Shop smart, eat smart, exercise for better health

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Everyone has food choices to make on what will be used for fuel for his or her body. You can choose which foods to buy at the grocery store. You can choose what to order at a restaurant.

Making the healthiest choices is critical to eating a well-balanced diet. Those healthy choices should include a variety of nutrient-packed foods and beverages from each of the food groups shown at MyPlate.gov.

When grocery shopping or eating out, remember that the key to a healthy diet is building a healthy plate. The tips below can help you to shop and order accordingly.

Try placing fruits and vegetables on half of your plate, switch to skim or 1% milk, make at least half of your grains 100% whole grains or mix up your proteins so you aren’t eating the same thing every meal.

Next, cut back on foods high in solid fats, added sugars and salt. Try water instead of soda. Choose fruit for dessert. Trade in fruit-flavored drinks for 100% fruit juice. Select leaner cuts of meat and poultry. Use oils instead of solid fats in food preparation.

Finally, eat the right amount of calories for you. Don’t know what that number is? chooseMyPlate.gov has your personal daily calorie limit. Using smaller plates helps if you are someone who grew up being told to clean your plate. Learning to recognize when you are satisfied, not full, helps you stop before you are stuffed.

Just eating a healthy diet without physical activity will not maintain your healthy lifestyle. So choose an activity you like and commit to doing it at least 10 minutes a day. Every minute adds up and the more you do, the better your health benefits can be.

To learn more about healthy choices and pick up some resources to help, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.