A modern American diet is full of sugary foods, which increase the risk of obesity and other diseases. It should consist of at least half fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. To lose weight, your daily calorie intake should be greater than your calorie expenditure. You must also balance high-calorie foods with low-calorie ones. This is possible only when you follow a sensible diet plan. Here are some tips to help you plan your meals. Vegetables and fruits are essential for optimal health. Legumes are an excellent source of protein and dietary fibre. Eating legumes instead of meat can reduce the risk of developing chronic illnesses and obesity. In addition, eating legumes can make you feel fuller for longer. Legumes include kidney beans, split peas, baked beans, and lentils. Legumes are also packed with B vitamins, iron, and fiber. They can also help you prevent heart disease and cancer. Saturated fats are harmful for your health. Too much of them can cause your blood cholesterol levels to rise. To lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, limit saturated fat to less than 10 percent of your daily caloric intake. Avoid saturated fats in high-calorie foods. Instead, opt for unsaturated fats. You can substitute olive oil for frying in place of butter and margarine. Deep-fried foods also contain high-calorie fats with very little nutritional value. Avoid processed meat and food high in fats. Foods high in fat should not exceed 30 percent of the daily calorie intake. Instead, choose unsaturated fats over trans-fats. A balanced diet should include a variety of vegetables, fruits, and nuts. These foods are full of fiber and good-for-you nutrients. The best food for you is one that will help you maintain a healthy weight. If you're a vegetarian, opt for fish and vegetables. A healthy diet should contain foods from all four major food groups. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, balance your energy intake, and limit solid fats and sugar. Avoid alcohol and sugar. Moreover, keep track of your body mass index to determine if you're following a healthy diet plan. You can also consult the Dietary Guidelines for Americans consumer pamphlet for further guidance. For a healthy diet, it is important to consider your age and food preferences. If you're looking for a sweet treat, try eating vegetables that have a natural sweetness. Eating plenty of vegetables can satisfy your sweet tooth and reduce your cravings for sugary foods. Besides, you can add vegetables to soups and stews, pasta sauces, and salads. And be sure to include wholegrain varieties of these foods. Wholegrain products contain more fiber than refined or white carbohydrates, so they can help you feel full longer. People often think that starchy foods are fattening, but this is not true. In fact, starchy foods provide only half the calories of their counterparts - fat. Eating a balanced diet is a great way to prevent chronic diseases and boost your overall health. Studies show that eating a healthy diet can prevent up to 80% of heart disease and stroke. The Canada's Food Guide suggests eating a variety of plant-based foods and avoiding processed food. Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals and help keep the weight under control. And as with any diet, it is never too late to make healthy changes.