Eat for a healthier lifestyle by following dietary guidelines

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

It is important to follow the dietary guidelines recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. These guidelines are designed to help Americans choose foods they need to support good health. They are based on the following tips:

Select a variety of foods

Choose a variety of foods from the basic food groups, while staying within calorie needs. It takes a wide variety of foods to provide all the nutrients we need to stay strong and healthy. This means choosing foods packed with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients at each meal. When eating out, balance your meal by choosing from the main food groups: meat, dairy, vegetables, fruits and grains.

Control calorie intake

Don’t eat more calories than you burn because excess calories are stored as body fat. Choose portion sizes that are right for you and balance your food intake with physical activity.

Be physically active every day

Adults need to exercise at least 30 minutes everyday. Regular physical activity helps reduce your risk of chronic disease and can help you control your weight. Children need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on most days to maintain good health and fitness.

Make healthier food choices

Select all colors of fruits and vegetables; whole grain breads and cereals, lean meat, low-fat or non-fat dairy products. Choose foods with lower trans fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. Choose and prepare foods with less salt and sugar. Select healthy snacks.

Make a commitment

Analyze your dietary intake, decide what you need to improve and start today eating for a healthier lifestyle.

For questions, contact Dianne Gatewood, extension agent, Family and Consumer Sciences, at 253-2610 (Brunswick County) or 798-7663 (New Hanover County).