A healthy lifestyle starts with healthy eating. Healthy eating is possible when you know what foods your body needs, those foods are accessible, and you choose to make healthy foods a part of your daily diet.
You can create and maintain a healthy eating pattern by making small, manageable changes. Check out EatRight.org or the 2015 Dietary Guidelines published by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and of Agriculture to see if you’re on track:
|Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan.|
|A healthy eating pattern includes consuming whole fruits, a variety of vegetables, protein foods, fat-free or low-fat dairy, whole grains, and healthy oils and limits saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars and sodium;|
|Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount.|
|Choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods in recommended amounts to create your meals.|
|Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake.|
|For a healthy eating pattern, consume foods and beverages low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium and limit foods and beverages higher in these components.|
|Shift to healthier food and beverage choices.|
|Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages within all food groups in place of less healthy choices.|
|Support healthy eating patterns for all.|
|You have the power to influence healthy eating patterns. Choose to create and support healthy eating patterns at home, school, work, and in your community.|
Knowing how to properly read nutrition labels will help you make better decisions about what foods and beverages you choose to put into your body.
The serving size tells you how many calories and nutrients you will consume within a measured amount. The more servings you consume, the greater the calories and nutrients you intake.
Calories are energy we get from food. Your body needs this energy to function properly, but eating too many calories per day is linked to obesity. As a general, per-serving guideline:
- 40 calories is low
- 100 calories is moderate
- 400 calories or more is high
Fat, Cholesterol, Sodium
Most American consume enough or too much fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Eating too much of these nutrients may increase your risk of chronic disease, some cancers, or high blood pressure. Limit your intake of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol as much as possible.
Dietary Fiber, Vitamins, and Minerals
Most Americans don't get enough dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron in their diets. Eating adequate amounts of these nutrients can help improve heart health, digestion, and immunity.
One way you can increase access to healthy foods in underserved populations is by donating to your local food pantry or food bank.
The following is a list of healthy food items you can donate today:
Fruits and Vegetables
- Fresh produce
- Low-sodium or water packed canned vegetables
- Canned fruits in 100% juice
- 100% fruit and vegetable juices
- Dried fruits and vegetables with no added sugar
- Low-sodium or water packed canned meats and seafood
- Dried beans, peas, and lentils
- Low-sodium canned beans and peas
Dairy and Dairy Substitutes
Shelf-stable milk or non-dairy alternatives such as soy and almond milk
100% Whole Grains
- Whole-wheat pasta, barley, brown rice, and wild rice
- Whole-grain cereal and rolled oats with at least 3g of fiber
- Low-sodium nuts
- Low-sodium nut butter
Interested in hosting a food drive? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for tips and ideas.