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Nutrition Information for Adults

This page contains information and handouts for adults with and without disabilities who need to lose or gain weight or want to eat a healthier diet.

Basic Nutrient Requirements:

Everyone requires the following nutrients for proper health and functioning:

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrate (starches and sugars)
  • Fats
  • Fluid
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Fiber (soluble and insoluble)

Which Nutrients Contain Calories?

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrate
  • Fats

What Are the Other Nutrients For?

Vitamins and minerals are part of chemical reactions in our bodies and also serve as components of body structures. Chemical reactions, body structures and organ systems cannot exist in a dry state. Fluid is a major component of our bodies and must be regularly replenished. Fiber is required for proper elimination and intestinal health.

What’s A Healthy Diet?

A healthy diet includes the Four Food Groups:

  • Protein foods (meats, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, soup beans, legumes, tofu (soybean curd), and nuts.
  • Starchy foods (breads, cereals, grains, pasta, corn, peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, soup beans and legumes).
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables.

What’s A Healthy Variety of Food?

At minimum: 3 different foods from each food group. But that’s not the ideal! For a really healthy diet, eat 5-6 or more different foods from each food group.

What About Dairy Products?

Dairy products are a versatile group of foods that have protein and starch in them and therefore fit into the protein and starchy food groups. Milk, yogurt, buttermilk and cheese are all excellent sources of protein and calcium. However, only milk is consistently fortified with vitamin D. If you eat other dairy products but you do not drink milk on a regular basis, ask your doctor or dietitian whether you should take a vitamin D supplement.

Soymilk and other soy products are good substitutes for people with dairy intolerances or allergies. These foods are good sources of protein and calcium. Again, check the food label to see if the soy products you eat have vitamin D in them. If not, consult your doctor or dietitian about taking a vitamin D supplement.

Almond milk and rice milk are not good substitutes for dairy or soy products. Almond and rice milks are low in protein and calcium. Even when these products are vitamin fortified, the calcium and vitamin D may not be well absorbed.

What Beverages Are the Healthiest?

Healthy beverages include, milk, buttermilk, green and black tea, some herbal teas, coffee (in moderation), 100% fruit juice and water.

Beverages can be important sources of nutrients.

Do I Need A Multivitamin?

Multivitamins can improve a less than ideal diet. If you take a multivitamin, make sure you take one that is made for your gender: “regular” multivitamins are designed for adult men. Women need lower doses of some nutrients and should take a women’s multivitamin. It is possible to overdose on vitamin supplements. For more information, consult a doctor or dietitian.