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Healthy Eating for a Healthy Body

Mr. Ortiz is 82 years old, lives alone, and has a few health issues. Gina is a home health care aide who visits Mr. Ortiz three times a week. Recently, Gina has been trying to engage Mr. Ortiz in planning healthy meals with her so that she can stock his kitchen with healthy food when she does his grocery shopping. She asks Mr. Ortiz to sit with her at the computer so that they can look at the MyPlate website, a website designed to help people understand the five food groups and the importance of eating a balanced diet.

The website shows that the majority of a person’s plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables at each meal. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of carbohydrates, which the body needs for energy. They also supply fiber, which helps food to move through the digestive tract and lowers the risk for certain health conditions. In addition to these benefits, fruits and vegetables also supply necessary vitamins and minerals that the body needs.

Besides eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, a healthy diet should include whole grains. Whole grains are also carbohydrates, and they contain fiber. Gina buys whole grain bread, pasta, and oatmeal for Mr. Ortiz. Mr. Ortiz likes these foods, and they are easy to prepare. Because of their high levels of fiber, whole grains also help him to feel fuller, so he consumes fewer calories. This can help Mr. Ortiz to maintain a healthy weight.

Protein is another important nutrient that the body needs. Gina has been encouraging Mr. Ortiz to choose lean sources of protein such as chicken and fish. Protein is important because it helps the body to build muscle and other body tissue.

Foods from the dairy group should be included in a healthy diet in the smallest amounts. Although milk and dairy items do provide essential nutrients, like calcium, they are also likely to contain high amounts of fat. Gina always buys low-fat milk and yogurt for Mr. Ortiz.

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© 2015 by Southwest Adult Basic Education

Project made financially possible through grants from:

Southwest Initiative Foundation, Marshall Community Foundation, Southwest Regional Transition Partners, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Marshall Healthcare Partners