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Plan Your Plate Series

Part 1: Make the shift to a healthy eating style

What’s the eating style that’s best for health? Is it a Mediterranean eating plan? Vegetarian? Low carb? With all the eating styles out there, it’s hard to know which one to follow.

Feb 2019 Plan Your Plate Series 1 photo WEBThe Healthy Living program at LifePath is offering several workshops during the 2019 winter season, including a free "Healthy Eating for Successful Living" workshop for people who want to learn more about nutrition and healthy heart and bone strategies. The workshop series covers MyPlate dietary guidelines, water and exercise, label reading, grocery shopping, getting the support of a nutritionist or registered dietician, behavior change techniques, and self-assessment techniques. The next six-week Healthy Eating workshop series starts on February 19, 2019, at the Gill Montague Senior Center. To learn more about this and other workshops, contact Healthy Living.Healthy eating is one of the best ways to prevent or delay health problems. Eating well, along with getting enough physical activity, can help you lower your risk of health problems like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and more. To reach your goals, experts advise making small, gradual changes.

“The best diet to follow is one that is science based, that allows you to meet your nutritional requirements, and that you can stick to in the long run,” says Dr. Holly Nicastro, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) nutrition research expert. “It’s not going to do you any good to follow a diet that has you eating things that you don’t like.”

The main source of science-based nutrition advice is the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines describe which nutrients you need and how much. They also point out which ones to limit or avoid.

“Every five years an expert panel reviews all available scientific evidence regarding nutrition and health and uses that to develop the dietary guidelines,” Nicastro explains.

The guidelines are regularly updated because our scientific understanding of what’s healthy is continuously evolving. These changes can be confusing, but the key recommendations have been consistent over time. In general, healthy eating means getting a variety of foods, limiting certain kinds of carbs and fats, watching out for salt, and being aware of your portion sizes.

Learn more about limiting added sugars, recognizing healthy fats, and limiting salt in Part 2.

Article adapted from the NIH December 2018 News in Health.