Eating well is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and overall good health. It reduces your risk for many diseases, supports your muscles, boosts immunity, and much more. But with so much nutrition and diet information out there, it can feel overwhelming. The good news is that healthy eating doesn’t have to be difficult — it can be simple, delicious, and satisfying.
March is National Nutrition Month® — an ideal time to learn more about healthy eating. So, let’s talk nutrition! Here are the basics:
- Eat a “rainbow.” According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, a healthy eating plan includes a variety of foods, including vegetables of all types (dark green, red, and orange veggies, beans, peas, and lentils, and all other veggies), fruits (especially whole fruit), grains (at least half of which are whole grain), fat-free or low-fat dairy products (yogurt, milk, and cheese), protein (lean meats, poultry, eggs, seafood, beans, nuts, and seeds), and oils (vegetable oils and oils in food, such as seafood and nuts).
- Watch your portions. To ensure you’re eating a healthy, balanced meal, fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. The other half should consist of one quarter of protein foods and one quarter of grains. A side of dairy can complete your meal.
- Cut down on foods and beverages that are high in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium. Added sugars and saturated fat should account for less than 10 percent of your calories per day; sodium should be limited to less than 2,300 milligrams per day. To help you make healthy food choices, read and use nutrition labels.
- Limit alcohol. If you do drink, moderation is key. No more than 1-2 drinks a day.
- Drink plenty of water. Plain drinking water has zero calories, so it’s a great substitute for drinks with added sugars and calories, such as soda. Plus, it’s good for overall health.
- Be conscious of your recommended daily calorie allowance. For adult women, daily calories can range from 1,600 to 2,200 per day. For men, the estimates range from 2,000 to 3,200 per day. You can also calculate your calories based on your personal needs.
Practice Healthy Eating
Now that you know what to eat, it’s important to put these healthy eating habits into practice. To help you improve your nutrition, here are three easy tips:
- Stick to your healthy eating plan when dining out. Opt for healthier options that are grilled, baked, broiled, or steamed.
- Plan meals ahead of time. Make a list and grab all the ingredients you need to make your healthy meals. Taking the time to plan your meals can help you avoid the need to grab take-out or other unhealthy meals.
- Keep healthy snacks on hand. Whether at home or on-the-go, make sure you have healthy snacks At home, keep fresh fruit out in a bowl or cut up veggies and low-fat dairy products in the fridge. Whole-grain crackers and popcorn are also quick and satisfying snacks. When you’re out, keep a supply of healthy snacks in your office, car, or purse to avoid the vending machine or drive-thru. Trail mix, protein bars, and fruits are great options.
Resources At Your Fingertips
Independence Blue Cross (Independence) is here to help our members every step of the way on their health journey. If you’re interested in making better food choices and developing healthy habits, Independence offers a variety of resources to help you get started.
Learn More About Healthy Eating
Ready to change your diet? If you’re an Independence member, you may be covered for six free annual visits with a registered dietitian. Check to see if your health plan covers nutrition counseling. To find a participating registered dietitian, primary care provider, or another network provider, Independence members can use our Find a Doctor tool.
Independence members have access to Achieve Well-being, a personalized set of tools that keep you motivated while you achieve your goals. Sign in at ibx.com to get started.
Nutrition Discounts and Deals
Independence health plan members get exclusive deals and discounts on items to help make it easier to eat healthier, like meal delivery programs and groceries, through Blue365®.
Save Money on Healthy Foods
Through IBX Good Living, Independence members can get coupons for healthy food and access tons of healthy recipes.