A healthy diet includes a variety of foods and drinks that provide energy, vitamins, minerals and protein. It should also be low in saturated fat, added sugars and sodium. This type of eating plan helps prevent disease, maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and some cancers.
The healthiest food options are those that are minimally processed and contain whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean meats. Try to include these foods in every meal and snack.
Eating a healthy diet is important for children and adolescents as well as adults. It’s important to teach kids about the benefits of healthy eating and how different foods can provide nutrients that contribute to their overall wellbeing.
Most people want to eat healthier, but it can be difficult to know where to start. It’s often helpful to break down the process into smaller goals and work your way up. Aiming for five servings of fruit and veg a day is a great place to start, and this can be done by including them at breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as snacks.
For snacks, include a handful of nuts or seeds, yogurt with fruit, a small glass of milk or low-fat smoothie. Try to avoid foods with added sugars and instead, focus on unsaturated fats such as vegetable oils and spreads, oily fish, avocados and unsweetened nut milks.
Getting enough fiber is another good goal to aim for. To do this, include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, especially dark green, red and orange ones as well as beans and peas.
Include lean meats, fish, poultry without skin, eggs and low-fat dairy products in your meals. It’s a good idea to have some sources of protein in each meal, as these can help you feel full and satisfied.
A healthy diet also includes plenty of fluids, such as water and lower-fat milk. If you choose non-alcoholic beverages, limit them to one or two per day for adults.
Eating a balanced diet can be challenging when you’re busy and on the go. But it’s important to take the time to prepare healthy meals and snacks, and make wise choices when you can. Try to avoid foods and drinks with added sugars and choose those that are low in saturated fat, trans fats and sodium. For more advice on how to eat well when you’re busy, ask a registered dietitian. They can give you individual recommendations specific to your needs and situation.