Eat Healthy and Stay Fit For Life

Eat Healthy And Stay Fit For Life

Photo of a family shopping for vegetables at an open air market.A balanced diet and regular physical activity are the building blocks of good health. Poor eating habits and too little physical activity can lead to overweight and related health problems. By eating right and being active, you can stay at or reach a healthy weight. Do it for yourself and your family!


What is a healthy diet?

 

Photo of a woman eating a salad.

Photo of family enjoying a picnic on the grass.The basis of a healthy diet is eating a wide variety of foods. Every day, you should try to eat:*

  • 6 to 11 servings of bread, cereal, rice, or pasta. One serving equals one slice of bread, about 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or 1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice, or pasta.

  • 3 to 5 servings of vegetables. One serving equals 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables, or 1/2 cup of other vegetables, cooked or raw.

  • 2 to 4 servings of fruit. One serving equals one medium apple, banana, or orange; 1/2 cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit; or 3/4 cup of fruit juice.

  • 2 to 3 servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese. One serving equals 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese (such as Cheddar), or 2 ounces of processed cheese (such as American). Choose low-fat or fat-free products most often.

  • 2 to 3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, or nuts. One serving equals 2 to 3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry without skin, or fish. You should eat no more than 5 to 7 ounces per day. One half cup of cooked dry beans, one egg, or 1/2 cup of tofu counts as 1 ounce of meat. Two tablespoons of peanut butter or 1/3 cup of nuts counts as 1 ounce of lean meat.

The larger number of servings is for active men. Eat a smaller number of servings if you are a woman, inactive, or trying to lose weight.

* Servings and serving sizes are from the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Department of Health and Human Services Food Guide Pyramid


You can not always measure your food. Here are some ways to help you estimate serving sizes.

Illustration of a scoop of ice cream.1/2 cup of rice or pasta = size of ice cream scoop

Illustration of a baseball.1 cup of salad greens = size of a baseball

Illustration of a lightbulb.1/2 cup of chopped fruit or vegetables = size of a lightbulb

Illustration of four dice.1 1/2 ounces of cheese = size of four dice

Illustration of a deck of cards.3 ounces of meat or fish = size of a deck of cards or cassette tape

Illustration of a ping pong ball.2 tablespoons peanut butter = size of a ping pong ball

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Tips for healthy eating

 

Photo of a woman shopping for vegetables in a grocery store.

  • Eat breakfast every day. People who eat breakfast are less likely to overeat later in the day. Breakfast also gives you energy and helps you think and learn.
  • Choose whole grains more often. Try whole wheat breads and pastas, oatmeal, brown rice, or bulgur.
  • Select a mix of colorful vegetables each day. Different colored vegetables provide different nutrients. Choose dark, leafy greens such as kale, collards, and mustard greens, and r