With so many diets and quick weight-loss promises in today's world, sometimes it’s hard to know the meaning of being "healthy". Here are some of the basics for great nutrition!

Knowing what a healthy meal should look like can be difficult. The USDA is responsible for publishing nutritional guidelines for healthy eating. Although the basics haven't changed dramatically, recently there have been a few adjustments. The major adjustments focus on filling your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal whenever possible. Women need seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day, while men need nine. Fruits and vegetables include so many essential nutrients and fiber.

People often think of carbohydrates in a negative way however they truly are an important part of a healthy diet.  Healthy carbohydrates are those packed with fiber, and include food such as beans, whole grains, and fruits.

Below are some recommendations made by the USDA about healthy eating and great nutrition.

  • Focus on fruits and vegetables. Fill half of your plate with vegetables and fruit at every meal.
  • Choose lean proteins. This includes fish, nuts, beans and legumes.
  • Go for low-fat dairy. Try to consume 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk each day. Or instead you can try cheese, yogurt or other calcium-rich foods.
  • Consume 6 to 8 servings of whole grains each day, about a quarter of your plate at each meal.
  • Avoid saturated fats and trans fats, sodium, salts and sugars. Try to limit your fat intake to 25 percent of your total calorie intake.

Here are several excellent tips for a healthy eating plan; keep these tips in mind and you’ll be on the right track to eating healthy for life!

  • Portion control: Quantities can vary depending on whether you are trying to maintain your weight or lose weight. Often in restaurants, serving sizes are much larger than necessary.
  • Drink plenty of water. Water is a great way to maintain your weight, help you feel full, and keep you hydrated.
  • Vary your choices. Keeping your diet interesting and different each day is a great way to get a variety of vitamins and nutrients.
  • Know what the recommended daily calorie intake is for you specifically. This means tailor your diet to your age, weight, height, gender and activity level.
  • Being healthy doesn't mean you need to deprive yourself of the foods you love! Eat what you enjoy, just do so in moderation.

Starting to eat healthy can be challenging, but you can quickly turn it into a habit and soon after will become a lifestyle. Choosing healthy meals and making daily choices regarding your health will start to come naturally.

Article written by Wellness Beyond Fifty