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Tips to develop a healthier eating habit

There are no good foods or bad foods. All foods can be a part of a healthy eating process. Slow down when you eat. Relax and pace yourself by enjoying the flavors of your meal.

Eating foods from each of the different food groups will help you develop a healthier eating habit. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods provides your body with the nutrition you need. Also, eat in moderation along with smaller portions.

Below are a list of tips to develop a healthier diet:

  • Focus on fruits. Eat a variety of fruits – whether fresh, frozen, canned, or dried – rather than fruit juice for most of your fruit choices. For a 2,000-calorie diet, you will need 2 cups of fruit each day – like 1 small banana, 1 large orange, and 1/4 cup of dried apricots or peaches.
  • Vary your veggies. Eat more dark green veggies, such as broccoli, kale, and other dark leafy greens; orange veggies, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and winter squash; and beans and peas, such as pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, split peas, and lentils.
  • Get your calcium-rich foods. Get 3 cups of low-fat or fat-free milk – or an equivalent amount of low-fat yogurt and/or low-fat cheese (11/2 ounces of cheese equals 1 cup of milk) – every day. If you don’t or can’t consume milk, choose lactose-free milk products and/or calcium-fortified foods and drinks.
  • Make half your grains whole. Eat at least 3 ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta every day. One ounce is about 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of breakfast cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta. Look to see that grains such as wheat, rice, oats, or corn are referred to as “whole” in the list of ingredients.
  • Go lean with protein. Choose lean meats and poultry. Bake it, broil it, or grill it. Vary your protein choices with more fish, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.
  • Limit saturated fats. Get less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids. Most fats should come from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. When selecting and preparing meat, poultry, dry beans, and milk or milk products, make choices that are lean, low-fat, or fat-free.
  • Limit salt. Get less than 2,300 mg of sodium (approximately 1 teaspoon of salt) each day.

Every change you make to improve your eating habits matter.

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