Healthy Eating

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5 eating habits to improve health

  • Drink more water (and eliminate the need to consume lots of sweetened drinks)
  • Bring fruit for snacks
  • Exercise - start small and be realistic
  • Replace some rice/pasta/potatoes with vegetables
  • Eat breakfast

Healthy eating for adults

  • interesting - make meals and mealtime special
  • variety - continually try new foods, preparation
  • moderation - stop eating before feeling full
  • balance - all food groups included in daily meal plan

Daily food intake

Daily food intake recommended to provide varied, balanced and interesting healthy eating for moderately active adults

  • Milk 2-3 cups
  • Protein 5-7oz
  • Fat - use sparingly
  • Fruit 3-4 servings
  • Vegetables 4-5 servings
  • Grains & bread 6-9 servings
  • Total calories 1200 - 2500 calories

Other nutrients

  • meet or exceed minimum for calcium, Vitamin C, potassium
  • limit sodium, cholesterol, trans fats


  • 8 glasses per day
  • 60+% of Americans are dehydrated. Stay hydrated.

Thirst is often confused with hunger.


  • 1200 - 2500 calories per day (1800 is average)

Daily calorie requirement varies by age, weight, gender, activity, metabolic type and dietary needs. Daily caloric intake can range from 1200 calories for a moderately active woman restricting calories for weight reduction to 2500 calories for a man maintaining an active healthy lifestyle.

Calories in foods come from three types of nutrients

  • carbohydrates (4 calories/gm)
  • protein (4 calories/gm)
  • fat (9 calories/gm)

Daily meal plans with 50-70% of calories from carbohydrates provide plenty dietary fiber and energy for promoting health for moderately active adults.

  • Protein : depends on the individual, adequate provision for nutrients such as essential amino acids.
  • Fat : The average American diet includes 35% calories from fat - 15-25% would be better.
  • Serving size : Most package food "servings" are larger and higher in calories than USDA food guidelines recommend.

American Diabetic Association (ADA) Food Exchanges are listed on some foods and can be helpful as they are standardized by nutritional content - carbohydrates, protein, fat and calories.

Protein & Fat

5-7oz meat, cheese

Poultry & Lean Meats Beef, lean organic Calf’s liver Chicken Lamb Turkey Venison Fish & Seafood Cod Halibut Salmon Scallops Shrimp Snapper Tuna

Fat should be added sparingly. Fat is contained in most meat and prepared foods, and usually does not need to be added to meet the daily requirement. Healthy fats - 1 Tbsp. chopped nuts, nut butter, avocado, egg yolk


  • 2 servings - non-fat liquid milk, yogurt

Milk is primary source of calcium, vitamin D for strong bones, muscle contraction


  • 3-4 servings daily
  • Serving size varies by fruit, generally 1 cup of juice, 1 cup of berries, 1/2 cup of sweet firm fruit (peaches, plums) or a small whole fruit

Raspberries Cranberries Strawberries Kiwifruit Oranges Blueberries Apricots Apples Grapefruit Papaya Figs, fresh Pear Prunes Plum Banana Pineapple Cantaloupe, cubes


  • 4-5 servings daily

Ordered by World’s Healthiest Food ranking

Turnip greens, cooked Mustard greens, boiled Cauliflower, boiled Collard greens, boiled Broccoli, steamed Swiss chard, boiled Romaine lettuce Celery, raw Cabbage, shredded, boiled Spinach, boiled Fennel, raw, sliced Green beans, boiled Eggplant, cooked, cubes Bell peppers, red, raw, slices Winter squash, baked, cubes Kale, boiled Carrots, raw Summer squash, cooked, slices Asparagus, boiled Brussel sprouts, boiled Green peas, boiled Tomato, ripe Onions, raw Cucumbers, slices, with peel Beets, Boiled Sweet potato, baked, with skin Yam (Dioscorea species), cubed, cooked Avocado, slices Shiitake mushrooms, raw Corn, yellow, cooked Potato, baked, with skin

Bread & Grain

  • Whole grains are preferable, as they contain less sugar and more dietary fiber.

Wheat, bulgur Barley Rye, whole grain, uncooked Buckwheat Oats, whole grain

Starchy vegetables are also good sources of dietary fiber Split peas, cooked Lentils, cooked Black beans, cooked Pinto beans, cooked Lima beans, cooked Kidney beans, cooked Garbonzo beans (chickpeas), cooked Navy beans, cooked Soybeans, cooked

Vitamins and Other Nutrients

  • natural : comes in the food, may be reduced or destroyed in cooking
  • fortified foods : added to increase the dietary value of food, listed as an ingredient
  • supplements : sold separately, taken in addition to food to compliment other nutrients
  • Sodium: 2,300 mg (1,500 mg sodium even better for lowering blood pressure)
  • Potassium: 4,700 mg
  • Calcium: 1,250 mg
  • Magnesium: 500 mg
  • Cholesterol: 150 mg
  • Fiber: 30 g


  • 20-30 minutes daily minimum, 3-4 hours per week

For building and maintaining bone mass and density

  • weight-bearing - bones and muscles work against gravity such as walking, tai chi, stair climbing, dancing and soccer (swimming and bicycling are not weight-bearing)

resistance exercises - use muscular strength to improve muscle mass and strengthen bone using free weights, weight machines

Sample menus

Breakfast - grain, fruit, milk
.. oatmeal with berries, yogurt

Lunch - 2 grain, meat, veg, 2 fruit
.. chicken (2oz) sandwich on multi-grain, baby carrots, banana

Snack - grain
.. popcorn

Dinner - meat, 2 veg, grain, fruit
.. fish (4 oz), green beans, squash, brown rice, pears

Snack - grain, fruit, milk
.. grapes, wheat crackers, milk

Totals - meat (6 oz), 6 grain, 3 veg, 4 fruit, 2 milk
.. approximately 1500-1600 calories

Eating and activity journal

Recording your food and exercise helps

  • day, time
  • food and how you feel
  • activity

Nutrition resources are provided free for information purposes, NOT as medical advice.


USDA Food Pyramid

Meals Matter

World’s Healthiest Foods


National Osteoporosis Foundation

American Diabetes Association

American Dietetic Association