For Better Living

Make healthful eating a resolution in 2016

Each New Year, millions of people make resolutions to eat more healthy foods, lose weight and be more active. Many times, people try to make drastic changes that are difficult to sustain for a long period of time.

When it comes to eating more healthfully, making moderate changes may be more beneficial for long-term success. Here are several healthful eating tips that can easily be incorporated into your daily plan to help you be healthier in 2016.

Fruits and vegetables: Most people know that fruits and vegetables are among the healthiest foods available. Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals and fiber essential for the normal, everyday functioning of the human body. They also are rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants, which may help lower the risk for some cancers, heart disease and other chronic health problems. Adults are advised to eat about 2 cups of fruits and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day for optimal health.

Whole grains: In the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that Americans make half their grains whole. By that, the USDA means Americans should eat at least three ounce-equivalent servings of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice or pasta each day. Like fruits and vegetables, whole grains are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. In addition, consuming a diet rich in whole grains has been associated with reducing the risk for metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Fish: Diets high in fish, especially cold-water fish like salmon, herring, mackerel and whitefish, have been linked to a reduced risk for heart disease, stroke and some cancers. The high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are believed to be the reason. To receive the health benefits fish offers, the American Dietetic Association recommends eating fish two to three times per week.

Nuts: Nuts are packed with several important vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and zinc. In addition, nuts contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are considered healthier for your body than the saturated fat and trans fat commonly found in cookies and chips. Walnuts, in particular, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which, like the omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fish, may help ward off certain chronic diseases. Because nuts are also high in calories, they do need to be eaten in moderation.

A small handful of nuts eaten four to five times per week is all you need.

Calcium rich foods: Calcium is known to help prevent osteoporosis, the bone-crippling disease. Recent research indicates that it may help reduce the risk for colon cancer and high blood pressure. Most health professionals recommend people look first to food for their calcium because food sources of calcium tend to supply other nutrients such as phosphorus, vitamin D and lactose, which help the body absorb and use calcium. Adults are advised to drink or eat the equivalent of 3 cups of low-fat dairy products daily to help meet their calcium requirements.

Source: Colorado Cooperative Extension


Caramelized Pork Slices

1 pork tenderloin (1 pound), cut into 1 inch slices

2 teaspoons canola oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 tablespoon molasses

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Flatten pork to ½ inch thickness. In a nonstick skillet, brown pork in oil over medium-high heat. Remove and keep warm. In the same skillet, sauté garlic for 1 minute. Stir in brown sugar, orange juice, molasses, salt and pepper. Return pork to pan. Cook, uncovered, for 3-4 minutes or until pork is no longer pink. Yield: 4 servings

Sandra R. Cain is the Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences in Bladen County.

Make healthful eating a resolution in 2016
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