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Take control of your health with these easy-to-follow tips for eating better.

Photo credit: Rog Walker

A good diet is essential to your total well-being, and a must for feeling and looking fabulous. It’s no secret that poor nutrition increases the risk factors for chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.

The foods you eat play an important role in your overall health. Choosing better quality foods can help to improve your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Following these five simple tips for eating better can help, too.

1. Cook at home.

Cooking is a major step to controlling what you eat and developing a healthy diet. We know—you’re busy and you don’t have time. But cooking at home doesn’t need to be time-consuming. Meals cooked with simple, fresh ingredients can be prepared in no time, and best of all, they’re better for you and your family. Keep your pantry stocked with staples such as grains, potatoes, and canned goods, which are all great meal starters.

The healthier a food item, the shorter the ingredient list.

2. Read the labels.

The healthier a food item, the shorter the ingredient list. If a food label has more than 10 ingredients with words you can’t pronounce, then you should reconsider buying that item. Foods loaded with high levels of sodium, sugar, and fat may taste good, but a daily consumption of these foods can lead to health problems—not worth the risk.

3. Eat in season.

The healthiest fruits and vegetables are those that travel less from farm to table. Aim to buy produce that’s in-season and local to your area to ensure a fresher quality. A peak season map can show you where fresh produce is available in your area.

4. Drink more water.

Though it’s a necessity of life, most adults don’t drink enough water. (You should be drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.) If you don’t like drinking plain water, try infused water with herbs, fruits, or vegetables such as ginger, mint, lemon, or cucumbers.

5. Eat balanced meals.

A well-balanced meal includes foods that provide the right nutrients for maintaining the body’s normal function and development. Be sure to get your daily servings of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and protein.

Remember, the smart food choices you make today are vital to keeping you happy and healthy!

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