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Sandra Cain

Eating smart and staying healthy sounds simple. But with all the conflicting advice on what we should be eating to stay healthy, eating smart can be a challenge when considering the ample variety of sweet and savory snack foods that fill our grocery shelves and vending machines as well as the focus on “super sizing” in the restaurant industry.

Eating smart doesn’t have to mean giving up good taste or all your favorite foods. It does mean choosing high-calorie, high-fat foods such as chips, fries and donuts as “sometimes” foods and making lower-fat, higher-fiber choices your “everyday” foods. Rather than having donuts and coffee for breakfast every day, make whole-grain cereal and low-fat milk your everyday choice and donuts and coffee your Saturday morning choice.

Healthy eating helps you get the most out of life. A healthy lifestyle is the key to looking good, feeling great and being your best at work and play. It all starts with a healthy eating plan.

One good plan to follow is the My Plate guidelines from USDA. Today, there are many different plates to choose from. Each one has a little different focus, whether for children, diabetes, vegetarians, or encouraging the consumption of more monounsaturated fat and less refined starch. You can personalize your own eating plan at www.MyPlate.gov.

While there is much discussion among those who promote one plan over the other, what’s important is to choose the plan that best fits your individual needs.  As a nation, we eat too many foods that are high in saturated fats and refined sugars and too little   fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Regardless of the eating plan you choose, it’s important to actively explore variety in your food choices. Be adventurous and explore new tastes, particularly among the wide choices of fruits and vegetables now available to us year-round. Eating a wide variety of foods not only promotes optimal nutrition, it enhances the pleasurable aspects of eating.

Along with variety, it’s important to make moderation your goal. Healthy eating doesn’t mean feeling deprived or guilty. Look at the big picture. It’s what you eat over several days, not just one day or one meal, that’s important.

Finally, develop a personal fitness plan that fits your lifestyle. Variety also is important here. Find a variety of activities you enjoy and do them on a regular basis. You don’t need expensive exercise equipment. Walking is one of the best exercises around and only requires good shoes. Fitness, like a long, healthy life, is something we need to work on every day, not just two or three times a week.

Source:  Colorado Cooperative Extension

Golden Fruit Salad

1 Golden Delicious apple, cored and sliced

1 Red Delicious apple, cored and sliced

1 banana, peeled and sliced

½ cup red seedless grapes, halved

1 small can of mandarin oranges, drained

Orange Yogurt Dressing


Combine all fruits; mix well.  Serve with Orange Yogurt Dressing.  Yield:  3 servings


Orange Yogurt Dressing:  Combine 3 cups plain low-fat yogurt, 2-3 teaspoons orange juice and dash nutmeg.  Mix well.


Orange Ginger Carrots

3 cups sliced carrots

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ cup orange juice

1 tablespoon butter


Place carrots and 1 inch of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 8 – 10 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and keep warm.


In the same saucepan, combine the cornstarch, sugar, salt and ginger. Stir in orange juice until smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in butter until melted. Add carrots and toss to coat.