As the country celebrates American Heart Association’s National Eating Healthy Day, we wanted to offer you a few tips from Sally Wong, PhD, RD, CDN, Registered Dietitian and Assistant Professor of CUNY School of Public Health, to keep in mind when choosing your delivery options!
What is a healthful diet?
The general healthful diet is composed of foods low in fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar and high in dietary fiber. This diet emphasizes protein sources other than red meat and includes low-fat or fat-free dairy products, whole grains, and at least 5 servings per day of fresh fruits and vegetables. People often think of healthy eating as an all or nothing proposition, but a key foundation for any healthy diet is moderation.
What exactly does moderation mean?
For most of us, moderation or balance means eating less than we do now. More specifically, it means eating far less of the unhealthy stuff (i.e. refined sugar, saturated fat) and more of the healthy stuff (fresh fruit and vegetables). The good news is you can still eat the foods you love! Eating bacon for breakfast once a week, for example, could be considered moderation if you follow it with a healthy lunch and dinner. If you eat 100 calories of chocolate one afternoon, balance it out by deducting 100 calories from your evening meal.
But I have to have my chocolate!
Try not to think of certain foods as “off-limits.” When you ban certain foods or food groups, it is natural to want those foods more, and then feel like a failure if you give in to temptation. If you are drawn towards sweet, salty, or unhealthy foods, start by reducing portion sizes and not eating them as often. Later you may find yourself craving them less or thinking of them as only occasional indulgences.
Lastly, think smaller portions. When ordering delivery, choose a starter instead of an entrée, share your entrée with a friend, and don’t order anything supersized. You can also use smaller plates at home, portion your delivery food out and save the rest for another time. If you don’t feel satisfied at the end of a meal, try adding more leafy green vegetables, like sautéed spinach. Visual cues can help with portion sizes–your serving of meat, fish, or chicken should be the size of a deck of cards, a slice of bread should be the size of a CD case, and half a cup of mashed potato, rice, or pasta is about the size of a traditional light bulb.