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Balanced Your Diet for Healthy Eating

General guidelines for overall healthy eating and dieting:

  • Walk on a regular basis. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise to burn calories and maintain a healthy heart rate.
  • Get to know your genetic makeup. Find out if any diseases run in your family. It's a good idea to know, so you can be proactive and help prevent yourself from the disease.
  • Drink water. Water helps eliminate stress, clears up complexions and flushes out all the junk in our system.
  • Take some time for yourself to relax and unwind. Stress is a major contributor to weight gain. Emotional or mental stress can lead people to turn to food for comfort. When people are constantly on the go, they tend to eat out and grab fast food because it's cheaper and more convenient.
  • Start replacing side dishes with healthier options. Instead of eating fries, onion rings or potato chips with your sandwich, choose yogurt, applesauce or baby carrots.
  • Eat chocolate. Nutrients in chocolate affect the levels of endorphins and seratonin in your brain. The endorphins work to decrease stress and lead to feelings of euphoria. Seratonin is your happy hormone and acts as an anti-depressant.

What is a balanced diet? Find out what the food pyramid recommends.

Vegetables

  • Vary your vegetables
  • Eat 2 to 2½ cups a day
  • Eat more dark green and orange vegetables

Examples: broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, spinach or green beans

Fruits

  • Eat a variety of fruit
  • Eat 1½ to 2 cups a day
  • Eat fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruit
  • Minimize fruit juices    

Examples: apples, bananas, grapes, peaches and strawberries

Grains

  • Make your grains whole*
  • Eat at least 3 ounces of whole grains a day.   

Examples: bread, cereal, crackers, rice or pasta

*Look for “whole” before the grain name on the list of ingredients

Meat & Beans

  • Go lean on protein
  • Eat 5 to 5½ ounces per day
  • Choose low-fat or lean meat and poultry    
  • Bake, broil or grill it
  • Vary your choices

Examples: chicken, beans, nuts, peanut butter, seeds, eggs or fish

Milk/Dairy

  • Go low fat or fat free
  • Consume 3 cups a day
  • If you do not drink milk, choose lactose-free products or other calcium sources   

Examples: cheese, yogurt and milk

Oils

  • Consume most of your fats and oils from fish, nuts and vegetable oils
  • Consume 5 to 6 teaspoons a day
  • Limit solid fats such as butter, lard, shortening, and stick margarine

Examples: butter, margarine and vegetable oil