Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins and dairy foods are all healthy, but they still must be eaten in moderation. They are also best when prepared fresh, rather than bought in processed forms. But as with any diet or lifestyle change, it is a good idea to consult your doctor, because some things that are considered healthy may be bad for a particular individual. For example, some people have trouble digesting fiber, or have an allergy to dairy, or may take medication that interacts with citrus.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are an important source of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fiber. Many berries are high in antioxidants which can help fight cancer. Bananas are a good source of potassium. Greens have iron, magnesium and vitamins. The darker the greens the more nutrients they contain. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. Eating sweet vegetables such as corn, carrots and beets at meals can help curb the desire for unhealthy sweet desserts and snacks.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends making at least half of the grains you consume whole grains. Whole grains include whole wheat bread and pasta, brown rice and oatmeal. Many breads and cereals list whole grains as part of their ingredients. Whole grains have not been processed, so they retain more of their nutrients, such as fiber. Processed grains may be enriched, having vitamins added after processing, but they don't contain the fiber of whole grains.
Protein is important for helping build muscle. Good sources of protein include poultry, meats, eggs, nuts, beans, peas and fish. It's good to vary protein sources, as the different forms contain different nutrients. Some sources such as eggs can be high in cholesterol. Processed meats can have added salts. Choose lean meat cuts to cut down on fat. Eat fish such as salmon which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Eating nuts such as almonds as a snack can also help you feel full.
Low-fat or fat free dairy products are an important source of calcium. Cottage cheese, milk and yogurt are good low-calorie sources of calcium. Milk also has added vitamin D, and vitamin A is found in other dairy products. Yogurts can help provide good bacteria for the digestive tract. Low-fat ice cream and pudding are calcium-rich dessert choices.