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Eat to Beat 

If you are what you eat, then what you eat must affect your health. Luckily making wise food choices can help you control such health risks as excess weight, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and diabetes. How do you get an appetite for health? By following these tips: 

  • Serving Sizes: Portion distortion is a very common problem in our super-sized society. Try using measuring cups for common culprits, such as cereal and pasta. You may be surprised to see what an actual serving size looks like.
  • Divide & Conquer: Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, such as spinach, carrots, greens, cucumbers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and peppers. Fill one-fourth of your plate with starchy foods, such as whole-grain breads, brown rice, cooked beans, potatoes, pretzels or crackers. Finally, fill the last fourth with meat or meat substitutes, such as skinless chicken, fish, lean beef, tofu, eggs or low-fat cheese. Add a piece of fruit and a glass of nonfat milk and you have a healthful and complete meal.
  • Spice it Up: Instead of using fats, oils and salt to season your food, try adding flavor with seasonings. Spice up meat, veggies or pasta with rosemary and thyme. Add cinnamon instead of sugar to your oatmeal. Fresh herbs are best, but packaged spices work, too. Try vinegar and lemon juice on top of your salad, instead of a fattening dressing.
  • Snack Smart: Sometimes you just can’t wait until your next meal—and when a hunger pang strikes, it’s smart to snack. Just be sure to choose something healthy, such as a piece of fruit and a handful of almonds or a rice cake with peanut butter. Also remember to add your snack calories into your total daily caloric intake, which may mean you need to cut back a bit at meal time.
  • Skimp on Sweets: Sure it’s OK to indulge in cookies, cake and ice cream every once in a while. But if your sweet tooth strikes more often, try satisfying it with sugar-free products such as pudding cups, gelatin, popsicles or chewing gum.