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Message to the Black Church, You Are What You Eat!
We all know that eating is a great thing. We share good times, culture, and history through the foods we eat. Often, we forget that what goes in must eventually come out!Many Black churches serve foods that are high in fat and tend to not offer much in the form of fruits and the right kind of vegetables. The USDA starts off its guidelines for eating by proclaiming, “Eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures.” And it is — but like all great pleasures, it must be done intelligently.
The way you eat is crucial to your well being in all stages of life. Nutrition is vital to a child’s physical and mental development, a teenager’s proper maturation, and an adult’s well being. If you eat healthier, you will feel better and live longer…
Why this is important
Healthy eating can prove to be your best means of fighting illness. Proper eating is known to combat such conditions as heat disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and certain cancers. A good diet can significantly reduce your risk of contracting one of these chronic illnesses. Eating right is also crucial for the regular maintenance of your body. Various foods contain the energy and nutrients that your body needs to function properly.
For instance, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins supply your body with the energy (calories) it needs, calcium in milk gives your body the building blocks it needs for bones and teeth, and vitamins perform numerous functions in keeping your body running well.
Good eating is essential to good health
A healthy diet provides your body with the energy and nutrients you need without any deficiencies or excesses. A good diet is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, salt, and high in vegetables, fruit, and fiber. It provides enough energy to keep you going, but not more than you need.
Now, planning your healthy diet is the part of eating right that takes some thinking. Using the Nutrition Facts Label on many prepackaged foods can help you find out if your diet is balanced. Add up the amount of calories and nutrients you consume in one average day, and compare it to the chart below (based on a 2000 calorie diet — actual needs may vary):
|Saturated Fat||20 g|
Some foods may not include a Nutrition Fact Label, such as unpackaged meats and fruits and restaurant foods.
The best way to make sure that you are getting everything you need is to follow the USDA’s food pyramid guide. The pyramid is the recommended proportion in which you should eat the six food groups. Make carbohydrates (6-11 servings), vegetables (3-5 servings), and fruits (2-4 servings) the base of your diet. Eat conservative amounts from the dairy group (2-3 servings) and the meat and bean group (2-3 servings). Eat only a sparing amount of high-fat and sugar foods.
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