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Good News Guidelines: For Healthy Eating & Active Living

 
Good news - the same eating and activity habits that will protect your overall health will also enable you to reach or maintain a healthy weight. Following these simple guidelines will help you achieve both goals at the same time.

Pyramid Power

The Food Guide Pyramid can help you plan a diet that is low in fat and high in carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables.

  • Foods at the base of the pyramid-breads, cereals, rice and pasta, vegetables and fruits - form the foundation.
  • To a good foundation, add moderate portions of dairy foods, such as low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese, and protein choices, such as meat, poultry, fish, dried beans, eggs and nuts.
  • Eat sparingly from the top of the pyramid - fats and sweets.
  • Include plenty of calcium - 800 -1200 mg for adult women and more for women who are pregnant or nursing.

Nutrition Basics

  • Choose foods with a variety of colors and textures at each meal.
  • Think of your plate as a pie. Three-quarters of the pie should be made up of grains, vegetables and fruits. One quarter of other foods such as lower-fat dairy products, lean meats, poultry, fish or eggs.
  • Eat at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruits each day.

Move!


Increasing your physical activity doesn't necessarily mean strenuous exercise, it just means moving more.

  • Start by adding extra steps to what you normally do - walk one more block or window shop around the mall before entering a store.
  • Replace periods of inactivity with activity - stand up and walk in place during a TV commercial or choose stairs whenever you can.
  • Reconsider how good it feels to be active. Walk more frequently, play the radio and dance, garden, ride a bike, swim or whatever you enjoy doing regularly. Engage in an activity at least 3 times a week.

Think positive

Attitude plays a big part in taking positive steps to live more healthfully. Keep in mind:

  • There are no good or bad foods, simply some that are best eaten frequently and others occasionally or in moderation.
  • Shop smart and stock up on lower-fat foods. Avoid buying high fat, high calorie temptations. Plan your daily meals and then stick to your plan.
  • If you eat more high-fat foods than you plan one day, it doesn't mean that you have failed. The key is to aim for a balance over the long term by being more active or making lower-fat food choices the next day.
  • Give yourself credit everyday for even the smallest step you take to be healthy and improve your quality of life.

Seek Support

If changing your nutrition and activity habits seems overwhelming, remember you don't have to do it alone.

  • Encourage family members and friends to embrace a healthy lifestyle.
  • Consider joining a group that can support and advise you.
  • Find people with similar goals to make getting fit and maintaining a healthy weight fun.

Eating Light and Healthy

At one time or another, half the women and a quarter of the men in this country have tried to lose weight. There are no shortcuts. The secret to weight loss, is consuming less calories than you burn. The way to accomplish this is by eating fewer calories and increasing activity.

The only way to step off the diet treadmill is to find a weight-loss program that helps you lose weight slowly and steadily; one that trains you to adopt a healthy eating plan so simple it becomes a way of life. With that in mind, here is an introductory guide to the last diet you may ever need.

Establish Good Habits


Start Strong. People who eat a healthy breakfast generally feel less hungry throughout the day.

Curb Your Appetite. Drink a glass of water or some tea just before a meal.

Stop Counting Calories. The best diet foods are complex carbohydrates. Low in fat, fast-burning and rich in vitamins and minerals, they are also high in fiber, which means you can feel full on fewer calories. Eat whole-grain cereals, rice, breads, pasta, beans, nuts and some types of fruits and vegetables.

Eat What You Like. Nothing makes a diet more difficult than having to eat rice cakes when you can't stand them. A variety of foods keeps you interested, not bored with the same few foods.

Sit down. Train yourself to eat in one place, preferably at a table. It's too easy to overeat when meals are grabbed on the run or while standing in front of the refrigerator.

Slow Down. Eat slowly enough to give your body time to release the enzymes that tell your brain when you've had all you need.

Exercise. It burns calories and suppresses the appetite and it's awfully hard to lose weight without doing it. An easy way to get started is to strap on a pedometer and go for a walk, then work on increasing your mileage from one week to the next.

Don't Give Up. Falling off your diet once or twice does not mean the effort is hopeless. Simply acknowledge that you overate and get back on the plan.

Reward Yourself. Treat yourself with a massage, a piece of gourmet chocolate or whatever, for each week that you maintain your new weight.