Food is the fuel for your body so it is important to eat a balanced and healthy diet including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products. The USDA’s Choose MyPlate is a great tool to guide and help you to be mindful of the foods that make up our balanced eating plan. Some quick tips:

Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

  • Focus on dark-green, red and orange vegetables, as well as beans and peas.
  • Buy fresh, dried or frozen before canned. If you buy canned vegetables, choose “reduced sodium” or “no salt added” and rise whole varieties like beans, corn and peas to help reduce sodium levels. And if you buy canned fruit, look for natural fruit juices without added sugar or corn syrup.
  • Try a new fruit or vegetable from the produce section every week.

Focus on whole grains.

  • Choose brown rice, barley and oats and other whole grains when you can.
  • Switch to 100-percent whole-grain breads, cereals and crackers.

Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk.

  • Fat-free and low-fat milk have less fat and fewer calories as whole milk but have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients.
  • If you are lactose intolerant, try lactose-free milk or a calcium-fortified soy beverage.

Cut back on salt, solid fats and added sugars.

  • Drink water before every meal and instead of sugary drinks like sodas, fruit-flavored drinks and sweetened teas and coffees. Choose 100-percent fruit juice.
  • Season foods with lemon juice, spices or herbs instead of salt.
  • Select lean cuts of meat or poultry and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
  • Use heart-healthy oils like olive, canola and sunflower oil in place of butter or shortening when cooking.