Longevity Living | A Down and Dirty Guide to Healthy Eating

It seems like these days, everyone and their mother has some scheme for how best one should eat healthily. Don’t eat this, eat that! Avoid this, and eat only this other thing! Only eat this thing once a week and twice on Sunday! If you’re like most people, and you’re incredibly confused by the sheer amount of diet advice that’s out there, then maybe you should get back to the basics. As part of its “Choose My Plate” campaign, the USDA has offered some great general advice for regulating your intake and eating a balanced and healthy diet. Here are some of the most important tips that they offer:

Fruits and Vegetables:

It’s true what they say; these are the cornerstones of healthy diet. You may think that they’re boring, but that’s simply not true. There are so many options to choose from with fruits and vegetables, that you’re sure to find specific ones that agree with you and that you enjoy. Try to make fruits and vegetables about half of your daily intake

Make the switch to skim or 1% milk:

A simple change like this can have results that accumulate quickly. These lower-fat milks have the same calcium as higher-fat milks, but they’re much easier on the calorie count. Plus, rather obviously, there’s less fat in them!

Get with those whole grains:

Whole grains are good for you; it’s that simple. Of course, you might not want to make your entire grain intake of the whole grains variety. But even switching 50% of your grain intake to whole grains can have a positive effect on your health.

Watch your caloric intake:

While you don’t have to get out the calorimeter and test every morsel of food that goes in your mouth, having a general sense of your caloric intake can help guide your healthy eating habits. If you’re looking to trim pounds (and your caloric intake) try switching to smaller glasses, bowls and plates. Since we eat with our eyes, this will help you to eat less.

Cut back on sugars, salt and fats:

You don’t have to give up on them completely, we all deserve a splurge every now and again. But, switching one item in your diet (like a sugary soft drink) for another (like 100% fruit juice) even a few times a week can have positive health benefits that will only compound over time. As a general guide, this should suffice toward getting you on the road to healthy eating habits. As you experiment with divesting yourself of bad eating habits and replacing them with healthier ones, you’ll find particular food items, dishes and drinks that will appeal to you. As you make these discoveries, be sure to take note of what you’re enjoying, and allow yourself to enjoy those things. Doing so will make “eating healthy,” which seems like an inconvenience that deprives you of the things you enjoy, into a culinary experience that will fuel better and healthier eating habits throughout your life.

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