Healthy Eating in 5 Simple Steps

My Diet Matters

Between “Dr. Google” and all the nutrition books available, it’s no wonder people are confused about how to eat. Many clients tell me it seems the recommendations are always changing, and it makes for a lot of confusion. In reality, it’s not difficult if you can remember some diet savvy strategies to get started. Here’s a quick and easy guide to healthy eating steps that you can implement now. And, it’s painless and only five simple steps to accomplish healthy eating.

5 steps to guide your healthy eating now

1. Eat tons of colorful fruits and vegetables

Risk for diseases such as cancer and heart disease decline as more fruits and vegetables increase in the diet. In part, this is due to the fact that the more colorful your diet, the richer your diet is in anti-inflammatory compounds. In fact, certain food colors are associated with very specific disease risk reduction. Increasing your daily intake of both fruits and vegetables to at least five servings per day will decrease your risk of many diseases.

2. Cut animal protein to guide healthy eating

Most people eat way too much animal protein. By decreasing your animal protein, you are decreasing your fat intake which can be a good thing if you are trying to manage your weight. Even if you are not trying to manage your weight, cutting down on animal protein will decrease saturated fat. A lower saturated fat intake can lessen inflammation. Furthermore, your kidneys will benefit from a lower protein intake as they do not need to work so hard.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), consumption of 18 oz. of red meat per week correlates with increased colorectal cancer. Red meats include beef, pork, and lamb. Both colorectal and stomach cancer risk increase with red meat and processed meat consumption. Processed meats are meats that are salted, cured, or smoked. For more healthy eating tips, the AICR offers other guidelines on healthy eating for cancer prevention.

3. Limit your restaurant and carry out food

healthy eating in simple steps

I have never met a client that was able to lose weight and eat restaurant/carry out food on a daily basis. Consumer beware: most restaurant/carryout food is higher in sodium, calories, and fat than the same food prepared at home. Check menus and nutrition information in advance of dining out (for more dining out strategies). I had a client recently that ordered a so-called healthy salad at a chain restaurant thinking it was a good choice. Unfortunately, the calories clocked in at 1400!  Good thing she was active that day!

4. Take advantage of convenience foods

I guarantee a Healthy Choice, Kashi, or even Lean Cuisine frozen dinner is going to stack up with less calories, sodium, and fat that your average carry out meal. The portion control eliminates the need to think too much when you are tired or your defenses are down for whatever reason. Round out your meal by including a healthy beverage and a fruit/vegetable side.

5. Meals options, no cooking is ok

Is it a problem to eat cereal for dinner? I don’t think so! Have that cereal with milk or a milk alternative, some fresh fruit, an it’s a rather nutritionally adequate and satisfying easy meal. By choosing a higher fiber unsweetened cereal you have improved the quality of your meal dramatically. Not into cereal for dinner? Then try a simple fruit smoothie made with some milk for another nutrient dense snack or meal replacement. Ever think of adding cottage cheese to the smoothie? It makes the smoothie taste like cheesecake! Try my very creamy smoothie.

Guide to healthy eating takeaway

Increasing plant based foods while decreasing animal protein will go a long way in improving your diet. Making food at home, as opposed to takeout or restaurant food, will slash your fat, sodium, and calories painlessly. Consider capitalizing on the grocery store convenience foods-foods already prepped or frozen, and this will keep you away from restaurants and take out food. And, remember that cold uncooked foods and snacks can also count as a “meal” whenever too tired or lazy to prep or cook a multi-course meal.

What are your healthy eating strategies?

Sue Rose, MS, RD, LDN

Sue Rose helps readers sort through the maze of nutrition information available to the public. As a seasoned clinical dietitian/nutritionist with decades of experience, her blogs attempt to educate and inform the public at a time when there is so much information it is often overwhelming to understand. Stay tuned for clarity on a variety of topics!


Use this information at your own risk. Although I am a licensed IL dietitian/nutritionist, I am not your dietitian. The information in my blog Chew on This located at is for educational and informational purposes only. It is also my own opinion and subject to change in the future. Please consult with your own medical professionals for individual treatment.