Eating right doesn't have to be complicated. Start with these recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
A healthy eating plan:
- Emphasizes fruit, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products
- Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts
- Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugars.
Make Your Calories Count
Think nutrient-rich rather than "good" or "bad" foods. The majority of your food choices should be packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients, and lower in calories. Making smart food choices can help you stay healthy, manage your weight and be physically active.
Focus on Variety
Eat a variety of foods from all the food groups to get the nutrients your body needs. Fruits and vegetables can be fresh, frozen or canned. Eat more dark green vegetables such as leafy greens and broccoli and orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes. Vary your protein choices with more fish, beans and peas. Eat at least three ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice or pasta every day.
Know Your Fats
Look for foods low in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol to help reduce your risk of heart disease. Most of the fats you eat should be monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Check the Nutrition Facts panel on food labels for total fat and saturated fat.
Reviewed January 2013