Balanced Approach Toward Health

Cutting vegetables

Have you ever started a diet? You may start off strong but before long are back to your old habits. Why does that happen? For many, the diet is often extreme or complicated. For others, we try to change too much all at once.

Ditch the diet mindset. Instead, try a balanced approach to food and eating. When we have a realistic approach, we can improve our health, supply our body the nutrients it needs, and be satisfied with what and how much we eat.

Start by adding one healthy habit at a time. A great place to begin is the MyPlate healthy eating food plan:

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables—think variety and make it colorful.
  • Make half your grains whole grains (e.g., whole wheat bread, oatmeal).
  • Choose low-fat and fat-free dairy products.
  • Vary your protein—poultry, seafood, meat, eggs, nuts, and beans.

Set realistic and achievable goals, and remember that if you slip up one day not to dwell on it; just move on with your health goals in mind.

For more information on Key Nutrients for health, download our Key Nutrients handout, store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/4184.

What Is the Keto Diet?

The Keto (Ketogenic) diet promotes weight loss by causing ketosis. Ketosis is when the body breaks down fat for energy. This happens every day, depending on what and how often we eat, but the keto diet increases ketosis frequency, which can lead to weight loss.

moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are restricted to 50 grams or less per day. For reference, a large apple has 25 grams, half a cup of beans 22 grams, and 1 cup pasta 45 grams. Those on a Keto diet are restricting grains, fruits, vegetables, milk, and yogurt.

Cutting board with vegetables

What’s the problem? First, the body needs carbohydrates for energy. Second, restricting carbohydrate intake to 50 grams or less can reduce the amounts of vitamins, minerals, and fiber from plant foods (i.e., fruits, vegetables, whole grains). It is not for people with issues with their pancreas, kidneys, liver, or thyroid.

Is it safe for someone with diabetes? That depends on the type of diabetes as well as other health conditions a person has. It is possible the Keto diet may help with weight loss and blood glucose control, but sometimes it makes diabetes worse. People with diabetes should consult their diabetes care team before making any dietary changes, including Keto.

Source: Eat Right, go.iastate.edu/LLRMCR

Autumn Soup

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups | Serves: 6

Ingredients:

Dressing:

  • 1 butternut squash (about 4 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon oil (canola, olive, vegetable)
  • 1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 apples (peeled, cored, and sliced; about 2 cups)
  • 4 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 ounces low fat cream cheese, cubed

Directions:

  1. Wash squash and pat dry with paper towel. Prick skin 6–8 times with a knife or fork. Place on a microwave safe plate and microwave for 5 minutes.
  2. Cool squash enough to touch it, then cut off top and bottom of squash. Cut off peel and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Cut squash into cubes.
  3. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add squash, apples, and broth. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover and cook for 25 minutes until squash and apples are tender.
  5. Blend soup until smooth using a blender or food processor.
  6. Return soup to saucepan and add cream cheese. Cook and stir with a whisk until cheese is smooth.

Nutrition information per serving:
210 calories, 7g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 440mg sodium, 35g total carbohydrates, 6g fiber, 12g sugar, 6g protein. This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s SpendSmart. EatSmart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu

What Is a Plant-based Diet?

plant-based bowl of food

Plant-based diets are growing in popularity. Eating plant foods may protect from chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

The goal of a plant-based diet is to consume more whole plant foods—like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains—that will provide adequate nutrition overall.

Some people may choose to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, while others may just eat one meatless meal a week. Eating a vegetarian diet means not eating flesh foods (meat, poultry, seafood, wild game) and may or may not exclude eggs or dairy products. A vegan diet excludes all flesh foods, eggs, and dairy products and may also exclude honey.

There are many plant-based foods that make eating a plant-based diet easy. Check out this list of meat alternative products, www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/1021p42.shtml, on the market.

Be a smart shopper, though! Choose mostly whole and minimally processed food from a variety of food groups to have a well-balanced diet.

Sources:
Eat Right, www.eatrightpro.org
Eating Well, www.eatingwell.com

How can the updated nutrition facts label help you?

The nutrition facts label got an update this year! The new label was changed because of new nutrition research, updated science, and consumer input. The four big changes are the following:

  • Serving size is now how much is typically consumed in one sitting. For example, a 20-oz soda is now 1 serving instead of 2 1/2 servings.
  • Calories are now in larger and bolder font to make the information easier to find and use.
  • Daily values (DV) for nutrients have been updated. As a general guideline, 5% DV and less per serving is deemed low and 20% DV and more per serving is considered high.
  • Added sugars, vitamin D, and potassium information is also now included.

