Tips for Healthy Eating

Plate full of healthy food

Whether you are trying a new style of eating or are managing chronic disease symptoms through food choices, there are a variety of tips and tricks for healthy eating.

  1. Shop the Perimeter
    No matter what style of eating you follow, the more whole foods from nature you eat, the better! Whole foods from nature are beneficial because they are minimally processed. 

    To find foods that are minimally processed, focus on shopping around the perimeter of the grocery store. This is where you will find fresh fruits and vegetables, along with most sources of protein.

    By contrast, highly processed foods are most often found on grocery store shelves - in boxes and bags. While these food substances may be convenient, they are often stripped of vital nutrients and loaded with added salt and sugar.

  2. Eat the Rainbow
    While shopping the perimeter of the grocery store, try to fill your cart with a variety of colors. Red apples, orange peppers, yellow cauliflower, leafy greens, blueberries and purple cabbage are just a few ideas to get you started. 

    You might be surprised to learn about the color variations available in the produce section. And don't be afraid to try something new!

  3. Imagine a Traffic Light
    When building your plate at mealtime, imagine a traffic light in your head. Start by filling your plate with an abundance of green-light foods, or foods that are rich in nutrients and low in calories.

    Then, you can move up the traffic light, adding a moderate portion of yellow-light foods and a small portion of red-light foods

    The exact foods on your food list may vary depending upon your eating style, preferences and food allergies. Vegetables are a great example of a greenlight food, nuts and seeds are considered a yellow-light food and ice cream is a red-light food.

  4. Halt the Salt (and Sugar)
    Before you add salt or sugar to your meal, stop and think about alternative ways to increase the flavor in your food.

    For savory dishes, experiment with spices such as garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, turmeric and paprika. For sweet dishes, try adding fresh fruit to sweeten your dishes in place of sugar - and a dash of cinnamon adds a burst of flavor.

    Also be sure to read the nutritional label. Take note of the amount of sodium and sugar - particularly added sugar. Just one tablespoon is equal to 12 grams of sugar. That might not sound like a lot unless you consider that most adults should not consume more than 30 grams of added sugar daily.
  5. Everything in Moderation
    Many diets put the focus on food restriction (e.g. don't eat dairy, don't eat carbs, etc.). Instead of focusing on what you CAN'T have, try focusing on what you CAN have.

    If you allow yourself to have a variety of foods in moderation, you may feel more fulfilled and more likely to stick with a healthy eating plan for the long haul.

    So, if you want to eat pizza, eat pizza. But try filling your plate with a big leafy green salad or a juicy plate of watermelon or grapefruit, as well. The fresh foods will help you stay full and hydrated - and you'll be likely to eat fewer slices of pizza as a result. 

Happy eating!