Mix Up Food Choices within Each Food Group

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Focus on fruits. Offer a variety of fruits—whether fresh, frozen, canned, or dried—rather

than fruit juice for most fruit choices. For a 2,000-calorie diet, your resident will need about 2 cups of fruit each day, for example 1 large banana and 1 large orange. If your resident needs 1,600 calories, he/she will need about 1 1/2 cups each day, for example 1 small apple and 1/2 cup strawberries

Vary your vegetables. Offer more dark green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and other dark leafy greens; orange vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and winter squash; and beans and peas, such as pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, split peas, and lentils. For a 2,000-calorie diet, your resident will need about 2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day. If your resident needs 1,600 calories, he/she will need about 2 cups each day, for example, 1 medium baked potato, 1/2 cup cooked spinach, and 1/2 cup acorn squash

Encourage calcium-rich foods. Offer 3 cups of low-fat or fat-free milk—or an equivalent amount of low-fat or fat-free yogurt and/or low-fat cheese (1 ½ ounces of cheese equals 1 cup of milk)—every day. If your resident is lactose intolerant, offer lactose-free milk products, yogurt and cheese. If your resident does not or cannot consume milk, select calcium-fortified foods and beverages

Make half your grains whole. For a 2,000-calorie diet, your resident needs about 6 to 7 ounces of grains each day, and at least half should be whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta. One ounce is about 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat breakfast cereal, or

1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta. If your resident needs 1,600 calories, he/she will need about 5 ounces. Check that grains such as wheat, rice, oats, or corn are referred to as “whole” in the list of ingredients.

Go lean with protein. Choose lean meats and poultry to bake, broil, or grill. And vary the protein choices—with more fish, beans, peas, nuts, eggs, and seeds.

Know the limits on fats, salt, and sugars. Read the Nutrition Facts label on food packages.

Look for foods low in saturated fats, cholesterol, and trans fats. Choose and prepare foods and beverages with little salt (sodium) and/or added sugars (caloric sweeteners).