You need to eat differently as a child, adolescent, adult or senior — and depending on whether you're male, female or pregnant — but you can still count on a few truths.
Make these changes now to position yourself for good health over the long term:
Make breakfast the most important meal. Don't skip this meal because you think it's the easiest place to cut calories, and don't use time as an excuse. I have found that those who eat breakfast lose weight more easily. Skip breakfast and you will probably overeat at the next meal. Try these recipes:
• A breakfast smoothie made with ½ cup of yogurt, 1 cup of fruit juice, and ½ to 1 cup of fruit in a blender doesn't take much time and is a winner with the kids.
• Replicate an Egg McMuffin by beating an egg in a small bowl, cooking it in the microwave for one minute and setting it between a bagel or English muffin.
• Fill half a cantaloupe with low-fat cottage cheese, berries or cereal mixed with low-fat yogurt.
Focus on variety both across and within the food groups. The menu needs to have more than meat and potatoes. I know of 20 varieties of apples, nine of pears and eight of melons (more if you count "sugar babies"). I try to have at least two colors of vegetables on my plate, and during one recent week, I had a different type of greens every night.
Eating a variety of foods will give you adequate amounts of the more than 40 nutrients important to good health.
Snack smart. Bypass the high-calorie, high-fat snacks. Nutritional snacks can help keep hunger under control and prevent overeating at meal time:
• A handful of baby carrots will meet your Vitamin A needs for the day. Bananas, grapes, oranges and apples travel well.
• A 3-ounce package of tuna or salmon is a great traveler. Snack on half a serving.
• Mini pretzels, almonds or whole grain crackers also hit the mark.