Foods containing essential nutrients can help us prevent disease and even restore our health. Finding a balance between foods that promote health and those that may be less nutritious is important for long term well-being. Strive to choose foods that are better for your health more often.
The foods we eat…
- Help maintain good health and weight;
- Promote optimal development in infants, children, and teenagers;
- Help prevent chronic diseases and help treat others;
- Create positive physical and mental health.
There are 5 food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet. Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate, in your cup, or in your bowl.
- Eat an array of fruit in a variety of colors. Select fruits that are in season to save money.
- Choose fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruit.
- Light or heavy syrup adds sugar to canned fruits. Fruits canned in juice or water are a better choice.
- Go easy on fruit juices. Choose whole or cut-up fruits more often as snacks or with meals, instead of juice. Consider water or milk as a beverage choice.
- Regularly use fruit in salads, toppings, desserts and snacks.
- Eat more dark-green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kales and other dark leafy greens.
- Eat more orange vegetables like carrots, pumpkin, winter squash and sweet potatoes.
- Eat more dry beans and peas like pinto beans, kidney beans and lentils.
- Keep the amounts of starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn to the quantity recommended each week. For example, those needing 2,000 calories per day need only 3 cups of starchy vegetables per week.
Healthy Eating at Different Ages
Making a lifestyle change isn’t always easy, but eating healthy and teaching our children how to eat healthy can create a lasting effect and improve the overall health of our community.
- Infants: Breastfeeding provides all a baby’s nutritional needs for about the first 6 months. Introduction of healthy, solid foods are encouraged between 6- 12 months.
- Toddlers: Foods that a toddler will eat can vary daily. Encourage them to try bites, and let them keep trying new healthy foods to figure out exactly what it is a toddler likes.
- Children: Children require optimal nutrition in order for their bodies and brains to develop. Promoting healthy eating during these growing years can help develop lifelong healthy habits.
- Teenagers: Building healthy eating habits during teenage years can be instrumental when entering adulthood.
- Adults: Maintaining healthy eating habits as bodies change over time, can provide many benefits to feel and look better for both men and women.
- Older adults: Eating habits can change as a body ages; healthy eating can help maintain a sense of well-being, play a role in the way they feel, and impact overall health.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Special nutritional needs are needed when pregnant or breastfeeding for mom and baby to stay healthy. Click here to learn more information on what healthy foods to eat and what to avoid during pregnancy.
Healthy Eating in the Workplace
Creating a healthy food environment at work can reduce the burden of worker healthcare costs by helping workers overcome unhealthy habits and obesity. Here are a few important strategies to ensuring a happier, healthier and more productive workforce:
- Healthy vending machines
- Healthy food and beverage choices:
- Lactation stations
- Access to water
- Alternative to food awards
- Healthy workplace cafeterias
- Creating nutrition standards and policies
Healthy Eating Tips & Resources
By using these tips and materials, they can help you make choices that are not only healthy, but also economical. Click on the links for more information:
- Start with small changes: Building healthy eating habits overtime with small changes can improve your health now and in the future.
- Recipes, cookbooks, and menus: Hundreds of easy, cost-friendly, and healthy recipes that tastes great.
- Understand Nutrition Facts Label: By becoming familiar and using this label effectively, you can begin to make easy, quick, and more informed food choices for a daily healthy diet.
- Healthy food choices in multiple languages available
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables! Eat a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables.
- By eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables — green, yellow-orange, red, blue-purple, and white, you are giving your body a wide range of nutrients that are important for good health.
- Each color offers something unique, like different vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting phytochemicals, that work together to protect your health.
- Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and fat and contain valuable fiber and a variety of nutrients that reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Questions? Contact the Healthy Communities Department at 509-766-7690