The nutrition facts label is a great tool to support your dietary goals. Select foods and beverages that reduce the risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and anemia. Choose foods that have more of the nutrients you need and less of the nutrients you may want to limit. For example, use the updated nutrition facts label to choose foods high in dietary fiber and lower in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars.

To learn more about the updated nutrition facts label, watch this Spend Smart, Eat Smart.
video, spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu.

Fiesta Skillet Dinner

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups | Serves: 5

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) Mexican style tomatoes
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, diced
  • 1 cup prepared instant brown rice (1/2 cup uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup 2% reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:

  1. Mix the tomatoes, black beans, corn, chili powder, and chicken in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat until heated through.
  2. Add the cooked rice and stir thoroughly. Top with shredded cheddar cheese.
  3. Serve hot.

Nutrition information per serving:
330 calories, 7g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 680mg sodium, 38g total carbohydrates, 8g fiber, 4g sugar, 29g protein. This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s SpendSmart. EatSmart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu

Orange Dressing with Fruit and Greens

Bowl of salad

Serving Size: 3 cups salad, 2 tablespoons dressing | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oil

Salad:

  • 8 cups greens (romaine, lettuce, or spinach)
  • 2 cups vegetables, chopped (broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, etc.)
  • 2 cups fruit, chopped (apples, berries, grapes, or oranges)

Directions:

  1. Combine dressing ingredients in a container with a screw top. Close tightly and shake until combined. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use (up to 1 week).
  2. For each salad, top 2 cups of greens with 1/2 cup vegetables and 1/2 cup fruit.
  3. Take dressing from the refrigerator and shake hard to combine ingredients again. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of dressing onto each salad.

Nutrition information per serving:
160 calories, 7g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 60mg sodium, 21g total carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 14g total sugar, 3g protein.

This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu

Go SNAP, For Healthy Foods

More than 38 million adults and children in the United States are going hungry. In Iowa, 1 in 11 Iowans face hunger. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the nation’s largest anti-hunger federal program. It fights poverty by improving access to affordable and nutritious food. SNAP allows individuals and families with limited income to buy food. It can also be used to buy seeds and plants to grow food.

People can use SNAP benefits at grocery stores, convenience stores, and even farmers markets, bit.ly/3B6xYdc! Farmers markets sell fresh, local produce that help you enjoy the taste of summer.

If you need help completing the online or paper application, you may contact your local DHS office. You can also call the Iowa SNAP Hotline, 855-944-3663, to speak with someone who can help with the SNAP application. The hotline is open 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Sources:
Food Bank of Iowa, foodbankiowa.org
Food Security in the U.S., bit.ly/3sWyiI8

Berry and Greens Smoothie

Berry and Greens Smoothie

Serving Size: 8 ounces | Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium bananas
  • 2 containers (6 ounces each) nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 3 cups leafy greens, washed (kale or spinach)
  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen berries
  • 1 cup nonfat milk

Directions:

  1. Put bananas, yogurt, and greens in the blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Add berries to blender. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add milk to blender. Blend until smooth.
  4. Serve immediately or freeze in individual servings.

Nutrition information per serving:
90 calories, 0.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 50mg sodium, 20g total carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 12g sugar, 4g protein.

This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu

Menu Planning Tips and Tricks

5-Day Meal Planning Worksheet

Sticking to your budget while eating healthy is possible! Planning is the first step. Menu planning helps you save time, save money, and make healthier choices.

You can personalize your menu by choosing nutrient-dense foods you enjoy. Nutrient-dense foods are high in vitamins and minerals without much saturated fat, added sugars, and sodium.

Start with these tips below:

  • Check what you have on hand. Check your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator for foods that will soon expire or need to be used up. Make a note of how to use those ingredients in your planner. This can save you money at the grocery store and decrease food waste.
  • Don’t throw that away! Plan for leftovers. For example, if you make a spinach salad on Monday, use the leftover spinach to make a smoothie for breakfast. Another idea is if you make grilled chicken for dinner, use the leftovers in chicken salad.
  • Use MyPlate. Healthy meals can be simple and tasty. Plan a meal that has something from at least three MyPlate food groups. This is an easy way to make sure your meals are healthy and nutrient-dense.
  • Think ahead to your family’s schedules. Do you need quick and easy meals? Are you hosting company? Do you need to harvest your garden? Using a five-day meal planning worksheet can help you plan a menu based on your weekly needs.

Source: MyPlate, myplate.gov

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