Beat diet-related illnesses before they start. Choosing to eat healthier helps prevent many diseases including diabetes, heart disease and even some types of cancer.
Plus, eating fresh foods gives you more energy while keeping you feeling and looking younger. Start living better today with these tips
- Understand Nutrition Labels
- Knowing Ingredient Lists
- Making Sense of Portion Sizes
- Healthy Cooking Tips
- Healthy Recipes
Download our FREE Do Right! Kit for plenty of practical advice and tips on living healthier.
Learning how to read and understand food labels can help you make healthier choices. Take a look at the nutrition facts on the back of a nearby can or box of food. You can see it includes detailed nutrition information you need to know about how consuming that product will impact your health.
Reading labels helps you learn a lot about what you’re eating and drinking.
Learn more at the FDA.gov about nutrition labels and more.
Reading the ingredient list of foods you eat just makes sense. After all, you are what you eat. Here are some tips on reading ingredient lists:
- The first ingredient is always the biggest! Ingredients are listed by quantity, with the first being the biggest.
- The first ingredient should not be Sugar, High Fructose, or Fructose! Avoid partially hydrogenated oil & high fructose corn syrup! Hydrogenated oil is a type of added fat (Tran’s fat) and high fructose corn syrup is a type of added sugar.
- Avoid foods with a LONG ingredient list! Longer the ingredient lists have added ingredients that are flavor enhancers, dyes, preservations, and etc. The shorter the list the more wholesome the product is.
- Be mindful of whole grain products! Grain products should have proof of fiber in them to be considered “whole grain”. There should be 2 or more grams of fiber per 100 calories. Look for grain products (breads, cereals, crackers, cereal bars) with the word “ whole” in them.
Finding it hard to determine what a serving or portion size is? Below are some ways you can picture a serving or portion size using everyday objects.
Note: hand and finger sizes vary from person to person! These are GUIDES only.
The bread, cereal, rice and pasta group
1 cup of potatoes, rice, pasta – is a tennis ball, ice cream scoop
1 pancake – is a compact disc (CD)
1/2 cup cooked rice – is a cupcake wrapper full
1 piece of cornbread – is a bar of soap
1 slice of bread – is an audiocassette tape
1 cup of pasta, spaghetti, cereal – is a fist
2 cups of cooked pasta – is a full outstretched hand
The vegetable group
1 cup of green salad – is a baseball or a fist
1 baked potato – is a fist
3/4 cup tomato juice – is a small Styrofoam cup
1/2 cup cooked broccoli – is a scoop of ice cream, a light bulb
1/2 cup serving – is 6 asparagus spears; 7 or 8 baby carrots or carrot sticks; 1 ear of corn on the cob
The fruit group
1/2 cup grapes (15 grapes) – is a light bulb
1/2 cup of fresh fruit – is 7 cotton balls
1 medium size fruit – is a tennis ball or a fist
1 cup of cut-up fruit – is a fist 1/4 cup raisins – is a large egg
The milk, yogurt and cheese group
1-1/2ounces of cheese – is a 9-volt battery, 3 dominoes or your index and middle fingers
1 ounce of cheese – is a pair of dice or your thumb
1 cup of ice cream – is a large scoop the size of a baseball
The meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nut group
2 tablespoons of peanut butter – is a ping-pong ball
1 teaspoon of peanut butter – is a fingertip 1 tablespoon of peanut butter – is a thumb tip
3 ounces cooked meat, fish, poultry – is a palm, deck of cards, cassette tape
3 ounces grilled/baked fish – is a checkbook
3 ounces cooked chicken – is a chicken leg and thigh or breast
Fats, oils and sweets
1 teaspoon butter, margarine – is the size of a stamp as thick as your finger or thumb tip
2 tablespoons salad dressing – is a ping-pong ball
1 ounce of nuts or small candies – is one handful
1 ounce of chips or pretzels – is two handfuls
1/2 cup of potato chips, crackers or popcorn – is one man’s handful
1/3 cup of potato chips, crackers or popcorn – is one woman’s handful
1/2 cup – is a small fruit bowl, a custard cup or mashed potato scoop
1-1/2 cups – is a large cereal/soup bowl
1-1/2 cups of pasta, noodles – is a dinner plate, not heaped
1/2 cup of pasta, noodles – is a cafeteria vegetable dish
You might want to know that…
1 cupped hand holds 2 tablespoons of liquid if you don’t have measuring spoons
1 slice of bread is one ounce or 1 serving; some rolls or bagels weigh 3 to 5 ounces or more making them equal to 3 to 5 servings of bread.
Sources © Copyright 1995-2009 The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. All rights reserved.
- Avoid frying foods and seasoning vegetables with bacon, bacon grease, ham, and ham
- Cut the salt in half in your favorite recipes. Consider replacing some of the salt with herbs or spies, flavored vinegar, or citrus peel or juice.
- Try some lower fat substitutes such as reduced fat salad dressing and skim milk.
- Trim away all visible fat and skin from poultry and meat.
- When cooking meats in a skillet, tip the pan to allow the fat to drain to one side. Spoon out the liquid fat as it collects.
- When buying canned goods look for fruits packed in their own unsweetened juices. Use water-packed tuna. Use veggies that have no salt added.
- Eggs: all of the fat is in the egg yolk, so when possible substitute two egg whites for each whole egg in a recipe.
- Use vegetable cooking spray instead of butter or oil to sauté or fry. Use cooking spray to coat baking sheets, casseroles, or mugging tins.
- Avoid cooking vegetables too long.
- American Heart Association Healthy Decisions
- Home Cooking African American Style
- Platillos Latinos ¡Sabrosos y Saludables!