When it comes to your health and well-being, choosing to eat right is one of the most important steps you can take. The food you put into your body is your fuel. If you give your body the right amount of the right food, you're going to feel better and be healthier.
Why do we need to eat healthy foods?
- Healthy foods and beverages keep our bodies strong.
- Eating healthy is a great way to lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
- Eating healthy can also help us to stay at a healthy weight. It helps us feel and look better.
What are healthy food and beverages?
Fresh is best. Fill your cart with fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean meats, and whole-grain breads.
- Healthy food is fresh and low in calories, fats, sodium, and added sugars.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables are good choices that will help you stay healthy.
- Try frozen vegetables for a quick side dish. Just microwave and serve.
- Whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice or popcorn are good for you.
- Low-fat or skim milk, cheese and yogurt are healthy choices.
- Drink plenty of water: Avoid sodas and drinks that have a lot of sugar. Only buy juice if it is 100% juice.
Build a Healthy Meal
Each meal is a building block to a healthier life. When you balance what you eat, you get a good, healthy mix of nutrients, and it's an easy way to get your fill while staying under your calorie limit.
To build a healthy meal, draw an imaginary line down the middle of your plate. Then, on one side, draw a line across the middle of that section. Now you have three portions of your plate to fill.
Fill the largest section with non-starchy vegetables, all those fresh, tasty foods you used to get from grandma's garden.
The two smaller sections are for your starchy foods, such as potatoes, corn, rice, etc., and your low-fat meat or meat substitute.
Add a piece of fruit or a half cup of fruit salad and you have a balanced, healthy, tasty meal.
Shopping Strategies: You can eat healthy on a budget!
You’ll find the freshest food along the outside edge of the store. Avoid the processed foods in the inner aisles.
- Check for store circulars to find coupons and the best deals.
- Plan ahead: Make a list, plan a budget before you go shopping for food.
- “Buy what you need and eat what you buy.” Check your pantry and fridge before you shop to make sure you are buying what you really need. Get shopping tips for every grocery aisle here.
- Find the best deals by using unit pricing! Learn how here.
Healthy in a Pinch
If you can’t find fresh food, buy non-perishables like frozen fruits and vegetables, canned products and nuts.
Fruits and Vegetables
- Try buying canned. Choose fruit canned in 100% fruit juice and vegetables with “low-sodium” or “no salt added” on the label.
- If you have the freezer space, buy frozen vegetables without added sauces or butter.
- Choose whole-grain breads, breakfast cereals, and other prepared foods. Look at the Nutrition Facts labels to find choices lower in sodium, saturated fat and sugars.
- Beans, peas and eggs are great low-cost options.
- Choose lean meats like chicken or turkey. Make sure ground beef is lean (92% lean 8% fat).
- Try buying canned tuna, salmon, or sardines.
- Choose low- fat or fat-free milk. You’ll get as much calcium but fewer calories than whole and 2% milk.
- Look for “reduced fat” or “low-fat” cheese.
- Drink water instead of buying sodas or other sugary drinks. Tap water is easy on your wallet and has zero calories. A reusable water bottle is a great way to have water with you on the go.
- Cut calories by cutting out foods high in solid fats and added sugar. Limit fatty meats like ribs, bacon, and hot dogs. Choose cakes, cookies, candies, and ice cream as just OCCASIONAL treats.
- Find the fiber on label: If the product provides at least 3 grams of fiber per serving, it is a good source of fiber. If it contains 5 or more grams of fiber per serving, it is an excellent source of fiber.
- Pay attention to that single-serving size and how many servings are in each package. If you eat two servings, you’re doubling the calories.