Poor diet has been associated with the development of many of the chronic diseases in the United States, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. A healthy diet—or a healthy plate—is one that includes multiple servings of various grains, unsaturated fat, protein, fruits, and vegetables per day, and limiting the intake of saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar.

Nutritional Benefits of Breakfast

Researchers analyzed three-day diet records of a group of senior citizens to find what foods contributed the most calories in their diets. Selecting optimal diets are critical to the aged, many of whom are trying to lose or control their weight for effective disease management. Other elderly, however, are at risk for under nutrition due to social and physical problems.

Of the various eating patterns that emerged, the diet in which most of the breakfast calories were supplied by cereal, milk and fruit provided the best nutritional profile overall among those tested. Based on the research, the vitamin-fortified breakfast cereals, as well as the vitamins in milk, helped the elderly participants reach the recommended dietary allowances for calcium and vitamins B6, riboflavin and folate.

The nutritional benefits of breakfast cereals also were shown in a recent survey of more than 4,000 households by General Mills, Inc. Adults who ate cereal for breakfast consumed an average of 10 percent fewer calories than those who selected other breakfast foods, with only 20 percent of their calories coming from fat.

Ways to Eat Healthfully

Stay away from the inside aisles. When you grocery shop, fill up your trolley from the aisles around the outside the perimeter of the store. This is where the fresh fruit, vegetables and fresh foods are kept.

Eat small amounts frequently

Don’t allow yourself to get hungry. Keep your appetite in control with smaller meals and healthy snacks in between.

Keep close to nature

Fresh is best and generally much better for you than pre-packaged. For example, a fresh potato baked in its jacket is more healthy than pre-packaged “potato au gratin”.

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