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Mealtime Strategies for Preventing Disease

We've given you some basic information on fat, fiber, and sodium. And, we've provided some tips on decreasing fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium; and increasing fiber. But, how do you put it all together when it comes to breakfast, lunch, and dinner? These mealtime strategies should help.


Strategy #1 - Choose fruit more often. Just a few great choices in the fruit family are: cantaloupe, grapefruit, strawberries, oranges, bananas, pears, and apples.

Strategy #2 - Choose whole-grain cereals and products more often. Examples are whole wheat or bran breads, bagels, and cereal.

Strategy #3 - Try making pancakes and waffles with whole wheat flour instead of white flour and one whole egg and one egg white rafter than two whole eggs. For a low-fat topping with fiber, try applesauce, apple butter and cinnamon, or fruit and low-fat plain yogurt.

Strategy #4 - Fruit juice and skim milk are familiar breakfast drinks. For an extra boost in the morning, why not try a fruit smoothie made from juice, fruit and nonfat plain yogurt blended together. Other nonfat choices are seltzer water, coffee, and tea.

These breakfast choices are sound nutrition choices because they are not only low in fat and cholesterol but also provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Some foods that you should choose less often are sausage, bacon, butter, whole milk and cream (including commercial nondairy creamer). These foods are high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

eating a healthy diet


Strategy #1 - Try a fiber-rich bean, split pea, vegetable, or minestrone soup. Use commercially canned and frozen soups and cream soups less often, because they can be high in sodium and fat. If you make your own soup, use broth or skim milk to keep the fat content low.

Strategy #2 - Have a bean salad or mixed greens with plenty of vegetables. For fiber include some vegetables like -- carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and kidney or garbanzo beans. For a low-fat dressing, try lemon juice or a reduced-calorie dressing. If you use regular dressing, use only a very small amount.

Strategy #3 - Try sandwiches made with water-packed tuna, sliced chicken, turkey, lean meat, or low-fat cheese, and use whole-grain bread or pita bread. To decrease fat, use reduced-calorie mayonnaise, or just a small amount of regular mayonnaise, or use mustard. Mustard contains no fat.

Strategy #4 - For dessert, have fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt, or a frozen fruit bar.

Strategy #5 - Fruit juice and skim milk are good beverage choices. Club soda with a twist of lemon or lime, hot or iced tea with lemon, or coffee without cream are refreshing drinks.

At lunch, try to eat these foods less often: processed luncheon meats, fried meat, chicken, or fish; creamy salads, french fries and chips, richer creamy desserts, high-fat baked goods, and high-fat cheeses such as Swiss, cheddar, American, and Brie.


Strategy #1 - Eat a variety of vegetables. To increase variety, try some that might be new to you, such as those from the cabbage family (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage), dark-green leafy vegetables (spinach and kale), and yellow-orange vegetables (winter squash and sweet potatoes). For old favorites, like peas and green beans, skip the butter and sprinkle with lemon juice or herbs. Or, how about a baked potato, with the skin, and topped with low-fat yogurt and chives, tomato salsa, or a small amount of low-fat cheese?

Strategy #2 - Try whole wheat pasta and casseroles made with brown rice, bulgur, and other grains. If you are careful with preparation, these dishes can be excellent sources of fiber and low in fat. For example, when milk and eggs are ingredients in a recipe, try using 1 percent or skim milk, reduce the number of egg yolks and replace with egg whites. Here are some ideas for grain-based dishes:

Strategy #3 - Substitute whole-grain breads and rolls for white bread.

Strategy #4 - Choose main dishes that call for fish, chicken, turkey or lean meat. Don't forget to remove the skin and visible fat from poultry and trim the fat from meat. Some good low-fat choices are:

Strategy #5 - Choose desserts that give you fiber but little fat such as:

For many, the end of the workday, represents a time to relax, and dinner can be a light meal and an opportunity to decrease fat and cholesterol.


Strategy #1 - Try a raw vegetable platter made with a variety of vegetables. Include some good fiber choices: carrots, snow peas, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans.

Strategy #2 - Make sauces and dips with nonfat plain yogurt as the base.

