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April 18, 2014

Extension Update: Spring clean your pantry

Live Oak —

By Cathy Rogers

Family and Consumer Sciences Agent II

UF/IFAS Extension Suwannee County

I often write about making small changes that will bring about better health for the rest of your life and springtime is a great time to make your pantry reflect your desire for better health; after all, if it’s not in your house you are less likely to eat it. In the next few weeks do a pantry makeover using a tool called the Traffic-light System. You can classify foods into three main categories according to the colors of a traffic stoplight: Green, Yellow, and Red.

These colors have nothing to do with how the foods look, instead, the colors tell you how healthy a food is.

Green Foods

Green foods, like the green traffic light, are high in nutrients and fiber, low in fat and calories. If you check the Nutrition Facts Label on a food, you will find the total number of fat grams per serving. Green foods have less than two grams of fat per serving. Be sure to check the label so you know the actual serving size.

These foods are so healthy and low in calories, you can feel free to eat them at any time, especially if you have an urge to snack between meals.

Most Green Foods are fruits and vegetables, but also includes beverages such as water and unsweet tea, plus spices and herbs. Stock up on these! Here is a list of examples:

·         Apples

·         Broccoli

·         Carrots

·         Nectarines

·         Celery

·         Radishes

·         Lettuce

·         Tomatoes

·         Tangerines

·         Asparagus

·         Beets

·         Oranges

·         Cauliflower

·         Cucumbers

·         Green beans

·         Spinach

·         Tomato juice

Yellow Foods

Just like the color yellow on a traffic light tells you to go slow and cautious, be careful with these foods.  Though they are healthy, they are moderate in calories and fat.  They contain two to seven grams of fat per serving so over-eating them can cause you to gain weight.

Yellow foods are the foundation of a healthy diet. Most of the foods you eat are probably in this category. Some examples include:

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