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Donna Manring

Busy schedules can make healthy eating a chore. But there are ways to include healthy eating into your lifestyle; and it doesn't have to be unpleasant.

"Keep food fun", advises Donna Manring, Dietetic Technician Registered (DTR), Senior Consultant, Maun/Lemke Information Resource For Health Care and Public Relations Representative for the Madison District Dietetic Association. Donna is professional motivational speaker and is a sponsor for Lighten Up Wisconsin.

Eating healthy is choice! Your attitude will impact outcome. Choose to fuel your body with healthy food choices. Food should be an adventure. There are so many fun foods to choose from. One suggestion is to head back to the dining table for meals. Focus on good food and good conversation. Eating on the run or in front of TV makes it hard to track portion sizes. Americans are starting to return to the table to enjoy family, friends and yes the food.

All foods fit in a healthy diet if you remember portion size. Check out the produce section for cut up vegetables, shredded carrots, ready to eat fruit and other produce items to simplify your life. There are many ready to eat foods that are great time savers. Read the labels to make healthy food choices. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight.

We're all so busy, try choosing convenience meals that are low in fat (watch sodium levels) and add additional vegetables or lean meats to kick it up. Double the vegetables add a salad with mixed greens, low fat/calorie dressing and again watch the portion sizes. Experiment with herbs and spices. Include whole grains, complex carbohydrates, low fat dairy choices and healthy snacks.

Americans spend more than 50 percent of food dollars on food eaten outside the home. Eating out can be healthy.

Ideas to reduce the fat/calorie level in foods are:
  • Order salad dressing on the side so you can control what goes on the salad or ask if they serve a low fat/calorie dressing.
  • Ask for butter, margarine and sour cream to be served on the side of your mashed or baked potatoes, rather than on top. Use salsa as a topping.
  • Request extra vegetables asking your server to limit the fat on them.
  • Request low-fat or skim milk.
  • Limit spreads for your bread and rolls. If you use butter or margarine, spread them lightly. If you choose butter, be aware how much you use.
  • Order fruits, sherbet or share a richer dessert with a friend.
  • Trim visible fat from meat and remove the skin from poultry before eating.
  • Look for items on the menu that are baked, grilled, dry-sauteed, broiled, poached, or steamed. These cooking techniques use less fat in the food preparation and are generally lower in calories.
  • Split a meal with a friend or ask for a take home container and split the meal before you start eating.
  • Ask the server to limit fat while preparing your food choice.
Check out the new pyramid at Mypyramid.gov on line. This site lets you keep track of how you are doing eating a variety of foods and can be personalized by age and physical activity. Lighten Up Wisconsin is a program through Wisconsin Sports Development Corporation and is a wealth of information at www.sportsinwisconsin.com.


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