7. Whole-Grain Bread
Who doesn’t love bread? Bread features in everything from French toast in the morning to sandwiches at lunch and bread pudding for dessert at night. The smartest choice, of course, is whole-grain bread, which packs more fiber and nutrients than refined-flour breads. Breads made with seeds or nuts pack even more nutrition. Studies show that people who eat more whole grains lower their risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions, Zelman adds.
For people with blurred vision, Coste says, "White bread is eaten much less than wheat or pumpernickel. It's a visual thing, not a taste thing." So if you're an adult child who occasionally grocery shops for your parents, pick up a loaf of whole-grain bread and see if they prefer it.
For people with obesity, diabetes or prediabetes, keep bread portion sizes small. And there are lots of gluten-free choices for people who cannot tolerate gluten.
Young kids love the variety of shapes and the taste of pasta. Choose whole-wheat pasta for more fiber and nutrition. Many very good basic tomato sauces are available on grocery store shelves these days, making it easy to put together a simple and delicious dish. Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants. For variety and added nutritional value, add chicken, beans, or vegetables such as chopped peppers or peas.
9. Colorful Vegetables
Health experts say kids and grandparents alike should try to eat vegetables every day.
- Children ages 2 to 3 need 1 cup of vegetables a day.
- Kids 4 to 8 need 1.5 cups.
- Older youth and adults 2 to 3 cups of vegetables a day, depending on gender and activity levels.
Very few Americans hit the mark. Vegetables can be a tough sell for young kids. To make them more palatable, choose brightly colored and sweet-flavored vegetables, such as carrots, bell peppers, peas, and corn. Find fun ways to serve them: Decorate the top of a home-made pizza, for instance, or serve them with a cheese or hummus dip.
Most Americans, young and old, also fall short of the recommended 1 to 2 cups of fruit a day. That’s too bad. Fruit is a great snack and a healthy alternative to sugary and fatty desserts. Fresh fruit is the top choice for nutrition. But frozen or canned fruit is a good alternative. Avoid products with added sugar or syrup.