Healthy Eating: Strategies for a Healthy Diet

21 06 2009
  • Eat enough calories but not too many. Maintain a balance between your calorie intake and calorie expenditure—that is, don’t eat more food than your body uses. The average recommended daily allowance is 2,000 calories, but this depends on your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity.
  • Eat a wide variety of foods. Healthy eating is an opportunity to expand your range of choices by trying foods—especially vegetables, whole grains, or fruits—that you don’t normally eat.
  • Keep portions moderate, especially high-calorie foods. In recent years serving sizes have ballooned, particularly in restaurants. Choose a starter instead of an entrée, split a dish with a friend, and don’t order super sized anything.
  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes—foods high in complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, low in fat, and free of cholesterol. Try to get fresh, local produce
  • Drink more water. Our bodies are about 75% water. It is a vital part of a healthy diet. Water helps flush our systems, especially the kidneys and bladder, of waste products and toxins.
  • Limit sugary foods, salt, and refined-grain products. Sugar is added to a vast array of foods. In a year, just one daily 12-ounce can of soda (160 calories) can increase your weight by 16 pounds. See suggestions below for limiting salt and substituting whole grains for refined grains.
  • Don’t be the food police. You can enjoy your favorite sweets and fried foods in moderation, as long as they are an occasional part of your overall healthy diet. Food is a great source of pleasure, and pleasure is good for the heart – even if those French fries aren’t!
  • Get moving. A healthy diet improves your energy and feelings of well-being while reducing your risk of many diseases. Adding regular physical activity and exercise will make any healthy eating plan work even better.
  • One step at a time. Establishing new food habits is much easier if you focus on and take action on one food group or food fact at a time.

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