Wednesday, May 6, 2020


Eating healthy begins as you build healthy patterns. These simple patterns transform into healthy habits, which leads to a healthy lifestyle. Recognizing "healthy foods" can initially seem overwhelming, but can be very simple. 

Learning to recognize healthy eating patterns without obsessing over numbers, calories and confusing nutrition terminology, is easy and manageable with these 5 simple steps. Learn to recognize, and encourage healthy patterns in your life to improve your longterm health and wellness. It's really that simple!

1. Know what a healthy plate looks like- You probably remember the food guide pyramid, the USDA unveiled a simpler way to help people see what to eat each day. It's called MyPlate. This simple graphic shows exactly how the 5 food groups should stack on your plate. These 5 food groups are the building blocks for a healthy diet.

2. Look for important nutrients- Eating a variety of foods ensures you get all the nutrients you need. Aim for a colorful plate. Bright colored foods are alway the best choice! A healthy meal should include:
  • Lean Protein (lean meats, seafood, eggs, beans)
  • Fruits and Vegetables (think orange, red, green and purple)
  • Whole Grains (brown rice, whole wheat pasta)
  • Low-fat dairy (milk and it's alternatives)

3. Use recommended servings- It is important to eat the right amount of food for your body to maintain a healthy weight.  Too much of anything is unhealthy, moderation in all things leads to a healthy balanced diet. Serving size, (for packaged foods), can be located on the top of the food label. Becoming familiar with serving size portions can make this very manageable. A great way to stay on track, is to compare portion sizing to familiar objects. This makes for a quick reference to ensure proper food portions and nutrient intake.

4. Read nutrition facts labels- Nutrition fact labels are a useful way to understand what is in your food. They can seem overwhelming, but learning key points can make this tool useful and reliable.
  • Fewer ingredients the better- the healthiest foods are whole (less ingredients means less processed)
  • Fat and added sugar content-  (< 5) 
    • (lower # the better) 
  • Fiber, vitamins, and protein- (> 25) 
    • (aim for a higher #) 
5. Shop the store perimeter- If food analyzing still seems overwhelming, focus more on your food location than obsessing over selection. Food found in the outer edges of the grocery store are your whole, nutrient dense foods. Spend the majority of your shopping time in these areas and improve your nutrient intake easily!

  • Produce
  • Dairy
  • Fresh bread
  • Meat/deli

With a little effort healthy eating can become habitual. Start small and don't give up, it really can be as simple as you make it!! 

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