How to make healthy food choices?

Updated at: Feb 24, 2011
How to make healthy food choices?
Dr Poonam Sachdev
Exercise & FitnessWritten by: Dr Poonam SachdevPublished at: Feb 24, 2011

Eating healthy foods provides you with the nutrients your body needs to stay strong, work well and fight diseases. Healthy food not only improves your health but lowers the risk of various diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer, and other health problems. But eating healthy has become very difficult in the present time as--- fatty or junk foods taste better, healthy foods are expensive, and most of us do not have time to cook.


For eating healthy you may need to change—your eating habits, your environment (like your home or the place you work) and probably your attitude. The changes need not be drastic. Make changes in your eating habits slowly this way you will be more likely to follow. Small changes made slowly can make a big difference in your health in the long run.

How can I start eating healthier?

Healthy eating means eating foods from all food groups (cereals, pulses, poultry and meat, milk and milk products, fruits and vegetables) and limiting fats, salt and sweets. Eating a varied diet will give you a balanced nutrition. However eating a balanced nutrition is not as simple as it sounds. It is especially difficult to ensure that you eat the recommended portions all the different food groups. Many people like foods from only one food group, and as a result, get less of other food groups. Besides this when you are hungry you may not pay attention to eating healthy but may eat what is easily available which is mostly junk and non-healthy. A conscious effort and meal planning is needed to eat a balanced and healthy diet.

To ensure that you eat a balanced and healthy diet;

  • Pay attention to the foods you eat and specially the food groups from which you are not eating enough. If needed maintain a food diary for 1 week. This will give you an idea on the foods you are missing. Try to balance your nutrition over a week if not daily.
  • Pay attention to the portions or serving sizes. If you do not eat enough servings from each food group, you may not get all the nutrients (minerals and vitamins) your body needs to be healthy.

Healthy eating: Key points


Food gives you the energy your body needs to function well and remain healthy. However all that you eat is not nutritious. Some of the foods that you eat can give you just "empty" calories—that is only calories and no other nutrition (like minerals, vitamins, proteins). Make an effort to know the nutritional value of what you eat. Some tips that will ensure that you eat healthy are;

  • Plan your meals. Rather than doing last minute cooking or buying shop, and decide on the meals and snacks you want. This will give you time to get the healthy things that you need for your cooking.
  • Don't shop or cook when you are famished. This way rather than choosing or eating junk like candy, chips, or fast food, to satisfy your hunger you will take effort to get healthy food items.
  • Besides planning for meals decide on the snacks you would like. Make an effort to choose healthy snacks like fruits, soups, low-fat or nonfat yogurt or cheese, nuts, dried fruits.
  • Plan your meals and eat a variety of foods from each major food group. This ensures that you eat a balanced and nutritious diet which contains all the protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber you need. Include plenty of plant based foods, like whole grains, fruits, and in your diet. Limit intake of animal foods like red meat prefer lean meat.
  • Besides eating the right foods, ensure that your portion size are as recommended by the food pyramid. Do not take more calories than required as even proteins and carbohydrates taken in excess are converted to fats and stored in the body.
  • Try and make your food tasty and interesting as this ensures that you will eat healthy. Explore new reci...


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