A healthy diet is about eating the right balance of nutrients and avoiding unhealthy foods. It can help you feel good, lose weight, and boost your energy levels.
Eating a healthy diet doesn’t have to be hard or complicated; it just takes some planning and commitment. It’s about finding ways to fit more of the good stuff into your day, and it’s a great way to improve your health and reduce your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.
Choose whole grains and lean meats, fish and poultry to provide plenty of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Limit the amount of saturated fat and trans fat in your diet, as they increase your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Add plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables to your meals for vitamins, fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients. Eat a variety of fresh, frozen and canned vegetables and fruits. Aim to fill half of your plate with fruit and vegetables.
Cut out or eliminate added sugar from your diet. Avoid sugary drinks (like soda) and stick to naturally sweet foods, such as fruits, peppers, and natural peanut butter.
Eat more foods that are rich in fiber, such as whole grain breads and cereals, beans, and nuts. Consuming enough fiber helps lower cholesterol levels and maintain a healthy digestive tract.
Try new things with your favorite foods, such as cooking green beans, broccoli or Brussels sprouts in a different way, grilling, roasting, or pan-frying vegetables instead of steaming them, or marinating meat in tangy lemon juice.
Use healthier ingredients in recipes, such as reduced-fat milk and yogurt. When shopping, read the labels and avoid products that contain a lot of sodium, saturated or trans fat, and added sugars.
Plan your meals ahead of time and make them a priority, so you’re not tempted to eat junk food in between. This is especially true if you work at home or have children, as distractions can make it difficult to make good choices.
Identify your daily needs for nutrients by reading labels, looking at menus and asking a dietitian. Your daily needs will vary depending on your age, gender and level of physical activity. A healthy diet should include a balanced combination of fruits, vegetables, dairy, proteins, and starches.
Don’t forget to include plenty of water in your daily diet. The recommended intake of fluids is about 20 percent of your total daily calorie needs. Drinking more than this can cause your body to store excess calories as fat, increasing your risk of obesity and disease.
Take your time and eat slowly to prevent overeating and make sure you’re getting the right amount of fuel for your activities. Aim to eat breakfast within 1 to 2 hours after you wake up, and eat at regular times throughout the day.
Be mindful of portion sizes when you’re eating out, and don’t order supersized items. Visual cues such as smaller plates and bowls can also help you make better choices.