a healthy diet plan

The healthy diet plan outlined here can help get you a better understanding of the foods you should be eating and help you plan delicious and nutritious meals.

This healthy diet plan follows The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) recommendations for a woman in her mid-fifty's who is not active. Your needs may be a little higher or lower depending on your age, physical activity, height and weight, and whether you want to lose or gain or stay at your present weight.

The healthy diet plan outlined below is divided into the 5 food groups. Make your choices from each food group in the amounts suggested to help you plan your meals. You can divide them into 3, 4 or 5 meals a day, depending on your personal needs, habits or schedule.

Don't forget to include fats and oils , which are also essential for a healthy diet.


Grains - 5 ounces a day 1 oz equivalents:

  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup brown rice
  • 3 cups popcorn
  • 1 slice whole wheat bread
  • 1 cup whole wheat cereal
  • ½ cup quinoa

Examples of grains: breads, cereal, rice, pasta, corn, barley, oats, wheat, rye, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, spelt

Tips:

  • At least half your grain intake should be whole grains
  • Mix different grains together for added variety




Vegetables - 2 cups a day 1 cup equivalents:

  • 2 cups of uncooked leafy vegetables (lettuce, spinach)
  • 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables

Examples - Vegetables can be divided into a number of groups:

  • Dark green vegetables – broccoli, collard greens, kale, romaine lettuce, spinach
  • Red/orange vegetables – squash, carrots, pumpkin, peppers. yams, tomatoes
  • Starchy vegetables – potatoes, corn peas, lima beans
  • Beans and peas – considered as both vegetable and protein foods
  • Other vegetables- cauliflower, green beans, cucumbers, cabbage, brussels sprouts, avocado, beets, asparagus, onions, zucchini, celery okra, turnips, eggplant

Tips:

  • Eat a variety of vegetables and a variety of colors.
  • Variety provides you with more nutrients.
  • Eat fresh vegetables in season and buy frozen and canned for added variety.
  • Add a fresh green salad to your dinner – it aids digestion.



Fruits - 1½ cups a day 1/2 cup equivalents:

  • ½ cup cut up fruit
  • 1 small apple
  • ¼ cup dried fruit

Examples: apples , bananas, apricots, berries, cherries, citrus fruits, kiwi, mangoes, melons, peaches, pears, papaya, pineapple, plums, dried fruits (without additives),100% fruit juices

Tips:

  • Keep fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits on hand.
  • Select canned fruits and juices that are 100% fruit without added sugar.
  • Eat a variety of fruits



Dairy* - 3 cups low-fat or fat-free a day 1 cup equivalents:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1½ ounces hard cheese
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup soy milk

Examples: fat-free, low fat, or reduced fat milk, yogurt, hard natural cheeses, ricotta, cottage cheese, ice milk.

Tips*:

If you prefer to stay away from dairy products, there are many other foods that provide calcium . Excellent sources for calcium include canned sardines, mackerel, or salmon eaten with bones, soy products, dark green leafy vegetables, black strap molasses, sesame butter (tehini), sea vegetables, almonds



Proteins - 5 ounces a day 1 ounce equivalents:

  • 1 ounce lean beef, pork, chicken, or turkey
  • 1 ounce seafood
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup cooked beans, chickpeas, lentils , baked beans
  • 2 tablespoons humus
  • 12 almonds
  • 1 Tablespoon peanut butter

Tips:

  • Use the leanest cuts of meat, remove fatty parts such as skin from chicken
  • Avoid frying

Examples:

  • Meats - lean beef, pork, lamb, veal, chicken, turkey
  • Beans and peas – black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, white beans, soy beans
  • Nuts and seeds – almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
  • Seafood – flounder, haddock, halibut mackerel, salmon bass, snapper, trout, shellfish such as shrimps, clams, lobster, scallops, calamari, canned fish such as tuna, salmon, sardines and anchovies
  • Eggs



How much should you eat?

The exact amount you should eat depends on how active you are. If you eat more than you burn off you will gain weight and vice versa.

Following the serving suggestions in the healthy diet plan above will equal approximately 1600 calories. If you are physically active your needs will range from approximately 1800 to 2200 calories a day.

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