Healthy eating starts with healthy food choices. People with healthy eating patterns live longer and are at lower risk for serious health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. For people with chronic diseases, healthy eating can help manage these conditions and prevent complications.

Selecting nutrient-rich foods and beverages first is a way to make better choices within your daily eating plan. In choosing nutrient-rich foods, you’ll notice they are familiar, easy to find and represent the five basic food groups. Achieving balance and building a healthier eating pattern can be simple and low stress.

A healthy eating plan should include:

  • An emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
  • A variety of protein foods such as seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), soy products, nuts, and seeds.
  • Low amounts of added sugars, sodium, saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol.

When reaching for foods to include in your healthy eating plan, look for:

  • Brightly colored fruits and 100% fruit juice
  • Vibrantly colored vegetables including potatoes
  • Whole-grain, fortified and fiber-rich grain foods
  • Low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt or fortified plant-based alternatives
  • Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, soy foods such as tofu and tempeh, beans, lentils and nuts

Learn more about making healthy eating choices here.