Pursuing exercise is just one part of the fitness puzzle. You need to eat right to ensure that your body receives the right types and portions of food. For without the correct diet, your body will not benefit accordingly.

Much has been made about food consumption, with the federal government offering its own guidelines and what types of foods to eat and how much. Yet, the USDA’s MyPlate initiative does not offer a complete picture, at least that is the contention of Harvard University researchers who developed a healthy eating plate alternative that they say goes further.

1. Whole Grains
Yes, grains are good for you, provided that they are whole grains and not refined grains. Refined grains are okay, but you must limit your consumption. Harvard equates refined grains with white bread and white rice — with the important nutrients extracted.

The whole grains you should purse include whole-grain pasta, whole-wheat bread, and brown rice. White rice and white bread should simply be avoided.

2. Healthy Protein
Not all protein is beneficial for you. Cold cuts, bacon and other processed meats should be limited or avoided completely. Instead, choose beans, fish, poultry and nuts to round out your diet.

Truly, you may not like to consume much protein to start your day, but you can eat a few nuts for breakfast. Certain low-sugar cereals combine whole grains and nuts to deliver the nutritional benefits you need.

Harvard Healthy Plate and Your Fitness

3. Fresh Fruits
Most any fruits are better than no fruits, except when heavily processed and sitting in a can of thick syrup. Seasonal fruits are best, but thanks to robust global shipping, fruits from around the world are obtainable.

Harvard advises that people consume plenty of fruits of all colors. Red grapes, oranges, yellow bananas, green kiwi and blueberries are just a few of your choices. Apples, pears, watermelon, strawberries, cherries, grapes, and kumquats can also be eaten.

4. Fresh Vegetables
If you cannot get fresh vegetables, then bagged vegetables are fine. Just avoid prepping them with fatty oils and salt. Steamed vegetables are delicious and healthful.

When counting vegetables, potatoes and french fries do not count. The more you eat and the more varied your vegetables, the better. Eat yellow corn, green spinach, white cauliflower, orange pepper, yellow squash, green broccoli, white onions and orange yams.

Healthy Oils and Good Liquids
Butter is better than margarine, but healthy oils are the best. Choose olive and canola oils for cooking and on salads. Trans fats should be avoided.

When it comes to liquid consumption, water is best. Coffee and tea are also fine, but limit your sugar and cream intake. Dairy is important, but should be limited to one or two servings per day. Sugar drinks such as juices and sodas should be avoided.

Eat Right, Always
Now that you have a better idea of what to eat, you’re ready to change your diet. Mix your foods up, but do rely more on fruits and vegetables, and choose lean meats over processed meats. Employ a sound exercise regimen and fitness will be within your reach notes Fitness 19.

About the author

Sara T. Loving

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