Healthy Eating

What you are not eating may be harming your health!

Be honest, are you one of the many Americans only getting 1 serving of whole grain per day? Does your fruit and vegetable intake stack up to the recommended 4–5 cups per day? Not including these foods in your daily diet may be doing more harm than you know.

Why whole grains matter?

Whole grains may not look like much but they are nutritional power houses with B vitamins, iron, magnesium, selenium, and fiber. Not all whole grains are rich in fiber, but research shows that even low-fiber whole grains have health benefits. Whole grains have been associated with helping to maintain a healthy body weight, and lowering risk of heart disease and diabetes. (1)

Aim for at least three 100 percent whole grain foods per day or 48 grams of whole grains per day. Oatmeal, 100 percent whole wheat bread, pasta, cereal, and brown rice are all great choices. You can also get your whole grains by choosing foods made with whole grains. Look for the whole grain stamp from the Whole Grains Council. Choose foods with at least 8 grams or more of whole grain per serving. 

Why more fruits & veggies matter?

Fruits and vegetables help fill in the gaps of missing nutrients. Most Americans come up short on folate, magnesium, potassium, fiber, and vitamins A, C, and K. (1) These nutrients are known to help chronic health problems like high blood pressure, decrease neural tube defects, and protect against some types of cancer. (1)

Aim for 2 1/2 cups of colorful vegetables each day. And remember, beans and legumes count as veggies. Add them to salads, stir fry, soups, stews, or chili.  

Aim for 2 cups of colorful fruits per day. It is best to get most of your fruit from whole fruit. If you choose fruit juice, look for 100 percent fruit juice without added sugar. 


Author: Lona Sandon, M.Ed., R.D., Assistant Professor, UT Southwestern, and American Dietetic Association spokesperson

Posted September 6, 2011