Nutritional Resources

In addition to nutritional support from government-authorized programs and resources like those offered at a food bank, food stamp recipients need access to sources regarding their food and lifestyle choices.

Allowing applicants access to information on healthy eating can help them choose better foods and maintain their physical health. Various nutritional resources are available online and in print, but many may not provide the most credible and practical resources. While holistic nutritional advice is beneficial in some cases, residents should find personalized nutritional recommendations based on their age, weight and sex.

The following sections explain the types of nutritional resources you can expect to find at no cost that are designed to improve your overall health. These resources can also aid in the prevention of some conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Whether you are looking for elderly nutrition information or any other type of nutritional advice, you should review the sections below.

Alternative Food Options

Because being unable to consume certain foods may complicate your ability to create a balanced meal, you should learn about alternative food options that can offer you the same, or even more, benefits than the original food product. For everyone, healthy eating begins by adopting a balanced diet that addresses all your nutritional needs. To do so, you must make healthy food choices, stock your home with suitable foods and manage your eating habits while you are away from home. If you have a food allergy or sensitivity, finding the right foods to maintain this diet may be challenging. However, you can find a milk substitute that supplies a similar amount of calcium and vitamins and other food alternatives that meet your dietary needs.

Related Article: How to Create a Balanced Meal

Knowing which food products can help protect you against adverse health conditions is essential to living a healthy and productive life. Suggested products for consumers with common food sensitivities or diets are listed here:

  • When on a gluten free diet, you cannot eat grain and may be lacking in your fiber intake. Products like beans, legumes and leafy green vegetables may provide you enough fiber to replace the fiber you would get from grains.
  • If you are lactose intolerant, you may not receive enough vitamins and minerals found in milk products like cheese. Some dairy free cheese, nutritional drinks and lactose-free creams can offer you the calcium, potassium, vitamin D and protein your body needs to remain strong.
  • Diets consisting, mainly, of unhealthy foods like sweets or salty snacks may also require nutritional supplements. Replacing unhealthy foods with healthy alternatives can greatly improve your health. Consider eating foods like dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate and lightly salted popcorn instead of potato chips.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Practicing healthy eating requires you to understand what foods you need to lead a healthy life. A balanced diet may differ for Americans, but these federally supported dietary guidelines focus on establishing a healthy eating pattern, adding a decent variety of foods to your diet and limiting your intake of added sugars, saturated fats and sodium. A list of the nutritional guidelines the NIH provides for Americans ages two and older is as follows.

  • Eat a variety of vegetables. These vegetables should include dark greens, red and orange vegetables, legumes (i.e., beans and peas) and starchy vegetables. Spinach and kale are also considered superfoods, so they have many health benefits to offer consumers.
  • Eat whole grains. At least half of all the grains you consume should be whole grain.
  • Eat different proteins. Not all proteins are the same, so you should eat seafood, lean meats and chicken, eggs, beans, soy products and nuts. Vary your intake of these proteins and be sure to eat enough of them to maintain your energy.
  • Eat fruits. Of course, you should consume fruits regularly, but you should try to eat whole fruits more often than canned or candied fruits.

As a part of America’s healthy eating guidelines, you are also advised to engage in approximately 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week. For children six to 17 years of age, the recommended amount of physical activity is 60 minutes per day.

Nutrition Label Information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has imposed some food label laws that require calorie information to be provided on menus at chain restaurants and food establishments. By reading food labels, you may better determine how healthy a food product is. However, you may also stay up-to-date on the changes being made to the labels that may affect your food choices. The FDA offers detailed information regarding nutrition labels and how food establishments may be omitting certain ingredients. Learning how to read nutrition labels is a valuable skill that can benefit you when you make food purchases. By learning how nutrition labels are constructed and formatted, you can become an informed consumer.

Healthy Eating Tips

Healthy eating tips are available to anyone interested in eating healthier and can help them adjust to a new diet and lifestyle. The following tips are meant to promote a balanced diet and ensure you maintain your new diet:

  • Talk to your family and friends about your new diet and ask them to plan meals with you and incorporate physical activities into your daily routine.
  • Visit local farmer’s markets and other healthy grocery stores to get fresh ingredients.
  • Do not skip meals and, instead, pack small snacks to eat throughout the day.
  • Stay hydrated and drink water rather than sugary beverages.
  • Set personal goals to encourage yourself to eat healthy and meet nutrition recommendations for your age, height and weight.
  • Take advantage of health apps such as SuperTracker to track your progress.
  • Incorporate more vegetables into your meals by mixing them into your food.
  • Vary your meals to make them more appealing to you and your family.

Understanding how to eat healthy can improve your overall physical and mental health and provide you with other personal benefits.

Related Article: What can I buy with food stamps?

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