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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Healthy Eating Tips

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At the Grocery Store:
  • Load your cart with a "colorful" variety of fresh, frozen or canned fruits & vegetables. Include red, orange, and green choices.
  • Instead of "white" carbohydrates–select more "whole grain" cereals, breads, tortillas, pastas and brown rice.
  • Buy "fat–free" or "low–fat" milk or soy milk, yogurt and cheese.
  • Choose lean meats such as "loin" and "round" cuts of beef and pork, "extra–lean" ground beef, skinless poultry, low–fat deli meats, and eggs.
  • Select fish, legumes (dried beans) and soy products to use as entrees in place of meat several times per week.
  • Buy cooking oil low in saturated fat, such as canola, olive, soybean, corn or safflower oil.
  • Choose "light" versions of mayonnaise, salad dressings, cream cheese and sour cream. Use salsa or mustard for flavoring foods.
  • Stock up on pantry and freezer items for quick, healthy meals–canned beans, whole grain pasta, brown rice, broth–based soups with vegetables and beans, tomato & vegetable pasta sauces, frozen & canned fish and chicken, frozen vegetables & potatoes.

When Cooking and Baking:

  • Roast, bake, broil & grill meats and fish instead of deep–frying.
  • Remove the skin from poultry before serving.
  • Cook meats on a rack to allow the fat to drip off.
  • Use the microwave to prepare fresh or frozen vegetables and flavor them with lemon juice and herbs.
  • When sautéing, use a small amount (1–2 tsp) of oil instead of butter or margarine.
  • Add more vegetables and less meat to stews, soups, and casseroles.
  • Substitute low–fat versions of ingredients when possible (skim milk for whole milk, reduced fat mayo for regular mayo, fat–free sour cream for regular, applesauce for oil in baked goods, etc.).

Tips When Eating Out:

  • Don't be afraid to ask for what you want when ordering in restaurants. They want to keep you, the customer, happy!
  • Order your meat, poultry and fish dishes grilled, baked, or roasted without added fat.
  • Ask for dressings, sauces, and mayo on the side.
  • Skip the cheese on anything you order.
  • Have your bread without butter or margarine.
  • Substitute water, milk, or juice for pop.
  • Skip the appetizers or order one for your main meal.
  • Choose a tossed salad or streamed vegetables when available.
  • Portions at restaurants are big!!! Split the meal with a friend or take half home for the next day.
  • At fast–food restaurants, don't order the value meals or "supersize" your order. Buy the small burger & fries or try a baked potato and chili for your entrée.

Smart Smack Choices

  • Listen to your body cues and don't snack unless you are hungry!
  • Avoid nibbling when you are bored, tired, or stressed–instead, go for a brisk 10–minute walk.
  • When snacking, eat "snack–size" portions. If you eat a large snack adjust your meal size accordingly.
  • Choose snacks that add to your nutrition needs for the day–fruits, vegetables, milk or yogurt, and whole grains such as:
    • Fruit flavored low–fat yogurt and 2 fig bars
    • String cheese and a medium apple or pea
    • Assorted raw veggies and low–fat ranch dressing
    • A bowl of whole–grain cereal (Cheerios, Wheaties, oatmeal) with low–fat milk and a banana
    • Light microwave popcorn spiced up with chili or garlic powder
  • Choose water, skim milk or juice to wash down your snacks.
  • Be prepared for snack attacks–keep healthy foods on hand.