Healthy eating means choosing foods rich in nutrients to lower your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and certain cancers.
Be mindful to buy foods low in added sugars and salt when shopping ready-to-eat meals or snacks. When possible, add fresh herbs and spices when cooking or opt for salt-free seasoning blends to reduce salt intake.
Fruits & Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables provide vital health benefits. Not only are they packed with essential vitamins and minerals, they’re also an excellent source of plant chemicals such as antioxidants and phytochemicals that may protect against cancer, heart disease and other ailments.
Some people don’t enjoy eating fruits or vegetables, so it is advisable to experiment with various varieties and find ways to make them easier to consume. You could cook, add them to salads or sauces or even incorporate them into minced meals for better digestion. When possible, opt for whole fruits rather than fruit juices which contain added sugars.
Try to include at least four servings of vegetables and two of fruit each day, and aim for variety by opting for colours with various nutrients (green foods contain folate while yellow or orange foods are rich in vitamin A). Avoid potatoes as these have high glycemic index (GI) carbs and saturated fat levels.
Meat & Poultry
Meat and poultry offer essential nutrition such as protein, iron, zinc and vitamins B6 and K. When selecting low-fat options such as 93% lean ground beef or skinless chicken breasts for your diet, look for low-fat options like 93% lean ground beef with skinless chicken breasts for reduced fat consumption. Marinating can tenderise meat further while adding flavor.
Poultry meat comes from domesticated birds in the Galloanserae order, such as chickens, quails, pheasants and turkeys. Production has increased steadily over time to provide nutritious yet cost-effective sources of protein in many countries. As with all foods containing animal products, meat and poultry must be cooked to an internal temperature that ensures safety before consumption.
Claims on the front panel of a food product that include meat cuts, species or subspecies must be verified by its producer through quality control data and records and must not contradict declarations found within its common name. Furthermore, such claims should never misrepresent or mislead.
Milk, yogurt and cheese are dairy foods that offer essential calcium, phosphorus, protein, vitamin D and other essential nutrients to promote strong bones. Dairy products have long been a part of diets worldwide and feature on MyPlate as food groups.
Though many may misperceive dairy as harmful, research supports its role as part of a healthy diet. Dairy consumption has been associated with reduced body weights and an improved heart health status among other benefits.
Dietary guidelines currently advise eating three servings of dairy each day. One dairy serving equals one cup of milk, pot of yogurt or scoop of ice cream; fortified soy milk and yogurt both with added calcium are included as dairy group items; other plant-based “milks,” like almond, coconut, oat or hemp should not be seen as alternatives to regular dairy milk or fortified soy yogurt with calcium content; though their nutrition profile differs substantially – although such plant-based “milks” contain key vitamins or nutrients not found elsewhere – unlike dairy milks with added calcium content – not intended to replace regular dairy milk or fortified soy versions in terms of calcium content!
Consuming foods that are low in fat, sodium (salt), sugar and added calories can help you reach or maintain a healthier weight. You might also add high-quality proteins like avocados as healthy sources of healthy fats in your diet and whole grains for maximum weight control. As part of your healthy diet, make sure you’re getting enough calcium from diverse sources like dairy products, dark leafy vegetables and nuts and seeds. Finally, remember that eating well doesn’t mean only making healthier decisions most of the time and enjoying occasional treats! If you want more guidance when it comes to developing a healthy eating pattern, speak to your healthcare provider or registered dietitian for recommendations based on your unique needs and conditions. Learn about nutrient-rich foods and recipes here.