Building a Healthy Diet

Create an eating style that can improve your health now and in the future by making small changes over time. Consider changes that reflect your personal preferences, culture, and traditions. Think of each change as a “win” as you build positive habits and find solutions that reflect your healthy eating style. Use the tips below to find little victories that work for you.

Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables

Focus on whole fruits

  • Focus on whole fruits more often than drinking 100% juice.
  • Snack on fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits instead of cookies, brownies or other sugar-sweetened treats.
  • Offer whole fruits without saturated fat, sodium, or added sugars as dessert.

Vary your veggies

  • Vary your veggies to include green, red, and orange choices.
  • Add fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables to salads, side dishes, and recipes.
  • Prepare your vegetables without sauces, gravies, or glazes to lower the amount of sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars.

Make Half Your Grains Whole Grains

  • Choose whole-grain foods more often than refined grains. Make at least half the amount of grains you eat each day whole grains.
  • Find high fiber, whole-grain foods by reading the Nutrition Facts label and ingredients list.
  • Some common whole grains include oatmeal, whole wheat flour, and popcorn.

Move to Low-Fat and Fat-Free Dairy

  • Choose low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt.
  • Buy low-fat or fat-free cheese more often than regular cheese.
  • Regular cream cheese, butter, and cream are not in the dairy food group because they have little or no calcium. They are also high in saturated fat.

Vary Your Protein Routine

  • Mix up your protein foods to include seafood, beans, nuts, seeds, soy, eggs, lean meats, and poultry.
  • Select seafood twice a week, including fish and shellfish.
  • Add beans or peas, unsalted nuts and seeds, and soy in main dishes and snacks.

Compare Saturated Fat, Sodium and Added Sugar in Your Food & Beverages

  • Read the Nutrition Facts labels to find products with less saturated fat and sodium.
  • Use the ingredient list to find choices with less added sugars.
  • Cut back on sugary beverages such as fruit drinks and soda.

About MyPlate

Eating healthy is a journey shaped by many factors, including our stage of life, situations, preferences, access to food, culture, traditions, and the personal decisions we make over time. All your food and beverage choices count. MyPlate offers ideas and tips to help you create a healthier eating style that meets your individual needs and improves your health.

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