Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends two servings of dairy foods daily for people eating fewer than 1,600 calories or three servings for people eating more calories than that. Whole grains are a good source of B vitamins, Vitamin E, magnesium, iron and fiber, and they make a better choice than processed grains. Along with being low-fat, fruit is also low in sodium and offers natural vitamins, minerals and plant phytochemicals. Remember the importance of learning to read and understand the nutritional information on food labels.
When cooking, there are a number of ways you can reduce fat by making healthy substitutions.
When marinating, skip the fat and use herbs, spices, and acid such as lemon juice or vinegar instead. The USDA My Plate recommends eating a diet that contains 30 percent of its calories or less from fat. While making sure you keep the overall fat percentage down is essential, eating low-fat isn't going to help much for weight control if you eat giant serving sizes. You may not expect cheese quesadillas to make a list of low-calorie snacks, but try this recipe: sprinkle an ounce of grated low-fat cheddar cheese over a corn tortilla. When the munchies strike while you're on the go, there are few things more convenient than nuts. Apples are still one of the healthiest snacks around, and there are plenty of ways to put a twist on this old standby. A fruit smoothie offers a scrumptious way to get in some extra calcium and antioxidants during your day.
When you're craving a satisfying crunch, dip eight large baby carrots into 2 tablespoons of hummus. Microwave a baked potato for an easy snack that's loaded with vitamin C, not with calories.
Nonfat frozen yogurt is a healthy alternative to ice cream, and it's easy to find varieties with no added sugar. Don't let the high fat content in pistachios scare you off -- most of the fat is unsaturated or "good" fat.
If you're looking for a creative way to add more fruit to your diet, try frozen banana pops.
Tomato soup is full of disease-fighting nutrients, but contains as little as 74 calories per cup, no cholesterol, and less than 1 gram of saturated fat.
For a savory snack under 60 calories, spread 1 tablespoon of low-fat cream cheese onto a slice of smoked salmon (lox) and roll it up. Don't make a habit of snacking on 100-calorie packs of crackers and cookies, which are mainly made with refined flour. Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, clinical associate professor, Boston University's Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences; spokesperson, American Dietetic Association. Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, director of sports nutrition, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Low fat cooking symbol representing the concept of calorie reduced diet for people watching their weight represented by an isolated single white egg with a chef hat. Low-fat diets give increased protection against the risk of heart disease, many different cancers and other illnesses. Nails and hair are made up of mostly protein, and your body needs protein to build strong bones and muscles and for healthy skin and blood. However, eating nuts and seeds in moderation (fewer than 2 ounces per day) can be part of an overall healthy low-fat plan. The fiber will keep you feeling full between meals, and the cheese provides protein and calcium. Blake recommends enjoying baked apples – they taste like dessert but provide the same vitamins and fiber as their fresh counterparts. Half of a medium-sized baked potato has 80 calories – keep the skin, which is packed with nutrients. Try making a "FroYo" sandwich by spreading two tablespoons of nonfat frozen yogurt between two graham cracker squares. Eat 20 pistachios, and you'll only take in 80 calories and less than a gram of saturated fat.
This salmon pinwheel is high in protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, though the salt used to cure the salmon boosts the sodium content. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances.
Eating a variety of low-fat foods can also help to lower caloric intake resulting in weight loss.
However, just as with all eating and diet plans, check with your personal physician before making any significant changes to your diet. Bodies don't store protein, so foods that contain protein need to be a regular part of a healthy diet. To stay under 100 calories, cut up one slice of low-fat cheese and split it over three crackers. This snack is cholesterol-free, low in fat and sugar, and provides more than 3 g of fiber to help tide you over.
The fiber and protein will help fill you up, and the whole snack has less than a gram of saturated fat.
Pre-packaged baby carrots are convenient, and there are many varieties of hummus available.
The yogurt is a good source of protein, and the entire snack has less than half a gram of saturated fat. Drizzle on a teaspoon of honey, and the whole snack totals 84 calories. The best part is, you may feel like you're eating dessert. Spread a heaping tablespoon of salsa on top to spice it up and you will still keep it under 100 calories.
Grapes are also a terrific source of vitamin K and manganese, and contain some fiber to boot.
It's better to make your snacks work for you by delivering protein, fiber, or antioxidants. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health.
When buying canned soup, look for labels that say "low sodium" and check the calorie count.
Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site.
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