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How To Choose Healthy Foods

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Did you know that the healthiest foods are also the most colorful, and that we should have at least five colors daily? And no, you can't get them from a package of M&M's. Dr. Pamela Peeke explains how to choose the healthiest foods.

Hi, I’m Dr. Pam Peeke. I’m the author of Fit to Live. Hmm, confused about what to eat? Well I’m going to help you. I’m going to use cutting edge medicine and science to be able to point the way. Well, I’m going to make it simple. Three elements: quality, quantity, frequency. Follow with me.

The first one is quality. How do you know you’re eating quality food? Well the first thing is, here’s a tip: look for five colors in your eating. That means as you look at whole foods like this, look I can count, hmm, seven colors here. Be macho and go for the big seven. Five is the basic. Why? Because the richer the color, the deeper the level of antioxidants, and we love that because that helps augment aging. So when you look at a doughnut and an apple, come on, quality: what’s not to believe?

Quantity: now here’s where everyone gets an F minus. I know you’re eating healthy foods, but you’re eating mountains of them. Quantity means looking at the serving size, the portion size. Grand majority of people are so confused about this that even if you’ve got quality down to a fine science, quantity falls apart. You have to read the label. Understand what a serving is. So as you’re looking at a serving of everything. For instance, oatmeal. This is a wonderful whole grain. But you have to have a half a cup uncooked, and then go for it. Add some blueberries. People are eating just plain too much food.

And the next thing you want to look at is frequency. Frequency means you eat every three to four hours. Most people leave years between meals. You don’t want to do that because that plays with your insulin levels. They go way too high, way too low. That sparks that horrible appetite to eat anything that’s not tacked down. So what you want to do is starting with a healthy breakfast in the morning, here’s a little factoid: if you don’t have a healthy breakfast every morning, research shows you will never be able to achieve optimal body composition and be the healthiest you can possibly be, nor maintain that. So it’s important to have that healthy breakfast. Orange juice, good old Florida citrus over here. You’ve got blueberries. You’ve got whole grains you can have. Good grief, fruit. And then as you go through the day, how about snacks? Every three to four hours means you have to fill in those blanks. You could use something as simple as yogurt or cottage cheese. Why? They have a wonderful blend of carbohydrate, high quality protein, and fat. Add a little granola for some crunch too. Lunchtime comes around and it can also look like dinner. That means lots of greens, wonderful vegetables, lots of colors too as well as lean protein. That means lean poultry, as well as fish, or even how about a veggie burger, a whole grain? All of this comes together to say, hmm, we have quality, quantity, frequency. If you put those together then what you have is healthy eating at the cutting edge.

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