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What You Should Really Be Eating, In Plain and Simple Terms

There is so much conflicting information out there about what you should be eating.

Ensure at least 1/2 of your plate is vegetables and fruit

At least 50% of your food intake should be fruits and vegetables. However, less than 14 percent of Americans eat enough fruits and vegetables every day.

Make whole grains 1/4 of your plate

Whole grains — including whole wheat, barley, wheat berries, quinoa, oats, brown rice, and whole wheat bread and pasta — are more nutrient-dense and have a milder effect on blood sugar than white bread, white rice, and other refined grains.

Make protein 1/4 of your plate

Beans and nuts are great plant-based sources of protein, so it is best to start there. Small amounts of carefully-selected fish, chicken, and meat are also acceptable. Animal protein can play a role in your diet, but as a condiment (2–3 ounces, a few nights per week), not the main course.

Eat healthy plant oils in moderation

Choose healthier oils such as olive, MCT, canola, soy, corn, sunflower, and peanut, and stay away from partially hydrogenated oils which contain unhealthy trans fat.

Drink water, coffee, green tea, and red wine

Avoid sugary drinks (soda, boxed juices) and limit milk/dairy (1–2 servings per day). Limit wine consumption to no more than 1–2 glasses (5 oz.) per day (max of one glass per day for women, two for men).

  • Greens (spinach, kale, chards, beet tops, fennel tops, collards)
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, cashews)
  • Olive Oil (green, extra-virgin is best)
  • Oats (slow-cook or Irish steel-cut are best)
  • Barley
  • Fruits (all kinds)
  • Green or Herbal teas
  • Turmeric (spice or tea)

Certified Nutritionist who writes about living well. Subscribe to my email list at andrewmerle.com.

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