10 Ideas For Healthy Eating

By: Mollie Shauger | Monday, December 30, 2019 | Healthy Living

A woman shops at the grocery store produce section. Credit: iStock

Part of being healthy is eating healthy. Making your diet a priority can help reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other illnesses. Not to mention, it can boost your overall well-being. 

Here are some ways to start making better food choices, with tips from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition.

1. Eat more fruits and vegetables

Add red, orange and dark-green vegetables to your meals. The more colorful your plate, the more likely you are to get the vitamins, minerals and fiber you need. 

Try: Adding fruits and veggies to just about anything - pizza, smoothies, pancakes, sandwiches. Swap out the cookie jar at home for a fruit bowl; this will help you and your family make smarter choices when craving a snack.

2. Eat more whole grains

Start eating whole wheat bread instead of white bread. Read the ingredients list on products and choose ones that list whole-grains first - things like “whole wheat,” “brown rice,” “bulger,” or “rolled oats.”

Try: Adding granola to your yogurt, or using whole wheat flour for baking instead of white flour. 

3. Go lean

Switch to a lower-fat milk and look for lower-fat options in other dairy products like yogurt and cheese. Choose leaner cuts of meat. 

Try: Swapping out meats that are higher in fat for leaner ones. For example: ground turkey or chicken for ground beef. 

4. Cut back on sodium

Even though some food may have less fat, they could be packed with salt. Be mindful of your sodium intake by reading the nutrition facts. Look for “low sodium” or “no salt added” labels on foods - especially canned and frozen ones. 

Try: Cooking without salt, and using herbs or spices to add flavor.

5. Drink more water

Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks add unnecessary sugar and calories to your diet.

Try: Adding a slice of lemon, lime, or watermelon or a splash of 100 percent juice to your glass of water for flavor. 

6. Eat more seafood

Fish and shellfish has protein, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids (heart-healthy fat). 

Try: To eat at least eight ounces a week of a variety of seafood. (Children can eat smaller amounts). Use shrimp in your pasta instead of meatballs, or use fish in tacos instead of beef.

7. Limit solid fats

Baked goods like cakes and cookies are often made with butter, margarine or shortening. Also processed meats like sausages, hot dogs and bacon are a major source of fat.

Try: Healthier brands of foods that aren’t processed, and those with fewer preservatives. When baking, use substitutes like applesauce for ingredients that add fat.

8. Watch portion size

Eat to be satisfied, but not full. Avoid the temptation to finish what’s on your plate; you can always save leftovers for lunch the next day.

Try: Using smaller plates, so you’re not overdoing the portions.

9. Eat out less

While many restaurants have started posting nutrition facts on their menus, you don’t always know the ingredients in your food. If you prepare meals at home, you know exactly what is going into them.

Try: If you do eat out, choose baked or grilled food instead of fried to reduce the amount of fat and calories.

10. Reduce “impulse buying”

Those cookies that are on sale. The chips you’ve always wanted to try. It’s not easy to resist the urge, especially when shopping with kids. Stick to your shopping list and save treats for special occasions and rewards. 

Try: Shopping in the “outer ring” of the store. That’s where the healthier foods like fresh produce, fish, eggs and dairy tend to live.


To learn more about how the Y can help you achieve a healthier lifestyle, visit us online or stop by your local branch. Because the Y is for all, financial assistance is available to eligible families and individuals who would like to be part of the YMCA.


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