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Maintaining your health with good food choices

Regular exercise is only one part of the workout equation. A healthy diet plan is also important. With our busy lifestyles, it's hard to take the time to learn about how we can make healthier choices. This article will provide you with some guidance.

Food Groups

What are the benefits of a healthy diet? We need food to nourish our bodies and provide us with energy. Healthy eating reduces the risk of disease and sickness and is vital for healthy development.

It's important to eat food from the following groups on a regular basis: meat and alternatives, dairy, fruits and vegetables and grains. Meat and alternatives could include tofu, eggs, beans and peanut butter as well as various meats. Dairy products include milk, yogurt and cheese. Grains include cereal, bagels and breads. The fruits and vegetables food group is self-explanatory, but it would also include 100 percent fruit juice.

Here are the servings you should aim for from each food group. Please note that the servings listed are designed for people aged 19 to 50. Portion control is also an important consideration.

Meat and Alternatives

Females, 2 servings; males, 3 servings

Dairy

Males and females, 2 servings

Grains

Females, 6 to 7 servings; males, 8 servings

Fruits and Vegetables

Females, 7 to 8 servings; males, 8 to 10 servings

The United States Department of Agriculture provides the MyPyramid Food Guidance System, which replaces the old Food Guide Pyramid. This system provides dietary advice. Go to http://www.mypyramid.gov for more information.

More Tips

An important step to improving your diet and overall health is to cut back on junk food. Too much sugar and fat will stand in the way of you reaching your goals. In order to eat healthy, get your hands on some healthy recipes online or at your local bookstore or library. Look for books that are specifically aimed at healthy eating.

Making healthy choices doesn't stop when you eat at fast food joints. The key is to seek out the healthiest items on the menu. Many fast food restaurants now include a healthy eating section. Salads are often a good option, but be mindful of hidden calories in things like salad dressings and croutons. You could also ask your server if the restaurant provides a calorie or nutrition guide.

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