The Uncommon Sense Guide to Healthy Eating
Yellow Light Foods
By Shandley McMurray
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The benefits: One of the best ways to get bone- and-teeth-building calcium is through dairy products. Problem is, these items are often high in fat and calories. The solution: choose low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese. As long as your children are over two years of age and are getting enough fat from other dietary sources, low-fat dairy products are a safe, delicious and healthy way to stock up on vital nutrients.
What to buy: "The best options are going to be non-fat or 1% milk with no sugar [so you] get the pure benefits of the dairy product," says O'Rourke. Or try mixing fresh fruit into plain non-fat yogurt.
The benefits: Protein is essential for repairing our muscles and boosting our energy. And one of the most reliable sources of this nutrient is meat.
What to buy: Whether you're a fan of chicken, pork, turkey or beef, opt for lean slices in order to cut down on artery-clogging saturated fat. That way, you'll get the full benefits of the iron (found in high amounts in red meat), which helps transport oxygen throughout your blood stream. You'll also gain essential b-vitamins and protein without packing on additional calories.
The benefits: "Nuts are definitely a good thing to be consuming," says O'Rourke. They, too, are loaded with protein and they're high in monounsaturated fats (the good kind), which we need to stay warm and maintain energy. But beware, even though nuts offer a good type of fat, they still pack a high calorie punch in a very small amount. So always practice moderation when crunching these snacks.
What to buy: Limit servings to a handful (kids should use their own hands to measure) of walnuts, almonds or other tasty varieties. But make sure to keep them away from your child's school in case of an allergy.
The benefits: Fish and shellfish are probably the healthiest, leanest meat you can put in your body. They're full of heart-protecting and brain-boosting Omega 3 fatty acids (especially salmon, pollock and light tuna). And they're very low in saturated fat.
What to buy: Be careful. Fish, especially large varieties like shark, swordfish and king mackerel, are known to be high in mercury, which can cause numerous negative health effects. To minimize your exposure to this metal, limit your servings to two per week (that's two 6-oz cans of tuna for an adult, less for a child), buy wild rather than farmed salmon and choose light over albacore canned tuna.