Strategy #3 - Eat more fruit. Oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, apples, honeydew melons, pears, bananas, strawberries and cantaloupe are all good fiber sources. Make a big fruit salad and keep it on hand for snacks.

Strategy #4 - Plain, air-popped popcorn is a great low-fat snack with fiber. Watch out! Some prepackaged microwave popcorn has fat added. Remember to go easy on the salt or use other seasonings.

Strategy #5 - Instead of chips, try one of these low-fat alternatives that provide fiber: toasted shredded wheat Squares sprinkled with a small amount of grated Parmesan cheese, whole-grain English muffins, or toasted plain corn tortillas.

Strategy #6 - When you are thirsty, try water, skim milk, juice, or club soda with a twist of lime or lemon.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute are committed to promoting good health and reducing the loss of life from heart disease and cancer. You can help. By using the ideas in this booklet, trying recipes that have been modified to decrease fat and sodium and increase fiber, and planning menus that are high in fiber and low in fat, especially saturated fat, you may reduce the risk of these diseases for yourself and for those you love.

The Best Foods for Your Health

APPLES: Apples are a first-rate source of fiber. They help lower blood pressure, help the body absorb iron from other foods, and might help prevent colds. They can also help prevent night blindness and aid in bowel elimination.

APRICOTS: They speed the healing of wounds and are good for anemia. Good when eaten raw and can be prepared in many interesting dishes.

ARTICHOKES: Artichokes contain Vitamins A and C which are good for fighting infection. They are also high in calcium and iron.

ASPARAGUS: Asparagus has 35 calories per cup. Asparagus tips are high in Vitamin A and is a good blood builder.

BARLEY: Barley is a rich source of fiber and possibly inhibits the enzyme that controls cholesterol production. It is also a good source of protein and B vitamins.

BEETS: Beets have 58 calories per cup and are loaded with iron and potassium. Beets are valued for their laxative properties.

BEANS: Beans help slow down the onset of adult diabetes, lower cholesterol levels and help constipation problems. They are high in protein and are beneficial to the muscular system.

BLUEBERRIES: Blueberries are excellent weapons in the fight against yeast and urinary tract infections.

BROCCOLI: Broccoli is loaded with Vitamins A and C which helps ward off colds. Additionally, it can help prevent breast, gastric, and esophageal cancer, boost immunity, help prevent blood clots, and help wounds to heal faster. Broccoli is heart-healthy and has 40 calories per cup.

BROWN RICE: Brown rice contains Vitamin E and good quality protein. It also contains phosphorus and potassium. An excellent source of fiber, contains little fat or sodium and is easy to digest.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS: Brussels sprouts have only 56 calories per cup making it only slightly more than broccoli. They help prevent several different kinds of cancer, including breast, esophageal and gastric. Lemon juice can help remove a portion of the bitter flavor some people find offensive.

CABBAGE: Cabbage has only 17 calories per cup and it is loaded with Vitamin C. Good for the heart and fights stomach and colon cancer.

CANTALOUPE: The cantaloupe is loaded with Vitamin C. The fiber in cantaloupe helps lower risk of colon cancer.

CARROTS: Carrots are particularly noted as a high source of beta carotene, which converts to Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A reduces the risk of several different kinds of cancer, including lung, esophageal, bladder and cancer of the larynx. At 48 calories a cup, carrots are an excellent, raw snack, full of fiber.

COLLARD GREENS: Collards are an excellent source of calcium, beta-carotene and dietary fiber. They will keep your heart healthy and are natural stomach and colon cancer fighters.

CORN: One ear of corn contains about 140 calories. It is high in magnesium and rich in carbohydrates. Good for the brain, the bowel and the nervous system.

DATES: Dates give energy for physical exercise, and they are a good source of copper. They also help heal stomach ulcers.

EGGS: Although high in cholesterol, eggs are considered by many to be excellent for the brain and nervous system. They help wounds to heal with less pain, plus they are an excellent source of protein.

FISH: fish is thought to lower the risk of heart and artery disease, as well as the risk of breast cancer. Fish oil has been shown to lessen the possibility of blood clots.

FLAXSEED: Flaxseed is helpful to those who have arthritis, asthma, migraines and some skin cancers. Helps prevent colon and breast cancer.

