The Six Food Groups

Meats & Protein
Grains
Fruits
Vegatables
Dairy
Fats & Oils

Meat & Protein
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Generally speaking, the leanest cuts of beef, port, lamb and veal are the leg, loin, and round portions. Meats graded "select" has less fat than "Choice" or "Prime" grades.

The best beef buys for lower fat are: eye of the round, top round, roundtip, top sirloin, or tenderloin.

Pork tenderloin of loin chops are best for pork

The leg or loin cuts for lamb or veal are lowest in fat.

Breast meat has lower fat in chicken or turkey. If you purchase ground turkey, make sure you buy "ground turkey meat" and not just "ground turkey" which has the fat included. Ground turkey has about 13 grams of fat; ground turkey meat has about 5 grams.

To make meat as lean as can be:

  • Trim all visible fat before cooking
  • Remove skin from poultry (you need not do this before cooking as the fat in the skin does not enter the meat. The skin can help keep the meat moist.
  • Broil, grill or roast meats rather than frying in fat. Thin-sliced chicken or turkey cutlets can be sauted in a teflon pan with one tablespoon olive oil.
  • Limit portion sizes to about 3 ounces cooked which means you should cook about 25% more for the shrinkage.

Seafood

Seafood, for the most part, is low in calories, fat, and saturated fat. Even the higher content fish are lower than most meats. Whiter fish usually has less fat than darker fish.

Very low-fat (2.5 per gram) content fish include:

  • clams
  • cod
  • crab
  • flounder
  • haddock
  • sole
  • tuna

Low-fat (2.5 to 5 grams of fat) include:

  • Bass
  • catfish
  • mussells
  • swordfish
  • trout
  • oysters

Moderate-fat (5- 10 grams of fat) include:

  • herring
  • whitefish
  • salmon
  • coho
  • bluefin tuna

Higher-fat (more than 10 grams of fat) include:

  • Atlantic mackerel
  • king salmon

Legumes

There are thousands of kinds of legumes (beans) including black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, pinto beans, soybeans, etc. Beans are nutritional treasures as they are high iin fiber and protein, rich in complex carbohydrates, B-vitamins, iron, and zinc, and are low in faat and cholesterol. They are usually cheap to buy and can become part of many recipes very easily.

Processed Meats

If you have to consume luncheon meats, choose ones that have 3 grams of fat or less per ounce or are at least 95% fat-free. More hotdogs and luncheon meats are available at the market that meet these qualifications.

Frozen Entrees

If you cook with a freezer and microwave, use these guidelines to choose frozen entrees:

  • 300-400 calories
  • 30% or less calories from fat
  • Less than 800 Milligrams of sodium
  • The weight of the entree should be at least 9 ounces

Grains, Bread, Cereals, and pastas
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Grains

Choosing whole grain breads and cereals is a great way to increase your fiber intake. The benefits of a high fiber diet include prevention and treatment of certain chronic diseases like colon coancer, coronary heart disease, diabetes and diverticular disease. Nutrional experts recommend that you should eat 20 - 35 grams of fiber everyday. Foods that are a good source of fiber have at least 2.5 grams of fiber per serving. Whole grains include whole wheat, brown rice, whole oats and other grains that have their hulls or outer layers still intact. When grains are processed to make products like flour and cereal, the outer layers are removed and with them go the vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Bread

For the best of whole grain goodness, choose breads that list one of the following ingredients at the beginning of the list:
  • Whole-wheat flour
  • 100% whole-wheat flour
  • Stone-ground whole wheat flour
  • Creacked wheat
  • Oatmeal

White flour is very low in fiber. Don't be flooed by the any of the terms manufacturers use to confuse you such as:

  • Wheat flour
  • Enriched flour
  • Enriched wheat flour
  • Unbleaded flour
  • Unriched Wheat flour

Cereal

There's a quick way to determine if your chosen cereal is healthy. Your choice should have at least 2.5 grams of fiber per serving and not more than 3 grams of fat per serving.

Pasta

Pasta is a good source of vitamins and minerals as well as fiber and other protein. Always cook pasta uncovered at a rapid boil. Pasta should be cooked "al dente" which means chewy, not soft. It should be firm, especially if you plan to use the pasta in other dishes where further cooking is planned. Choose different types of pastas to avoid boredom. Pasta comes in every conceivable shape and size.

Pasta is great cold mixed with raw vegetables such as carrot, onion, celery, green pepper, black olives or any of your favorite vegetables. Use a light or no fat dressing and keep covered in refrigerator for snacking or lunchtime.

