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Health & Spirit

Help to Keep those Resolutions

Charlyn Fargo on

There is a terrific new Website on the USDA's My Plate site. It's designed to help families eat healthier and for all of us to turn January's resolutions into real solutions for healthy eating all throughout the year. It's called MyPlate, My Wins and includes videos of families as well as tips. Each week a different video focuses on an area of healthy eating -- beverages, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

"As Americans begin thinking about setting goals for the New Year, MyPlate, MyWins is the place to start," said Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. "With the new resources available on the MyPlate, MyWins webpages, Americans can set small, attainable, healthy eating solutions to incorporate into their lifestyle now and into the future."

Every January, we seem overloaded with information about New Year's resolutions -- how to lose weight, get active, be less stressed. While starting with the best intentions, many people set unrealistic resolutions and incorporate goals that are difficult to maintain. Starting with small steps and celebrating milestones along the way are shown to be more beneficial strategies in keeping resolutions.

The site offers small, practical changes that add up to a healthy lifestyle over time. These changes can be incorporated into a lifestyle to maintain healthy eating based on the five food groups of MyPlate. MyPlate, MyWins encourages consumers to find and celebrate their wins and their real solutions. Since everyone has different eating habits, MyPlate, MyWins helps individuals create their own, personalized nutrition goals and solutions through videos of real families. These short, animated videos demonstrate simple changes Americans can make to their typical meals to decrease sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars. Each video has a different theme including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and beverages.

"Making a small change, for example, switching from two slices of pepperoni pizza for lunch to one slice of veggie pizza, a salad, and an apple decreases sodium and saturated fat intake, while adding items from other food groups," said Angie Tagtow, Executive Directors of USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. "The videos demonstrate to Americans that small, healthy changes, or switches, during meal and snack times can add up over time and improve your eating style."

Q and A

Q: How healthy is canola oil in comparison to other oils and what are the ingredients?

A: Canola oil, which is extracted from the crushed seeds of the canola plant (developed using traditional plant breeding), is a relatively inexpensive vegetable oil whose nutritional qualities are often overlooked. All vegetable oils are made entirely of fat, but each type has a different blend of polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fat. Canola oil is predominantly comprised of monounsaturated fat with a low amount of saturated fat - even lower than most other cooking oils. Monounsaturated fat, when used to replace saturated fat in your dietary pattern, is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Perhaps most noteworthy, compared to other common oils, such as olive and peanut, canola oil has one of the highest levels of alpha-linolenic acid, a heart-protective omega-3 polyunsaturated fat. From a caloric standpoint, all vegetable oils are relatively equal, providing about 120 calories per tablespoon. Both canola oil and soybean oil are good, versatile choices and have a mild flavor. Use them in salad dressings and marinades, as well as for cooking and baking. -- Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter.

RECIPE

This is the season for winter soups and hearty stews. Here's a recipe from Eating Well magazine to take the chill out of winter.

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