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Healthy Diet Tips

Eating healthier can be a daunting task. Check out these quick tips for how to improve your diet.


Make Small Changes

Water

Drink water instead:

Soda, energy drinks, sport drinks, and coffee drinks are a major source of empty calories and sugar. Try switching a few of these drinks every day with a glass of water to reduce your calorie consumption and sugar intake. Plus, staying hydrated by drinking more water can help boost concentration and keep you from overeating.

Milk

Switch to 1% or fat-free milk:

You will get the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients while consuming fewer calories and less fat.

Breakfast

Eat breakfast:

Start your day off right with a balanced meal. Even eating something small, like a piece of fruit or a protein bar, is better than skipping a meal. Studies show eating breakfast improves concentration and memory.

Grains

Substitute whole grains:

Whenever you can, use whole grains instead of refined grains. For example, try using whole grain bread for your sandwiches instead of white bread.

Snack

Snack only when you’re hungry:

Skip the urge to nibble when you’re bored, frustrated or stressed. When you get the urge to snack, try taking a walk, texting a friend, or planning a healthy meal for the next mealtime instead.

BfastSandwich

Build a better breakfast sandwich:

Replace bacon or sausage with Canadian bacon or ham and order your sandwich on a whole grain English muffin or bagel.

Know Your Nutrients

Balance calories:

How many calories do YOU need? Find yourself in this chart to estimate the number of calories you should consume every day. How many calories are you consuming? Both overeating and under eating can lead to serious health problems.

Make your calories count:

The majority of your food choices should be packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients – and lower calories. Making smart food choices can help you stay healthy, manage your weight and be physically active.

Make veggies half your plate:

Choose a variety of colored vegetables for your meals. Add fruit as a part of the main dish, side, or as a dessert. Try to maximize your consumption of fresh, uncooked fruits and veggies to maximize their nutritional value.

Focus on variety:

Eat a variety of different types of foods including fruits, vegetables and protein to get the nutrients your body needs.

Less sugar, fat & salt:

Cut back on the foods you know are bad: cakes, cookies, ice cream, soda, pizza, hot dogs, fatty meats, etc. These are can be occasional treats but should not be eaten daily.

Choose low sodium:

Cutting back on sodium can help decrease your blood pressure which will decrease your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Pay Attention to Portions

SmallDish

Use small dishes:

Oversized dishes lead to oversized portions. Avoid oversized portions by using a smaller plate, bowl and glass. Eating out of small dishes will leave you feeling satisfied and help you choose smaller portions of food.

EatSlowly

Eat slowly:

Slowing down and paying attention to hunger and satisfaction cues will give your body more time to tell you when you have had enough food. Eating too quickly can lead to a pattern of overeating.

HalfPlate

Dish out a single serving:

Eating directly from a multiple-serving package can lead to overeating. It’s much easier to get the right portion size if you take out a single serving and eat from a small bowl or dish instead.

Plan Ahead

Schedule your meals:

Eating meals regularly will help you avoid eating junk food or skipping meals completely. Decide what you’ll eat the night before so you can have your lunch and snacks ready to go.

Don’t skip meals:

With everything you have to do, it’s easy to sacrifice eating to rush to class or work. Prepare snacks and meals you can eat on-the-go to keep your energy up.

Always eating on the go? Tuck portable foods in your purse, briefcase or backpack for an on-the-run meal. Try peanut butter and crackers, granola bars, a piece of fruit, trail mix, and single serve packages of whole grain cereal or crackers.

Snack more often:

Small snacks throughout the day are easy for your body to digest and help curb hunger at mealtimes. Make your snacks fruits, veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy products or nuts to maximize the nutritional value of your snack. Try jerky, mixed nuts, or hard-boiled eggs for a high protein snack.

Pack a nutritious, satisfying lunch:

Avoid the drive-through and make something simple and power-packed the day before, or in the morning if you have time.

Menu Plan Mondays:

Pick a day of the week to plan your meals. Planning ahead will help ensure your meals are healthier and well-balanced.

Brew your own tea or coffee:

To avoid long lines and save time, brew your own caffeinated beverage before you leave the house and keep it in an insulated thermos.

Healthy dine-out:

Ask for sauces or dressing on the side, avoid anything fried, and don’t feel pressured to eat everything on the table. As soon as your meal arrives, divide it into two servings and save one for later.

Read the Label

Learn how to read the nutrient label with this handy graphic. Source: www.fda.gov

Shop smart:

Read food labels to find out more about the foods you eat. The Nutrition Facts panel found on most labels will help you find foods with good sources of fiber, calcium, iron and vitamin C.

Let the percentage of daily values be your guide:

Daily Values are average levels of nutrients for a person eating 2,000 calories a day. A food item with a 5% DV means 5% of the amount of fat that a person consuming 2,000 calories a day would eat.

Know your fats:

Look for foods low in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol to help reduce the risk of heart disease. Most of the fats you eat should be polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

Include Calcium and Vitamin D:

Include 3 servings of vitamin D-fortified, low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt in your diet each day. If you take a calcium supplement or multivitamin, choose one that contains vitamin D.

Check the serving size:

The size of the serving influences the number of calories and all the nutrient amounts listed. Pay attention to the serving size, especially how many servings there are in the food package. If there are 2 servings in a package, and you eat everything in the package, you consumed double the nutrients, calories, sugars, sodium, fats, etc.

Limit these nutrients:

The American Heart Association recommends limiting these nutrients: Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, no more than 11-14 grams of saturated fat, as little trans-fat as possible, and no more than 1,500 mg of sodium.

Get enough of these nutrients:

Make sure you get enough of beneficial nutrients such as dietary fiber, protein, calcium, iron, vitamins and other nutrients you need every day.

How to Nutrient Label