Chapter 7. Breaking It Down (continued)
You may be thinking to yourself, where’s the beef? And you can eat it—if you like beef. Try to select lean cuts such as top round and sirloin. You should also eat poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Legumes, you may be wondering? You know them, but perhaps by another name—dry beans or peas such as lentils, chickpeas, and kidney beans—see, you do know them!
While meat can be a good source of iron,8 it isn’t best for your body if you eat meat every day because it often contains saturated fat. There are so many protein choices out there—try to vary the ones you eat. Some protein sources are high in fat or prepared in ways that are high in fat, so we need to watch how much we eat and how we prepare them. We’ll talk more about fat in the next chapter, so we’ll stick to the basics of protein choices here.
How much meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, and legumes should I be eating? Look at "My Healthy Eating Plan." How much meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, and legumes do you need each day? How does this number sound to you? Does it seem like a lot? Or do you usually eat that much each day? Do you usually eat too much each day?
Let’s look at Jennifer’s eating plan:
Now, it’s your turn. Write down the meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, and legumes you like to eat, below.
Meat, poultry, fish, and eggs I like are:
Nuts, seeds, and legumes I like are:
Now, write down when you could eat these foods throughout the day.
Congratulations! Now, you have completed one full-day healthy eating plan that is made by you, for you. And guess what? Not only is it healthy, but it is full of foods you already love. You can take the list of foods you have created in each food group and make substitutions in your full-day menu to give yourself more menu options. The more you do this, the easier it will get and the more knowledge you will have. Knowledge is power, and options offer flexibility. You are on your way to a Healthier You.
Part IV of this book gives you recipes and ideas to help you expand your daily choices— when you are ready. We know that it takes time to adjust and refine your diet until you are comfortable. Take it slowly; take it at your own pace. Remember: Small steps lead to big rewards.
In the next chapter, we’ll talk more about adjusting the food choices you make to help you gain even more health benefits from the foods you choose. We’ll talk more about fat—and making healthy-fat food choices—sound interesting? And we’ll talk about sweets and salt. You have learned a lot about food groups and healthy food choices—you should be proud.
Mix up your choices within each food group:
8 Teenage girls and women of childbearing age need additional iron. They can get iron from meat, poultry, and fish, from vegetables such as spinach, and from iron-fortified foods combined with an enhancer of iron absorbtion, such as a vitamin C source (for example, orange juice). For more information, see appendix B-3 and appendix B-9.