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What does a healthy dinner consist of?

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Quick Answer

A healthy dinner consists of 30 percent vegetables, 25 percent whole or cut-up fruits, 30 percent whole grains and 25 percent protein, according to Michelle Kerns for Modern Mom. It should also include a serving of dairy, such as milk, cheese or yogurt. Vegetables should include a variety of colors, such as carrots, broccoli, beets and yellow peppers. Skinless poultry and fish can be excellent lean protein sources.

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Fruit should be eaten fresh whenever possible, says Kerns. Canned fruit that is processed with added sugars or suspended in syrup is not as healthy and should be avoided. Vegetable options include leafy greens, beans, legumes, potatoes, corn, squash, cauliflower and mushrooms. It is advisable to eat as many different types of vegetables as possible.

When picking a source of grains, highly processed options such as white rice, white pasta and white bread should be avoided in favor of whole-wheat and whole-grain options. Brown rice, oats, barley and quinoa also make excellent choices. Dairy sources high in saturated fats are unhealthy and should be avoided. Kerns' information is based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's dietary guideline program "MyPlate," which was released in 2011. It replaced the Food Guide Pyramid that was used between 1992 and 2005.

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