A healthy lifestyle involves many choices. Among them, choosing a balanced diet or healthy eating plan. So how do you choose a healthy eating plan? Let’s begin by defining what a healthy eating plan is.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, a healthy eating plan:
Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. The 5-2-1-0 program recommends eating five or more servings of fruits or vegetable a day.
Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
Fats and Sugar
Is low in saturated fats, transfats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars. Avoiding sugary drinks, as outlined in the 5-2-1-0 program, is especially important.
Stays within your daily calorie needs.
Fresh, Frozen, or Canned Fruits.
All fresh, frozen, or canned fruits are great choices. When your favorite fresh fruits aren’t in season, try a frozen, canned, or dried variety of a fresh fruit you enjoy. One caution about canned fruits is that they may contain added sugars or syrups. Be sure and choose canned varieties of fruit packed in water or in their own juice.
Fresh, Frozen, or Canned Vegetables.
Try grilling or steaming vegetables with a seasoning you haven’t tried like rosemary. Or sauté (panfry) vegetables in a non-stick pan with a small amount of cooking spray. And frozen or canned vegetables are great for a quick side dish, just microwave and serve. When trying canned vegetables, look for vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces. Commit to going to the produce department and trying a new vegetable each week.
You may automatically think of a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk when someone says “eat more dairy products.” But what about low-fat and fat-free yogurts without added sugars? These come in a wide variety of flavors and can be a great dessert substitute for those with a sweet tooth.
To learn more and for additional tips and helpful hints, see our Resources for Eating Well.