Healthy Eating for Life

Healthy eating for life comes down to knowing the rights foods to choose for a well-rounded diet. It helps if these foods are affordable, easy to find in your local grocery, and easy to prepare. Fortunately, the foods listed below earn a check mark in all three categories. Include them in your diet and you can be sure to enjoy a healthy diet for a lifetime.

Often people are delightfully surprised to find their favorite foods included in the list of "super foods." See if your favorites are here.

  • Yogurt is high in good bacteria, the kind that keeps your digestive system in balance. Yogurt is also high in calcium and other minerals. Choose plain and mix in your own berries or fruit.
  • Veggies, especially broccoli and sweet potatoes, are available year round. They are reasonably priced and easy to prepare. Broccoli is high in vitamins A, C and K. It also contains lots of folic acid. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamins, potassium and fiber.
  • Many of the dark green leafy vegetables are high in iron and folate, along with vitamin C. Kale is especially good, but other dark green leafy veggies count also.
  • Berries, especially blueberries, are another powerhouse food. They have anti-inflammatory properties and protect the linings of the gut, bladder and urethra, according to Stephanie Rogers of the Chicago Tribune.
  • Grains. Barley makes the top ten list, but other grains such as brown rice and quinoa are equally important. Grains add bulk, are very inexpensive and easy to prepare.
  • Nuts and oils. Don't overlook this group, because they add staying power to any diet, and good oils are essential for good health. Olive oil is especially recommended, but the oil in avocados is considered "good fat." Walnuts and almonds are great snacks and add a satisfying crunch to green or fruit salads. Pistachios, pecans and peanuts are other good choices.
  • Beans help lower cholesterol and are packed with fiber and protein. Soybeans, known as edamame, are often found at salad bars. Beans are a great meat substitute and a very inexpensive food.
  • Salmon and low-fat meats are also important parts of a healthy diet. The way these are prepared is equally important, so avoid heavy breading and frying and watch the portion size.
  • Eggs are often recommended as part of a healthy diet, which surprises many people. Eggs can be prepared in a number of ways, are very economical and may help you eat fewer calories during the day. Eggs contain "12 vitamins and minerals," according to WebMD.

Other tips include drinking plenty of water and choosing dark chocolate or fresh fruit for dessert. Avoid sugary, processed and heavily salted foods. Prepare most meals at home. The bonus: your bank account gets fat while your weight remains at a healthy level.

You can find any number of lists and, rather than becoming confused by them, take that as an indication of the sheer quantity of affordable, nutritious foods available almost year round. There's enough variety for a lifetime of healthy eating.

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