Healthy Foods to Eat on a Daily Basis
Eating a nutritious daily diet is important to maintain good health. Consuming a variety of foods helps to get the daily vitamins, minerals, protein and energy necessary for feeling your best. The U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines note that consuming a variety of nutrient-dense food and beverages is important, as is limiting the amount of added sugars, salt, alcohol and saturated and trans fats in your diet.
Fruit provides a wide range of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, water and antioxidants. It is low in fat and contains natural sugars and fiber. Choose fresh fruits, frozen with no added sugar or unsweetened canned fruits as the best options. Some choices that are chock-full of nutrients are raspberries, blueberries, cherries and bananas. Aim for four servings or 2 cups of fruit per day.
Many Americans fall short on the amount of vegetables that they consume daily. The USDA recommends consuming 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day. A variety is important and should include dark leafy greens and orange vegetables, which are full of vitamins and minerals. Some excellent choices include kale, broccoli, spinach, bell peppers, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Watch out for added fat and sodium in prepared vegetable dishes.
Healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocados, fish and plant-based oils are necessary for overall wellness. Fat helps with the absorption of vitamins and minerals and supports brain function. Fat intake should comprise 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories, and unsaturated fats should be selected most often. Excellent ways to include healthy fats are to add 1 tablespoon of guacamole to a sandwich, snack on roasted almonds or grill salmon with olive oil for dinner.
The USDA recommends consuming six servings of grains per day, at least half of which should be whole grains. One serving includes one slice of bread, 1/2 cup rice or pasta, five crackers or one whole English muffin. Whole grains are digested slower than refined carbohydrates, which helps to keep you full longer. They provide dietary fiber, B vitamins, potassium and iron. Smart choices include whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, whole-wheat tortillas and oats.
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