Follow a Healthy Eating Plan
There are many benefits to adopting a healthy eating plan. Healthy eating can help reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. It also makes it easier to reach and maintain a healthy weight. The healthy food plan below includes a variety of foods and combinations. It puts special emphasis on plant foods such as brightly colored vegetables (dark greens, yellows and reds), an assortment of fruits, beans and nuts, and whole-grain breads and cereals. It also includes fat-free and low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry and lean meats, and unsaturated fats low in trans fat for cooking and spreads.
Foods should be tasty and prepared using cooking methods that require minimal fat, such as baking, broiling, braising, poaching, sautéing, stir frying and microwaving. To enjoy some interesting new flavors, use olive, sesame and peanut oil in some dishes and in salad dressings and sauces, and use herbs and spices skillfully to enhance flavors. Use salt in moderation when preparing foods and at the table. To satisfy a “sweet tooth” in a healthy way, enjoy refreshing fruits, sorbets, ices, low-fat yogurts, low-fat ice cream or angel food cake as desserts.
Serving sizes are important. Throughout the day, aim for:
- Six ounces or less of poultry, fish or lean meat. (This is a daily allowance, so consider intake at all meals.)
- At least ½ cup to 1 cup of vegetables as part of the meal and a medium-size piece of fruit or ½ cup of fruit salad. Eat a total of at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day.
- Whole-grain breads and cereals.
- Low-fat soups seasoned with a small amount of salt.
- Healthy fats. Examples include vegetable oils (such as olive, peanut, soybean and canola oils), avocados, nuts and trans fat-free, soft, low-fat margarine. You may include these healthy fats in moderate amounts.
- A small-size modest dessert, as an occasional treat. Split large desserts with family or friends.
Be sure to balance your physical activity and food intake. Try to get 30 minutes of physical activity a day at least five days a week.