Healthy Eating Habits

Healthy Eating

A healthy diet is based on a wide variety of foods, including whole grains, lean protein foods, low fat dairy foods (and substitutes), fruits and vegetables, and essential fats. Fruits and vegetables should be a daily mainstay as they provide important vitamins, minerals and fiber, and may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Fruits and vegetables may also help with weight control.

The 2017 Dietary Guidelines advise Americans to reduce saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and sugar intake. Reading labels can help consumers reduce these items. Cutting down on sugary drinks and replacing with water as a beverage is also recommended.

The USDA MyPlate serves as a good guide for overall nutrition for children ages two and older, and adults. The suggested portions of recommended food groups are based on what is currently known about nutrition needs, with the goal of maintaining ideal health and preventing disease. Fruits and vegetables fill half of the plate, carbohydrates (grains) fill one quarter, and protein foods are also a quarter. The plate also highlights the importance of dairy foods. Using this guide of five food groups to plan meals and snacks will help assure adequate nutrition and to reduce the risk of chronic disease. It is important to eat an appropriate level of calories based on individual needs and lifestyle; this information is available through the USDA website.



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Dietary Guidelines for Americans
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