It can some­times feel as if we’re bom­bard­ed with infor­ma­tion about the lat­est eat­ing trend or buzz­wor­thy ingre­di­ent. But good nutri­tion is real­ly about hav­ing a well-round­ed diet, and it’s eas­i­er to do than you may think. In fact, liv­ing a nutri­tious lifestyle can be easy and fun.

Nutri­tion is about more than vitamins—it also includes fiber and healthy fats. Now is a per­fect time to learn sim­ple ways to help your whole fam­i­ly eat healthier.

Need tips specif­i­cal­ly for young chil­dren? Learn how to intro­duce kids to healthy foods.

Add healthy fats.

Not all fats are bad. Foods with monoun­sat­u­rat­ed and polyun­sat­u­rat­ed fats are impor­tant for your brain and heart. Lim­it foods with trans fats, which increase the risk for heart dis­ease. Good sources of healthy fats include olive oil, nuts, seeds, cer­tain types of fish, and avocados.

Try this:

  • Top lean meats with sliced avo­ca­do, or try some avo­ca­do in your morn­ing smoothie.
  • Sprin­kle nuts or seeds (like sliv­ered almonds or pump­kin seeds) on soups or salads.
  • Add a fish with healthy fats, like salmon or tuna, into your meals twice a week.
  • Swap processed oils (like canola or soy­bean oil) for oils that are cold-pressed, like extra-vir­gin olive oil and sesame oil.

Cut the sodium.

Good nutri­tion is about bal­ance, and that means not get­ting too much of cer­tain ingre­di­ents, such as sodi­um (salt). Sodi­um increas­es blood pres­sure, which rais­es the risk for heart dis­ease and stroke. About 90% of Amer­i­cans 2 years old or old­er con­sume too much sodi­um. For most peo­ple ages 14 years and old­er, sodi­um should not exceed 2,300 mg per day.

Try this:

  • Avoid processed and prepack­aged food, which can be full of hid­den sodi­um. Many com­mon foods, includ­ing breads, piz­za, and deli meats, can be sources of hid­den sodium.
  • At the gro­cery store, look for prod­ucts that say “low sodium.”
  • At restau­rants, ask for sauces and dress­ings on the side. Get more tips for low­er­ing sodi­um while eat­ing out.
  • Instead of using salt, add deli­cious fla­vor to your meals with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a dash of no-salt spice blends, or fresh herbs.

Bump up your fiber.

Fiber in your diet not only keeps you reg­u­lar, it also helps you feel fuller longer. Fiber also helps con­trol blood sug­ar and low­ers cho­les­terol lev­els.3,4 Fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles, whole grains, and legumes (beans and peas) are good sources of fiber.

Try this:

  • Slice up raw veg­gies and keep them in to-go bag­gies to use as quick snacks.
  • Start your day off with a high-fiber break­fast like whole grain oat­meal sprin­kled with pecans or macadamia nuts.
  • Steam veg­gies rather than boil­ing them. When buy­ing frozen veg­gies, look for ones that have been “flash frozen.”
  • Add half a cup of beans or peas to your sal­ad to add fiber, tex­ture, and flavor.

Aim for a variety of colors on your plate.

Foods like dark, leafy greens, oranges, and tomatoes—even fresh herbs—are loaded with vit­a­mins, fiber, and minerals.

Try this:

  • Sprin­kle fresh herbs over a sal­ad or whole wheat pasta.
  • Make a red sauce using canned toma­toes (look for “low sodi­um” or “no salt added”), fresh herbs, and spices.
  • Add diced veg­gies like pep­pers, broc­coli, or onions to stews and omelets to give them a boost of col­or and nutrients.

Are you eat­ing healthy to help you get to a healthy weight? Learn more about bal­anced eat­ing.

Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed on Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion (CDC)