Eating right is an important part of staying healthy. Maintaining a healthy weight may be the single most important thing you can do to live a long and healthy life. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has developed guidelines for a balanced diet that can help you make good decisions.
“USDA is committed to helping Americans make healthier food choices and our MyPlate symbol is a simple reminder to think before we eat,” said Tom Vilsack, the secretary of agriculture. “Our public and private sector national partners represent an important cross-section of industry, advocates and academia pulling toward a common goal of improving the health our country through diet and in many cases reversing childhood obesity.”
Recommendations include eating mostly fruits and vegetables, drinking low-fat or fat-free milk or eliminating dairy entirely, reducing your sodium intake, and replacing sugary drinks with water. Experts say it’s important to read food information labels carefully, and not be swayed by health claims made in big letters with exclamation points.
It is also recommended that you use smaller plates to help manage portion sizes. Studies have shown that when you eat the same amount of food from a smaller plate, you feel more satisfied. Slowing down—taking the time to truly enjoy your meal—will also help you avoid overeating. It takes your body about 20 minute to recognize you’re full; if you eat more slowly, you’ll eat less during those 20 minutes.