How to Eat a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet provides the body with the nutrients it needs to stay in good health. It includes eating a variety of foods from the five main food groups - fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and fat-free or low-fat dairy. It also limits sugary drinks, salt and high-sodium condiments. It also ensures that the body gets enough fibre. A healthy diet also helps maintain a reasonable weight, controls blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol and other health problems.Eating a healthy diet starts with making smart choices in each meal and snack. Choosing 3 to 5 of the USDA MyPlate food groups for each meal and 2 to 4 of the food groups for snacks will help you get the right mix of nutrients.Starchy foods, such as potatoes, beans and peas, lentils and some grains, are a good source of carbohydrates. They can be a healthy part of your diet when eaten in moderation, but be careful of adding excess fat to these foods - such as oil on chips, butter on toast and creamy sauces on pasta.Try to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, including those that are frozen, canned or dried. This helps prevent diseases and gives you a good source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. Try to choose whole fruits and vegetables rather than juices, as these contain fewer nutrients. If you choose to eat frozen or canned fruit, compare the nutritional information on the label and look for those that are packed in water instead of syrup.Fish and shellfish are a healthy protein source and provide the body with Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help prevent heart disease. Try to include fish and shellfish in a few meals each week. If you are vegetarian or vegan, make sure you obtain protein from other sources, such as tofu, soy products and nuts.Limiting the intake of sugars, salt and unhealthy fats can help control your weight, lower your risk of heart disease and stroke and protect your teeth and bones. This means limiting sweet treats like cakes, cookies and candy, and drinking less sugary soft drinks and soda. It also means choosing unsaturated fats, such as those from avocadoes, olives and canola oil, rather than saturated fats, such as those from animal products, lard and coconut oils.Eating a healthy diet is not easy, and it takes time to develop new habits. But it is worth the effort if you want to live longer and feel your best. Don't give up on your healthy eating goals if you sometimes overeat. Just try to make better choices most of the time and eat a little less often.