Nutrition Basics

Everyone is unique and will require different amounts of nutrients which is why everyone has a different eating style that will work for them. Planning a healthful lifestyle is about being realistic and sensible but also a little adventurous. Eat a variety of foods from all five food groups (grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and protein foods) every day for good health.

  • Drop the word “diet” and stick with lifestyles. Diets are made to be short term and often have characteristics that make them hard to follow for any extended amount of time. Lifestyles are really what we all should be focusing on. Making sure that we are physically active every day, eat lots of fruits and vegetables in a variety of different colors, and stick to whole grains and lean protein.
  • Watch your portion sizes. Try eating on smaller plates and waiting a bit (10 minutes or so) before going back up for a second helping.
  • Added Sugars – Sugar contains little to no nutrients and if you eat a lot of it you’re likely to be missing key nutrients in your diet. Added sugar provides empty calories and is believed to be a leading cause of diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
  • Trans fats are bad – Trans fats are also known as partially hydrogenated oils. It has been found that consuming trans fats will raise your bad cholesterol, lower your good cholesterol, and can contribute to other risk factors for a number of diseases.

The Dietary Guidelines state:

  1. Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan.  All food and beverage choices matter throughout your life!
  2. Focus on variety, nutrient density and amount. Choose fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables.  As a general rule with fruits and vegetables, the deeper the color the better.
  3. Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake.  Read the Nutrition Facts label and the ingredient lists to make the best choice.
  4. Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Look for foods and beverages with less sugar and that are lower in calories. Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
  5. Support healthy eating patterns for all.  The right mix of foods can help you and your family be healthier now and in the future.