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Ring in the New Year with healthier food choices

Trying to do a better job with your diet? Watch out for misleading labels and products only posing as nutritious. Here’s the lowdown.

Go Whole Grain

Dietary guidelines call for at least 3 ounces of whole grains (Adult men 19-30 require 4 ounces; adult men 31-50 require 3.5 ounces). But bread, crackers, and cereals labeled as multigrain, cracked wheat, seven-grain, or 100 percent wheat may not contain any whole grains.

Be sure to read labels carefully to separate the wheat from chaff. Look for the words “100 percent whole grain” on the package. You also can look for the Whole Grains Council stamp on the package. Or check the ingredients - whole grain should lead the list. Examples include: Whole wheat, whole oats or oatmeal, and whole-grain corn.

Skip Sneaky Snacks

Craving chips? If your conscience steers you toward a bag of veggie chips, think again. Such chips often are just as high in fat as regular chips and offer little nutrition in return. Try whole-grain or baked chips, or lightly salted, unbuttered popcorn instead. For a truly healthy crunch, opt for baby carrots.

Likewise, don’t be fooled by claims of real fruit on snack packages. Even when made with concentrated juice, fruit snacks usually include lots of sugar and may even harbor hydrogenated fat.

Water Works

Vitamin-boosted water sounds like a winner. But typically these enhanced bottled beverages fall short of nutrients and contain empty calories from sugar. Read the label to see what you’re really getting for your money.

A better choice? Drink calorie-free water. If you’re concerned about getting enough vitamins and mineral in your daily diet, take a multivitamin and mineral supplement. 

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