Before you can determine what constitutes healthy eating, you need to have some basic understanding about food. Your main concern would be to eat food that is wholesome and nutritious.
Your daily intake should comprise of all the basic food groups in the right proportion. You should consume a wide variety of food in moderation.
There are basically five food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy products and meat or meat substitutes. These food groups should be a part of your daily diet. It is a good idea to acquaint yourself with the appropriate servings of each food group. The daily recommended servings of each food group are dependent on various factors such as age, sex and activity level of the individuals.
The following servings are for a 30 years old woman with an average weight and height and the physical activity of more that 60 minutes a day.
The suggestion is to take three cups of vegetables, because they are your primary source of vitamins and minerals. Incorporate the different colors of vegetables into your diet and make sure that you consume vegetables that are fresh and are in season (less use of pesticides). It is advised that you eat more dark green veggies, orange veggies and dry beans and peas.
It is recommended that you take two cups of fruits which are also full of vitamins and minerals. Eat variety of fresh fruits like apple, oranges, bananas and grapefruits. If you choose to consume fruit juice make sure that sugar is not added to the juice. For the juice, choose fruit that is low in sugar like grapefruit.
Three cups of dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are the recommended daily servings. Dairy products supply the needed calcium. Be sure to opt for the low-fat or the fat-free alternatives. For those who are lactose intolerant, soy milk and soy products are great substitute.
Grains compose of bread, rice, pasta and cereal. The recommended servings are 8 ounces of grains per day. Choose the whole grain options like the whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and oatmeal and avoid white grain like white bread and white rice which are pure carbohydrates without the added nutritional value.
The major sources of protein are meat like beef, fish, poultry, eggs and meat substitutes like beans and tofu. It is suggested that you take 6.5 ounces of this food group on a daily basis. It is a good idea to choose the leaner options like fish, turkey and shellfish; avoid meat that is high in fat. You should bake, broil or grill food in this group, to avoid adding fat to the food. You could also vary your choices with more fish, beans, peas, nuts and seeds.
Finally, make sure that most of your fat sources are from fish, nuts and vegetable oils and limit solid fat like butter, margarine, shortening and lard from your diet.
Healthy eating tips from http://www.mypyramid.gov:
- Make half your gains whole.
- Vary your vegetables.
- Focus on fruit.
- Get your calcium rich foods.
- Go lean with protein.
- Find your balance between food and physical activity.
- Keep food safe to eat.