Improve eating habits by gradually replacing refined grains with whole grains. For example, switch to brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread and whole grain pasta, and eat seven-grain breakfast cereals containing at least 7 grams of fiber in each serving. At home or work, keep low-calorie snacks, such as apples or nuts, close by to avoid overconsuming unhealthy foods. Choose water and other unsweetened drinks over sugary beverages, and use fresh fruit to add flavoring.
Learn the alternate names for ingredients that should be restricted or avoided. Trans fats are often listed as hydrogenated oils on food labels. Consuming them boosts bad cholesterol, known as LDL, and increases heart disease and stroke risks. Aim for a sodium intake of 1,500 milligrams daily, and be aware of alternate sources, such as disodium, sodium benzoate and monosodium glutamate. Different types of sugar may include high-fructose corn syrup, barley malt syrup and dehydrated cane juice.
Eat more lean proteins, such as poultry and fish, and choose leaner cuts of fatty meats. Fruits and vegetables should make up about 50 percent of every meal. Order vegetables as side dishes when eating out, and add berries as toppings on everyday foods, such as cereal, salad and oatmeal.
Plan meals that combine colorful ingredients, such as orange, red and dark-green fruits and vegetables, for a balanced variety of essential nutrients. Consume more calcium and vitamin D by adding milk to coffee and drinking a high-calcium orange juice. However, choose low-fat or fat-free milk to reduce calories.