You make food choices all day long.  A healthy diet is all about balance and smart choices.  Make the most of your health by combining healthy food choices, adequate hydration and regular physical activity.  Commitment to a healthy lifestyle reduces your risk of certain conditions (e.g., heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes).  People tend to associate healthy eating with strict dietary limitations, being unrealistically thin or avoiding favorite foods.  Changing eating habits may be difficult for some, however, focusing on small changes makes it much easier.

Aim to eat a variety of foods from all major food groups for a balanced, nutritious diet.  These groups include grains, fruits, vegetables, protein and dairy.  Be sure to select the healthiest options from each group.  The amount needed from each group depends on your age, sex, and level of physical activity.  Visit for recommended daily amounts.

Choose products that list whole grains as the FIRST ingredient.  Whole grains are high in fiber and low in fat.  They are also a source of complex carbohydrates, which promote prolonged satiety (i.e., feeling full) which prevents overeating.  Examples of whole grains include brown rice, wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, barley and quinoa.

Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories.  They provide both flavor and variety to your diet as well as potassium, dietary fiber and vitamins.  Potassium-rich diets may help to maintain healthy blood pressure.  Purchase vegetables without added salt, butter or cream sauces and try not to add these when cooking.  Limit fruit with added sugars and opt for 100% fruit juice when necessary.

Choose low-fat, lean cuts of meat (i.e., pork, beef, lamb, poultry).  Baking, broiling, grilling and roasting are the healthiest ways to prepare these foods.  Non-animal protein options exist for those choosing to reduce cholesterol and fat intake: dry beans, peas, lentils, tofu, nuts and seeds.  Beans are often swapped for meat in recipes.

Choose reduced fat (1%) or fat-free (skim) dairy products.  If you cannot or do not want to eat dairy, numerous non-dairy alternatives exist: plant-based milk alternatives (e.g., soy, rice, nuts, seeds), yogurt and ice cream substitutes, cheese substitutes and butter/sour cream alternatives.  Be sure to watch for the following when choosing a non-dairy substitute: added sugars, fillers, protein content (usually lower in these products), nutrient content, intolerances, and price differences (often pricier).

Oils are NOT a food group, but they provide essential nutrients.  Replace "bad" fats (saturated and trans) with healthier fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated).  Choose the following healthier oils when cooking and preparing food: canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean and sunflower.

Focus on making "healthy swaps".  For example,
High calorie coffee drinks
Nonfat latte or cappuccino, herbal tea
Fatty meats, sausage
Lean meats, poultry breast, seafood, tofu
Sodas, fruit juices
Plain or sparkling water with lemon, lime or a few pieces of fresh fruit
White rice, noodles, white potatoes
Brown rice, quinoa, millet, whole grain pasta, sweet potatoes, soba noodles
Cakes, cookies, pies, pastries, ice cream
Fresh or frozen fruit, sorbet, nonfat yogurt with fruit
Refined flour breads, cereals, flour tortillas, croissants, biscuits
100% whole grain breads and cereals, corn tortillas
Mayonnaise, regular salad dressings, sauces, gravies, sour cream
Mustard, mashed avocado, low-fat salad dressings, salsa, lemon juice, plain non-fat yogurt

Remember, you are what you eat!  Therefore, make it your mission to start making the best choices when you prepare or order foods:
1) Opt for foods prepared via healthy cooking methods (i.e., grilled, broiled, baked, boiled, roasted, poached, steamed, stir-fried) instead of fried.
2) Use herbs and spices to add flavor to foods --- avoid using salt or seasonings containing sodium (salt).
3) Avoid foods that are creamy, fried, breaded, battered or buttered.
4) Cut  back on foods and beverages containing ADDED sugars.
5) DO NOT SKIP MEALS --- this leads to cravings, low energy and overeating.
6) EAT SLOWLY --- Allow your brain to register that you have had enough to eat (this takes at least 20 minutes).

When in doubt, consider seeking dietary advice from a registered dietitian (RD).  An RD can help you understand the relationship between food and health.  An RD can also help you change your diet, so you can become healthier and stay healthy.  You can find an RD in your area by visiting The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website at (or by contacting yours truly😊).

Thanks for reading,
Instagram: @ninathefooddoc


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