Westchester County

Healthy Eating

Be Healthy Westchester - Eat Real Food

Now is a great time to make a fresh start at eating healthy foods and exercising more.

Now is a great time to make a fresh start at eating healthy foods and exercising more. For delicious and nutritious recipes and other tips, look for us on Pinterest at wchealth.

Small changes can improve your health and that of your family.Why not try whole grain pasta and whole wheat bread instead of white? Switch to 1 percent milk instead of 2 percent or whole milk. Only children under age two need the fat in whole milk. The rest of us should avoid it.

Most of us consume too much sodium and too many calories from solid fats, added sugars and refined grains. New federal dietary guidelines are intended to help address rising concerns about poor diet and physical inactivity among Americans that are contributing to an epidemic of overweight and obesity and lead to many chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Enjoy your food, but eat less.

Avoid oversize portions

Half your plate should b filled with fruits and vegetables. One quarter should be whole grains. And one quarter should be lean protein.

Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.

Here are some tips to help you to eat healthier, exercise more and avoid obesity, heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Scroll down to learn more!

Eat real food by buying foods that have not been processed

  • Real food is "whole food" in its original form --the way the
    food comes from plants and animals.
  • To obtain real food, look to buy foods with five ingredients or less.
  • To obtain real food, look to buy foods with inredients you can recognize.
  • Real Food Resources: Shop Smart and Get The Facts on Food Labels

Eat real food but not too much

  • Portion size matters. Learn what portion sizes are appropriate for you.
  • Eat slowly. Savor your food. Enjoy every bite.
  • Stop eating before you are completely full. Remember, it takes 15 to 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you are full.
  • Avoid mindless eating. Do not eat when bored, tired, sad, stressed or thirsty.
  • Eat Real Food Resources: Every Day Eating for a Healthier You, Top 10 Ways to Control Portions

Eat real food, not too much and mostly from plants

  • Fruits and vegetables should take up half of your plate.
  • Plants contain hundreds of nutrients that the body needs and much less calories and fat than food from animals.
  • Eat all different parts of the plant: roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds.
  • Eat Real Food Resources: 20 Ways to Enjoy Fruits and Vegetables

Buy foods from supermarket's outer perimeter

Most of us consume too much sodium and too many calories from solid fats, added sugars and refined grains. New federal dietary guidelines should help us address rising concerns about poor diet and physical inactivity among Americans that contribute to an epidemic of overweight and obesity and lead to many chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Here they are in a nutshell:

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less.
  • Avoid oversized portions.
  • Eat right with color, make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals - and choose the foods with lower numbers.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

Shop your way to better nutrition with this shopping list.

Cut the salt
Why stay away from salt? Eating too much salt causes high blood pressure (hypertension). It also increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Westchester County, New York and the U.S. About 500 deaths each year can be attributed to excessive salt intake. Learn more about cutting salt from your diet and your life.
 
Make smart snack choicesTrans-fats
Trans-fat is an artery-clogging fat that can be found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods, and other foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils. Over time, trans-fat can "clog the pipes" that feed the heart and brain, which can lead to heart attack or stroke risk. Trans-fats increase your risk of heart disease. Learn more about how to keep your family healthy by reducing trans fats in your diet.

Obesity Prevention
If you are overweight or obese, carrying this extra weight puts you at risk for developing many diseases, especially heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. Losing this weight helps to prevent and control these diseases. Learn more about obesity and its health consequences.

If you are a senior, these tips can help.

i Choose 600 Campaign
The New York State Department of Health has a new campaign, i Choose 600, to encourage people to eat lower-calorie meals when they eat fast food. These are the main messages:

  • Staying under 600 calories per meal is a good target when eating out at fast food restaurants, no matter what someone's caloric needs are for a day.
  • Theree are small, easy steps to reduce calories at fast food restaurants, like ordering water instead of soda and ordering small instead of large fries.
  • It's important to remember, however, that even fast food meals under 600 calories are  not necessarily healthy; they are often still high in salt and low in fruits and vegetables.
  • You can visit the Facebook page with a calorie counting application for burger chains.

Visit your local farmers market for fresh fruits and vegetablesFarmers Markets
At farmer's markets, you will find fresh mouth watering hand selected produce. The produce lasts longer because it is usually picked the same day or the day before; and most use fewer chemicals and pesticides. Local growers can also educate you on the type of produce they are buying, and offer tips for storing, cooking, or preserving it. 

  • NYS Community Farmers' Markets - lists outdoor farmers' markets in Westchester County and which ones participate in the WIC/Senior Farmers' Market nutrition program
  • Community Markets - find local Community Farmers Markets (by City).
  • Snap-to-Market - Your EBT/Food Stamp/SNAP card is welcome at a farmers market near you, making it simple to bring home nutritious food. From just-picked produce to wholesome meat, dairy, and bread products, you'll find it all at your local farmers market.
  • Farmers' Market Wireless EBT Program - For Farmers' Market vendors, New York State began to its conversion from paper food stamps to Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), an electronic debit card system. Visit the site and learn how you can joint the EBT Program.

Resources for a healthy start:

Fact Sheets