Healthy Habits for a Lifetime
Your food choices can reduce your risk of illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes, as well as defend against depression.
Additionally, learning the habits of healthy eating can boost your energy, sharpen your memory and stabilize your mood. You can expand your range of healthy food choices and learn how to plan ahead to create and maintain a satisfying, healthy diet.
Simple choices will improve nutrition and overall health. Basically, all of our healthy eating resources are founded on the healthy eating plate – so our website should give you practical tips on having a healthy diet. But really, the advice boils down to the following tips:
- Eat plenty of fruit & vegetables – aim for fruit & veg at every meal
- Pick healthy protein sources – lean meat, fish, nuts
- Eat wholegrains – brown bread rather than white
- Drink water not sugary drinks
- Choose healthy oils (like olive oil)
- Avoid junk food!
- Get PLENTY of exercise
Fruits and Vegetables- More Matters
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Adults need to eat 3½ to 6½ cups of colorful fruits and vegetables every day! Eating fruits and vegetables helps lower rates of stroke, cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer.
- Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables with every meal—the brighter the better. Colorful, deeply colored fruits and vegetables contain higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—and different colors provide different benefits, so eat a variety.
- Eat fruit, vegetables, or unsalted nuts as snacks—they are nature’s original fast foods.
- Visit More Matters® to find out how many fruits and veggies you need for a healthy diet.
- Buy Local Produce. Eating locally grown foods is good for your health, the environment and our local economy. Buying locally grown foods can mean your food is fresher and you know more about how it was grown. Consider joining a CSA Farm (Community Supported Agriculture) or shop at a farmers markets or road-side stand.
Switch to skim or 1% milk.
- They have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and calories.
- Try calcium-fortified soy products as an alternative to dairy foods.
Eat More Fiber
According to the World Health Organization, getting enough fiber in your diet can help prevent obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and various cancers. That’s a lot of benefits!
- Fruit & vegetables
- Seeds, nuts & wholegrain foods
- 100% wholegrain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, and pasta. Check the ingredients list on food packages to find whole-grain foods. Look for words such as “whole grains” or “whole wheat” (rather than “wheat”) which provide more nutrients, like fiber, than refined grains.
Vary Your protein Food Choices
- Twice a week, make seafood the protein on your plate.
- Eat beans, which are a natural source of fiber and protein.
- Keep meat and poultry portions small and lean.
Drink Less Junk
There are about 10 packets of sugar in a 12-ounce can of soda. Sodas and sweetened beverages cause tooth decay and provide unnecessary calories that contribute to obesity. If you consume sweetened drinks regularly, this may increase your chances of getting type 2 diabetes. Soft drinks (even diet drinks) have also been linked to osteoporosis, or brittle bones.
Instead of junk beverages, go for:
- Unsweetened 100% fruit juice or home-made smoothies
- Reduce the sugar content of juice by adding water.
Get your personal daily calorie limit at the USDA Choose My Plate and keep that number in mind when deciding what to eat.
- Avoid oversized portions. Order a smaller portion or share when eating out.
- Use a smaller plate, bowl, and glass.
- Stop eating when you are satisfied, not full.
- Enjoy healthy snacks to give you steady energy throughout the day.
Family meals are an important part of eating healthy. It helps us pace our eating and be intentional about our what we eat. Not only do children have a better diet when they eat with their family but studies show that they do better in school and communication between children and parents improves. It’s also been shown that teenagers who eat regularly with their family are less apt to use alcohol and drugs. For more information, look a the Eat Better, Eat Together Tool Kit of Washington State University’s Nutrition Studies Department.
How to Avoid Unhealthy Foods That Seem Good For You
Source: HELPGUIDE.ORG in collaboration with Harvard Health Publications
Authors Maya W. Paul, Melinda Smith, M.A. and Jeanne Segal Ph.D.