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What If I'm Underweight?
Food Choice Challenges
Some situations pose special challenges for making healthy food choices, especially snacktime, dessert time, and eating out.
Though discussions of diet usually focus on losing weight, some people have trouble maintaining enough weight. This sometimes happens to older people when they find themselves living alone. People who are underweight are often more susceptible to illnesses and don't recover from them as well as others. If you are concerned about weighing too little, try to
Americans, in general, are snackers and often substitute snacks for meals because they are quick and easy. Eating too many snacks that are high in sugar, fat, and salt can add calories without giving you important nutrients you need. On the other hand, nutritious snacks can help you get needed nutrients, especially if you find it easier to eat only small amounts of food at meals.
• eat three balanced meals every day, with
foods from each food group. • increase portion sizes of the foods you eat at
each meal. • try new foods and ingredients to perk up
your appetite. • eat when you feel hungry. Keep healthy
snacks handy for munching and don't skip meals. • try milk, cocoa, or soup instead of coffee
and tea, which have few calories.
Ten Ideas for Healthy Snacking
Desserts Can Be Nutritious Too
1. plain popcorn, without added
butter or oil 2. whole-grain crackers 3. unsalted pretzels 4. lowfat yogurt 5. lowfat cheeses and spreads 6. unsweetened fruit juices 7. tomato juice 8. fruit slices with peels (for more
fiber) 9. raw vegetable strips and pieces 10. sparkling water flavored with a
slice of lemon or lime
Limit the amount of food you eat at snacktime, so you won't be tempted to skip meals. For instance, take several crackers and eat them slowly-don't take a whole box of crackers to munch on. If you need to make your snack a mini-meal, try eating “meal foods”— half a sandwich and a glass of milk or a cup of soup. If you're limiting calories, choose lowfat dairy products and clear soups.
Hints for Reducing Fat, Saturated Fat,
lowfat sour cream or yogurt
margarine or vegetable oil (total fat will be
Some Tips for Making Eating Better When
More and more Americans are eating out, and
older Americans are no exception. While you TRY—
can't control the ingredients in the foods you • fruit breads made with whole-wheat flour.
eat in restaurants, you can choose wisely and • fresh fruit, baked or broiled, spiced with
eat moderate amounts. cinnamon, nutmeg, or mint.
The type of restaurant you eat in will deterpudding made with lowfat milk and less
mine what choices you can make. For examsugar.
ple, cafeterias and buffets offer a variety of unsweetened fresh fruit topped with lowfat
foods but no options for ordering foods preyogurt.
pared as you like. And restaurants offering • rolled oat toppings for fruit crisps, instead
"all-you-can-eat” tempt you to eat too much! of flour/sugar/butter crumb toppings.
Fast-food restaurants also limit your choices • cookie recipes with less sugar and fat.
because many items are deep-fat fried or consingle-crust pies—try a crust made with 1
tain a lot of sodium. However, many chains cup of graham cracker crumbs and 3 table
now have salad bars, offering a healthful alterspoons of soft margarine.
native. • ice milk, frozen yogurt, sherbets, sorbet, or
The key strategies to eating healthy in a flavored ices. When you do eat ice cream,
restaurant are watching serving sizes so you try regular varieties rather than the rich
don't overeat, choosing items that are low in super premium types, which are much
fat, and asking for alternatives like lowfat milk higher in fat.
and margarine when possible.