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What Should I Eat?

Using Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate as a guide, we recommend eating mostly vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, healthy fats, and healthy proteins. We suggest drinking water instead of sugary beverages, and we also address common dietary concerns such as salt and sodium, vitamins, and alcohol. It’s also important to stay active and maintain a healthy weight.

The main message: Focus on diet quality

  • The type of carbohydrate in the diet is more important than the amount of carbohydrate in the diet, because some sources of carbohydrate—like vegetables (other than potatoes), fruits, whole grains, and beans—are healthier than others.
  • The Healthy Eating Plate also advises consumers to avoid sugary beverages, a major source of calories—usually with little nutritional value—in the American diet.
  • The Healthy Eating Plate encourages consumers to use healthy oils, and it does not set a maximum on the percentage of calories people should get each day from healthy sources of fat. In this way, the Healthy Eating Plate recommends the opposite of the low-fat message promoted for decades by the USDA.

The Healthy Eating Plate summarizes the best evidence-based dietary information available today. As nutrition researchers are continually discovering valuable information, The Healthy Eating Plate will be updated to reflect new findings.

Want to learn more? Use the Healthy Eating Plate & Healthy Eating Pyramid, both created by the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, as your guides for choosing a healthy diet and creating healthy meals. To get started, here are 10 tips for healthy eating!

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The aim of the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source is to provide timely information on diet and nutrition for clinicians, allied health professionals, and the public. The contents of this Web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Web site. The information does not mention brand names, nor does it endorse any particular products.