ROCHESTER, Minn. — When it comes to healthful eating, a picture may be worth 1,000 calories.
MayoClinic.com now features a dozen slide shows on food and nutrition topics including how to plan healthy meals and serve right-sized portions. Other recent additions include the Mediterranean diet, as well as fresh fruit and vegetable recipes.
"These photos literally can, at a glance, convey ways to save 1,000 calories," says Jennifer Nelson, a registered dietitian at Mayo Clinic. A typical steak and fries meal at a restaurant tallies up to a whopping 1,500 calories. The steak and fries together cover half the plate.
"A more healthful steak dinner is one with more variety and more appropriate portion sizes," says Nelson. MayoClinic.com shows an example with steak and brown rice each covering a quarter of the plate. The rest of the plate is filled with vegetables. Fruit, salad and skim milk round out the meal. And it's all under 500 calories.
"A quick look at these slide shows offers new, creative — and easy — ideas on food preparation and healthy eating," says Nelson.
The section entitled Guide to Portion Control for Weight Loss features right-sized and supersized portions. For example, a 4-inch pancake is right for a single serving. More typically, a pancake is 6 inches — or two servings and double the calories. "You can instantly compare the photos of pancakes to better gauge an appropriate serving," says Nelson. "Knowing the right serving size is equally as important as knowing the number of servings you need to aim for."
In the Mediterranean diet section, with a focus on whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables, menu suggestions don't even require a recipe. For a fiber-rich and appealing breakfast, consider having a plain Greek yogurt parfait with blueberries, apples slices and a side of whole-grain toast and peanut butter. For dinner, opt for salmon or economical salade nicoise, a salad of canned tuna, fresh veggies and eggs.
Complicated recipes are not required for creative cooking with fruits and vegetables, either. Menu ideas include grilled vegetable kebobs, romaine and strawberry salad or mango salsa pizza.
"These beautiful photos are an easy-to-use nutrition tool," says Nelson. "Pictures take away any mystery on what we mean by healthy eating."
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