GARLIC: Garlic helps lower cholesterol levels and helps block the development of colon, esophageal, stomach and skin cancers. It also has beneficial effects on coagulation, which might help reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. It may also help to lower blood pressure.

GINGER: Ginger has long been known to prevent stomach ulcers, to aid in preventing nausea such as motion and morning sickness, and may bring relief to arthritis sufferers.

GRAPEFRUIT: Grapefruit is packed with Vitamin C and is heart-healthy. The juice is thought to double the effect of some blood pressure drugs. In addition, grapefruit helps prevent cancer-causing agents from forming in the body.

KALE OR MUSTARD GREENS: These unique green vegetables are packed with Vitamins A and C. They help constipation problems, and help keep your heart healthy. May also help prevent blood clots, and help wounds to heal.

LENTILS: Lentils are a super source of fiber. Lentils lower cholesterol levels, help constipation problems, and help slow the onset of adult diabetes.

LEMON JUICE: Lemon juice is high in calcium and a primary source of Vitamin C, which might help prevent colds. Lemons and tangerines are also a good source of fiber, helping to lower the risk of colon cancer.

MOLASSES: Molasses is a good source of iron. In fact, it is the only sweetener that provides at least as many nutrients as calories.

MUSHROOMS: Although mushrooms only have 20 calories per cup, we need to be aware of the fact that they quickly absorb any oil that may be used in cooking. Mushrooms are a terrific source of Vitamin B. They increase the oxygen efficiency of the body, counteracting the effects of pollutants on the body and increasing the body's resistance to disease.

ONIONS: Onions are low in fat and help to prevent or fight cancer. They contain substances that might prohibit blood clots, which are often a major factor in heart disease and strokes.

ORANGES AND ORANGE JUICE: Oranges have lots of Vitamin C which might help prevent colds. In addition, orange juice provides calcium to fight osteoporosis. The fiber content helps lower the risk of colon cancer, while preventing other cancer-causing agents from forming in the body.

PARSLEY: Parsley is a rich source of Vitamins A and C and has a lot of potassium and iron. It is also a natural breath freshener.

PEACHES: Peaches contain Vitamins A and E and help certain wounds and incisions to heal. A good food to eat either raw or cooked.

PEPPERS: Peppers are high in Vitamin C and help protect your heart. The ingredient capsicum which comes from peppers is currently being studied and is believed to have many health benefits.

POTATOES: Potatoes are an excellent source of carbohydrate and fiber. They help relieve stomach gas and help to lower blood pressure. They are also low in calories, sodium and fat while being high in protein, Vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin, among other nutrients.

POULTRY: Poultry is a great low-fat source of protein and is considered to be the meat of choice by many who are on low-fat diets.

RASPBERRIES: These fruits are considered to be an excellent source of potassium. Also contains iron and Vitamin C.

RUTABAGA: Rutabagas are an excellent source of potassium, Vitamin A and niacin as well as calcium.

SKIM MILK: Skim milk provides protein and calcium without the unnecessary fat. Calcium builds strong bones and teeth and helps in the fight against osteoporosis.

SOYBEANS: The protein from soybeans lowers blood-cholesterol levels in people whose genes appear to predispose them to high cholesterol and premature heart disease. In addition, the protein from soybeans may also help to prevent the formation of gallstones, as well as slowing down the onset of adult diabetes. Soy flour is also said to reduce the risk of cancer.

SPINACH: At 28 calories per cup, spinach adds almost nothing to your waistline. However, it is known to be chock full of vitamin A, Vitamin C and iron.

WHEAT GERM: Wheat germ is another additive that is said to keep cells functioning normally. It can be used in a number of ways to enhance the flavor and taste of many other foods and drinks. May be sprinkled on and toasted for a nutty flavor.

WHOLE-WHEAT FLOUR: Whole-wheat flour is recommended as a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, iron and minerals.

WHOLE-WHEAT SPAGHETTI: This unique spaghetti is now readily available and is loaded with fiber! Also a good source of carbohydrates as well as minerals and iron.

YOGURT: Yogurt is highly recommended as a fighter of yeast infections and it's also an excellent source of calcium.

So Eat Well, Eat Healthy... And Eat For Life!