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Posted on 02-09-2014

1. Eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods. You need more than 40 different nutrients. Include
bread & other whole-grain products, fruits, vegetables, dairy products & meat, poultry, fish &
other protein foods.

2. Eat whole grains, fruits & vegetables. 6-11 servings from the bread, rice, cereal & pasta
group, 3 should be whole grains. 2-4 servings of fruit & 3-5 servings of vegetables.

3. Maintain a healthy weight. Your best weight depends on: your sex, height, age & heredity.
Excess body fat increases your chances for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes,
some types of cancer & other illnesses. Being too thin can increase your risk for osteoporosis,
menstrual irregularities & other health problems. Regular exercise is important to maintain a
healthy weight.

4. Eat moderate portions. If you keep portion sizes reasonable, it's easier to eat the foods you
want & stay healthy. The recommended serving of cooked meat is 3 ounces, similar in size to a
deck of playing cards. A medium piece of fruit is 1 serving & a cup of pasta is 2 servings. A
pint of ice cream contains 4 servings.

5. Eat regular meals. Skipping meals can lead to out-of-control hunger, resulting in overeating.
When you're hungry, it's also tempting to forget about good nutrition. Snacking between meals
can help curb hunger.

6. Reduce, don't eliminate certain foods. Most people eat for pleasure as well as nutrition. If
your favorite foods are high in fat, salt or sugar, the key is moderating how much of these foods
you eat & how often you eat them. Choosing skim or low-fat dairy products & lean cuts of meat
can reduce fat intake. If you love fried chicken you don't have to give it up. Just eat it less often.
When dining out, share it with a friend, ask for a take-home bag or a smaller portion.

7. Balance your food choices over time. Not every food has to be "perfect." When eating a
food high in fat, salt or sugar, select other foods that are low in these ingredients. If you miss
out on any food group one day, make up for it the next. Your food choices over several days
should fit together into a healthy pattern.

8. Know your diet pitfalls. To improve your eating habits, you first have to know what's wrong
with them. Write down everything you eat for three days. Then check your list according to the
rest of these tips. Do you add a lot of butter, creamy sauces or salad dressings? Rather than
eliminating these foods, just cut back your portions.

9. Make changes gradually. Just as there are no "superfoods" or easy answers to a healthy diet,
don't expect to totally revamp your eating habits overnight. Changing too much, too fast can get
in the way of success. For instance, if you don't like the taste of skim milk, try low-fat.
Eventually you may find you like skim, too.

10. Remember, foods are not good or bad. Select foods based on your total eating patterns.
Don't feel guilty if you love foods such as apple pie, potato chips, candy bars or ice cream. Eat
them in moderation & choose other foods to provide the balance & variety that are vital to good
International Food Information Council Foundation

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