The Times and Democrat features daily advice on how to be healthy. We offer special weekly pages on health and better living. Eating healthy – and well – is the focus of Wednesday’s Taste package and often the Thursday Better page.
At least one reader, Audrey Gerlach of Orangeburg, decided to let us know that on at least one occasion we failed to promote healthy eating.
Here’s her letter to the editor:
“Big Howdie – no wonder we are a nation of fatties. Check the recipe for mashed potatoes in The T&D Thursday, October 5, 2017 paper.
“This is evidently sponsored by Better Homes & Gardens (the recipe for Basic Mashed Potatoes is from Slow Cooker, a Better Homes & Gardens publication). The recipe uses not only potatoes but broth, butter, cream cheese, milk – only one of them would make a satisfying dish.
“Come on cooks. Let’s be reasonable with the amounts and kinds of ingredients that are used in preparing foods.
“I was appalled with this recipe.”
Recognizing that Americans are as a whole an overweight populace and “we are what we eat,” it’s hard to argue with Mrs. Gerlach.
So we won’t, instead looking for a way to counter the offending food by offering the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Eight Healthy Eating Goals:
• Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Choose red, orange, and dark-green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, along with other vegetables for your meals. Add fruit to meals as part of main or side dishes or as dessert. The more colorful you make your plate, the more likely you are to get the vitamins, minerals and fiber your body needs to be healthy.
• Make half the grains you eat whole grains: An easy way to eat more whole grains is to switch from a refined-grain food to a whole-grain food. For example, eat whole-wheat bread instead of white bread. Read the ingredients list and choose products that list a whole-grain ingredients first. Look for things like: "whole wheat," "brown rice," "bulgur," "buckwheat," "oatmeal," "rolled oats," quinoa" or "wild rice."
• Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1 percent) milk: Both have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but fewer calories and less saturated fat.
• Choose a variety of lean protein foods: Meat, poultry, seafood, dry beans or peas, eggs, nuts and seeds are considered part of the protein foods group. Select leaner cuts of ground beef (where the label says 90 percent lean or higher), turkey breast or chicken breast.
• Compare sodium in foods: Use the Nutrition Facts label to choose lower sodium versions of foods like soup, bread and frozen meals. Select canned foods labeled "low sodium," "reduced sodium," or "no salt added."
• Drink water instead of sugary drinks: Cut calories by drinking water or unsweetened beverages. Soda, energy drinks and sports drinks are a major source of added sugar and calories in American diets. Try adding a slice of lemon, lime, or watermelon or a splash of 100 percent juice to your glass of water if you want some flavor.
• Eat some seafood: Seafood includes fish (such as salmon, tuna, and trout) and shellfish (such as crab, mussels, and oysters). Seafood has protein, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids (heart-healthy fat). Adults should try to eat at least eight ounces a week of a variety of seafood. Children can eat smaller amounts of seafood too.
• Cut back on solid fats: Eat fewer foods that contain solid fats. The major sources for Americans are cakes, cookies and other desserts (often made with butter, margarine or shortening); pizza; processed and fatty meats (e.g., sausages, hot dogs, bacon, ribs); and ice cream.
And don’t think everything to do with healthy eating has to be accomplished at once.
As HHS concludes: “Small changes can make a big difference to your health. Try incorporating at least six of the eight goals into your diet. Commit to incorporating one new healthy eating goal each week over the next six weeks.”