Confused about your diet? Here's a quiz


March 07, 1995|By Colleen Pierre | Colleen Pierre,Special to The Sun

People complain to me that eating healthfully at home, where they have control, is pretty easy. It's eating out that causes problems.

Actually, eating well is easier than ever, thanks to food manufacturers' determined efforts to give us what we want (and are willing to pay for). The biggest hurdle away from home is exposure to temptation. The fragrance of fries and the lure of the dessert cart sometimes overcome our best intentions.

But healthy choices abound. A blend of small, occasional portions of the tempters mixed with crunchy salads lightly dressed, lean sandwiches on whole-grain bread, steaming bean or vegetable-based soups, and some light and creamy low-fat yogurt mixed in here and there can give us the best of both worlds.

The American Dietetic Association has launched its National Nutrition Month with the slogan "Discover Nutrition: Anytime, Anywhere." The ADA also has a quiz designed to help you rethink your approach to eating away from home.

Test yourself to see what you really know about good nutrition.

* 1. True or false: Fast food is off-limits if you're following a low-fat diet.

* 2. Which of the following types of ethnic food offers healthful, low-fat choices?

A. Chinese. B. Italian. C. Mexican. D. All of the above.

* 3. What is the key to a healthy eating style?

A. Variety. B. Balance. C. Moderation. D. All of the above.

* 4. What is the best way to cut back on fat at home?

A. Buy only foods that provide less than 30 percent of calories from fat. B. Eliminate fat from your diet. C. Reduce fat in favorite recipes and add more fresh herbs and spices for flavor. D. Buy only foods with "low-fat" or "fat free" on the label. E. All of the above.

* 5. True or False: All you need to do to lose weight is limit fat.

* 6. If you're too busy to leave your desk for lunch, how can you enjoy a healthful meal?

A. Order fast food. B. Pack a brown-bag lunch. C. Go to the vending machine. D. All of the above.

* 7. True or false: Between-meal snacking can help you get important nutrients you might have missed at mealtime.

* 8. True or false: Dairy products are the only foods that provide calcium.

* 9. True or false: If the label says "fat free," it means you can eat as much as you want.

* 10. True or false: Sticking to a healthful eating style is impossible when you eat out.


1. False. Any favorite food can still have its place in a healthful diet, if eaten in moderation. Today, more fast-food chains are offering low-fat options, such as low-fat shakes, grilled chicken sandwiches and salads with reduced-calorie dressing.

2. D. All three ethnic cuisines offer healthful dishes, such as stir-fried vegetables, linguine in marinara sauce, and rice and beans, that are rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber and low in fat.

3. D. An eating style that promotes overall health is based on: variety, enjoying different foods from all food groups; balance, including enough, but not too much, of any one kind of food; and moderation, in use of fats, oils and added sugars.

4. C. Cutting back the fat in favorite dishes and adding more herbs and spices to fill the flavor gap is the best way to reduce the fat in a diet. A healthful low-fat diet can include moderate amounts of margarine, butter or vegetable oils.

5. False. Although a low-fat diet is important for weight loss, calories count. Limiting them, as well as fat, plus regular physical activity, are the lifestyle changes that will lead to maintaining a healthy weight.

6. D. Fast-food establishments now offer a number of menu options, making it easy to maintain a healthful eating pattern. Check their nutrition information. Brown-bag lunches allow a lot of flexibility. Carry pasta leftovers or frozen entrees, as well as soups and sandwiches. Depending on your vending machines, you should be able to find pretzels, fruit juice, fresh fruit and yogurt to create a healthful mini meal.

7. True. Nutrition authorities have found that small, healthful snacks, such as fruit, vegetables, whole-grain crackers and low-fat cheese, provide nutrients you might miss at mealtime.

8. False. Although milk, yogurt, and cheese are the major sources of calcium, other foods such as broccoli, tofu and canned fish with bones contribute some calcium, too. For those who cannot tolerate dairy products, calcium-fortified fruit juices and breads are other options.

9. False. Fat-free does not necessarily mean that the food is low in calories. Often the sugar content is increased. Check the Nutrition Facts panel for serving size and calories.

10. False. Whether it's carry-out, coffee shop or haute cuisine, look for these words on the menu as clues to healthful food choices: grilled, broiled, baked, roasted and steamed. Choose lean meats, fish and poultry. Ask for sauces and salad dressings on the side.

Colleen Pierre, a registered dietitian, is the nutrition consultant at the Union Memorial Sports Medicine Center and Vanderhorst & Associates in Baltimore.

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