What is nutrition?
Nutrition refers to providing your body with the food you need for growth and health. While you might feel like you hear about new diet fads frequently, eating a healthy diet is really all about balance. Eating a well-balanced diet is key to living a nutritious and healthy lifestyle.
What does a healthy diet consist of?
- Vegetables and fruits of all colors
- Grains (whole grains like whole wheat bread or brown rice are healthier)
- Dairy (aim for fat-free and low-fat)
How much of these foods should I be eating?
The United States Department of Agriculture depicts the recommended servings of food groups in this food pyramid below:
This tool shows you a quick way to measure serving sizes with your hand: https://idph.iowa.gov/Portals/1/Files/WIC/svg_size_engligh.pdf
What foods should I be avoiding?
As mentioned before, eating healthy is all about balance. If you’re craving chocolate or soda, it is okay to indulge yourself once in a while. However, it is important to exercise self-control.
Here is a list of foods that should be limited:
- Foods with added sugars
- Cookies, cake, ice cream, soda
- Foods with high sodium (salt)
- Canned foods, processed meats, frozen dinners
- Foods with high saturated fats (bad fats)
- Pizza, burgers, fried foods, chips
If you are struggling with switching to healthier options, here are some easy ways to start: https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-10/DGA_Shift-to-Healthier-Choices.pdf
How else can I lead a healthy lifestyle?
Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand. The key to leading a healthy lifestyle is aiming to achieve a healthy body through the combination of diet and physical activity. The recommended amount of physical activity every day is 60 minutes.
You can get those 60 minutes of exercise in many ways:
- Aerobic exercise
- Strength exercise
- Lifting weights
- Using a resistance band
- Balance exercise
- Balancing on one foot while doing tasks
- Walking heel to toe around the house
- Tai Chi
- Flexibility exercise
Additional nutrition resources
- Healthy Eating Tips to Try for National Nutrition Month: https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/features/national-nutrition-month/index.html
- A Tool to Help Control Portion Size: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/eat-right/portion-distortion.htm
- Dietary Guidelines and How to Correctly Read Food Labels: https://www.eatright.org/food#Nutrition
- Ways to Cut Calories in your Meals: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/cutting_calories.html
- Healthy Recipes for a Healthier You: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/recipes.html
Resources in our collection
Sources: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and United States Department of Agriculture