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Healthy Diet Tips

Maintaining a healthy diet should not have to be a challenge. Even some of the simplest healthier substitutions can give your meal a complete health makeover. Below you will find a variety of tips that will help you include gains, fruits and vegetables into your diet. We also offer a quick list of suggestions for a heart-healthy diet and tips for making overall healthy food choices. Bon Appetite!

Whole Grains

  • Today there are several varieties of whole-wheat pastas available in the markets. Try substituting whole-wheat pasta the next time you make your favorite pasta dish.
  • Instead of white bread try whole-wheat bread.
  • Brown rice is delicious and good for you, but it generally takes a little longer to cook. Plan on making brown rice instead on white rice the next time you serve rice.
  • Try mixing barley into your next soup instead of noodles.
  • Next time a recipe calls for flower try using whole-wheat flower or oat flower instead of white flower.
  • Whole wheat bread crumbs or cereal can be a simple substitute for breading chicken and fish.
  • Popcorn is a healthy whole-grain snack, but try not to add butter or salt.
  • Look at the ingredients on food labels. Many foods that appear to be whole-grain are in fact not. Foods labeled with the words "multi-grain," "stone-ground," "100% wheat," "cracked wheat," "seven-grain," or "bran" are usually not whole-grain products.
  • Buy products that have at least one of these ingredients listed as one of the first items: "brown rice," "bulgur," "graham flour," "oatmeal," "whole-grain corn," "whole oats," "whole rye," "whole wheat," "wild rice."
  • When shopping for whole-grain breads try to avoid products that have too many added sugars, fats or oils.

Vegetables

  • Vegetables that are in season are often the best choice because they are affordable and often full of flavor. Try a variety of seasonal vegetables to keep meals interesting.
  • Frozen vegetables make a good alternative to fresh vegetables. Always keep your freezer stocked with a few frozen vegetable options just in case you get caught without fresh veggies.
  • Vegetables that are high in potassium are often the most nutritious vegetable choices. White beans, tomato products, beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, winter squash, lentils, kidney beans, spinach, split peas, white potatoes and sweet potatoes are great sources of potassium.
  • If you buy canned vegetables or other canned products try to look for cans labeled "low sodium" since canned food will often have added sodium.
  • Try focusing some meals on vegetables rather than meats or starches. Vegetable stir-fry's and vegetable soups can be easy to make.
  • Pre-washed salad is easy to prepare. Try adding a small salad to every meal.
  • Try cooking vegetables on your outdoor grill the next time you BBQ. Vegetable kabobs are easy to prepare and a great addition to any grilled meat.
  • Keep vegetable snacks on hand at all times. Carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumber slices and bell pepper slices can help hold you over between meals.
  • Get creative by decorating you serving plates with a variety of colorful vegetables.
  • Make your salads colorful. If you have more than three colors in your salad you probably have a nice variety of vegetables and nutrients.
  • Boiling vegetables can cook the nutrients out of the vegetable. Try lightly steaming veggies instead of boiling them.

Fruits

  • Always have a bowl of fruit in your house making it easy to snack on or to grab a fruit on your way out the door. A bowl of fruit also makes a nice table centerpiece.
  • Buying fruits that are in season are usually the most affordable and the most delicious.
  • Dried and canned fruits are good to have on hand so you always have a supply of fruit. Avoid buying canned fruits that are stored in syrup. Instead, try to buy canned fruits that are stored in fruit juice or water.
  • Try to eat mostly whole or freash cut-up fruit. Don't consume too many fruit juices, especially those that have mostly added sugars.
  • Always keep your eye peeled for a good deal on bags of oranges and grapefruits. These are great to eat whole or make fresh juice from.
  • Vary your fruit choices because different fruits offer different nutrients.
  • Fruits that are high in potassium are great choices. Fruits that are high in potassium include bananas, dried peaches and apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, oranges and prunes.
  • Top your breakfast cereal with cut-up fruits such as bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apricots or peaches.
  • Don't forget that fruit makes a wonderful dessert. Try a mix of your favorite berries on top of plain yogurt. Add a few nuts for extra flavor and texture.
  • Baked apples or pears can also be a wonderful dessert.
  • Fruit salad is a great snack to have on hand in your refrigerator at home or at the office.
  • Let raisins satisfy your next sweet-tooth.

Protein

  • When it comes to protein, lean protein is the healthiest choice.
  • Take the skin off of your chicken before you cook it.
  • Skinless chicken and turkey is the leanest poultry.
  • Lean pork choices include pork loin, tenderloin, center loin and ham.
  • Lean beef choices include round steaks and roasts, top loin, top sirloin, chuck shoulder and arm roasts. Try to buy extra lean ground beef that has is at least "90% lean."
  • Trim off extra fat from all meats and poultry before cooking.
  • Drain off fat that appears as you meat is cooking, or cook you meat on a rack so that the extra fat drips off the meat during the cooking process.
  • Avoid making high fat sauces or gravies with your meat.
  • Include fish in your diet. Fish is high in protein and mostly low in fat.
  • Some fish such as salmon and trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids which are great for your health.
  • Beans are also a great source of protein. Beans have endless potential for meals, including soups, chili, bean salads and baked beans.
  • Some delicious foods are made from peas or beans such as hummus and tofu. Tofu can also be a great meat substitute.
  • Try to avoid buying meats that have been processed. Lunch meats, sausages and hot dogs usually have had salt added to them while being processed.

Heart-Healthy Diet Tips

  • Maintain a low fat diet. You will want to especially avoid fats such as butter, coconut oil, saturated fats, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats, animal fats and dairy fats.
  • Instead of oils, try using nonstick cooking sprays.
  • Always try to buy the leanest cuts of meat. Poultry, fish and turkey are better choices than beef.
  • Try starting your day with a hearty bowl of oatmeal.
  • Skim milk and non-fat yogurt is a healthier option than high-fat dairy products.
  • Don't eat too many sweets or foods with added sugar. Soda and sweetened beverages should be kept to a minimum as well.
  • Avoid eating more than four egg yolks a week. Generally it is better to eat egg whites or egg substitutes.
  • Don't fry your food. Steaming or baking food is generally a healthier preparation.
  • Try to avoid the fast food restaurant chains, they usually do not have many healthy options. If you must eat at a fast food restaurant, try to make the healthier choice and order a salad.

Try doing a few stretches and simple exercises like push-ups and sit-ups while watching television.

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