Simple Strategies for Success

  • MyPlate Message: Enjoy your food, but eat less.
  • Eat at least three times per day, remembering that breakfast is especially important.
  • Pay attention to your body. Quit eating before you feel full, stuffed, or sick from eating.
  • If you still feel hungry or unsatisfied after a meal or snack, wait 10 minutes before you have more food. Often the craving will subside.
  • Eat plenty of fiber. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are good sources of fiber.
  • Avoid drinking your calories. Drinking less regular soda and/or fruit juice can significantly reduce the amount of calories and sugar you consume. Drink lots of water instead.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol (wine, beer, and liquor) you consume.

Mealtime Makeover

  • Keep all food in the kitchen. Eat only in a chosen place, such as the table. Avoid eating in the car, bedroom, or in front of the TV.
  • Drink a glass of water before you eat meals.
  • Use smaller bowls, glasses, plates, and serving spoons to make your meal appeal larger.
  • Keep your serving dishes off the table. This will force you to think about whether or not you are still hungry before taking a second portion.
  • Put salad dressing on the side. Dip your fork in the dressing before you spear a bite of salad.
  • Eat slowly. Take a few one minute breaks from eating during meals, put your fork down between bites, and/or cut your food one bite at a time.
  • Enjoy fruit for dessert instead of cakes, pies, and other sweets.
  • Leave a little food on your plate.
  • Remove your plate as soon as you are finished.

Get Moving!

Key recommendations in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines related to balancing calories and managing weight include increasing physical activity and reducing time spent on sedentary behaviors. Daily physical activity does more than help manage your weight. It builds strong bones, maintains muscle mass including your heart, keeps core muscles in check, helps burn off stress and builds self-esteem.

Be Smart in the Supermarket

Before you begin, keep these thoughts in mind:

  • Make a list before you arrive at the store. The key to success is to then stick to it. This will help you to avoid impulse purchases. Following a list can save you money and spare your waistline.
  • Avoid shopping on an empty stomach. Studies have proven that shoppers are more likely to purchase less healthful items when they shop hungry.
  • Focus primarily on the outer perimeter of the grocery store. This is a general rule of thumb for those who are trying to eat healthier as most fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products are located on the outer edge of the store. However, there is an exception to every rule. Items such as whole grains, spices, and herbs are still found amidst the inner grocery aisles.
  • Grab the weekly ad, green sheets, and orange sheets on your way in! Know what items are on sale and be sure you are getting great stuff, for not a lotta money!

Let’s go shopping!

Fruit and Fruit Juice

For peak flavor, the most nutrition and the best price, eat fruits that are in season when they are ripe and fresh. Fruits are full of flavor with a modest amount of calories; most contain no fat and very little sodium. In addition, they provide an array of vitamins and minerals, especially when you choose a variety of colors.

  • MyPlate Message: Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables!
  • Choose fresh and frozen more often. To save on spoilage, wash fresh fruit just before eating.
  • When purchasing canned fruit, choose those with no sugar added or those that are packed in their own juice.
  • Opt for 100% juice. Some juice cocktails contain less than 10% juice.


Deep green or bright orange veggies tend to be rich in many nutrients, such as calcium, vitamins A and C, potassium, and iron.

  • MyPlate Message: Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables!
  • Choose fresh and frozen more often. These options allow you to control the amount of fat and salt that are added during meal preparation.
  • Avoid buying more than you will use. In some cases it is more economical to purchase your veggies from Festival’s Fresh Cut area or off the Salad Bar.
  • Be aware that frozen vegetables with cream or cheese sauces are higher in fat and/or sodium. Choose those less often.
  • When purchasing canned vegetables, choose those that are “no added salt” or “low sodium” varieties.

Meat & Meat Alternatives

  • MyPlate Message: Go lean with protein.
  • Beef: Look for round or loin cuts, and choice or select varieties.
  • Poultry: Choose the leaner, white meat (breast), avoid eating the skin, and find those that are not injected with a sodium solution.
  • Fish: Frozen, unbreaded fillets, pieces, or steaks are options to choose more often. Canned fish is also a great choice.
  • Consider vegetable proteins such as beans or tofu for a lean protein option.


Read package labels or look for the Whole Grain Stamp to find whole grain products.

  • MyPlate Message: Make at least half your grains whole grains.
  • Bread: Choose varieties with at least 3g fiber and 3g fat or less per serving.
  • Pasta and rice: Choose whole grain pasta noodles and brown rice more often to add nutrients and fiber to your diet.
  • Cereal: Choose cereals with at least 3g fiber, 3g fat or less, and 8-10g or less sugar per serving.

Milk & Dairy

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend three servings of low-fat or fat-free milk or other dairy products every day to ensure an adequate intake of essential nutrients. Milk is the number one source of both calcium and Vitamin D in the American diet.

  • MyPlate Message: Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1% milk).
  • When you purchase dairy products, choose these more often:
    • Skim or 1% milk, fat-free or reduced fat cottage cheese and sour cream.
    • Plain, light yogurt or Greek yogurt (which has more protein per serving than regular yogurt).

Frozen Meals and Entrées

Frozen meals and packaged entrees vary widely in serving size and nutrient content. Be sure to compare Nutrition Facts panels, serving sizes, and NuVal Scores to find the most nutritious choices.

  • For a Frozen Meal:
    • Choose meals that contain less than 400 calories, 15g fat, and 800mg sodium.
    • Add a serving of vegetables or fruit to fill nutritional gaps.
  • For a Frozen, Packaged Entrée:
    • Most sandwiches, burritos, and fajitas generally have about 300 calories.

Add a fresh green salad, whole grain bread, and skim milk to enhance nutritional value.

Additional Resources

General Health/Wellness

Kid’s Nutrition/Healthy Lifestyle

Lean/Low-Fat Lifestyle