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Understanding Good Food Choices

Do you eat for good nutrition? It means more than simply eating an apple a day. Think in terms of your food choices throughout the day, from breakfast to bedtime. All foods, including your favorites, can fit into a healthy eating plan.

Graphic of plate and cup showing daily food size portions,

Good nutrition basics

Remember these key points, which are the basics of good nutrition:

  • Balance. Eat a mix of different types of food. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Then fill your plate with one quarter protein and one quarter whole grains.

  • Variety. Choose a wide range of foods of different colors.

  • Flexibility. Find an eating plan that fits your schedule and tastes.

  • Moderation. Avoid too much of any one food.

What’s in a word?

When reading food labels, it helps to know what the words stand for. The terms are based on one serving size, which means it is important that you read the nutrition label, because a container (jar, bottle, can, etc) of food may contain more than one serving.

If a label says . . .

It means . . .

Low calorie

40 calories or fewer per serving

Fat free

Less than 1/2 g fat per serving

Low fat

3 g or less fat per serving

Cholesterol free

Less than 2 mg cholesterol and 2 g or less saturated fat per serving

Low cholesterol

20 mg or less cholesterol and 2 g or less saturated fat per serving

Sodium free

Less than 5 mg sodium per serving

Low sodium

140 mg or less sodium per serving

High fiber

5 g or more fiber per serving


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