5 Goals to Eating Healthy

Updated:Feb 19,2014

Woman Eating Healthy

Eating healthy is easier than you might think. Add these simple healthy eating habits to your daily life over the next few weeks and you'll see just how easy it is. By making small changes like these over time, and taking them one at a time, not trying to rush into all of them at once, the changes are more likely to stick.

  1. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Aim for 4-5 servings each of fruits and vegetables every day, if you consume a 2,000 calorie diet. Vegetable or 100% fruit juice counts toward this goal.
  2. Eat more whole-grain foods. Like fruits and vegetables, whole-grain foods are low in saturated fat and cholesterol and rich in fiber. Whole-grain foods include whole-wheat bread, rye bread, brown rice and whole-grain cereal.
  3. Use liquid vegetable oils such as olive, canola, corn or safflower as your main kitchen fat. Limit how much fat or oil you use in cooking, and use liquid vegetable oils in place of solid fats.
  4. Eat more chicken, fish and beans than other meats. In general, skinless poultry, fish and vegetable protein (such as beans) are lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than other meats (beef, pork and lamb).
  5. Read food labels to help you choose healthy foods. Food labels provide information to help you make better food choices. Learn what information to look for (for example, sodium content) and how to find it quickly and easily.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Eating Well

Q. Can I still eat out?

A. Yes. Just remember restaurant food often contains more saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, salt and calories than home-cooked food, so try not to eat out all the time. Select restaurants that offer heart healthy meals. See Tips for Dining Out for more information.

Q. Is salt OK?

A. Salt contains sodium in the chemical form of sodium chloride. About 40 percent of salt is sodium. Eating a lot of sodium can make more work for your heart, especially if you have high blood pressure or heart failure.

Salt is just one source of the sodium you consume every day. About 75 percent of sodium in the typical American diet comes from processed foods and beverages. Many foods contain sodium in other forms, too. Some medicines are high in sodium. Be aware of all your sources of sodium and aim to eat less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.

Q. Are eggs OK?

A. One egg yolk (the yellow part) contains about 185 mg of cholesterol. Egg whites don't contain cholesterol and are a good source of protein, so they're fine. You can also use cholesterol-free egg substitutes.

Q. How long do I need to eat this way?

A. As long as you want to continue to take care of your health. Make healthy eating a priority for the rest of your life!

Q. Do I have to give up my favorite foods forever?

A. You shouldn't give up your favorite foods at all. But if your favorites aren't very healthy, save them for special occasions, such as birthdays and holidays. Have a small portion and savor it! Then return to your usual healthy habits.

Q. Is it true that it's better to eat five small meals a day than two to three large meals?

A. The simple answer is that it's better not to overeat. People who eat just once or twice a day usually eat a lot of food at one time. That's not healthy, especially if you have diabetes. Some people find it easier to control the amount they eat when they eat four to five small meals. However, most people do just fine eating three daily meals with a healthy snack once or twice a day if they feel hungry.

Find answers to more questions about dieting and losing weight.

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Nutrition Center

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