Please note: This information was current at the time of publication but now may be out of date. This handout provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit familydoctor.org, the AAFP patient education website.

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Am Fam Physician. 2000;62(7):1697-1698

Grain Products

Foods to choose

  • Whole-grain breads and cereals

  • Baked products made with whole grains and limited amounts of fat and sugar

Foods to limit

  • Biscuits

  • Croissants

  • Stuffing

  • Fruit and nut bread

  • Fried or greasy snacks (tortilla chips, corn chips, popcorn, etc.)

Vegetable and Fruits—Eat Five Per Day

Foods to choose

  • Beta-carotene sources: carrots, cantaloupe, apricots, tomatoes, winter squash, spinach, etc

  • Vitamin C sources: oranges, grapefruit, red and green peppers, strawberries, broccoli, etc.

  • Folic acid sources: oranges and orange juice, bananas, leafy green vegetables, leaf lettuce, asparagus, etc.

  • Cabbage family: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.

Foods to limit

  • Vegetables prepared in high-fat sauces

  • High-fat items such as avocado and coconut

  • Fried or deep-fried vegetables (potatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, etc.)

  • Fried snacks (potato chips, sweet potato chips, etc.)

Milk and Dairy

Foods to choose

  • Skim or 1 percent milk

  • Nonfat dry milk or evaporated skim milk

  • Low-fat cottage cheese or yogurt

  • Farmers cheese

  • Part-skim mozzarella or ricotta cheese

  • Low-fat cheeses

  • Ice milk

  • Low-fat frozen yogurt

Foods to limit

  • Whole or 2 percent milk

  • Sour cream

  • Butter and margarine

  • Fried or deep-fried cheese

  • Regular cheeses

  • Ice cream

  • Cream (half and half, whipping)

Meat or Meat Alternatives

Foods to choose

  • Lean beef, veal, pork and lamb (trim all visible fat)

  • Skinless chicken and turkey breast

  • Low-fat processed meat (lean ham, low- or nonfat bologna and hot dogs, etc.)

  • Fish and shellfish

  • Dried beans, peas and lentils

Foods to limit

  • Chicken and turkey with skin

  • “Prime” grade, heavily marbled or fatty meats (such as rib-eye steak)

  • Sausage, bacon, frankfurters, bologna, etc.

  • Goose and domestic duck

  • Fried or deep-fried meat, poultry and seafood

Fats, Oils and Sweets

Foods to choose

  • Use sparingly—broil or bake instead of frying

  • Use fruit, instead of butter and syrup, on pancakes and waffles

  • Choose low-fat sweets (angel-food cake, graham crackers, ginger snaps, etc.) if you have enough calorie allowance after getting foods from the other food groups

Foods to limit

  • Greasy and/or fried items

  • Spreads and salad dressings

  • Desserts that are high in fat and sugar (pastries, pies, doughnuts, candy, etc.)

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