Grains and Dairy: Making Healthier Choices

When people decide to eat healthier, they can be tempted to drastically reduce or even cut out certain food groups completely, such as grains and dairy. This can make it difficult to get all the nutrients we need to maintain our health. A safer and much healthier choice would be to watch our serving sizes and choose nutrient dense options within each food group. For example, …

Whole grains can play a big part in helping us control our weight by keeping us feeling full longer. They can also reduce our risk of diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer. If you want to take advantage of those benefits, try oatmeal or another whole grain cereal for breakfast. Swap out a refined grain, such as white bread, for a sandwich made with whole grain at lunchtime. When it’s dinner time, replace a serving of white rice for a serving of brown or wild rice. Also, skip the butter on popcorn and experiment with different seasonings for a healthy whole grain snack!

Dairy products also contain important nutrients to maintain our health, such as protein, calcium, vitamin D, and more. When shopping for dairy products, choose low-fat or fat-free products. Fortified soy milk can also be a great option if you are allergic to milk, want something different, or just don’t like milk. Fortified soy milk can give us the same important nutrients as regular products but contain less calories and saturated fat. Watch the serving size on cheese and swap out high calorie sour cream with low-fat plain Greek yogurt. Smoothies mixed with fruit can be a tasty snack and will help you get your 3 daily servings of dairy.

Whether you plan to train for a marathon, or you just want to feel better, it is important not to skimp on the essential nutrients that grains and dairy provide. Instead, choosing healthier options and watching serving sizes can help keep you on track to a healthier you. For more information on healthy food choices and serving sizes, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.

Resources: ChooseMyPlate.gov

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