healthy eating

Healthy Eating

Daily food intake recommended to provide varied, balanced and interesting healthy eating for moderately active adults

Milk 2-3 cups
Protein 5-7oz
Fat – use sparingly
Fruit 3-4 servings
Vegetables 4-5 servings
Grains & bread 6-9 servings
Total calories 1200 – 2500 calories

other nutrients
meet or exceed minimum for calcium, Vitamin C, potassium
limit sodium, cholesterol, trans fats

8 glasses per day
60+% of Americans are dehydrated. Stay hydrated.
Thirst is often confused with hunger.

1200 – 2500 calories per day (1800 is average)

Daily calorie requirement varies by age, weight, gender, activity, metabolic type and dietary needs. Daily caloric intake can range from 1200 calories for a moderately active woman restricting calories for weight reduction to 2500 calories for a man maintaining an active healthy lifestyle.

Calories in foods come from three types of nutrients

  • carbohydrates (4 calories/gm)
  • protein (4 calories/gm)
  • fat (9 calories/gm)

Carbohydrates : Daily meal plans with 50-70% of calories from carbohydrates provide plenty dietary fiber and energy for promoting health for moderately active adults.

Protein : depends on the individual, adequate provision for nutrients such as essential amino acids.

Fat : The average American diet includes 35% calories from fat – 15-25% would be better.

Serving size : Most package food “servings” are larger and higher in calories than USDA food guidelines recommend.

American Diabetic Association (ADA) Food Exchanges are listed on some foods and can be helpful as they are standardized by nutritional content – carbohydrates, protein, fat and calories.

Protein & Fat

5-7oz meat, cheese

Poultry & Lean Meats
Beef, lean organic
Calf’s liver
Fish & Seafood

Fat should be added sparingly. Fat is contained in most meat and prepared foods, and usually does not need to be added to meet the daily requirement.
Healthy fats – 1 Tbsp. chopped nuts, nut butter, avocado, egg yolk

2 servings – non-fat liquid milk, yogurt
Milk is primary source of calcium, vitamin D for strong bones, muscle contraction


3-4 servings daily
Serving size varies by fruit, generally 1 cup of juice, 1 cup of berries, 1/2 cup of sweet firm fruit (peaches, plums) or a small whole fruit
Figs, fresh
Cantaloupe, cubes

4-5 servings daily
Ordered by World’s Healthiest Food ranking

Turnip greens, cooked
Mustard greens, boiled
Cauliflower, boiled
Collard greens, boiled
Broccoli, steamed
Swiss chard, boiled
Romaine lettuce
Celery, raw
Cabbage, shredded, boiled
Spinach, boiled
Fennel, raw, sliced
Green beans, boiled
Eggplant, cooked, cubes
Bell peppers, red, raw, slices
Winter squash, baked, cubes
Kale, boiled
Carrots, raw
Summer squash, cooked, slices
Asparagus, boiled
Brussel sprouts, boiled
Green peas, boiled
Tomato, ripe
Onions, raw
Cucumbers, slices, with peel
Beets, Boiled
Sweet potato, baked, with skin
Yam (Dioscorea species), cubed, cooked
Avocado, slices
Shiitake mushrooms, raw
Corn, yellow, cooked
Potato, baked, with skin

Bread & Grain

Whole grains are preferable, as they contain less sugar and more dietary fiber.

Wheat, bulgur
Rye, whole grain, uncooked
Oats, whole grain

Starchy vegetables are also good sources of dietary fiber
Split peas, cooked
Lentils, cooked
Black beans, cooked
Pinto beans, cooked
Lima beans, cooked
Kidney beans, cooked
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas), cooked
Navy beans, cooked
Soybeans, cooked

Vitamins and Other Nutrients

natural : comes in the food, may be reduced or destroyed in cooking
fortified foods : added to increase the dietary value of food, listed as an ingredient
supplements : sold separately, taken in addition to food to compliment other nutrients

Sodium: 2,300 mg (1,500 mg sodium even better for lowering blood pressure)
Potassium: 4,700 mg
Calcium: 1,250 mg
Magnesium: 500 mg

Cholesterol: 150 mg
Fiber: 30 g

20-30 minutes daily minimum, 3-4 hours per week
For building and maintaining bone mass and density
weight-bearing – bones and muscles work against gravity such as walking, tai chi, stair climbing, dancing and soccer (swimming and bicycling are not weight-bearing)
resistance exercises – use muscular strength to improve muscle mass and strengthen bone using free weights, weight machines

Sample menus

Breakfast – grain, fruit, milk
oatmeal with berries, yogurt

Lunch – 2 grain, meat, veg, 2 fruit
chicken (2oz) sandwich on multi-grain, baby carrots, banana

Snack – grain

Dinner – meat, 2 veg, grain, fruit
fish (4 oz), green beans, squash, brown rice, pears

Snack – grain, fruit, milk
grapes, wheat crackers, milk

Totals – meat (6 oz), 6 grain, 3 veg, 4 fruit, 2 milk
approximately 1500-1600 calories

Eating and activity journal
day, time
food and how you feel

Healthy eating for adults

  • interesting – make meals and mealtime special
  • variety – continually try new foods, preparation
  • moderation – stop eating before feeling full
  • balance – all food groups included in daily meal plan

5 eating habits to improve health

  • Drink more water (and eliminate the need to consume lots of sweetened drinks)
  • Bring fruit for snacks
  • Exercise – start small and be realistic
  • Replace some rice/pasta/potatoes with vegetables
  • Eat breakfast

Nutrition resources are provided free for information purposes, NOT as medical advice.


USDA Food Pyramid

Meals Matter

World’s Healthiest Foods


National Osteoporosis Foundation

American Diabetes Association

American Dietetic Association