Eating healthy is not about strict limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love to eat. It is about feeling good, having more energy, improving your health and boosting your mood.
Where to start?
Get a Game Plan
Meal planning is an important part of eating healthy. Simply trying to avoid bad foods can limit your food options and you may forget to incorporate the right foods into your meals.
Plan meals that include each of the food groups: Protein, Vegetables, Fruit, Grains, and Dairy. If you have a dairy or gluten allergy, substitutions can be made. Planning this way will help you absorb all the vitamins and nutrients you need from your meals while feeling full and energized. Find out more about how to balance your meals by clicking on the link below.
Types of Substitutions
Milk Allergy- Many Nut/Soy milks have been fortified with calcium, but you can add calcium carbonate powder to any milk substitute you’d like.
Wheat Allergy- Rice, millet, buckwheat, polenta, corn, quinoa, lentil, and Sorghum are just some of the common substitutes used to make bread, flours, pastas, and cereals.
Prep for Success
Eating healthy is hard when you’re on the go or have limited time make your own food. While some fast food and sit down restaurants offer a “healthy option” on their menu, these can be loaded with un-necessary calories and are often times the most expensive item on the menu.
Prepping your meals, even if done only one day at a time, can help you avoid making unhealthy choices when you’re hungry and in a hurry. Get creative with your meals and switch it up as needed to keep from falling into a food rut. Get meal prep ideas from the links below.
Waste Not, Want Not
When starting your healthy eating journey, you may be tempted to buy every fruit and vegetable in sight, but throwing out half used or rotten produce can become costly. Plan your weekly meals around produce available at your local grocery store or farmer’s market and use meal planning to incorporate them into every meal. Certain vegetables, like red bell peppers, are used in many cuisines and can be used in many ways.
Get Everyone on Board
Staying on track with healthy eating can be hard if your household is not eating the same foods; you need support in order to keep and achieve your goals. Let your friends and family know you are making a choice to eat healthy and ask them if they will join you. You may not get everyone on board right away, but don’t be discouraged. Change does not happen overnight, it takes time and dedication.
Lead by example. Encourage your family to make healthy choices and educate them on why healthy eating is important.
Here are small changes you can make at home:
- Slowly introduce new foods to your family or work them into meals they normally eat, like trading traditional spaghetti noodles for veggie pasta.
- Try baking foods you usually fry with oil, or switch to an air fryer instead.
- Use natural or artificial water enhancers to encourage kids and adults to drink more water.
Healthy eating does not only improve your physical and mental health, but can also help lower your risk of certain diseases and strengthen your immune system. Add in physical activity/exercise for even better results. Remember that just by making the decision to eat better, you are already half way there.
USDA SNAP-Ed Connection is a great hub for all the information covered on this page. Check out their website for more shopping/budgeting tools, cooking recipes, food safety guides, gardening and physical activity education.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. For more information visit
|Healthy Eating Survey|