10 Ways to Improve your Eating Habits

Looking for ways to improve your eating habits? Here are ten simple ways to get started:

  1. Include more fruits and vegetables with meals and snacks. Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories, but high in fiber and other nutrients. Aim for 5-9 servings per day and choose a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables daily.
  2. Swap out refined grains and replace them with whole grains. Choose brown rice instead of white, whole wheat pasta instead of regular, and replace your white bread with whole grain bread. Choose oatmeal for breakfast or get creative with some of the ancient grains – quinoa, bulgur or amaranth.
  3. Learn how to cook and prepare healthy foods. Not only is it healthier to eat at home, but cooking a tasty meal is rewarding and can save you money. Experiment with making healthier versions of some of your family favorite recipes, or take a class to learn kitchen basics, such as how to chop vegetables.
  4. Makeover your meals to include seafood twice per week and meatless meals on one or more days per week. By doing so, we vary our protein routine and enjoy the benefits of fish and non-animal sources of protein, in addition to chicken, beef and pork.
  5. Include balanced meals that feature the Five Food Groups more often. Visit choosemyplate.gov to learn more about portioning your plate and including foods from a variety of food groups.
  6. Make healthier choices when eating out. Fast food and restaurant meals are a part of life, thus, it’s important to make better choices when life finds us on the run. Many restaurants and fast-food establishment post menus on their website and many include nutrition information. Plan ahead and make the “better choices” more often.
  7. Be mindful of portion sizes. While it’s not imperative to count calories or weigh foods, having a sense for normal portion sizes can help you gradually eat less, while still enjoying the foods you love. Want to see how food portions have changed over the last 20 years? Visit nhlbi.nih.gov and take the interactive quizzes, then visit WebMD for a Portion Size Guide.
  8. Eat meals as a family regularly. Research points to the fact that children often develop eating habits from watching their parents eat. Set a good example by serving healthy meals and eating them as a family, and put your kids on the right track for long-term health.
  9. Choose healthier foods more often in place of foods with solid fats, added sugars and salt. This doesn’t mean that cake is off limits. It just means that more often than not you’re making healthy choices so that you can still enjoy those less-than-healthy items on occasion.
  10. Choose healthier beverages such as water, low-fat milk or 100% fruit juice in place of drinks with added sugar. The empty calories in beverages can really add up. Be mindful about what you are sipping on throughout the day

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