General Healthy Eating Guidelines

Eating For Better Health

These healthy eating guidelines contain today's best scientific advice on selection of foods for promoting health, preventing disease and maintaining or losing weight. These are general healthy guidelines that apply to most healthy people. If you have a chronic disease or other special nutritional needs, contact a registered dietitian for specific recommendations.

Healthy Eating Guidelines

  1. Maintain or aim for a healthy weight.
  2. Be physically active every day—return fun and play to your life. Get moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 20-30 minutes a day 3 to 5 days a week.
  3. Remember that healthy eating provides the sustained energy you need to be physically active.
  4. To lose weight, increase physical activity and decrease portion sizes. Follow these dietary guidelines.
  5. Start gradually and check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
  6. Learn to manage your stress with exercise, healthy eating, relaxation, and good coping skills.

Build Healthy Eating Habits

  1. Eat whole-grain, high-fiber breads and cereals (3 to 6 servings a day).
  2. Eat 5 to 9 servings a day of a variety of fruits and vegetables. Choose fruits and vegetables with a wide variety of colors (green, white, red, yellow, orange and purple) to get the best nutrition.
  3. Drink 5 to 8 glasses of water a day.
  4. Choose a diet low in saturated fat and moderate in total fat. Eat less animal fat. If you eat meat, eat white meat at least four times more often than red meat.
  5. Keep foods safe: keep them cold or keep them hot; wash hands and preparation surfaces often.

Choose Sensibly

  1. If you're trying to maintain or lose weight, eat smaller portions—don't "up size" your meals at fast food restaurants.
  2. Reduce the amount of sugar and other refined carbohydrates in your diet; drink fewer high-sugar sodas and eat less white bread, junk food and candy.
  3. Choose and prepare foods with less salt, especially if you have any heart problems or a family history of heart disease.
  4. If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation. Drink only when it doesn't put you or anyone else at risk.

Source U.S. Government's Nutrition Information website.

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