To be in good health, your body needs a balance of proteins, vitamins and other nutrients. These things help keep your body strong, your mind active, and give you energy. They also help prevent disease and protect you from the effects of aging.

To start, try keeping a food diary. Examining your current eating habits will help you make changes. Keep track of:

  • What you eat
  • What time you eat
  • How much you eat
  • Where you eat
  • If you eat by yourself or with others
  • How you felt before you ate (upset, bored, hungry or not)

What Is a Healthy Diet?

A healthy diet helps you maintain your essential proteins, vitamins, and nutrients. It helps you feel your best, gives you energy, and improves your mental outlook. A healthy diet may contain:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Low-fat milk and yogurt
  • Fish, poultry, lean meats
  • Eggs
  • Beans and nuts

Benefits of a Healthy Diet

  • Prevents heart disease
  • Prevents bone loss
  • Prevents type 2 diabetes
  • Prevents high blood pressure
  • Prevents colorectal cancer

Foods To Avoid

Many foods today contain chemicals, salt, and added sugars. Discuss the kinds of foods you like and may be allergic to with your doctor. He or she can help give you an idea of the types of foods that are harmful to your health.

Cholesterol, Sodium (Salt), & Added Sugars

  • Meat, poultry, and fish all have some cholesterol, as do dairy products. However, these are also a good source of protein. Some animal products are higher in cholesterol than others. Turkey is naturally low in cholesterol. So is tuna.
  • Many prepared foods have high sodium (salt) content. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day. Read the sodium content on food labels to determine how much you are taking in.
  • Added sugars are sugars (e.g., fructose and dextrose) and syrups (e.g., corn syrup) that are added to prepared foods or beverages to make them taste sweeter. Sodas and fruit drinks; prepared candy, cakes, and pies; and some grain products (e.g., sweet rolls and cinnamon toast) have added sugars.

Nutrition Resources

Second Harvest Food Bank collects high quality, nutritious food to give to low-income people who cannot afford to buy groceries. People of all ages can receive nutritious food for free. Immigration status does not affect eligibility.

  Call 1-800-984-3663
  Second Harvest Food Bank

The Food Stamp Program helps low-income people and families buy nutritious food. To find the nearest food stamp office for you.

  Call HPSM's Health Educator at 650-616-2165.