Choose to Eat Healthy

Eat Healthy 

The Basics

A healthy diet can help protect you from heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.

Take Action!

To save time, rinse and chop vegetables the day before you will need them.

The Basics

Your body needs the right vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to stay healthy. A healthy diet means that you are eating:

  • Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk products
  • Seafood, poultry, lean meats, eggs, beans, and nuts

Stay away from:

  • Cholesterol, sodium (salt), and added sugars
  • Trans fats – Trans fats may be in foods like cakes, cookies, stick margarines, and fried foods.
  • Saturated fats – These fats come from animal products like cheese, fatty meats, whole milk, and butter.

A healthy diet can keep your body strong and active.
By making smart food choices, you can help protect yourself from:

  • Heart disease
  • Bone loss
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Some cancers, such as colorectal cancer


Take Action!

Making small changes in your eating habits can make a big difference in your life. Here are some tips and tools to get you started.

Keep a food diary.
Knowing what you eat now will help you make changes. Starting today, write down:

  • When you eat
  • What you eat
  • How much you eat
  • Where and with whom you eat
  • How you are feeling when you eat

For example:
Tuesday 3:30 pm, 2 chocolate chip cookies, at work with Mary, feeling stressed

Print this chart for your meals.

Plan ahead.
Planning your meals for the day or week can save you time and money. These tools can help you plan healthy meals that are easy to make and taste great. Plan for the day, plan for the week.

Shop smart at the grocery store
Try these tips the next time you go shopping:

  • Eat a snack at home before you go to the store.
  • Always use a shopping list.
  • Buy a variety of vegetables and fruits in different colors.
  • Look for the low-sodium or “no salt added” brands of canned soup, vegetables, and beans.
  • Try the fat-free or low-fat brand of milk products like yogurt or cheese.
  •  Choose 100% whole-wheat or whole-grain bread and crackers.
  • Buy foods when they are on sale or in season.

Read the nutrition facts label

  • Look at the serving size and the number of servings per package.
  • Check out the percent Daily Value (%DV) column.
  • Try to keep saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium at 5% or less.
  • Look for foods that have 20% or more of fiber, calcium, potassium, and vitamin D.

Eat healthy away from home.
It’s important to make smart food choices wherever you are – at work, in your favorite restaurant, or running errands. Try these tips:

  • At lunch, have a sandwich on whole-grain bread.
  • Choose fat-free or low-fat milk, water, or diet drinks.
  • In a restaurant, choose steamed, broiled, or grilled dishes instead of fried foods.
  • On a long drive or shopping trip, pack some fresh fruit, unsalted nuts, or fat-free or low-fat string cheese sticks to snack on.

Save time
Foods that keep you and your family healthy can be fast and easy to make. Here are some tips:

  • Cook several main dishes on the weekend when you have more time.
  • Make soups, stews, or casseroles that you can reheat for more than one meal.
  • Rinse and chop vegetables the day before you will need them.

Be a healthy family
If you have children, you are a role model for making good food choices. Many kids like to help with grocery shopping and cooking, so let them help out!

  • Explain your choices at the grocery store.

Do you have a family member who has a hard time eating healthy? Challenge them to do better!

If you are concerned about your diet, talk to a doctor
If you need help making healthier eating choices, your doctor or nurse can help. Be sure to take a food diary with you to help start the conversation.

What about cost
The new Affordable Care Act (ACA) covers diet counseling for people at higher risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to get diet counseling at no cost to you.

Check with your insurance provider to find out what’s included in your plan. Ask about the ACA.

Manage your high blood pressure or diabetes
If you or a loved one has high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or heart disease, talk with your doctor about how to stay healthy. If you need a special diet, check out these web sites:


Source:  US Dept. of Health and Human Services

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