4 Steps for Eating Healthier

Changing the way you eat can improve your health. It can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, and help you stay at a healthy weight. Your diet doesn’t have to be bland and boring to be healthy. Just watch your calories and follow these steps:

Plate of grilled fish and small serving of potatoes.

Step 1. Eat fewer unhealthy fats

  • Choose more fish and lean meats instead of fatty cuts of meat.

  • Skip butter and lard, and use less margarine.

  • Pass on foods that have palm, coconut, or hydrogenated oils.

  • Eat fewer high-fat dairy foods like cheese, ice cream, and whole milk.

  • Get a heart-healthy cookbook and try some low-fat recipes.

Step 2. Go light on salt

  • Keep the saltshaker off the table.

  • Limit high-salt ingredients, such as soy sauce, bouillon, and garlic salt.

  • Instead of adding salt when cooking, season your food with herbs and flavorings. Try lemon, garlic, and onion, or salt-free herb seasonings.

  • Limit convenience foods, such as boxed or canned foods and restaurant food.

  • Read food labels and choose lower-sodium options.

Step 3. Limit sugar

  • Pause before you add sugars to pancakes, cereal, coffee, or tea. This includes white and brown table sugar, syrup, honey, and molasses. Cut your usual amount by half.

  • Use non-sugar sweeteners. Stevia, aspartame, and sucralose can satisfy a sweet tooth without adding calories.

  • Swap out sugar-filled soda and other drinks. Buy sugar-free or low-calorie beverages. Remember water is always the best choice.

  • Read labels and choose foods with less added sugar. Keep in mind that dairy foods and foods with fruit will have some natural sugar.

  • Cut the sugar in recipes by 1/3 to 1/2. Boost the flavor with extracts like almond, vanilla, or orange. Or add spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg.

Step 4. Eat more fiber

  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables every day.

  • Boost your diet with whole grains. Go for oats, whole-grain rice, and bran.

  • Add beans and lentils to your meals.

  • Drink more water to match your fiber increase to help prevent constipation.

Online Medical Reviewer: Horowitz, Diane, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Wilkins, Joanna, RD, CD
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2017
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