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What does healthy eating mean?

Healthful eating means:
  • Eating a variety of foods. Include vegetables, fruit, starchy foods, dairy foods, fats, and meat or meat substitutes.
  • Trying not to eat too much food or too much of one type of food.
  • Spacing your meals evenly throughout the day. Try to avoid skipping meals.
Healthful eating is important. Think of healthful eating as a new way of eating, instead of a strict diet. It's up to you to decide which changes to make.
With so many food fads in the news, it's easy to lose sight of what healthy eating really looks like. It really boils down to these things:
  • Choosing foods wisely. For health and weight management, you need a variety of foods -- eaten in a balanced way over days, months, and years. This means making smart choices as you buy, prepare, and eat your food.
  • Watching portion sizes. You can't manage your weight without giving some thought to how much food you actually put in your mouth. But for most people, this requires some extra thought -- and a bit of extra effort as you begin to change old habits.
  • Doing it for the long term. A healthy diet isn't temporary. The key to long-term weight maintenance -- and good health -- is to build healthy food habits that you can maintain.
Jessica Crandall
Nutrition & Dietetics

Healthy eating essentially means eating a variety of foods that benefit your body and its overall health. You want to eat to fuel your body the best way possible which includes eating foods in their most natural form. Packaged and processed foods contain ingredients that have been chemically modified and are best if avoided. Eating a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy and lean protein is the better choice for a healthy lifestyle. The best way to insure your diet includes these items is to incorporate them into each meal. Half of your plate should include non-starchy vegetables, a quarter of your plate should include carbohydrates in the form of whole grains, dairy, or starchy vegetables, and the other quarter should include lean protein.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.