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Healthy Eating Habits

Don't let poor eating habits slow you down. Increase your energy, improve your health and even drop a few pounds by developing healthy eating habits by following a few simple tips.

Avoid processed foods: Foods like frozen pizza, cookies, crackers and jarred pasta sauces are heavily processed and full of extras like sugar, sodium, fat, preservatives and artificial ingredients. These foods tend to be low in fiber and lacking in nutrition, making them poor choices for sustained energy throughout the day. Avoid them in favor of healthier, fresher options.

Eat more fruits and veggies: Fill your plate with fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables to get the vitamins, minerals and fiber your body needs. Look for colorful produce like broccoli, sweet potatoes and blueberries to maximize your nutrition intake.

Switch to whole grains: Refined-grain foods like white bread tend to be heavily processed and full of extra sugar. For less sugar and more fiber to keep you from getting hungry sooner, try whole wheat bread and other whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and rolled oats.

Choose lean protein: Protein can increase your energy and help you build muscle, but many protein-rich foods are high in saturated fat. Look for lean protein sources like turkey, skinless chicken breasts and beans for an energy boost without as much fat.

Cook at home: When you cook your food yourself, you know exactly what's in it and you can limit any added fats and sugar. Choose recipes that call for lots of produce, lean proteins and whole grains to cook a well-balanced meal. Don't know where to start? Join RivalHealth, a free customized fitness and nutrition program, for healthy recipes.

Check the menu: If you're going out to eat, try to check the menu ahead of time online. Many restaurants (particularly chains) offer nutrition information for their dishes online. Take a few minutes to explore the menu to see how you can build the healthiest meal possible. When in doubt, look for items that are baked or grilled—they typically have less fat than fried foods.

Skip the soda: A 12-ounce can of soda can have upwards of 150 calories and 30 grams of sugar and doesn't provide any nutrition. Skip soda in favor of water for the hydration you need without the extras. Need something carbonated? Try club soda (carbonated water) with a slice lemon or lime.

Limit sodium: Having a diet low in sodium may help you lower or avoid high blood pressure. Instead of reaching for the salt, try spices like coriander, paprika or thyme for a flavor boost without the added sodium.

Want more information? Visit the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion website, a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

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