Freshen up your summer eating habits
Start eating healthier with these simple tips
Are you ready to refresh your eating habits? Here are 7 simple ways you can clean up your diet and work your way toward a healthier summer.
What is a “healthy diet”?
Simply put, a healthy diet provides essential nutrients, contains a variety of foods from the basic food groups and balances calories. The USDA food guide, MyPlate, recommends focusing on the 5 food groups: fruit, vegetables, grains, protein foods and dairy.
Why is this so important?
The things we eat and drink have a direct impact on our health – building a healthy diet may help reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Here are some simple tips and ideas to get you started.
- Eat your colors. The USDA recommends making half your plate fruits and vegetables. A colorful plate is visually appealing and may help ensure you get necessary nutrients. Color-themed plates and meals may even get kids excited about vegetables!
- Know which foods to avoid. Look for food and drink choices that are lower in saturated fat, sodium and added sugar. Read Nutrition Facts labels and ingredient lists to find this information.
- Cut back on portions. You may be surprised that using a smaller plate may help you eat less. If you start to feel full, don’t force yourself to finish – save leftovers for another meal. And avoid snacking while working or watching TV, or put a specific amount in a bowl rather than eating out of the container.
- Water, water, water. Cut calories by drinking water or unsweetened beverages instead of those with added sugar. Add a piece or fruit to your glass for added flavor.
- Shop smart. Making healthy food choices is good for your body and your wallet. Plan out your meals for the week, then make a list and stick to it. Cooking at home instead of going out to eat saves both calories and cash.
- …And shop local. Farmers markets feature produce that’s in-season, grown locally and picked at the peak of freshness. You can talk to local farmers and get to know the people growing your food. SNAP or WIC benefits may be used at some farmers markets.
- Set a pattern. Rather than turn to a quick fix or fad diet, establish a healthy eating routine that you can follow to long-term. Following this plan over time may help support a healthy body weight and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Just a few simple changes to your daily diet may help you eat better and feel great – this summer and beyond.
*Sources: American College of Emergency Physicians; National Institutes of Health
**Hydration needs can vary — based on health conditions you have and medications you're taking. Talk with your doctor about what’s right for you.