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Nutrition Quiz: Practicing Healthy Eating Habits

Even nutrition majors don’t always have the healthy eating habits their bodies need. Taking a nutrition quiz helps identify ways to improve.

Every year, Arizona State University nutrition professor Melinda Manore, Ph.D., R.D., asks her students to analyze their nutritional status through blood tests and computer analysis of seven-day food diaries. And every year, the students' diets fall short. "These are nutrition majors, and they're seniors," Manore says. "Supposedly, they know better. But they're not very aware of what they're eating. Poor iron status is not uncommon, calcium intakes are notoriously low and the vegetarians usually make no effort to find substitutes for the nutrients they're missing."

Test your nutritional know-how and healthy eating habits with this quiz.

If Manore's nutrition majors aren't meeting all of their daily requirements, chances are the rest of us are missing the mark too. Only a full nutritional analysis can determine for sure whether you're making the grade, but this nutrition quiz can help you decide whether you need to start doing your homework and help you to incorporate these healthy eating tips.

1. Women ages 19-50 need at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. Which of the following combinations meets this requirement?

a) 2 cups milk and 1 ounce Cheddar cheese

b) 2 cups milk and 1/2 cup cottage cheese

c) 1/2 cup tofu, 1 cup calcium-fortified soy milk, 1 cup calcium-fortified orange juice, 1/2 cup boiled spinach, 1 cup boiled chopped broccoli, 1 ounce canned sardines

d) 1 cup plain yogurt, 1 cup calcium-fortified orange juice, 1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese

e) b and c

Answer: d. Nutrition facts and healthy eating tips:

  • Parmesan cheese has more calcium per ounce than any other type of cheese -- 390 mg, compared to 204 for Cheddar.
  • Nonfat plain yogurt has a whopping 452 mg of calcium per cup, compared to about 300 mg per cup of milk, calcium-fortified orange juice or calcium-fortified soy milk.
  • Cottage cheese is actually not a great source of calcium, with only 63 mg per 1/2 cup.
  • In the vegetable category, spinach (122 mg per 1/2 cup) beats out broccoli (36 mg per 1/2 cup).
  • An ounce of sardines (canned in soybean oil) has 115 mg.

[header = Nutrition quiz: discover info about healthy eating habits for vegetarians.]

Wondering about nutrition facts for vegetarians? Answer question # 2 on the nutrition quiz and then read on!

2. If you're a vegetarian (no meat, poultry or fish) you should:

a) get your iron status checked.

b) get a bone-density test.

c) eat complementary proteins at each meal.

d) at least start eating chicken and fish because it is impossible to meet your needs without eating any meat at all.

e) a, b and c.

Answer: a. Nutrition tips and healthy eating tips:

Women who don't eat meat tend to be low in iron, so it's important to get your iron status checked. Your physician may recommend an iron supplement or suggest that you eat more iron-fortified cereals and grains. It's entirely possible for vegetarians to get enough iron through healthy eating habits involving plant-based foods, but the iron in these foods is not well absorbed by the body, so you may need to aim for twice the recommended 15 mg of iron per day. Good vegetarian sources of iron include:

  • spinach (1/2 cup contains 3 mg)
  • beans (1/2 cup lentils contains 3 mg)
  • fortified breakfast cereals (6-18 mg of iron per serving)

Vegetarians can ensure healthy eating habits by consuming a variety of plant proteins, including rice, beans, bread and peas.

Finally, vegetarians need not combine foods at each meal to get the full range of amino acids that make up the "complete" proteins found only in animal products. As long as you consume a variety of plant proteins (such as rice, beans, bread and peas), your body will take care of combining the amino acids into the complete proteins you need.

[header = Nutrition quiz: test your knowledge of fat nutrition facts in Shape’s quiz.]

The role of fat in the diet is often misunderstood. Take the nutrition quiz, part 3, and discover the true nutrition facts about fat.

3. When it comes to fat, you should:

a) aim to eat as little as possible.

b) limit your daily saturated fat intake to about 20 grams.

c) eat a maximum of 40 total fat grams per day, including no more than 10 grams of saturated fat.

d) eat a maximum of 25 total fat grams per day, including no more than 10 grams of saturated fat.

e) avoid food items with more than 30 percent of their calories from fat.

Answer: b. Nutrition tips and healthy eating tips:

The most important number to focus on is your intake of saturated fat (the artery-clogging variety found in animal products such as meat, cheese and whole milk). Aim to get no more than 10 percent of your total calories from saturated fat; this means 20 grams on an 1,800-calorie eating plan or 22 grams on a 2,000-calorie diet.

Minimizing your intake of trans fats is equally important in maintaining healthy eating habits.

Trans fats are the artery-clogging, inexpensive man-made fats found in:

  • restaurant fried foods
  • commercial baked goods
  • stick margarines
  • shortenings

Trans fats are just as harmful as saturated fats. It’s more difficult to tally your intake, though, because these fats are not singled out on labels with nutrition facts. Therefore, in order to maintain healthy eating habits, keep an eye out for the words "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil" on ingredient lists. Trans fats raise your "bad" (LDL) cholesterol and lower "good" (HDL) cholesterol.

