Don't Eat the Same Foods all the Time
Focus on fruit
Fruit provides essential vitamins, fiber and antioxidants which help head off heart disease and prevent strokes. Eat a variety of fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits, avoiding juices, which often have added sugar.
Vary your veggies
Vegetables help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and may prevent cancer, lower blood pressure or drop high cholesterol levels. The more veggies you eat, the better! So include plenty of colorful options such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and beans; and eat plenty of dark-green leafy foods like spinach, kale or leaf lettuces. But pass on the deep-fried varieties such as French fries and onion rings.
Get your calcium-rich foods
For stronger bones, rely on protein-rich, calcium-fortified foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese. Reach for the low-fat or fat-free varieties and take it easy on whole milk and full-fat yogurt and cheeses. If you don't or can't consume milk, you can still meet your daily requirements by choosing lactose-free milk products or other calcium-fortified foods.
Make half your grains whole
Look to whole grains as your primary source of carbohydrates. Cut back on refined grains like white bread, white rice or ready-to-eat cereals high in sugars or fats. Then focus on whole-grain breads, brown rice, oatmeal and whole-wheat pastas.
Go lean with protein
Bake, broil or grill lean meats and poultry, and add in more fish, beans, peas, nuts and seeds. The variety of protein sources will provide essential amino acids, minerals and vitamins necessary for building muscle and tissue.
Know your fats
Choose foods low in saturated fats. Good bets are ones that use olive, canola, peanut or walnut oils (monounsaturated) or corn, soybean or safflower oils (polyunsaturated). Aim for zero trans fats—a big culprit in commercial foods and restaurant foods.