It’s easier than you think to start eating healthy! Take small steps each week to improve your nutrition and move toward a healthier you.
Foods to Eat
Try to base your diet around these healthy food groups:
- Vegetables: These should play a fundamental role at most meals. They are low in calories yet full of important micronutrients and fiber.
- Fruits: A natural sweet treat, fruit provides micronutrients and antioxidants that can help improve health.
- Meat and fish: Meat and fish have been the major sources of protein throughout evolution. They are a staple in the human diet, although vegetarian and vegan diets have become popular as well.
- Nuts and seeds: These are one of the best fat sources available and also contain important micronutrients.
- Eggs: Considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet, whole eggs pack a powerful combination of protein, beneficial fats and micronutrients.
- Dairy: Dairy products such as natural yogurt and milk are convenient, low-cost sources of protein and calcium.
- Healthy starches: For those who aren’t on a low-carb diet, whole food starchy foods like potatoes, quinoa and Ezekiel bread are healthy and nutritious.
- Beans and legumes: These are fantastic sources of fiber, protein and micronutrients.
- Beverages: Water should make up the majority of your fluid intake, along with drinks like coffee and tea.
- Herbs and spices: These are often very high in nutrients and beneficial plant compounds.
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Choose red, orange, and dark-green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, along with other vegetables for your meals. Add fruit to meals as part of main or side dishes or as dessert. The more colorful you make your plate, the more likely you are to get the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body needs to be healthy.
While plain salads and steamed veggies can quickly become bland, there are plenty of ways to add taste to your vegetable dishes.
Add color. Not only do brighter, deeper colored vegetables contain higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but they can vary the flavor and make meals more visually appealing. Add color using fresh or sundried tomatoes, glazed carrots or beets, roasted red cabbage wedges, yellow squash, or sweet, colorful peppers.
Liven up salad greens. Branch out beyond lettuce. Kale, arugula, spinach, mustard greens, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage are all packed with nutrients. To add flavor to your salad greens, try drizzling with olive oil, adding a spicy dressing, or sprinkling with almond slices, chickpeas, a little bacon, parmesan, or goat cheese.
Satisfy your sweet tooth. Naturally sweet vegetables—such as carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, yams, onions, bell peppers, and squash—add sweetness to your meals and reduce your cravings for added sugar. Add them to soups, stews, or pasta sauces for a satisfying sweet kick.
Cook green beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus in new ways. Instead of boiling or steaming these healthy sides, try grilling, roasting, or pan frying them with chili flakes, garlic, shallots, mushrooms, or onion. Or marinate in tangy lemon or lime before cooking.
With these tips, you can include almost any food in your healthy eating plan and still lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.