What is healthy eating?

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Healthy eating means eating a variety of foods from the four food groups to feel good and maintain your health. Eating well along with being active can also lower your risk of disease and help you reach–and maintain–a healthy weight.

How to eat healthy

Follow these steps to help you eat healthy:

  1. Eat the right types of food. Choose a variety of foods.
  2. Eat the recommended amount of food for your age, sex, and activity level.
  3. Read food labels to compare and choose healthier foods when shopping. The Nutrition Facts table and the Percent Daily Value can help you make better choices.
  4. Limit foods and drinks that are high in calories, fat, sugar, and sodium.
  5. Use the Eat Well Plate to help you see the proportion of each food group in a healthy meal.

Healthy food choices

Eat these foods more often:

  • vegetables (especially ones that are dark green or orange)
  • fruit
  • whole grains (like barley, brown rice, oats, quinoa, and wild rice)
  • lower-fat milk (skim, 1% or 2% milk) and milk alternatives like fortified soy beverages
  • fish (like char, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, and trout)
  • lean meat (skin removed and fat trimmed)
  • meat alternatives (like beans, lentils, and tofu)

Foods to limit

The following foods and drinks should be consumed only occasionally and in limited quantities because they are high in calories, fat, sugar, and/or sodium.

  • cakes and pastries
  • cookies and granola bars
  • ice cream and frozen desserts
  • chocolate and candies
  • doughnuts and muffins
  • French fries and other fast foods
  • nachos
  • potato chips
  • alcohol
  • fruit-flavored drinks
  • soft drinks
  • sports and energy drinks
  • sweetened hot or cold drinks

 

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