Healthy Eating Habits for a Healthy Life
Everyone wants to feel better—have more energy, be in a better mood, get a better night's sleep. What you put into your body during the day has a direct impact on how you feel. The best way to improve your eating is to make better choices.
Read the Label
Before you put it in the shopping cart, know what's in it by getting to know the nutrition label.
- Compare servings and calories. Many containers include more than 1 serving. Multiply the calories, fat and sugar by the number of servings you eat.
- Aim for a low percentage of fat, cholesterol, and sodium. If you salt your food, you add sodium to the amount listed on the nutrition label.
- Look for a high percentage of nutrients like fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.
- Read the ingredients list. Items are listed with the highest quantity first. If sugar is first or second on an ingredient list then it is the main ingredient.
Portion Your Plate
Choosemyplate.gov provides menus, recipes and food plans, as well as exercise and diet trackers. An excellent resource for improving healthy habits.
One of the best ways to eat better is to sit at the table with your family or friends and put food on your plate in appropriate measures.
- Half your plate should be fruits and vegetables.
- ¼ should be whole grains such as rice or whole wheat bread
- ¼ lean meat or proteins such as skinless chicken breast, beans, or nuts
You can make better choices in restaurants too.
- Drink water instead of sweetened drinks.
- Send the chips and bread back instead of munching before your meal arrives.
- Choose chicken, turkey or fish instead of meats high in salt and fat.
- Opt for grilled, broiled or baked instead of fried. (Fried chicken has more fat than a lean cut of beef.)
- Ask for a smaller portion or box up half your plate for another meal.
- Skip the cheese, meat, croutons and the creamy dressing on salads.
Exercise Equivalents for Popular Foods
Before you put it in your body, plan an activity to make sure it doesn't become your body.
- 3 chicken tenders or 4 oz. of French fries (380 calories)
• Walk, 98 minutes
• Bike, 54 minutes
• Swim, 46 minutes
• Run, 40 minutes
- Cheeseburger or 1/6 of a pepperoni pizza (330 calories)
• Walk, 85 minutes
• Bike, 47 minutes
• Swim, 40 minutes
• Run, 35 minutes
- 1 glazed donut or 1 hot dog and bun (180 calories)
• Walk, 46 minutes
• Bike, 26 minutes
• Swim, 22 minutes
• Run, 19 minutes
- 10 plain potato chips (1 oz) or 4 oz. of French fries (150 calories)
• Walk, 39 minutes
• Bike, 21 minutes
• Swim, 18 minutes
• Run, 16 minutes
(Reference: The Diet Detective's Countdown, Charles Stuart Platkin, 2007.)