It’s a great time to remember that eating right doesn’t have to be complicated— simply begin to shift to healthier food and beverage choices.
These recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans can help get you started:
- Emphasize fruit, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products
- Include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
- Make sure your diet is low in saturated fats, trans fats, salt (sodium), and added sugars
Read on to learn more about small changes that can make a big difference in your diet.
Make Your Calories Count
Think nutrient-rich rather than “good” or “bad” foods. The majority of your food choices should be lower in calories and packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients. Making smart food choices can help you stay healthy, manage your weight and give you energy to be physically active.
Focus on Variety
Eat a variety of foods from all the food groups to get the nutrients your body needs. Fruits and vegetables can be fresh, frozen or canned. Eat more dark green vegetables, such as leafy greens and broccoli, as well as orange vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes. Vary your protein choices with more fish, beans, and peas. Eat at least three ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta each day.
Know Your Fats
Look for foods low in saturated fats and trans fats to help reduce your risk of heart disease. Most of the fats you eat should be monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils. Check the Nutrition Facts panel on food labels to know the amount of total fat and saturated fat.
Savor the Flavor of Eating Right
Part of maintaining a healthy diet means taking the time to appreciate the pleasures, great flavors and social experiences food can add to our lives. It’s easier than you think to make healthy eating a habit. Remember: even small changes can make a big difference.
Start Small, Start Now
This week, try incorporating at least six of the eight goals below into your diet:
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
The more colorful you make your plate, the more likely you are to get the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body needs to be healthy.
Make half the grains you eat whole grains.
Read the ingredients list and choose products that list whole grain ingredients first.
Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
Almond milk and soy milk are excellent substitutes for milk.
Choose a variety of lean protein foods.
Lean meat, poultry, seafood, dry beans or peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds are good choices.
Compare sodium in foods.
Choose lower sodium versions of foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals.
Drink water or herbal tea
Try adding a slice of lemon, lime, watermelon, or even a splash of 100% juice to your glass of water if you want some flavor.
Developing a mindful eating pattern that includes nutritious and flavorful foods is the best way to savor the flavor of eating right!