Healthy eating looks different for each person, but some guiding principles are applicable across the board.
What is healthy eating?
No two healthy diets look the same. Some live by the 1970s food pyramid. Some go heavy on protein and low on carbs. Some live by the all things in moderation rule. Find whatever diet works for you!
Fundamentals of a healthy diet
A healthy diet consists of a few key nutrients. Any type of diet can include these. Whether you’re keto, paleo, gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian, these nutrients can be part of your diet.
- Protein: eggs, almonds, chicken breast, oats, cottage cheese, fish, quinoa, lean beef, broccoli
- Fat: avocados, cheese, dark chocolate, eggs, fatty fish, nuts, chia seeds, and extra virgin olive oil
- Fiber: chia seeds, almonds, popcorn, oats, chickpeas, quinoa, lentils, beans, berries, carrots
- Calcium: Seeds, dairy, beans, lentils, almonds, whey protein, collard greens, spinach, kale, tofu
- Carbohydrates: Apples, bananas, strawberries, all vegetables, legumes, oats, quinoa, brown rice, and sweet potatoes
Easy swaps for a healthier diet
Switch to 100% whole-wheat or whole-grain breads, pastas, and rice.
White breads and pastas are stripped of the nutrients that whole grains have. You’ll barely notice a difference between whole-wheat and white spaghetti.Swap out your white rice for brown rice. It takes a little longer to cook, but has so much more nutrients than white rice.
Add more leafy greens to your diet
Leafy greens contain essential vitamins and minerals. The best thing about spinach is that you can put it pretty much in anything. Add spinach to your smoothies, pasta, add it to your sandwiches, or swap it out for romaine. Keep some spinach in the freezer so that you always have it on hand. Frozen spinach is great to add to smoothies or cooked dishes. Save the fresh spinach for sandwiches and salads. If you buy a big container of fresh spinach, you’ll be more inclined to throw it in what ever dish you’re making to use it all up!
Cut down on red meat
Red meat is higher in calories and fat than fish and poultry. Lots of classic American dishes include red meat, but fish and poultry can be easily substituted. Love hamburgers? Try salmon burgers! Love a good spaghetti and meatball dinner? Use ground turkey instead of ground beef! A fan of ground beef tacos? Use grilled chicken instead!
Take your coffee black
If you’re an avid coffee drinker, you might be consuming more calories than you’re aware of. Adding creamer, sugar, and syrups to your coffee add unnecessary simple carbohydrates to your diet. Simple carbohydrates won’t do you much harm in small amounts, but if you’re drinking sugary coffee every morning, you’re putting yourself at risk for high blood sugar. Stick to black coffee in the mornings.