A healthy diet is one that includes all the essential nutrients in appropriate amounts to promote health and prevent disease. A healthy diet is based on the concepts of variety, balance, and moderation.
Variety: To gain variety in one’s diet, it’s important to choose a number of different foods — no single food can meet all of the daily nutrient requirements. Variety also makes meals more interesting while ensuring the diet contains sufficient nutrients.
Balance: We achieve a balanced diet by eating appropriate amounts of food from the recommended food categories on a daily basis. Using some form of guide can aid in balanced food selections.
Moderation: It’s important to choose foods and beverages in serving sizes that are appropriate to meet energy needs while controlling calories, total fat, cholesterol, sodium, sugars and, if consumed, alcoholic beverages. Moderation is vital to maintaining a healthy weight; it also may help protect against certain chronic diseases such as heart disease or cancer.
There are several tools available to help people achieve a healthy diet.
These range from the detailed scientific information about human nutrition requirements found in the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs); to practical applications such as; the Nutrition Facts label (required food labels on processed foods detailing their nutritional value) and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Another great tool is an online, user-friendly tool called MyPyramid.