You might think that you eat pretty well but are you really getting all the nutrients you need? Start eating naturally to back up your good intentions.

Step 1: Choose variety
Choose a variety of foods from each major food group. This ensures that you get all of the calories, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber you need. Lose weight without breaking a sweat.

Step 2: Vary within food groups
Vary the foods you eat in each food group, substituting rice for grain bread or eating grits or cornmeal muffins instead of pasta. Some foods contain more of one nutrient than another, so a varied menu is one of the best ways to ensure you’re getting proper nutrition.

Step 3: Combine for better digestion
Combine foods within food groups to better absorb their nutrients, eating beans on tortillas or winter squash with pasta, for instance.

Step 4: Replace nutrients
Replace nutrients when you’re unable to eat a certain food to be sure you get what you need. Eat greens instead of dairy, for instance, to get your daily calcium requirement. Greens also help strengthen the blood and respiratory systems.

Step 5: Reduce portions
Reduce portion sizes, especially of sweet, salty, fatty, and junk foods, to begin backing off bad habits. Let the craving for indulgences slowly dissipate as you replace these foods with healthy choices.

Changing everything too abruptly can lead to cheating or giving up on your new eating plan. Take small steps, and build from there.

Step 6: Chew slowly to avoid overeating
Chew thoroughly and quit before you’re completely full. The mind takes a little longer to send the message that you’ve reached your limit, so eat slowly to avoid feeling stuffed.

Limit fruit juices, which can have up to 10 teaspoons of sugar. Fresh fruit is always a better choice, since one serving often has less calories than a serving of juice, and delivers enzymes lost in commercial drinks.

Step 7: Take in oil, nuts, fish
Add foods rich in healthy fats such as nuts, and fish like salmon, herring, and mackerel. Foods rich in omega-3 fats may reduce cardiovascular disease, improve your mood, and even help prevent dementia. Now rest easy knowing you have a healthy diet.

Did You Know?
In 2008, 23 percent of Americans 60 or older had diabetes.

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