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It’s a classic American dinner: A juicy steak with a side of baked potato smothered in butter and salt. Add some rolls and later a slab of chocolate cake topped with ice cream, and your taste buds are in heaven.
That meal might be fine once in a while, but a lot of your favorite foods are temptations that can wreak havoc on your health and waistline.
The government’s latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which were released earlier this year, outline key recommendations that hammer home some familiar nutrition messages: Reduce your intake of solid fats (butter, beef fat), dietary cholesterol, sugar, sodium, fatty meats and high-calorie, refined foods such as cookies and cakes.
So what the heck is left for us to eat that can send us into that same taste-bud heaven?
That’s the kind of question that makes nutritionists want to weep.
“I hear this question all the time,” says Colleen Doyle, director of nutrition and physical activity for the American Cancer Society. “But the bottom line is, there is a huge variety of fruits and vegetables, many types of whole grains, lots of different lean meats, poultry, seafood, beans, nuts and low-fat dairy options – and unlimited combinations and recipes for those foods that people can eat.”