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How to Eat Nutritionally Well

To eat a nutritious and well-balanced diet, you have to make better food choices during the day. Eat a diet rich in fresh produce, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean proteins and avoid excessive consumption of sugar, fat and salt. Don't eat more calories than you need to sustain your activity level. Eating well may feel like a challenge at first, but it will become easier to do and you'll soon reap the benefits. A nutritious diet will improve your health and help you feel better, too.

Step 1

Consume the right number of calories. It's a basic rule of nutrition that if you eat too much, you'll gain weight and if you cut calories, you'll lose weight. Most moderately active adults will need between 2,000 and 2,500 calories per day.

Step 2

Eat more fruits and vegetables. When you picture produce, you may sigh at the thought of boring celery sticks and apple slices. You may, however, be surprised to find that the produce section at the grocery store is remarkably diverse. Browse through the aisles and pick out something interesting -- perhaps an ugly fruit or some kumquats? Add fresh produce to your favorite dishes whenever possible. For instance, you might toss diced tomatoes into an omelet or stir spring peas into tuna noodle casserole. Add sliced bananas or strawberries to a bowl of whole grain cereal.

Step 3

Choose your carbohydrates wisely. Despite the bad reputation carbs have garnered, they are actually extremely important for your health. Not all carbohydrates are created equally, however. Processed foods tend to have refined grains, which are not as nutritious as whole grains. Brown rice, oatmeal and bran are types of whole grain, which are loaded with fiber and are rich with carbs. They will give you energy and keep you feeling full and satisfied.

Step 4

Choose lean proteins. You may love a juicy hamburger, but unfortunately, ground beef is loaded with artery-clogging saturated fat, which elevates unhealthy blood cholesterol. Opt for a turkey or vegetable burger instead. When you do buy beef, purchase the leanest cuts available.

Step 5

Eat fish at least twice a week. Oily fishes such as salmon and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for heart health. All types of fish are a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Bake or broil seasoned fillets and avoid battered and fried fish.

Step 6

Incorporate calcium-rich, low-fat dairy into your meals. Calcium is essential for building and maintaining strong bones. If you don't like milk, eat other dairy products. Make a yogurt parfait for breakfast or add a slice of cheese to a sandwich. Be wary of dairy products with added sugar. Use plain yogurt instead of flavored and sweeten your smoothie with fresh fruit.

Step 7

Have treats on special occasions. Eating well doesn't mean you have to give up all indulgences -- it just means having them occasionally instead of everyday. When possible, improve the nutritional factor of your favorite foods by modifying your choices. For instance, eat dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate to get a dose of antioxidants.


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Health & Fitness: How to Eat Nutritionally Well
How to Eat Nutritionally Well
Health & Fitness
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