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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.
add milk, cheeses, and crumb toppings to
casseroles, soups, stews, or side dishes.


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

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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,
Cholesterol, Sugar, and Sodium in
Your Baking

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sour cream

lowfat sour cream or yogurt


margarine or vegetable oil (total fat will be
the same, but saturated fat and cholesterol will
be reduced)

Some Tips for Making Eating Better When
Desserts More

Eating Out

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.

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