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Healthy Eating for Weight Loss

(continued)

What Makes Up a Healthy Diet?

A healthy diet should consist of:

  • 45% to 55% carbohydrates.
  • 10% to 35% protein.
  • 20% to 35% fat, with no more than 10% saturated fat and no trans fat.

MyPlate published by the USDA makes it easy to envision just how much of each food type you should eat.

Each section of the plate represents a food group such as grains, protein, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. The size of the group corresponds to the number of recommended servings. 

The plate calls for eating a variety of foods to get all of the nutrients you need, and, at the same time, the right amount of calories to maintain a healthy weight. If you're watching your weight, eat the minimum number of recommended servings. If you need to gain weight, eat the maximum number of servings. And, keep in mind as to what constitutes a serving. Most serving sizes are smaller than you think. Be sure to read the food labels carefully to determine the accurate portion size.

Also, try to choose nonfat and lean foods as often as possible. For example, choose nonfat or 1% milk instead of 2% or whole milk; lean meat instead of fatty meat; and breads and cereals that are made with whole grains and are not processed with a lot of fat.

But you don't have to completely avoid all foods that have fat, cholesterol, or sodium. It's your average over a few days, not in a single food or even a single meal that's important. If you eat a high-fat food or meal, balance your intake by choosing low-fat foods the rest of the day or the next day. Read the food labels on everything you eat to help you "budget" fat, cholesterol, and sodium over several days.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on August 03, 2012
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