The answer to the question "What should I eat?" is actually pretty simple. But you wouldn't know that from news reports on diet and nutrition studies, whose sole purpose seems to be to confuse people on a daily basis. When it comes down to it, though—when all the evidence is looked at together—the best nutrition advice on what to eat is relatively straightforward: Eat a plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; choose foods with healthy fats, like olive and canola oil, nuts and fatty fish; limit red meat and foods that are high in saturated fat; and avoid foods that contain trans fats. Drink water and other healthy beverages, and limit sugary drinks and salt. Most important of all is keeping calories in check, so you can avoid weight gain, which makes exercise a key partner to a healthy diet.
Want to learn more? Use the Healthy Eating Pyramid, created by the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, as your guide to choosing a healthy diet, and the new Healthy Eating Plate as a handy blueprint for a healthy meal.
Healthy Eating: Ten Nutrition Tips for Eating Right
- Carbohydrates Choose good carbs, not no carbs. Whole grains are your best bet.
- Protein Pay attention to the protein package. Fish, poultry, nuts, and beans are the best choices.
- Fats Choose foods with healthy fats, limit foods high in saturated fat, and avoid foods with trans fat. Plant oils, nuts, and fish are the healthiest sources.
- Fiber Choose a fiber-filled diet, rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
- Vegetables and Fruits Eat more vegetables and fruits. Go for color and variety—dark green, yellow, orange, and red.
- Milk Calcium is important. But milk isn't the only, or even best, source.
- Healthier Drinks (healthier-drinks) Water is best to quench your thirst. Skip the sugary drinks, and go easy on the milk and juice.
- Lower Salt & Sodium Eating less salt is good for everyone's health. Choose more fresh foods and fewer processed foods.
- Alcohol Moderate drinking can be healthy—but not for everyone. You must weigh the benefits and risks.
- Vitamins A daily multivitamin is a great nutrition insurance policy. Some extra vitamin D may add an extra health boost.