Fruit
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Most experts agree that you should eat at least three fruit servings a day. The servings can be in the form of whole, fresh fruit, canned, frozen, or juiced. Try to use only whole fruit choices, especially when buying juice, which may have lots of added sugars.

One of your fruit servings should be a citrus fruit such as oranges to ensure an adequate supply of vitamin C. Fruits are also a great source of beta carotene, Vitamin A, and fiber. Kiwi fruit, and strawberries are great sources also. Experiment with different fruits that are in season. Remember, the US imports fruits from countries whose seasons are opposite ours so you can get fruits and berries from Australia and other places in our winter. Try papayas, mangos, and other fleshy fruit. Experiment with berries for cereal or snacking.

Vegetables
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You should consumer between 3 and 5 servings of vegetables daily. Vegetables come in two forms: Starchy ones such as carrots, peas, beets, and corn and fibrous ones such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, celery, and greens. You should try to eat the starchy ones early in the day - for lunch, for example, and then switch to fibrous ones later in the day. Eating fibrous vegetables late in the day or evening, acts like a "rotor rooter" to help you digest and pass your food consumption through your intestines and colon during the night.

Vegetables such as broccoli and other green vegetables. peppers, and turnip are great sources of Vitamin C while broccoli, carrots, kale, spinache, sweet potatoes, and winter squash are great

Dairy
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The Dairy food group consists of milk products, eggs, yogurts, and cheeses

Milk

Many people what the difference is between whole milk and skim milk. Well, it's about two pats of butter. Whole milk has 2 teaspoons of fat (8 grams), 2% milk has 1 teaspoon (4 grams), and 1/2% milk and skilm milk have less than a gram of fat.

Low-fat (less than 30% calories from fat) included:

  • Skim, 1/2% and 1% milk
  • Non-fat dry milk
  • Evaporated Skim milk
  • Low-fat buttermilk
  • Nonfat yogurt
  • Skim-milk yogurt
  • Low0fat yogurt

Medium fat (25-40% calories from fat) include:

2% Milk

High-fat (more than 40% calories from fat) include:

  • Whole Milk
  • Evaporated whole milk
  • Whole milk yogurt
  • Light cream
  • Half-and-half
  • Heavy cream
  • Sour cream

Yogurt

Yogurt is pasteurized milk cultured by special bacteria (yogurt cultures). This is what gives yogurt it's creamy texture. Make sure you buy yogurt that has "active" cultures. If it does, there is a symbol on the carton that says so. If you ever opened a carton of yogurt and found a watery layer on top, that's whey - a protein found in milk. It contains B vitamins and minerals, so stir it back into the yogurt.

Cheese

There's no eacy way to distingquish low-fat shceese from high-fat scheese without reading the nutrition label. Lower fat cheeeses can be soft or hard, white or yellow. Follow these guildelines:

  • Low-Fat Chesse: less than 5 grams of fat per ounce
  • Medium-Fat Cheese: 6 to 7 grams of fat per ounce
  • High-Fat Cheese: 8 or more grams of fat per ounce

Fats & Oils
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Fats come in three types: saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated. Saturated fats raise blood cholesterol, while poly- and mono-may actually help lower blood cholesterol. Remember fat is fat, so even the healthy ones contain the same amount of calories as the bad kind, so be careful using any oils.

Sources of saturated fat include:

  • full fat dairy products like whole milk
  • cheese
  • ice cream
  • fatty or marbled meats
  • butter
  • palm oil
  • coconut oil

Sources of polyunsaturated fats include:

  • vegetable oils(corn, safflower, soybean)
  • soft margarines
  • most salad dressings
  • fish

Sources of monounsaturated fats include:

  • olive oil
  • canola oil
  • peanut oil
  • avacados
  • olives
  • most nuts

So...how much fat do we need in a day?

Most experts suggest limiting fat intake to no more than 30% of your daily calories. What does this mean in grams? You can calculate our daily fat gram limit if you know your calorie intake:

1 total calories.day: 1,800 2. Drop the last zero 180 3. Divide # by 3 = 60 grams

This table might help:
Daily Calories
Daily Fat Intake
1,200
less than 40 grams
1,500
less than 50 grams
1,800
less than 60 grams
2,200
less than 73 grams

 

Snacks & Sweets

There are lots of low-fat snacks available such as:

  • light microwave popcorn
  • baked tortilla chips
  • pretzels
  • cereal with milk
  • flavored rice cakes
  • raw vegetables
  • bagels

If you really need to satisfy a sweet tooth, try:

  • graham crackers
  • gingersnaps
  • fig bars
  • frozen fruit bars
  • angel food cake
  • fresh or dried fruit
  • animal crackers

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