Eating a balanced diet is a common goal when you want to become healthier. But what is a balanced diet and where do you start? You first need to know what defines a healthy diet, then you can determine what needs improvement.
According to the National Institutes of Health, a healthy eating plan:
- Emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products
- Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
- Limits saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars
- Controls portion sizes
Why is this important?
A healthy eating plan gives your body the nutrients it needs every day while staying within your daily calorie goal for weight loss. It will also lower your risk for heart disease and other health conditions.
Eat fruits and veggies
Choose a variety of foods that you enjoy from each food group. Fill your plate with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables whenever possible.
Look for whole grains
Swap white flours for whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, or whole-grain bread. Research the many other less well-known whole grains to try something new.
Choose lean options
Include a variety of lean proteins like poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. Choose lower-fat versions of dairy whenever possible such as milk, yogurt, or fortified soy products. Be sure to include healthy oils in your diet like olive, avocado, and nut oils. Check nutrition labels for added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium and try to limit these.
Pick one or two areas at a time and make small changes. These add up to a healthier diet over time. Learn about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and get more resources to help you eat healthy at DietaryGuidelines.gov. Find healthy eating tips and recipes at MyPlate.gov.
Building a healthier eating routine can be as simple as you need it to be. Be sure to follow our blog for more tips on improving your wellbeing.