How to Eat Healthy Without Going on a Diet

couple unloading groceries at home

Being on a diet can often be, or at least feel like, a restrictive way of eating. Eating well is about making smart choices to build an overall healthy dietary pattern.

Eating healthy help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and many other diseases and conditions. The good news is, eating right doesn’t have to be hard or require you to give up all the foods you love. And it can be easy, affordable and delicious.  

Here are some ways to help you and your family adopt a healthier eating style:

Include

  • Fruits and vegetables contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. Try to fill half your plate fruits and vegetables. They can be chopped up and added to many dishes and are a good replacement for less healthy sides such as chips or fries.
  • Whole grains are high in dietary fiber and provide nutrients that support body functions like carrying oxygen through blood and regulating thyroid. They also can help lower cholesterol and improve heart health. Examples include whole grain breads and pasta, sorghum, oats, popcorn and brown rice. 
  • Beans and legumes are high in minerals and dietary fibers. Try adding beans, such as black, kidney, pinto, to your dishes to bulk up healthy nutrients in your meals. Rinse and drain the canned varieties to help remove excess sodium.
  • Nuts and seeds are good sources of protein, healthy fats and fiber. Healthy choices include unsalted almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts.
  • Fish, preferably oily fish with omega-3 fatty acids, can help reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Some preferred fatty fish include anchovies, mackerel, black cod, salmon, whitefish, cobia, bluefin tuna or striped bass. The AHA recommends eating fish at least twice a week.
  • Skinless poultry and lean animal proteins are lower in saturated fats than red meats. Consider replacing red meats including beef, pork and lamb with chicken, turkey or beans.
  • Plant-based proteins can help lower your risk of heart disease and obesity. Some examples of plant-based proteins include tofu, lentils, nuts and seeds, quinoa, sorghum, beans, peas, soy milk, potatoes, dark leafy vegetables and rice.

Limit

  • Sweetened drinks
  • Sodium and salty foods
  • Saturated fats
  • Fatty or processed red meats (If you choose to eat meat, select leaner cuts)
  • Refined carbohydrates including added sugars and processed grain foods
  • Full-fat dairy products 
  • Tropical oils such as coconut oil and palm oil

Avoid

  • Trans fat and partially hydrogenated oils, which are found in some commercially baked and fried foods 

Tips

  • Choose mindfully, even with healthier foods. Ingredients and nutrient content can vary a lot.
  • Read labels. Compare Nutrition Facts labels on food products and select products with the lowest amounts of sodium, added sugars, saturated fat and trans fat, and no partially hydrogenated oils.
  • Watch your calories. To maintain a healthy weight, eat only as many calories as you use up through physical activity. If you want to lose weight, take in fewer calories or burn more calories.
  • Eat reasonable portions. Often this is less than you are served, especially when eating out.
  • Cook and eat at home. You’ll have more control over ingredients and preparation methods.
  • Look for the Heart-Check mark to easily identify foods that can be part of an overall healthy eating pattern.

More Resources


Lipton

Nationally Supported by

Lipton

Egg Nutrition Center

Nationally Supported by

Egg Nutrition Center

Eggland's Best

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Eggland's Best