9 Steps You Can Take to Eat a More Healthy Diet

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Eat more than 5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day. Fruits and vegetables generally have low fat content, high fiber, and are packed with nutrients.

  • Buy a new vegetable or fruit every time you go to the grocery store.
  • Add chopped squash, mushrooms, onions, or carrots to spaghetti sauce.
  • Eat whole fruit rather than drinking fruit juice.

Limit your fat intake. Try to keep your fat intake to about 30 grams per day, limit your saturated fat intake to less than 10% of your total calories per day, and avoid trans fats.

  • Eat less salad dressing.
  • Limit your use of shortening, butter, and cream cheese.
  • Cut out fried foods.
  • Choose lean cuts of meat and poultry or trim off fat and skin before cooking.

Mix up your protein options. Some research suggests that there may be a link between eating red meat and breast cancer. Most of the concern is about processed meats and beef containing extra hormones and antibiotics.

  • Try chicken, pork, fish, or lamb instead of beef.
  • Have an egg white omelet for dinner.
  • Use beans or lentils as your main dish — try a new vegetarian chili recipe.

Avoid salt-cured, pickled, and smoked foods. They tend to have a lot of salt and nitrates, which can contribute to high blood pressure in some people.

Pay attention to portions. Focus on vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. Limit meat to about 6 ounces of cooked meat or poultry (without skin) per day.

Bake or broil food. Decrease the amount of calories in your food by baking or broiling it rather than frying it.

Cover your plate with low-calorie foods. Fill two-thirds of your plate with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, or beans, and one-third or less with meat and dairy products. Try spinach lasagna, vegetarian chili, or steamed or sautéed vegetables to get more vegetables in your diet.

Eat more fiber. Fiber can help lower cholesterol and glucose levels, make you feel full longer so you're less likely to overeat, and helps keep your bowels regular.

  • Unprocessed fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber.
  • Eat high fiber cereal or add unprocessed wheat bran to your favorite cereal.
  • Add kidney beans or black beans to soups and salads.
  • Toss vegetables into pasta sauce.

Consider buying organic. There's a real concern that chemicals used to grow food may cause health problems, including an increase in breast cancer risk. To reduce your exposure to pesticides, you might want to buy organically grown food or organically produced dairy products. Visit the Exposure to Chemicals in Food page to learn more.

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