1. Use liquid vegetable oils for cooking and baking. Olive, canola, and other plant-based oils are rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Try dressing up a salad or roasted vegetables with an olive oil-based vinaigrette.
2. Avoid trans fat. Read labels to find foods without trans fats. You should also scan the ingredient list to make sure it does not contain partially hydrogenated oils.
In restaurants that don’t have nutrition information readily available, avoid fried foods, biscuits, and other baked goods.
Or, you may have the good fortune to be eating in a city like New York, Boston, or San Francisco, where trans fats have been banned (do keep in mind, just being trans free does not mean these are all healthy foods).
3. Eat at least one good source of omega-3 fats each day. Fatty fish (such as salmon and tuna), walnuts, and canola oil all provide omega-3 fatty acids, essential fats that our bodies cannot make.
4. Cut back on red meat and dairy foods. Try replacing red meat with beans, nuts, poultry, and fish whenever possible, and try reducing portion sizes of dairy products.
1. Upgrade the protein on your plate. The Healthy Eating Plate encourages you to eat protein-rich foods like beans, nuts, tofu, fish, chicken, or eggs in place of less-healthy options like red and processed meats.
For example, try a turkey or black bean burger instead of a traditional beef burger. Or slice up a fresh-roasted chicken breast or salmon for your sandwich instead of using processed high-sodium lunch meat.
Eating a healthy diet isn’t simply a matter of knowing what to eat – though that’s a major factor. It’s also about knowing how to acquire and prepare such foods, and last but certainly not least, it’s about being able to afford these healthier foods. One of the biggest barriers to healthy eating is the belief that it’s expensive, a topic explored in a paper (1) coauthored by HSPH’s Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian.
The holiday season brings parties, presents and an endless array of festive foods. Some people adopt a holiday eating or exercise strategy to offset all the snacking and sipping, while others willingly overindulge, planning to start the new year with a clean slate and new diet plan — the popular but usually ineffective “I’ll start tomorrow” strategy.
Shared meals are a highlight of the holidays. And while it’s easy to overindulge when there are so many delicious dishes on the table, desserts can be especially easy to overeat.
- A 2013 study examining how sugar and fat affect regions of the brain related to overeating showed that when it comes to food cravings, sugar has a stronger impact than fat. (1)
With a few simple tips, you can enjoy sweet treats without overdoing it. Avoiding sugar altogether might be an unrealistic option, but with the right “sugar strategy,” you can indulge wisely.
1. If you don’t drink, there’s no need to start.
For some people—especially pregnant women, people recovering from alcohol addiction, people with a family history of alcoholism, people with liver disease, and people taking one or more medications that interact with alcohol—drinking can be dangerous and harmful to health. There are other ways to boost your heart health and lower your risk of diabetes, such as getting more active, staying at a healthy weight, or eating healthy fats and whole grains.
For an elite athlete, a weekend warrior, or anyone just starting out on a fitness plan, physical activity does increase the risk of injury. (37) Don’t let that stop you from becoming more active, though. The health benefits of being active far outweigh any risks.
1. Skip “quick fixes.” Fad diets may cause rapid weight loss, but they’re highly likely to fail in the long run. Avoid short-term diets and instead set realistic goals that include choosing healthy foods in smaller portions.
1. Choose good carbs, not no carbs. Whole grains are your best bet.
2. Pay attention to the protein package. Fish, poultry, nuts, and beans are the best choices.
3. Choose foods with healthy fats, limit foods high in saturated fat, and avoid foods with trans fat. Plant oils, nuts, and fish are the healthiest sources.
Whether you’re looking for motivation to start exercising, or are interested in changing up your current routine, here are 10 tips for making exercise a daily habit.
- Piece your workout together. You don’t need to get all your exercise at one time. Ten minutes morning, noon, and night can give much of the same benefit as 30 minutes all at once.
- Exercise with a friend. Finding a workout partner can help keep you on track and motivate you to get out the door. Continue reading