Although experts recommend keeping total fat to less than 30 percent of calories (which translates to about 66 total fat grams per day on a 2,000-calorie diet), that number is a rough estimate and not linked to prevention of particular diseases. There is no reason to avoid any individual food item because of its high fat content; instead, look at your diet as a whole.

Bonus nutrition tips: Answer "a" is absolutely not true. In fact, one of the most important healthy eating tips to remember is that we all need some fat in our diets to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, maintain our reproductive function and keep our skin soft, among other reasons.

[header = Nutrition quiz: healthy eating tips for omega-3 fats and fiber consumption.]

Research suggests that healthy eating habits, including eating at least 1 gram of omega-3 fats per day, can help prevent heart disease.

4. You can meet the recommendation for omega-3 fats with:

a) 3 ounces rainbow trout or herring.

b) 3 ounces tuna, salmon or shrimp.

c) 1 cup soy milk or 1/2 cup tofu.

d) 2 tablespoons walnuts or 1 tablespoon canola oil.

e) a and d.

Answer: e. Nutrition facts and info about healthy eating habits:

  • Trout (1 g per 3 ounces) and herring (1.8 g) contain more omega-3 fat than tuna, salmon, shrimp, halibut, crab and other seafood, although all of these contain at least 0.2 g of omega-3 fats per 3 ounces.
  • Canola oil has a whopping 1.4 g per tablespoon.
  • 1 tablespoon of walnuts contains 0.5 g, significantly more omega-3 fats than cashews and pecans. Peanuts have none.
  • One cup of soy milk has 0.2 g and 1/2 cup tofu has 0.3 g.

Although the typical American eats only 10-15 grams of daily fiber, experts recommend 25-35 grams each day to support healthy eating habits.

5. Which of the following breakfast menus contain more than 8 grams of fiber?

a) 1 packet Quaker Instant Oatmeal, 1/2 cup strawberries, 1/2 cup blueberries; 1 cup Minute Maid Country Style medium-pulp orange juice

b) Egg-white-only omelet with 1/2 cup chopped mixture of bell pepper, tomatoes and onions; 1 slice Orowheat 12-Grain Bread; 1 cup Florida's Natural grapefruit juice

c) 1/2 cup Post Grape-Nuts with 1/2 cup milk and 1 sliced banana

d) 2 slices Wonder Light wheat bread with 1 tablespoon peanut butter; smoothie with 1 cup orange juice, 1 banana, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries

e) b and c

Answer: d. Nutrition facts and info about healthy eating habits:

This menu has slightly more than 10 grams of fiber. None of the others has more than 7 grams. Wonder Bread might not sound very nutritious, but one slice of Wonder Light wheat bread has 2.5 grams of fiber, compared to only 1 gram of fiber for a slice of Orowheat 12-Grain Bread (the same amount of fiber in a tablespoon of peanut butter).

Bonus nutrition tips: Read bread labels carefully. In the smoothie, the banana offers 2.8 grams of fiber while 1/2 cup of strawberries has 2 grams. Like most juices (and unlike whole fruits), both an 8-ounce serving of Minute Maid Country Style orange juice and an 8-ounce serving of Florida's Natural grapefruit juice contain no fiber at all.

[header = Nutrition quiz: find healthy eating tips about folic acid & protein at Shape.]

Folic acid is a B vitamin crucial for preventing neural tube defects in babies and is an essential part of healthy eating habits.

6. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for folate is 400 micrograms, but many women fall short. Good sources of folic acid include:

a) spinach and broccoli.

b) pasta and cereal.

c) orange juice.

d) a and c.

e) all of the above.

Answer: e. Nutrition facts and healthy eating tips:

All of the above are good sources of folic acid, containing more than 50 mcg per half cup. Spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and other leafy green veggies are naturally high in folic acid, as are citrus fruits and juices. Pasta, cereal, bread and rice are fortified with folic acid by government regulation. Other plentiful sources include chickpeas, kidney beans and lentils.

7. There's no shortage of myths about protein nutrition facts. Which of the following healthy eating tips is considered good advice?

a) Aim to eat protein at every meal.

b) Get at least 40 percent of your calories from protein.

c) Eat protein after weight-training workouts and carbs after cardio workouts.

d) Get 50 percent of your protein from animal sources and 50 percent from plant sources.

e) Refrain from mixing protein with carbs at most meals.

Answer: a. Nutrition facts and healthy eating tips:

Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrate, so a meal or snack that combines protein and carbs (such as cereal with milk) will keep you feeling satisfied longer than a carb-only meal (such as a bagel and orange juice). An active woman should get 15-20 percent of her calories from protein; 40 percent is way too high.

Bonus nutrition tips: Aim to get more of your protein from plant sources than animal sources because animal products tend to contain more saturated fat. Also, choose complex carbs -- like fruit, vegetables and whole grains -- over simple sugars or white- and refined-flour grains. (Complex carbs, because they are high in fiber, stay with you longer than refined carbs, and are therefore a better choice for your healthy eating habits.)

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