Good nutrition is the key to a healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet includes eating a variety of foods from the basic food groups: protein, such as meat, eggs, and legumes; dairy; fruits and vegetables; grains, such as breads and pasta; and fats and sweets. As simple as it sounds, it's not always easy to get the nutrition you need. You may eat more of your favorite foods from only one food group, and as a result, avoid others. Or perhaps you opt for convenience over quality when you are hungry.

A healthy diet requires some planning and purpose and an effort to include a variety of foods in your meals. If you look closely at how you eat, you might find you aren't getting enough nutrients because you don't get the recommended number of servings from each food group. Although there is some debate about the best formula for a healthy diet, most experts agree that the most important elements of healthful eating are:

  • To eat a daily diet that helps you either lose weight or keep your weight in the range that is considered "healthy" or "ideal" for your height and gender
  • To choose a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and moderate in total fat intake
  • To eat foods high in fiber
  • To reduce the number of calories in your diet that come from processed sugars
  • To choose and prepare foods with less salt
  • Watch intake of sugar, alcohol, saturated fat and trans fat
  • To drink the daily recommended amount of water: 8 to 10 cups (64 to 80 ounces) of water a day
  • If you drink alcoholic beverages, drink them in moderation (no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men) 

Resources for Nutritional Information

American Dietetic Association: Helpful tips and information that promote good health and nutrition

Eat Well Guide: Free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs from farms, stores, and restaurants in the United States and Canada

Free Dieting.com: Tips, guides, nutrition FAQ, and calculators for daily calorie needs, body mass index, ideal body weight, body fat percentage

Healthy Options Buffalo: Nutritional information about menu options at Western New York area restaurants, a calorie counter and tips for making healthy choices when dining out

Local Harvest: Directory of organic and locally grown food and local events and opportunities

Massachusetts Avenue Project & Growing Green: Details regarding  Buffalo'sseasonal urban farm, youth-run enterprise, farm to school initiative, mobile market and various community educational events

Medline Plus: From the National Institute of Health, nutrition tips and information on various food groups

Nutrition.gov: Nutrition articles, dietary guidelines, food pyramid information, and tools to determine calories and nutrients in foods

U.S. Department of Agriculture: A customized eating plan that is right for you based on the elements of the food pyramid

Vegetarian Resource Group: Support and resources for vegetarians, including recipes and restaurant information