Skip to main content

Eating Healthy

At Home

While eating healthy has a reputation for being time-consuming and expensive, there are many ways to eat healthy while saving time and staying on a budget.

10 Tips for a Great Plate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture

By making changes in these three areas, you can act and start eating healthier anytime.

  • Balance Calories
  • Foods to Increase
    • Eat more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
    • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
    • Make at least half of your grains whole grains
    • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk and dairy products
  • Foods to Decrease
    • Cut back on foods high in solid fats, added sugars, and salt
    • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals – choose foods with lower numbers. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day. Select foods labeled as “low sodium,” ”reduced sodium,” or “no salt added.”
    • Drink water instead of sugary drinks

Plan Ahead & Budgeting

The following tips will help you plan and stick with your budget.

  • Make a shopping list and stick to it. Using a list will help you avoid impulse purchases, allowing you to stay within your budget and make healthy decisions.
  • Shop around the outer aisles. Outer aisles tend to contain fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and meat, while inner aisles contain more processed foods, snacks, sugary cereals, and the like.
  • Shop in season. Higher prices on fruits and vegetables often indicate that an item is out of season rather than meaning anything about its quality.
  • Consider store brands. In many cases, store brands provide the same quality at a lower price than the equivalent name brand items.
  • Check the store circulars for sales on foods that you often eat. When you find a sale, consider stocking up for future use. Many bulk items can be divided into smaller portions for storage and/or freezing.

Cooking & Eating Healthy

The American Heart Association has some great tips to help you cook healthier in your own kitchen.

  • Make use of healthy cookbooks, cooking shows, and blogs to learn new recipes.
  • Add healthier meats and proteins, such as chicken, fish, and beans.
  • Add color to your meal with fruits and vegetables. They can be fresh, frozen, canned, or even dried!
  • Upgrade your fats. Use healthy vegetable oils instead of butter, lard, or tropical oils.

Make Healthy Eating a Family Affair

Children learn from your example. If you emphasize healthy eating choices, your children will learn to eat healthier as well. Here are some tips from the American Heart Association to improve your family’s diet and keep everyone eating involved.

  • Plan menus as a family. Discuss the meal options and ways to make current family favorites healthier. If you usually purchase regular spaghetti, consider a whole grain pasta or pasta with an added protein instead.
  • Bypass individual serving packages of snack products. Not only can it be cheaper but buying a larger bag of snacks that you can divide at home can help you and your family become more aware of serving sizes.
  • Be creative. Find foods that your family likes and learn new ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet.
  • Add variety. Food variety means eating a wide range of foods from within and across each of the food groups. Eating many different foods helps maintain an interesting diet that provides adequate nutrition. Each week, encourage family members to choose a new healthy food to try.