beverage or include fat-free or low-fat yogurt in your meal.
5. Avoid extra fat: Using heavy gravies or sauces will add fat and calories to otherwise healthy choices. For example, steamed broccoli is great, but avoid topping it with cheese sauce. Try other options, like a sprinkling of low-fat parmesan cheese or a squeeze of lemon.
6. Take your time: Savor your food. Eat slowly, and enjoy the taste and textures, and pay attention to how you feel. Be mindful. Eating very quickly may cause you to eat too much.
7. Use a smaller plate: Use a smaller plate at meals to help with portion control. That way you can finish your entire plate and feel satisfied without overeating.
8. Take control of your food: Eat at home more often so you know exactly what you are eating. If you eat out, check and compare the nutrition information. Choose healthier options such as baked instead of fried.
9. Try new foods: Keep it interesting by choosing new foods you’ve never tried before, like mango, lentils, or kale. You may find a new favorite! Trade fun and tasty recipes with friends, or find them online.
10. Satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way: Indulge in a naturally sweet dessert dish – fruit. Serve a fresh fruit cocktail or a fruit parfait made with yogurt. For a hot dessert, bake apples topped with cinnamon.