The Nutrition Source What Should I Eat?

The answer to the question “What should I eat?” is actually pretty simple. But you wouldn’t know that from news reports on diet and nutrition studies, whose sole purpose seems to be to confuse people on a daily basis. When it comes down to it, though—when all the evidence is looked at together—the best nutrition advice on what to eat is relatively straightforward: Eat a plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; choose healthy fats, like olive and canola oil; and eat red meat and unhealthy fats, like saturated and trans fats, sparingly. Drink water and other healthy beverages, and limit sugary drinks and salt. Most important of all is keeping calories in check, so you can avoid weight gain, which makes exercise a key partner to a healthy diet.

Want to learn more? Use the Healthy Eating Pyramid, created by the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, as your guide to choosing a healthy diet, and the new Healthy Eating Plate as a handy blueprint for a healthy meal. 

Healthy Eating: Ten Nutrition Tips for Eating Right

Carbohydrates Choose good carbs, not no carbs. Whole grains are your best bet.
 Protein Pay attention to the protein package. Fish, poultry, nuts, and beans are the best choices.
 Fats Choose healthy fats, limit saturated fat, and avoid trans fat. Plant oils, nuts, and fish are the healthiest sources.
 Fiber Choose a fiber-filled diet, rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
 Vegetables and Fruits Eat more vegetables and fruits. Go for color and variety—dark green, yellow, orange, and red.
 Milk Calcium is important. But milk isn’t the only, or even best, source.
 Healthier Drinks (healthier-drinks-new.jpg) Water is best to quench your thirst. Skip the sugary drinks, and go easy on the milk and juice.
 Lower Salt & Sodium (salt-new-icon.jpg) Eating less salt is good for everyone’s health. Choose more fresh foods and fewer processed foods.
 Alcohol Moderate drinking can be healthy—but not for everyone. You must weigh the benefits and risks.
 Vitamins A daily multivitamin is a great nutrition insurance policy. Some extra vitamin D may add an extra health boost.

Terms of Use

The aim of the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source is to provide timely information on diet and nutrition for clinicians, allied health professionals, and the public. The contents of this Web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Web site. The information does not mention brand names, nor does it endorse any particular products.

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