Table of Contents

Start Here: 11 Rules for a Healthy Diet

Written by Daisy Whitbread, MScN
Start Here: 11 Rules for a Healthy Diet

What makes a healthy diet? What eating changes can I make to be healthier in 1 month? 1 year? 5 years? 20 years? These questions have been answered by a variety of diet gurus, experts, and books. Each promising fast results, weight loss, and a longer life.

While there may be a variety of healthy diets, there are a few general rules which can be followed for a healthier diet and life in the long term.

These rules are part of what drives MyFoodData.com, a guide to the healthiest, most nutrient-dense foods, to incorporate in your diet. Below are 11 rules everyone can follow for a healthier diet.


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Rules for a Healthy Diet

1Choose Whole Foods Over Processed
Stalks of wheat in a field
If you simply choose whole foods over processed foods your diet will become much healthier. You will automatically cut out sugar and oil. No matter if you are vegan, vegetarian, or paleo. Choose whole foods. Exceptions to this rule include processed foods such as soy milk, tofu, and chocolate.
2Choose Smaller Portions and Eat Less
A bowl of yogurt
Excluding anyone who is underweight or otherwise wants to gain weight, everyone else will experience a healthier life by simply eating less. Choose smaller plates, make a rule not to give yourself a 2nd serving. Create a ritual like chewing gum, taking a walk, or brushing teeth soon after eating to avoid post-meal snacking and unhealthy weight gain.
3Avoid Refined Sugar
Piles of Refined Sugar
Sugar has been linked with obesity, type II diabetes, and even cancer. Sugar is addictive and should be avoided. While easy to say, avoiding refined sugar can be a challenge in our modern society. Sugar has found its way to a variety of processed foods, including soy milk, chocolate milk, peanut butter, etc... See the list of high sugar foods to avoid, and check product labels for the amount of sugar before buying foods.
4Avoid Trans-Fats
Tin of Fat
Trans-fats are a mostly man-made fat designed to keep products fresh for longer. Typically only found in processed foods, trans-fats have been linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular (heart) disease. Check food labels and avoid anything with the words "partially hydrogentated" like "partially hydrogenated palm oil".
5Avoid Excess Sodium
Salt Shaker
Like sugar, salt and sodium is addictive and added to a variety of snacks and foods. Check the list of high sodium foods to avoid, and inspect product labels and for the amount of sodium before buying products.
6Eat Nutrient Dense Foods
Kale leaves
A sure way to reduce calories while feeling healthy is to only eat foods that provide the most nutrition per calorie. These include fresh herbs and dark leafy greens. See the full list of the most nutrient dense foods per calorie for more info.
7Try New Foods
An avocado
So many people equate eating healthy with sacrifice and restriction, but it does not have to be. Make it a point to try new foods each week. From fruits to vegetables and whole grains, there are likely new foods you haven't tried.
8Experiment With A New Diet
Molecule
Make a 1 week to 30 day test where you try a new diet. Maybe eat only plain oatmeal every day for a week. Or only eat salad each day for lunch for 30 days. Notice how these diet changes make you feel. Keep experimenting till you find a diet that makes you feel the best.
9Drink Plenty of Water
A glass of water
Staying properly hydrated is important for your health, and helps your body to maintain a proper balance of nutrients in your body. Aim to drink at least 1 gallon (2-3 liters) of water a day.
Warning: Too much water can be bad for your health, so avoid pushing yourself to drink too much water.
10Keep a Healthy Social Perspective on Your Diet
Person with an apple
Eating with others is a great way to enjoy food while not over-eating. If you tend to binge eat on your own, make your eating more social. If you are at an event with a lot of refined or unhealthy foods, stay conscious of being healthy and keep portion sizes small. Remember the importance of sticking to a healthy diet at all times.
11Subscribe to this Website
OK, #11 is just a shameless plug for you to subscribe to MyFoodData.com (its free). Getting health articles and information delivered to your inbox can be a great way to keep up with healthy eating. If you don't subscribe to this website, consider finding a good healthy eating website or magazine you do enjoy.
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