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Healthy Eating… Just What Is It?

Some don't know what it means to have a healthy diet


NIH/National Institute on Aging

Most of us know that staying healthy includes making smart food choices and being physically active.

But we’re not always sure what healthy eating really means.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a healthy diet:

  • Emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk products.
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
  • Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars.
  • Balances the calories you take in from food and beverages with the calories burned through physical activity to maintain a healthy weight.

Consider these simple tips to help you make healthier eating choices:

  • Eat fruits and vegetables of different colors to give your body a wide range of valuable nutrients.
  • Include foods that contain fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.
  • Eat lean cuts of meat and poultry. Trim away excess fat and remove skin from poultry before cooking.
  • Pay attention to portion sizes, especially at restaurants. Smaller portions equal fewer calories.
  • Season your food with lemon juice, herbs, and spices, rather than butter and salt.
  • Choose foods that are baked, broiled, braised, grilled, steamed, sautéed, or boiled, rather than fried.
  • When eating out, select a dish from the menu, rather than getting your money’s worth at the all-you-can-eat buffet.

This material is provided by Go4Life, the exercise and physical activity campaign for adults over 50 from the National Institute on Aging at NIH.

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