WASHINGTON — The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has introduced a nutrition manual to help foodservice professionals and consumers make informed, healthy choices when they are shopping for food, eating at home or dining out year-round.
- Click here to download the entire manual.
While the manual mainly offers consumers a list of healthy eating strategies, it also provides convenience-store operators a look into what their consumers may purchase in their stores down the line. With retail customers demanding fresh and healthy foods now more than ever, knowing what types of offerings to include—and to exclude—can be advantageous.
The manual, Health Educator’s Nutrition Toolkit: Setting the Table for Healthy Eating, includes practical nutrition education tools and tips. Read on ...
While shopping for food ...
- Avoid shopping while hungry. If you shop while you're hungry, you might buy items on impulse that are less healthy.
- Use the Nutrition Facts label to compare foods and find what's right for you. More often, choose items higher in dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals, and lower in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and added sugars.
- Check the serving size when comparing calories and nutrients in different food products. Some containers may have multiple servings.
- Use calorie information to compare products and to determine whether and how much of a food can fit within your diet.
When eating at home ...
- Plan your meals ahead of time and make sure they include the five MyPlate food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods and dairy).
- Instead of frying your food, try baking, broiling, grilling or steaming it.
- Start collecting simple, healthy recipes. The What's Cooking USDA Mixing Bowl has lots of recipes (including some healthier treats) to help you get started.
When eating out ...
- Look for calorie and nutrition information. Calorie information can be found on menus or menu boards of restaurants and other food establishments that are part of a chain of 20 or more locations. Many chain restaurants also include nutrition information online, so you can check restaurant websites for nutrition information before you go out.
- Appetizers and side dishes can add many calories to a meal. Steamed, grilled or broiled vegetables and fruit are often lower-calorie options. With calorie information, you can make the best choice for you.
- When reading menus, keep an eye out for words such as creamy, fried, breaded, battered or buttered. Foods with these descriptions are typically higher in calories and saturated fat than foods described as baked, roasted, steamed, grilled or broiled.